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GTO Goes to School: Students restore a classic to be sold at auction
Published Date: 6/13/05

Click here for the Autoweek article

Restoring a car many collectors can only dream of is a great opportunity for some Pennsylvania students, even if the 1967 GTO isn’t the whole story.

The nonprofit Carlisle Automotive Classrooms Foundation bought the Pontiac so students at Dauphin County Technical School in Harrisburg could restore it with help from Ames Performance and other vendors. Sale of the GTO is planned for the All-GM Nationals at Carlisle on June 24-26 (carsatcarlisle.com), and while that will generate funds for the foundation and help the school acquire restoration equipment and materials, there is more.

“It’s not that the students can see they’ve done a good job and that I recognize they’ve done a good job,” said instructor Roy Klinger. “It’s that people at Carlisle and anyone who comes in contact with this vehicle—the general public—can recognize the students have done a good job. What that does is build up the self-esteem of the students and allow them to proceed with their training with a lot of confidence.”

A metallic gold hardtop with a 400-cid V8 and a four-speed, the GTO needed a body-off restoration. Rust had had its way with the car everywhere, from the quarters to the floorpan to the cowl. Dealing with that hasn’t been easy. “It’s very challenging because there are many spots that need to be fixed that normally shouldn’t need to be fixed,” Tom Cleary said, “a lot of rust, a lot of misalignment and stuff like that that shouldn’t be there.”

Klinger said the goal is accuracy, reaching to details like finishing the frame and suspension components in black with exactly the right gloss. If there is any concession, it is in the use of today’s materials and technology instead of what might have gone into repairing collision damage in 1967. The trade-off seems acceptable.

“It’s not just a collector’s piece that can sit in a garage,” Klinger said. “It can be driven and handle the elements that are out there.”

While that should increase the GTO’s appeal, another piece of new technology is being considered for the same reason.

“We’re thinking for the biggest audience of possibly putting it on eBay,” said Carlisle Productions’ Lisa Leathery, “with the closing taking place here on Saturday during the GM show.”

Online and on-site bidders should generate greater interest and ensure the sale price. Leathery pointed to the GTO’s desirability and cited the students’ quality workmanship, so the sale should return a good price.

Still, the car has already proven to be more important than the cash.


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