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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I'm new to these forums, but so far everyone seems really great! My neighbor has a 1968 GTO that has been sitting for 16 years in his outside garage.

I have always had my eye on this car, but I want to make sure it's worth the cost and effort of a project car.

He wants 500$ for it, heres the catch:

-Lost title
-Interior smells of mold
-From what I can tell no major rust spots
-Engine is probably seized
-Wheels look rusty
-Exterior is in decent shape
-Automatic, how hard is it to convert to a manual?

How much money would I have to put into just it to get it running? I would probably strip the interior and put more money into performance.

Any input would be great! Thanks in advance
 

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In the total scheme of automotive restoration, $500 is basically free. Tough to go wrong on that one - a real no-brainer.

Most States have processes to go through in order to replace a lost title. As long as the car is not stolen, you can get a title. Procedures in each State vary slightly, but you should be able to get good info from your local DMV.

You can dump as much money into these things as your wallet and charge card will allow. You can plan on $3500 to rebuild the seized engine (nothing fancy, but a good solid rebuild) and another grand to do the interior work. But if you plan on restoring the car, the interior is the last thing you want to do. If all you want to do is get it running, you can probably make it drivable for under $5k.
 

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The labor to convert from an auto to a manual is not going to be your primary cost - getting the parts will be. Many of the parts interchange with a Chevelle. That includes the pedals, most of the clutch linkage and the metal piece (the doghouse) you need for the floor. The manual shifter itself as well as the trans is generic, but the bell housing and flywheel will be Pontiac only. You'll need the correct console as well. By the time you've got the conversion done you'll have earned your stripes as a parts scrounger. But a '68 GTO is worth the time and effort. What color and what interior does it have? Hood mounted tach? Vinyl top?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
kerno said:
What color and what interior does it have? Hood mounted tach? Vinyl top?
interior is black

tach is in the dash (pretty sure)

Not sure if its a vinyl top, but the previous owner had a sunroof put in there (which sucks)


I'm definately considering buying the car, just need the cash.

How are these cars as autos? still fun and fast? I'm definately manual shifting type of guy.

With 68's what are some common problems?
 

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I'm going to guess, based on only what I've seen, that most of the 68's were autos. The Turbo 400 was a fairly new option on the GTO and was very popular. They came with the Hurst dual gate shifter, which made the automatic pretty decent. With stock tires and a shift kit, you had your hands full if you nailed it at about 30 mph. It was hard to keep it from going about 30 degrees sideways. I had a 68 with the 400 HO motor, which came with the same cam as the standard motor, but had the good exhaust manifolds . On the manuals, you got a 10 degree bigger cam and the manifolds. Mine had a 3:42 Posi and got the bigger cam about a week after delivery. I loved the car, but it left my life for a series of Trans Ams.
I understnd your frustration with the sunroof, but they were really popular additions in the 80's. There are no specific problems with the 68s. They can have the usual rust problems, especially around the rear window where the water puddles under the molding. I think the 68s and 69's were the best looking of the series. The lines were clean and smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
the guy said something about a 400 motor, he really didnt know much but If I remember correctly he said it was out of a firebird or something.

Thanks again for all the help!
 

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Crazed -
All 68 GTOs are 400 cars. The automatics accounted for 51,385 out of the 87,684 priduced in 68, and they were all M-40 (Turbo 400) automatics - a very good tranny.

Conversion to a 4-speed involves the following:

The driveshaft on a 4-speed car is the same as the TH400 driveshaft. The crossmembers are the same for 4-speed and auto. The conversion is simple if you have all the parts. Problem is, not all the parts are available new or reproduction, so you'll have to find a donor car for some parts, and use eBay for others. Chevelles work great for donors.

You will need the following parts. Prices are actual current prices for the noted parts:

A good 4-speed tranny (an M21 is your best bet for availability and affordability). Good M21s are available for about $600-800
A shifter. New Hurst available for about $225
Shift linkage kit. Hurst. $115
Reverse lockout components and linkage. (GM) About $150
Shifter handle (Hurst) $36
Shifter attach plate. $30 from Ames
Floor shift porch (the housing welded to the transmission tunnel). Ames for about $40.
Shifter boot. Ames for about $20
Shifter boot trim plate. Ames for about $20
A Pontiac bellhousing (Chevy is different) with the clutch fork pivot ball. eBay for about $75
Bellhousing cover (GM) $30
Flywheel with bolts (new ones are available). $250 from Summit
Pilot bearing. NAPA for about $12
Clutch & pressure plate. Summit for about $200
Throwout bearing (comes with the clutch kit)
Clutch fork. Lakewood for about $40
Clutch fork boot. Year One for about $15
The complete brake/clutch pedal assembly (this is a complete assembly with a large bracket that bolts up into the car, and the two pedals are hinged on this assembly). Ames Performance for about $100
The clutch intermediate rod. Ames about $45
The Z-Bar (clutch countershaft). Ames $30
Z-Bar frame bracket. Ames. $15
Z-Bar swivel assembly. Ames. $50
Clutch fork pushrod. GM $20
Clutch linkage springs. Ames. $17

Total cost to piece together a system from scratch using new & used parts: $2,335 (not including labor if you have to pay someone to do it).

You can also do a Kiesler conversion for about $3k.

You're better off buying an entire 4-speed donor car if it has all the parts on it.
 

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Lars, that's an excellent and informative response. It is easy to forget just how many pieces go into the four speed conversion. Taking the Sawzall to the floor is the test of how committed one is to the conversion.
 

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I used to have a 69 , 4 speed 4:11, Jardine headers, Zoom clutch, Offenhauser dual plane intake with a 780 Holley, a mallory dual point, no AC no power nothin. Great car andI'd love to have it today. But, unless you like to tinker your a year away from having the original or close to it and what a pain. I searched and searched in hopes of findign a Judge which along with all the other goodies had tunnel port heads. $ 30,000 for a real one. My car woould do mid 13s in the 1/4 with air bags in the springs and a little coaxing.

If you don't tinker get an 06 M6 and begin having a blast today
 

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1969+37=2006 said:
Judge which along with all the other goodies had tunnel port heads.
The Judge did not have tunnel port heads. The Ram Air III Judges (1969 & 1970) used standard D-port Pontiac heads (casting #48) with slightly higher compression than the regular D-ports. The Ram Air IV (1969 & 1970) and the 455 HO (1971) had round-port exhausts, but standard rectangular intake ports - not tunnel ports. Tunnel port heads were developed for the 303 and the RA V, but these were never installed in a production car (although some RAV's were sold over the counter, and Royal Pontiac installed some RAV's in '69 GTOs).
Lars
 

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Your right. My brain has forgotten a lot of those kind of details. The IV heads were the ones. There were only around 500 built. But they did what you want. There used to be a little Pontiac performance book you coud get to give the info I tried to remember. Of course I never found the heads, did pretty good without them. My point is still wHen you restore you have one thing you can buy better today, for a few more months anway, with a lot less work. Me, at 60 years I want to drive. If I bought one I'd buy it complete or nearly restored, then I would treat it like a baby.
 

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About those Ram Air V heads.... I had a couple sets of them that we played with. They had the same flow imbalance where the exhaust port could not keep up with what the intakes could feed the motor. I think they were never released because no one, including PMD, could make them work properly. The intake flow was lazy because the ports were simply too big. Cylinder filling suffered from lack of port velocity. But, like the Super Cobra Jet Ford FE heads, they were great to look at. Had they revised and raised the exhaust port to improve the short turn radius, they may have worked. If you look at the current LS-2 heads, the intake ports defy any logic in terms of their shape. Who would ever have thought a tall, skinny port that looks like a church steeple could flow like that..........
 

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About the Ram Air IV heads, man am I glad I couldn't find any. I'm sure they would have drain my pocket book. Do you think the dual plan intake would have helped?
 

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Kerno -
I drove the '69 Ram Air V GTO that was built by Milt Schornack back in the mid-80s. It had the RAV tunnel port heads on it, and it ran extremely strong - one of the quickest and strongest Pontiacs I've ever had a chance to drive. It had great torque off idle, and really came on strong above 3500 - a very impressive setup. I doubt I would pay the premium for a set of the heads at today's market value when you can get a set of Edelbrocks that flow better for around $1500... But the Vs are impressive nonetheless.
 

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Lars: As you know, Milt had some very talented people working with him and I was not surprised to hear that he got them to run well. We were out on the West Coast, so any of the "interesting" things we got our hands on had to come through GM's Van Nuys plant. We got a set of both the big and small chamber heads to play with. They even came, stangely enough, with a complete set of blueprints. What we didn't get was enough time to really play with them beyond a few days of flow bench time and a some strip time. The intake flow numbers were bigger than anything we'd seen. We had been given the OK to port them and we were able to make the expected gains on the exhaust, but had to return them before we got a chance to really determine the camshaft profile that would have brought out the best in the heads. That was in the late 60's, so you know what was available in off the shelf cams. Most of the "custom" cams that were available were either single pattern or way too small. Getting what we wanted ground was always a minimum of 6 weeks and we had to pick from existing lobe profiles since cams were ground using a follower on metal patterns, much like a hydraulic tracer on a lathe. Now that the grinders are computer controlled, so much more is possible. You mentioned "current market value". Do you know where any of the heads are?

Kern
 

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damn...you guys make me drool.....

Funny you bring up Royal Pontiac. Just finished reading "Milt Schornack and the Royal Bobcat GTO's" a GREAT read. Amazon.com has them in stock.

After reading it I was toying with the idea of getting my '66 (which needs paint anyway) repainted in the scheme of the '66 "GeeTO Tiger" drag car as a kind of "tribute car".....All the logos, etc....and my uncle has a 455 HO long block sitting in the corner of his garage.....hmmm....

Anyway, back on topic, in the book Milt says that the RA V car they tested for "Super Stock" magazine was actually a very well tuned RAIII. The RA V engine they had with them blew up (in a Firebird), so they ran the Judge with a bobcatted RAIII. It ran an 11.86 @ 116. I can't find the reference, but I recall reading somewhere the RAIII cam was thier favorite.

Lars, was the RA V you drove the "Crystal Turquoise" car?
 

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PaulPaladin said:
Lars, was the RA V you drove the "Crystal Turquoise" car?
Yes, it was the turquoise and white '69 that's been featured in a few magazines. I drove it out in Columbus Ohio sometime around 1985-or-so.
Lars
 
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