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Howdy all,

Thought I'd post a little of my 69 project. This car was the last car my dad and I bought together a few years before he died, so it's special to me. It was my daily driver as I was finishing up college - in 1974. I started a frame off on it in the early 80's, then "life got in the way" and it had to sit awhile. The project got going again, finally, in June of 2008 and I've been working on it fairly steady since then. Things got really serious about March of this year when I got a nice bonus from work and my sweet, loving bride said, "Honey? why don't you take all that and finish the GTO." I didn't make her say that a second time.

As of right now, the body work is done, wet sanded, and ready for paint. The engine, drive train, cooling system, fuel system, suspension, and brakes are done. I decided to warm up the numbers-matching YS 400 a 'tiny bit'. It's now stroked to 461 with very good internals, genuine #722 iron heads, solid roller cam, headers, and a real 455SD Qjet (service replacement) that I had the good fortune to have bought many years ago from HO. Here's a link to the dyno sheet.
Here's a couple of links to videos of it running, in the car, for the first time in more than 20 years - both with
and also with

I used the Engine Analyzer program from Performance Trends to plan and model the motor. The actual runs on the dyno turned out to be very close to what was predicted so I feel the software must be pretty good. If their companion Drag Race Analyzer is equally as good, then the car ought to be in the high 11's on good drag radials, 11.30's or so (roll bar territory) on slicks. We'll find out eventually... :D

Man, I've sure learned a lot in the past couple of years working on this thing. Things like:
1) The phrase "bolt-on" is always a lie. So is "complete kit". :mad:
2) Once you modify "one thing" you will then have to modify "everything".
3) There's a very good reason that quality body work is both difficult to find and hideously expensive when you do.
4) Learn to expect set-backs, challenges, and problems that you will slow you down until you solve them, usually on your own.
5) There's a reason that it's called "car building" and not "car assembling".
6) Anything you do in a big hurry is usually wrong.
7) It doesn't matter if you lay down a weld that is 99.99% perfect. That remaining 0.01% will still leak. :(
8) Your car will always be the one that needs the part that was only used for a short time during production, that you can't get any more, causing you to have to modify other things in order to use the part that you CAN get, at which time #2 above will rear its ugly head.
9) Remember, we do this because it's fun...:willy:

If you'd like to see a TON of photos I've been taking since June of 2008, go here. (I try to keep these reasonably up to date as I work on things.)

Thanks for reading,

Bear
 

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Nice project Bear. I thought mine took a long time at 6 years, I admire your dedication and perserverance.

Through the muff's sounds like pure WIN over the opens. Sounds incredibly good, I'd save my money on a killer stereo if I were you.

What color is she going to be, original or not?
 

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Thanks for the kind words...
@AlkyGTO, I'm going to paint it black. I've gotten the body in good enough shape for black to look good and it's been my favorite color on cars forever. The original color was Palladium Silver and I thought about that for awhile since it matches the data plate, but since the vinyl top (also on the data plate) is history there's no reason to keep the color original. (Plus, my bride said 'ewww' when I mentioned silver so it didn't take much to talk me out of it.) I'm building this car for me (and eventually my son) to enjoy so I don't really care about preserving 100% originality. Though I am saving all the original pieces and I haven't cut up the car in case he ever decides he wants to go back to that

@jetstang: 400 blocks are actually stronger than 455's for exactly that reason - there's more meat in the main webs. Also with the "smaller" (if you can call 3" small) main journals the speed at the bearing surface is less at a given rpm which translates into less friction, less heat, and less stress trying to defeat the oil film. Pontiac cranks, being significantly shorter end to end than (cough) BBC's are already very strong, even in cast versions. If you manage to break a stock crank then you probably had a bad detonation problem, an bad oiling problem, or you spun it -way- too high (but even then the rods will probably let go first). Pontiac's are torque motors and they make it down low - they aren't "Chevys" and it's a mistake to think of them that way. Where most SBC guys are always worried about low end torque, using super low gears and/or loose converters to try to get them to move - so much so that they're very unpleasant to impossible to drive on the street. Pontiac guys don't have that problem. We struggle to get them hooked. My engine, for example, with only a moderate solid roller cam (236/242 degrees duration at .050) makes over 540 ft. lbs. at 3100 RPM - and it's still over 500 ft. lbs. going through 5100. This is on 93 octane at 9.46:1 compression with iron heads and iron factory intake. With 3.50:1 rear gears and a 3200 stall converter it's going to be very streetable - and still capable of high 11's with drag radials, maybe low to mid 11's on slicks. SBC guys can only look at that wistfully and dream :)

Bear
 

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Love the website and the story behind it! Great car, can't wait to see it progress... keep bumping this thread when you add more pics to the site
 

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Bear, Great sounding engine and a nice neat build!!! BLACK is definately the way to go since you have her straight enough. I can't wait to get further into my build....waiting on parts........:cheers Eric
 

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Bear, Great sounding engine and a nice neat build!!! BLACK is definately the way to go since you have her straight enough. I can't wait to get further into my build....waiting on parts........:cheers Eric
Thanks Eric - I can relate to the "waiting on parts" state. I've been working on my brake system for months. Wilwood surprised me a few times with things that weren't included in their "kit" that I wound up having to order and wait on. Next, after thinking about it for a good long time I decided to convert the power brake system to hydroboost since at 13" my cam is marginal for vacuum assist. Rather than spend $900+ :eek: for a hyrdoboost kit I decided to engineer my own using various parts intended for other vehicles. It's almost done now and I might publish how I did it in case others want to do the same (it's about half the cost of a kit). Due to tight header clearance I've had to modify the mount for the brake distribution block / pressure warning switch two times. The first time I just tried to get it tighter to the frame, but that still only left about 1/8" between it and the header tube and also made it so that to connect/disconnect the lines required loosening the drivers side header to get some wiggle room. :mad: Round two involved moving it from the inside of the frame rail to the top of the frame rail, but that required modifiying the bracket and running some new brake lines. I'd already gone with new stainless lines and the flaring tool I had couldn't deal with them very well, and of course several attempts left one of them "too short" necessitatiing ordering another length of that special double-annealed stainless line from InLine Tube along with a better flaring tool..... :willy:

I just got everything finally plumbed and buttoned up, including an adjustable proportioning valve tucked inside the frame rail, this morning about 3 am..... :eek:

I still need to fab a mount for the propr valve, secure everything to the frame, bench-bleed and install the master cylinder, and fill/bleed the brake system.

It never ends...


Bear
 

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Bear, thanks for posting. You've been a member for quite some time, but only recently seem to have "re-appeared". I see you on the other forums, as well. Your posts are always extremely informative, unbiased, and helpful. You have a talent for explaining highly technical information in a clear and easlily understood manner (and I'm an automotive technician!!). Best of all, you know how to post pictures and videos, unlike some of us....:( Keep up the excellent work, thanks for the informative posts, and I can't wait to see it "on the road"!!!!!
Jeff
 

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Bear, thanks for posting. You've been a member for quite some time, but only recently seem to have "re-appeared". I see you on the other forums, as well. Your posts are always extremely informative, unbiased, and helpful. You have a talent for explaining highly technical information in a clear and easlily understood manner (and I'm an automotive technician!!). Best of all, you know how to post pictures and videos, unlike some of us....:( Keep up the excellent work, thanks for the informative posts, and I can't wait to see it "on the road"!!!!!
Jeff
Thanks for the kind words, Jeff. I can be pretty hard-headed so things have got to be simple for me to understand them :rofl: I've been a professional geek all my adult life and I seem to have this affliction of "requiring" things to make sense to me. My wife believes that I can "fix anything", but what she doesn't realize is that the truth is that I'm too dumb to know not to tear into something and too stubborn to give up once I do.. :D

Your profile says "Fresno" -- you wouldn't by chance happen to know Allen and Donna Wightman, would you? For awhile there in the late 90's I think they ran a chrome shop, but I don't think they're part of it any more. We shared a common connection with a band we're both fans of, but have lost track of each other.


Bear
 

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I just got everything finally plumbed and buttoned up, including an adjustable proportioning valve tucked inside the frame rail, this morning about 3 am..... :eek:

I still need to fab a mount for the propr valve, secure everything to the frame, bench-bleed and install the master cylinder, and fill/bleed the brake system.

It never ends...


Bear
wanna come do mine next?....:D

:agree with GeeTee, you have answered a lot of the questions i had while building my first engine directly and indirectly with your posts to others, and your threads to your own build. and i think a lot of us share your affliction for "tearing" into things, but hey thats how we learned as kids, why stop now....keep up the good work Bear, and i say when we all get them running we meet mid country:party:
 

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wanna come do mine next?....:D
Heh... a few times over the past year I've caught myself thinking along the lines of "now, the next car I do I'm gonna..." --- then I catch the look of sheer terror in my wife's eyes :eek: and doubt the wisdom of sharting that thought with her :eek:
Honestly though, I do love it --- even dealing with the problems, at least after they're solved...:shutme


Oh, and about posting photos and videos --- it's easier for me because I've got my own web server and email server running here, so I've got a built-in place to host stuff like that. That was another of those things that I decided to "dig into" and figure out --- guess I'll never learn :rolleyes:
 

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I know what you mean Bear. I invested in a personal website years ago so I could have some online storage, and it turned into 3 different websites for me. One for my family, one for my classic rock band, and one for the restoration project I'm doing with my dad. It's been a great investment.

That being said, I still use photobucket for most of my picture hosting, it's just so darn easy...
 

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Very nice website and great looking work.

So you buy a car, think 'this is going to be too much work', and make a kid so he can grow up and help. You're a long term planner haha. You know he's going to take it when it's finished, so just buy another project now. The wife will get mad, but at least she'll always know where you are and what you're doing :)
 

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Nice work, Bear. I know all too well about the "Dumb and Stubborn" mentality of working on things. My 67 was rescued from worse than crusher material. I started with a replacement frame and MANY body panels. I "dug in" with the purchase of a rotisserie, Mig welder and eventually a Plasma cutter after a couple "accidents" with a cut off wheel...:eek:
I have a ways to go yet....:rolleyes:
 

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Bear, that website with all the photos is AWESOME! A lot of help in there for us who are working on similar projects and want to see how something is done. Thanks for taking the time to post it all!
Dave
 
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