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I’m starting my first GTO restoration. Got a very solid 69 GTO to start with. Numbers matching car. Any quick tips I should know about? I’m not a rookie when it comes to a restoration, it’s just my first Pontiac. Plan is to clone a Judge as close as possible. View attachment 157584 View attachment 157587
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Looks like a nice project. Check out our reading section and look through the list of suggested books/manuals. You first purchase should be the 1969 Service Manual. It ain't a Chevy, so the word "inexpensive" restoration probably won't be part of your vocabulary, just be aware of it - they make us pay dearly for Pontiac parts.
(y)
 

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Choose your direction carefully and hope to stick with it. For example, If you choose to build a GTO clone that would be like the General would have built it AND THEN change your mind to go resto-mod (or vice versa, or whichever ways)...time and money will have been spent that has to be undone and spent again. A specific example would be to restore the suspension to stock, or buy replacement parts in that direction, then you spend some time here on the forums and read all about how terrible A-Body suspensions where from the factory AND how great the upgrades are...NOW you have to sell your stock stuff and buy new modern pieces...time and money wasted.

Just search your soul as best as a soul can be searched, make a path, and try to stick to it. Pontiac parts are much closer to Corvette expensive than Chevy truck parts and often much, much harder to find.

With the latest trends in manufacturing and long lead times, it's very important to plan ahead and actually know what parts you need well in advance so you can order them before you need them (months in many cases, or ,more). I hear that rear quarters for my 67 have an UNKNOWN delivery date and HO exhaust manifolds can take 6 months to get. Every order I have made over the past year and a half have had back order items.

There's a decent selection of parts companies. Ames is the one I have chosen to buy from. Their website is not fancy like many of the others...BUT, they grade many of the parts in the catalog without too much prejudice. Most places say "fits like OEM" (when they may not), but Ames will tell you if the part needs modified or "use as a last resort". I have been keeping a list of "2 BUY" parts and when it gets up over $1000, I buy to get their 8% discount. That's $80 for more parts. It's amazing how small the box is for $1000 worth of parts...start saving!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like a nice project. Check out our reading section and look through the list of suggested books/manuals. You first purchase should be the 1969 Service Manual. It ain't a Chevy, so the word "inexpensive" restoration probably won't be part of your vocabulary, just be aware of it - they make us pay dearly for Pontiac parts.
(y)
Yep, I’m learning that Pontiac parts aren’t cheap. Or even really available at all times. Thanks for the advice. I’m excited for this restoration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Choose your direction carefully and hope to stick with it. For example, If you choose to build a GTO clone that would be like the General would have built it AND THEN change your mind to go resto-mod (or vice versa, or whichever ways)...time and money will have been spent that has to be undone and spent again. A specific example would be to restore the suspension to stock, or buy replacement parts in that direction, then you spend some time here on the forums and read all about how terrible A-Body suspensions where from the factory AND how great the upgrades are...NOW you have to sell your stock stuff and buy new modern pieces...time and money wasted.

Just search your soul as best as a soul can be searched, make a path, and try to stick to it. Pontiac parts are much closer to Corvette expensive than Chevy truck parts and often much, much harder to find.

With the latest trends in manufacturing and long lead times, it's very important to plan ahead and actually know what parts you need well in advance so you can order them before you need them (months in many cases, or ,more). I hear that rear quarters for my 67 have an UNKNOWN delivery date and HO exhaust manifolds can take 6 months to get. Every order I have made over the past year and a half have had back order items.

There's a decent selection of parts companies. Ames is the one I have chosen to buy from. Their website is not fancy like many of the others...BUT, they grade many of the parts in the catalog without too much prejudice. Most places say "fits like OEM" (when they may not), but Ames will tell you if the part needs modified or "use as a last resort". I have been keeping a list of "2 BUY" parts and when it gets up over $1000, I buy to get their 8% discount. That's $80 for more parts. It's amazing how small the box is for $1000 worth of parts...start saving!
Thanks for the advice! That 8% savings is awesome. For how much shipping is, it’s better off just to order a bunch of parts at once!
 

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1966 tri power GTO project. Eats cash, like a horse eats hay.
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If the car runs and lot drives, then keep it that way while you work on a specific area that needs attention, avoid taking the car completely apart. It'd be a cool and cheaper if you went back to original, but it's your car, do what you want. Good luck!
 

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Agree with everything said so far.

Comparing the PHS to your photos can see Hood Pins and Tach were added at some point along the way.

Also, I don't see Code 414/T383 Concealed Headlamps on your PHS. (Very cool option.)

Attached the 1969 Pontiac Accessory Booklet for reference.

You have a great GTO to start with!

Only words of advice ... learned and taken to heart from this Forum ... PB Blaster is your new best friend and have patience ... take your time.

Good Luck!
 

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If the car runs and lot drives, then keep it that way while you work on a specific area that needs attention, avoid taking the car completely apart. It'd be a cool and cheaper if you went back to original, but it's your car, do what you want. Good luck!
It took me two project builds to figure this out. It's hard to stop taking things apart once you get started. I think it is the progress you can see happening and happening fast that makes it so exciting...BUT, you end up with a ton of scattered parts in boxes, buckets, coffee cans, & bags...and no room left to work. I have taken my GTO project to the next level. As I have taken parts off, I have either restored them or replaced them and packaged them away. For the most part, once the last two pieces are separated and restored...the car is ready to reassemble. Now, that should make for some exciting fast progress. I basically moved the fast paced portion to the end where it's needed the most. This idea also helps a lot with figuring out what parts need to be replaced long before you need them.

I'm so temped to break down the old rolling chassis, but it sure is nice that it can roll on its own, and it makes a nice table for parts organization with a few old doors thrown across the frame rails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Agree with everything said so far.

Comparing the PHS to your photos can see Hood Pins and Tach were added at some point along the way.

Also, I don't see Code 414/T383 Concealed Headlamps on your PHS. (Very cool option.)

Attached the 1969 Pontiac Accessory Booklet for reference.

You have a great GTO to start with!

Only words of advice ... learned and taken to heart from this Forum ... PB Blaster is your new best friend and have patience ... take your time.

Good Luck!
Agree with everything said so far.

Comparing the PHS to your photos can see Hood Pins and Tach were added at some point along the way.

Also, I don't see Code 414/T383 Concealed Headlamps on your PHS. (Very cool option.)

Attached the 1969 Pontiac Accessory Booklet for reference.

You have a great GTO to start with!

Only words of advice ... learned and taken to heart from this Forum ... PB Blaster is your new best friend and have patience ... take your time.

Good Luck!
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Truck
Thanks! Like I said, it’s my first Pontiac. I’m used to restoring these for fun.
 

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Carefully consider that "Judge clone" path. There are already many hundreds more Judges running around these days than Pontiac ever built, and clones are very easily "outed" as such. If you're building this car with a view towards selling it, it would likely be more valuable as a faithful restoration than it would be as a cloned Judge. However, if you're building it just for your own personal enjoyment without plans to ever sell, then by all means feel free to do whatever you like with it.

As others have said, parts are pricey and can be difficult to find - more difficult to find in high quality. For interior pieces such as seat foams and upholstery trim, don't even consider any brand other than Legendary Interiors. They are the highest quality available and the most faithful to the originals. If you need any reproduction sheet metal (69's are notorious for rusting out and leaking around the corners of the rear glass, and subsequently taking out the bottoms of the quarters and parts of the wheel houses, and also rusting out behind the front wheel openings in the area between the outer skin and the inner brace), just prepare yourself now for having to massage the replacement panels quite a bit to get them to fit and look right.

Aligning the front bumper to get it both at the right height and tight to the fenders will expand your profanity vocabulary in ways you didn't dream possible. Pay laser-focused attention to the placement and sequence of the rubber biscuits that mount the core support. If it doesn't end up at the right height, you'll find fitting the bumper to be impossible and you won't know why.

If you decide to add a reproduction Ram Air system, keep that dual snorkel air cleaner. Originals in good shape are getting valuable.

Looks like the A/C compressor is gone (or at least not installed). Be aware that all aftermarket A/C systems run in "re-circulate" mode all the time and don't have the ability to pull in outside air, and many of them also require you to cut up and modify the plastic defroster ducting to work with them. That's another piece that's getting really hard to find.

Another "fun thing" with 69's. Early in the model year they used a water pump with a shorter, 4" snout instead of the Pontiac 'standard' 4 1/2" snout. But Pontiac reverted to the longer snout part way through 69 production. As a result, the 69 factory parts book lists at least 4 -different- water pump pulleys for 69: short snout, long snout, original short snout car that has been refitted with a long snout pump, etc.. Accessory drive belt alignment on these cars can be as bad if not worse than trying to line up that front bumper, especially if any accessories or bracketry has been replaced with aftermarket parts or even Pontiac parts from the "wrong" year or even different '69 model. The factory alternator with external regulator only put out 65 amps, so if you upgrade anything to need more capacity (electric cooling fans, "stronger" headlights, "bigger" stereo, electric actuators for those hidden headlights, etc.) then get ready to have to upgrade the alternator which is also very likely to force you to have to realign all the belts. Short snout cars with A/C used a harmonic balancer that had a chamfer around the outer front edge that allowed the A/C compressor drive pulley to fit tighter to the balancer. Guess what? None of the aftermarket SFI-rated balancers I'm aware of have this chamfer that would allow using the original 'short snout' A/C compressor drive crank pulley.

Yeah, it's "fun".

Bear
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Carefully consider that "Judge clone" path. There are already many hundreds more Judges running around these days than Pontiac ever built, and clones are very easily "outed" as such. If you're building this car with a view towards selling it, it would likely be more valuable as a faithful restoration than it would be as a cloned Judge. However, if you're building it just for your own personal enjoyment without plans to ever sell, then by all means feel free to do whatever you like with it.

As others have said, parts are pricey and can be difficult to find - more difficult to find in high quality. For interior pieces such as seat foams and upholstery trim, don't even consider any brand other than Legendary Interiors. They are the highest quality available and the most faithful to the originals. If you need any reproduction sheet metal (69's are notorious for rusting out and leaking around the corners of the rear glass, and subsequently taking out the bottoms of the quarters and parts of the wheel houses, and also rusting out behind the front wheel openings in the area between the outer skin and the inner brace), just prepare yourself now for having to massage the replacement panels quite a bit to get them to fit and look right.

Aligning the front bumper to get it both at the right height and tight to the fenders will expand your profanity vocabulary in ways you didn't dream possible. Pay laser-focused attention to the placement and sequence of the rubber biscuits that mount the core support. If it doesn't end up at the right height, you'll find fitting the bumper to be impossible and you won't know why.

If you decide to add a reproduction Ram Air system, keep that dual snorkel air cleaner. Originals in good shape are getting valuable.

Looks like the A/C compressor is gone (or at least not installed). Be aware that all aftermarket A/C systems run in "re-circulate" mode all the time and don't have the ability to pull in outside air, and many of them also require you to cut up and modify the plastic defroster ducting to work with them. That's another piece that's getting really hard to find.

Another "fun thing" with 69's. Early in the model year they used a water pump with a shorter, 4" snout instead of the Pontiac 'standard' 4 1/2" snout. But Pontiac reverted to the longer snout part way through 69 production. As a result, the 69 factory parts book lists at least 4 -different- water pump pulleys for 69: short snout, long snout, original short snout car that has been refitted with a long snout pump, etc.. Accessory drive belt alignment on these cars can be as bad if not worse than trying to line up that front bumper, especially if any accessories or bracketry has been replaced with aftermarket parts or even Pontiac parts from the "wrong" year or even different '69 model. The factory alternator with external regulator only put out 65 amps, so if you upgrade anything to need more capacity (electric cooling fans, "stronger" headlights, "bigger" stereo, electric actuators for those hidden headlights, etc.) then get ready to have to upgrade the alternator which is also very likely to force you to have to realign all the belts. Short snout cars with A/C used a harmonic balancer that had a chamfer around the outer front edge that allowed the A/C compressor drive pulley to fit tighter to the balancer. Guess what? None of the aftermarket SFI-rated balancers I'm aware of have this chamfer that would allow using the original 'short snout' A/C compressor drive crank pulley.

Yeah, it's "fun".

Bear
Great info! Much appreciated. So much to learn on this car. Has me excited! Even the info on the water pump will probably save me hours of frustration!
 

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Looks like good bones;)
I discovered Free All for rusted bolts works awesome
the vacuum lines for the headlights will leak down and cause the right side to droop drove me crazy so I replaced the vacuum line with a steel line (1/4 inch?) and used zip ties at the joints close to the canisters worked well
 

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I’m starting my first GTO restoration. Got a very solid 69 GTO to start with. Numbers matching car. Any quick tips I should know about? I’m not a rookie when it comes to a restoration, it’s just my first Pontiac. Plan is to clone a Judge as close as possible. View attachment 157584 View attachment 157587
View attachment 157586
View attachment 157585
Unless someone has already directed you or you have already checked it out, there is another thread about restoring a 69 GTO you should check out.
My '69 GTO Convertible Body-off Restoration Thread | Page 19 | Pontiac GTO Forum
 

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As a person who just finished very first resoration of my 69 last December, I can attest to everytghing that has been said. I agree with Bear, I love Judges, but I REALLY LOVE that I have never seen another Limelight green GTO in my area, although I did install a judge stripe (but no "judge" decals). I agree 100% with Duff and Sick467, if it runs and drives work on other areas. As far as being "expensive", that is obviously a relative term and has alot of variables right? Mine pockets arn't as deep as others, but I think I got very lucky as I had a running driving car and my interior was in fantastic condition once I cleaned it up as I only required new carpet and a headliner. I was also lucky that my drivetrain was in good condition and I only had to replace the rear main, my motor runs stong, doesnt leak or smoke and has great oil pressure (knock on wood). I was also lucky that I had minimal rust so there wasnt much body work and what there was I was able to tackle by myself. Years of reading car craft and hot rod has finally paid off. So if it runs and drives focus on everything else. ANDDDDD I almost followed this advice, but I didnt...I did take everything completly apart. I am pretty goal and task driven, and I knew I wouldnt be satisfied until I had a complete nut and bolt restoration. My biggest expense was body work and paint, and rather than purchase everything at once I created tasks (frame, susp, brakes, exhaust, etc) and purchased as I tackled each task. I guess my tip is...know your limitations and dont get overwhelmed, theres nothing you can skrew up bad enough that you cant pay someone enough to fix...

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