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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I would document the restoration of my 65 GTO convertible. The car came as a three speed manual with tripower. Currently the car has a 400 motor with 14 heads (should be low compression) and the original tri power setup. The brakes are manual drums all around. Originally the car was mission beige / gold interior. The car appears very nice from 10 feet away, but as I inspected closely I found lots of issues with the body.

My plan is to get the car running well mechanically, then do the bodywork and paint, and finally the interior.

The car was damaged in transit (long story). The trucking company was awful and their insurance company is doing everything they can to not pay for the damage. Regardless, it will get fixed :). Here is how the car started :
 

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Here was the interior. Apparently some animals (mice / rats) had been nesting in the car, so it was clear that everything would be removed. I was not a fan of the gold either, so I decided to change the interior color to black (I am saving all the original panels so it can always be put back).
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Mechanically the first thing I needed to do was work on the transmission / Hurst shifter. The shifter is the original from 65, but the base plate and linkages were incorrect for the 4 speed Muncie (it appears they tried to make the 3 speed linkage work ??). Why the previous owner drove the car this way is a mystery. Anyone that has driven a properly aligned Hurst shifter will tell you that they are AMAZING. The way this thing shifted was far from amazing.

First thing I did was call the legend Paul C. @ 5Speeds Transmission Home Page. Paul has been building amazing transmissions for ~37 years and is a super nice and honest. I sent Paul pictures of the linkage and transmission and he immediately identified the problem. Unfortunately he did not have the parts as they were on back order, but referred me to Scott @ https://www.hurstshiftersonline.com/productcart/pc/viewcategories.asp as they are the distributor for Hurst parts. Scott was able to send me an entire linkage kit and so the fun began.

Let me start by saying that working on a car in a driveway or garage without a proper lift is a real pain in the butt (back and neck too). What should be an hour job at most took me ~3+ hours. Removing the old base plate was a pain and required me to access the top bolt from inside the cabin and others while under the car. The shift linkage has to be precise and my STRONG recommendation is to lay everything out on a table near your car, label the parts, and make sure you know the proper orientation before going under the car. Furthermore, HURST shifters are EXTREMELY finicky and you MUST use the alignment tool or a nail if you want the shifter to work properly. I started with the 3-4 rod, then the 1-2 rod, and then reverse.

Once done and aligned properly, the car was almost fun to drive. Shifting is just a joy....1-2-3-4-3-2 heel and toe bliss....Now for the engine....
 

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If you need help with the 65 gto just let me know I have been doing this since 1983. I have a parts book from 1965 that has the right part numbers for your car. I too have a 65 gto that I have owned since 1983 . I am looking for the 2 letter code for the frame of the car and was wondering if you have any info on it like maybe a build sheet for your car?
 

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If you need help with the 65 gto just let me know I have been doing this since 1983. I have a parts book from 1965 that has the right part numbers for your car. I too have a 65 gto that I have owned since 1983 . I am looking for the 2 letter code for the frame of the car and was wondering if you have any info on it like maybe a build sheet for your car?
Thank you & Merry Christmas !

I have the PHS documentation for my car, but I'd have to look to see if I have the 2 letter code for the frame. Where is the frame usually stamped ?

On a side note, my car currently does not have a driver side mirror. Would that show on the build sheet or did all 65's have drivers side mirrors ? (I wish it had passenger as well.)
 

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Originally the car was mission beige / gold interior.
I was not a fan of the gold either, so I decided to change the interior color to black (I am saving all the original panels so it can always be put back).

I'm a fan of the Beige exterior with the Gold interior (obviously, check my Garage).

It seems that 9 out of 10 of first-generation GTOs that I see have black interior.

Good luck with your project and keep posting photos!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have a question regarding the restoration process and order in which to do certain items and am hoping I can get some perspective from the group.

My car is getting closer to being ready for paint. My plan was to paint the car and then install new suspension and brakes, but I am wondering if should install the suspension and brakes before paint ? If so, then I will need to install nice, new wheels and tires while the car is being painted.

Also, any thoughts on how many coats of paint I should do - X base and Y clear ? Or do you think I should use a single stage ?


Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Well I have not updated this thread in a while, but have been busy on the GTO. So far I have done everything on the restoration except where identified.

I installed the correct hurst shift linkage has been installed (mentioned previously) - really a huge improvement.

The exterior has had some of the "blemishes" addressed. It appears the car was hit on the drivers side, right behind the door, and was repaired poorly.It has been fixed by a friend that used to run Carol Shelby's race team and is pretty much bare and ready for paint.

I cut the hood insert and hood out and have the RA plate.

The interior has been stripped, cleaned, and POR15 applied.

The center console was removed and painted with SEM satin black. All chrome / metal piece were polished by hand (time intensive). New wires were installed.

The dash was removed and also painted with SEM satin black. I have to say the SEM products are great and the finished products look OEM quality in my humble opinion. (I used the prep, sand free, and then color.)

All locks have been re-keyed (not by me) for a single key.

A new hydraulic motor was installed and bled (for the convertible top).

Doug headers were installed (not by me) and new engine mounts were installed.

MAD electronics "start em' up" kit was installed to eliminate the chance of a fire with the starter wire going down through the headers. The factory design was truly awful. I also installed a new power block and alternator wiring. I am still not sure if I am going to hide all the wires behind the fender or run along the inner fender (more like stock).

I have cleaned up the engine wiring, done some soldering, improved grounds, added a new distributor, wires, and plugs.

Next up:
1. remove intake with carbs - rebuild carbs and paint intake
2. paint engine
3. paint car
4. install new interior
5. install new radiator, fan, and shroud
6. install new gas tank and fuel lines
7. install suspension - still working on what I want to do here....I don't want to go nuts
8. install new brakes - LS1
9. install new wheels and tires - 18x8" and 18x10"

Then enjoy a beautiful classic driving along the Pacific Ocean....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A few more weekends on the car :

(1) Dash completed - painted the dash, painted the bezel rings with chrome paint, added brushed aluminum face
(2) Removed heater box and core (to replace core) - now want to restore the heater box (ugh)
(3) Painted passenger side of the motor / heads - 3 coats of primer and 3 coats of Pontiac blue
(4) Painted the heater hose bracket and alternator brackets

I did not worry about overspray on the hoses as I am replacing them. I am very happy with the painted motor and hope it lasts. I will paint the intake after I rebuild the carbs. The freshly painted motor really makes the car look great IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
So I spent a fair bit of time on the the intake manifold, valley pan, carbs, and heater box (along with pulleys and brackets), but I think they came out nicely so the time was well spent :).

The manifold and valley pan were primed with a DHT ceramic enamel and then painted with the Pontiac Blue (Duplicolor) - two coats of primer and three coats of color.

The carbs were rebuilt with the help of a wonderful and inexpensive kit from Pontiac Tri Power 1959 -1965 Rebuild Kits (3) | Pontiac Tripower. The carb rebuild was rather straight forward, but the prep time to disassemble and clean the old carbs took a lot of time, TLC, and patience. Prior to putting the carbs back together, I painted them to best mimic the factory finish. I know some will object, but again, in my humble opinion they look great. (As of typing, I have not fired up the car, but I cannot wait to see how it runs and whether the bog has been eliminated. I will be checking the jetting with a wideband, and using the wideband for idle mixture.)

The heater box was a mess and required a fair bit of sanding (more than I suspected on the inside and was a real pain in the a$$). On the inside of the heater box I used an Eastwood rustproofing spray designed for frame rails (long tube to get inside) and then a two step process on the outside (Eastwood Rust Eliminator + Eastwood Satin). Again, I think it looks a ton better than it did before....

Finally, I stripped, sanded, and painted the pulleys and brackets using the DHT enamel primer and DHT semi-gloss enamel engine paint. These came out OK, not great (and I re-did twice). Not sure why, but the paint was reacting and kept wrinkling.
 

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cij911: "Finally, I stripped, sanded, and painted the pulleys and brackets using the DHT enamel primer and DHT semi-gloss enamel engine paint. These came out OK, not great (and I re-did twice). Not sure why, but the paint was reacting and kept wrinkling."

PJ: Welcome to the world of EPA reformulated spray bomb paints. I created a thread on just this subject. Very frustrating trying to get a smooth good finish if you spray the paint like we used to. Yep, looks great, nice and glossy/shiny so you go and spray another top coat, or even clear to get some depth, and you watch the paint "crinkle" and "craze" on you once nice part. Sanding it down to get rid of the defect and respraying only brings the poor qualities back, or worse, adds a few more of the imperfections you were just trying to get out! LOL

Here is what I learned. Spray your paint, let it stand about 5 minutes to dry slightly, and then hit it with another coat - being careful not to overload the paint so you get runs, but not too little that you get a dry spray look either. If you want to clear it, wait another 5 minutes and hit it with clear.

It used to be you would wait about 20-30 minutes for the paint to dry a little and then re-spray -this does not work with these paints. And if you think the primer should help, it doesn't. Tried several different types. What I found best is the metal etching spray bomb primer. It is a green in color when sprayed. It will dull out to more of a flat green when it gets near to being dried out - doesn't take too long. When you see the change, hit it with your color coats as above.

The other way is to spray your color and then let it sit for about 2 weeks so that ALL the slow drying solvents evaporate and the paint hardens. Then you can put another cover coat or clear on, but again, not too heavy or guess what?

I found spray bombing my brackets & pulleys very frustrating and had to fight with them to get a good finish. I finally accepted that a few were going to have to be OK with the minor blemishes and I don't suspect too many people will see them anyway - its just that I know about them. LOL

The other option is purchasing paint from the local autobody/paint supplier and spray painting with a spray gun. I have all the equipment to do this, but didn't care to go through all that just for brackets & pulleys as mine is not a show car and spray bomb was cheaper and more convenient. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
PJ - Exactly the same experience here....I too finally settled, but my OCD may have me back at them again soon. I will just have to see what it looks like when everything is back and assembled.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Well the engine bay is coming together....

I have the engine, valley pan, intake manifold painted and reinstalled. I also added phenolic spacers and new carb studs to eliminate any chance of fuel evaporation (bowl).

I have the rebuilt carbureutors installed.

I have cleaned up the 10 dn alternator and re-installed.

I have added a Holley fuel regulator with gauge (the tri powers like to run on 3 psi !!!).

I have cleaned up the radiator core support and surrounding area.

The steering gear box is out and a rebuilt unit with ~12.7:1 will be going in :) - this should really help steering feel.

I may rebuild the steering pump before re-installing (I painted it already).

I will be touching up the fender liners and firewall.

Attached is a before and after picture :).
 

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Added a new fuel pump, rubber lines, and fuel tank.

I think she is now ready for paint.....

I've been waiting for this day for a long, long time (well not that long).....So now the debate is what color....

Original was Mission Beige and while I have seen some nicely restored Mission Beige, I really want something with more pop. I am leaning towards a graphite gray, but fontaine blue and mayfair are still possibilities. I am going for an aggressive rest mod look (slightly lowered with bigger wheels and tires). Recommendations / opinions ??
 

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Added a new fuel pump, rubber lines, and fuel tank.

I think she is now ready for paint.....

I've been waiting for this day for a long, long time (well not that long).....So now the debate is what color....

Original was Mission Beige and while I have seen some nicely restored Mission Beige, I really want something with more pop. I am leaning towards a graphite gray, but fontaine blue and mayfair are still possibilities. I am going for an aggressive rest mod look (slightly lowered with bigger wheels and tires). Recommendations / opinions ??
Always like the dark metallic gray's. I like what I call a "platinum gray" which was used on later model Corvettes - sorta a bright gray, yet still dark.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Always like the dark metallic gray's. I like what I call a "platinum gray" which was used on later model Corvettes - sorta a bright gray, yet still dark.
PJ - Thanks for your help (again)!

What about Corvette Ceramic Matrix Gray Metallic (looks almost off white) or Shark Gray or Watkins Glen Gray Metallic?

Value wise, will painting the car a non-original color hurt the value and/or is there a difference changing one factory color to another vs. a random color ? (i.e.. factory mission beige vs. mayfair vs. corvette shark gray) ?

Another color I just found was from 67' - Pontiac Silver Glaze Metallic....Thoughts ???
 

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Well, I have postponed paint & interior until ALL mechanical items are complete. The motor and transmission are running great. I did install a set of gold Mr. Gasket springs (part #927 - thanks Lars!) on the distributor to bring in full advance earlier. I have also adjusted my timing down, closer to factory specifications - I am at 8* (full advance is ~34* by 3500 rpm).

At this point I am about to replace the front and rear suspension, along with installing the massive LS1 disc brakes (98-02 Camaro SS or Corvette). The wheels and tires I selected are the AR Torque Thrust II (polished) - 17x8 front (245/45/17) and 17x9.5 rear (275/40/17). Tire-rack guarantees the front will work, the rear will be tight (test fit this weekend).

Front suspension is aftermarket front control arms (upper & lower), Viking coilovers (550#) w/ heim joint, and 1" sway bar (stock ??); rear suspension is Spohn control arms with heim joint (del sphere) joints all around for optimal movement, Viking coilovers (150#) w/ heim joint, and no sway bar for now.

Brakes are from an LS1 and have new Powerstop discs and pads (~13" rotors IIRC) and am using an 8" dual brake booster / master cylinder combination. In addition I will be installing a CVR vacuum pump and Summit Racing vacuum canister (as my motor only pulls ~ 12" vacuum).

I can't wait to get the suspension and brakes installed and dialed in, as the car should drive like an entirely different animal. Wish me luck!
 
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