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To be honest with you, the only time that a clone vs real GTO truely matters is when it comes time to sell the car, so I don’t get the nerve of people badmouthing someone else’s ride because that person prefers the styling of a GTO versus a LeMans or Tempest. After all, the GTO started as an option became its own model. Hell, I have seen LeManses that were ordered from the factory with almost every GTO option (except hideaways), including the GTO hood with tach. I even know a guy whose father ordered a Tempest with the endura bumper, GTO hood, and disc brakes. If you knew the right dealer, you could build a Tempest or LeMans with whatever options you wanted. Same options, same steel, different VIN.
The main reason it irks me is what happened to my car. It started its life as a 69 GTO, but after an unfortunate incident with a tree the cab was smashed. I was able to find a guy selling a solid body from a 68 LeMans (only the body, no frame and no front end) and was able to put I back together. I was the only body in the area, that was even slightly affordable. So now my car has a ’69 front end, suspension, frame, interior, etc…, but with a 68 cab, dash, doors and trunk. The VIN got smashed when tee tree fell, and technically the VIN was for a 69, not a 68, so it wouldn’t have worked anyway. Now, technically it would be considered a 68 GTO clone with Ram Air, but was born a true 69 GTO. I guess technically it should be considered a 68/69 LeMans GTO hybrid. Now I must hear people badmouth my car because I rebuild my goat after an unfortunate accident. I don’t plan on ever selling my car, so who cars if the VIN says 242 or not if I am not trying to deceive people to get more money out of them? It is my car after all, and styled the way I wanted and could afford, so who has the right to tell me I am wrong?
 

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In 35 years, the on;y people whom Ive ever heard bad-mouthing or questioning clones, are chumps on the street. Ive never heard anyone on this forum... in other words, the experts, say anything negative about a Lemans.

And... Just as with anything else, street chumps only ever know just enough to get their foot in their mouth.

They always know about 6 packs, but never why or when they were used. They never know that all GTO's had Pontiac engines, and not a "Big Block or Small Block".

If you're asking why a GTO is perceived to be more important, it's because it was the commercialized, high performance version of the car... so bluebook is higher.

But as you pointed out, IME, most Lemans were far better optioned than GTO's. Personally, I'd have changed over all of the vin stuff... but regardless... people are idiots. Theyve learned all that they know about politics, covid, and muscle cars from either sitting in a bar or facebook.

Next time that someone asks about your 242, ask them if their favorite GTO was the 67, big-block, six pack. When they say yes, you will be satisfied.
 

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My definition of a "clone " car is one that looks like the intended model, but does not have the VIN to back it. I can understand someone trying to build a clone for the challenge, but would never do it myself. If I had a Tempest or a Lemans to begin with, it would get a GTO hood and some of the goodies that the GTO had, but it would not get any GTO badging. I'm just not going to badge a car to impress people. None of it really matters to me, what people do with their cars. I don't want to sound too opinionated on the subject, but those that clone cars to trick buyers should be dealt with severely, however. I cannot imagine what it would be like to always have to admit that my car was a clone OR let it pass over and lead the other person to think it is the real deal.

Mike, I'd have no problem with you honestly calling your car a GTO, it was built that way. You might have a hard time selling it as one unless you have some impeccable documents to back it up.
 

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No problem at all with a cloned car. I have a huge problem with a VIN swapped car. Since you didn't do that, enjoy what you have and call it a day. As for someone who would dog your car at a show, find someone better to chat with.

My dad special ordered a Cutlass S back in the day that had all of the performance goodies without the badging. Kind of a strange car. He wanted to low key then let my mother pick the color. Of course, she picked bright orange.
 

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The problem with "clone" vs "not-clone" is that the line gets blurry. Like your instance, once parts are swapped what defines a clone? If you have a rust bucket GTO that uses a good Lemans as a donor, it becomes more of a LeMans than a GTO by the time you're done, even though it has a GTO vin. Add in the complication of people vin swapping and unless you have a air tight paper trail and history of owners you never really know what you're buying. I bought a clone because of this, at the end of the day the parts are the same. You're paying for 242 pedigree. The fake Rolex argument doesn't work because the fake Rolex isn't the same parts as a real Rolex. A restored clone GTO and real GTO will have the same parts, the same parts will be used to restore both and the frame/panels and everything else came from the same production facility to begin with. Why pay more for the same thing? Don't get me wrong, I understand that pedigree plays a role in value. A sword proven to be owned by George Washington will be worth a lot more than the exact same sword that wasn't owned by him. I'm just not wealthy enough or stupid enough to not care about the price difference, so I'm happy with all the parts and no pedigree.

When people ask if mine is a clone, how I answer usually depends on my mood and how long I want to talk. If I'm in a hurry or don't feel like talking, it's real. If I don't mind answering questions, it's a clone. I find it rude to ask so I don't mind giving them a bullshit answer. Maybe I'll ask them if that's their real hair or if his wifes boobs are real lol.

Yes, if I ever sell it it will be advertised as a clone.

Edit
I think it's also a big difference in the type of person you are. Some people REALLY care and the car culture is a big part of their life. Others don't care, don't put their cars in shows and aren't bothered by it. My recommendation is that unless you are trying to win trophies at shows, don't worry about what other people think. It's your car, what you like and let the haters hate :)
 

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It's not a matter of criticizing the clone, it's a matter of criticizing the people that go around touting that the have a GTO.

They don't.

They still have whatever it "was" but now it was cloned into something it's not.

Terms to use:

It used to be a LeMans, but now it "looks" like a GTO

I wasn't about to pay the money for a real GTO, so I made a fake one.

Or how about..... It's not a GTO, just looks like one.

Sure it's a GTO and I'm a liar.

I'm sure I could go on but life is short.
 

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As the proud owner of a '65 LeMans, "When will you clone it cuz it's less cool than a GTO and no one will know cuz it's a '65?" is typically the question I get when at a Car Shows. I respond with "She's too fine to be a Goat... besides, changing out the hood and finding a 389 to replace the 455 would be too expensive." That usually shuts them up. Cruise-ins (at least in my area) tend to be a different crowd that appreciate it's not a clone. When it comes to GTO Mike's situation, I always thought it was the frame and original powertrain that determined what a "Frankenstein" car really is.
 

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If I had a nice LeMans I wouldn't clone it either. I bought mine as a clone already. It was a no brainer when mine was $15k less than the nearest excellent condition "242" convertible GTO's.
 

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Lemans are cool, GTOs are cool, Tempests are cool and clones are cool too...as long as they are revealed as "tributes" if someone asks.

VIN tag swapping is not cool, bad mouthing someones car is not cool and making clones to fool buyers is not cool.

I think these issues with GTO-to-Judge clones are even more sensitive than Lemans-to-GTO clones.

GTO_Mike, I like the GTO/Lemans hybrid moniker. It's cool that the car lives on and cooler that you didn't rivet the wrecked tags to the Lemans shell.

Screw the haters.
 

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There is a woman out here who goes around strutting her stuff telling everybody she owns a 1965 GTO Convertible.

One day, she did it to me.

I told her, "no you don't". She took offence to it and said, "YES, I do". I told her she didn't and that I'm the one that sold her ex-husband the parts needed to convert it from a LeMans to a GTO.

She don't say too much to me now.
 

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GTO is a homologation of parts to build a performance car. Gran Turismo omologato .

My car is a lemans and a gto.It is a homologation of many cars /parts
I badged it as a GTO and I am selling it as a clone.
The homologation makes it a GTO, after the fact of course
But not a real GTO.
My car is a lot more fun than some numbers matching car and if it breaks its a LOT cheaper to fix.I am not so obsessed with my car that i need exact numbers matching,It was about making a fun car that runs on pump gas, is show quality and can be driven daily.
Tell someone you have a GTO and at least they think they know what that is. Tell them you have a Lemans and they have no clue...

At least you guys know what the difference is.
I have plenty of car guys who compliment my car.
You have to admit its pretty sweet.
Since it has a california re VIN on the door jamb there is no way to do a PHS. I do have a history of where the car lived, N mexico, and california, the arizona.
Selling it as a clone, just like the ad says .
If you have a problem with a clone...keep walking...

Car Tire Wheel Land vehicle Vehicle
 

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You have pretty close to the story of my car. PO wrecked his GTO bought a LeMans. to bring his GTO back to life. It was never finished. Drive train was swapped. I have two hoods three front fenders I have the full lemans drive train. In these type of cases I can see the GTO owner saving his old car. Not a badging guy not SS, Z28, RT or GTO. I got burnt out early on those determined to prove your car isnt what the badges indicate. It doesn't sound like an SS? I almost lost it when I heard that, too funny.

To answer your question why do people hate clones. Cause it points out what little difference there is between three models of the same car. So what are you paying 100k for ? Marketing?
 

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I like the term "tribute" better than clone. Clone has a negative connotation.
Asking why people react negatively to tributes is like asking why humans do any of the crazy stuff we do.
Folks that have a negative reaction have their reasons. You can try an engage them in conversation to find out why or you can just move on.
Some do think that eventually any GTO tribute is going to be attempted to be sold as original and no amount of reassurance will convince them otherwise.
 

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I like the term "tribute" better than clone. Clone has a negative connotation.
Asking why people react negatively to tributes is like asking why humans do any of the crazy stuff we do.
Folks that have a negative reaction have their reasons. You can try an engage them in conversation to find out why or you can just move on.
Some do think that eventually any GTO tribute is going to be attempted to be sold as original and no amount of reassurance will convince them otherwise.
Do you realize how many '69 Judges literally disappeared once Pontiac Historical Services (aka: PHS) hit the market?
 

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Your history of the rebuild of the 68/69 is what makes the car cool in my eyes. It is a real American hot-rod story. Crashing the tree, finding another body, etc..

Remember that all of our cars are part of the “Tempset car Line” and depending on years (62 to 70) at least had four models, Tempest Base, Tempest Custom, Lemans (and in 66) a GTO. Before that GTO was an added package to one of the models.

So all are Tempests, and then eithe Base, Custom, Lemans and GTO, “sprint falls in there as well with the OHC six cylinder.

The great thing about all these cars is how you can make it yours. Some want the fastest car, some want the most beautiful, some want to to win the shows, some just just like driving it, some want perfect smooth running, some want a convertible, some want just a red one.

In the end is is all about the fun and enjoyment you have with it. I know some love to talk original everything, but not everybody has to die for that. If so all 32 fords would have stayed original and not chopped and dropped, and hoods and fenders ripped off and lake pipes, gosh that wasn’t original……or maybe it was more “original American hot rodding” than any factory made 32 Ford.

If you had your choice today of an original 32 Ford, or an “American Original” chopped deuce with lake pipes that raced on the bonneville salt flats which one would you want? And which one do you think would cost more? And be more fun?
 

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First, why didn't you go to the DMV and get a VIN from them to document your car using your registration and the numbers on the frame?

I get the '68 body, but you also used the '68 doors with the vent windows, right? '68 has different tail lights, rear bumper, and side marker lights, right?

So it may be a true '69 GTO, but it is also pretty far from near original, so what is it really? At the Norwalk Pontiac show there was a top notch '69 Convertible. The owner was straight up and called it a "Frankenstein". He said nothing in the drive train was original, the car was in poor shape and he cobbled it together with other parts, then painted it a color he liked, not the original color. He said he gets a lot of flak when he goes to a show where the "purist" attend, but he did not care because he built the car the way he wanted and drives it regularly putting quite a few miles on it every year - he and his wife simply enjoy the car as un-original as it is. Said he probably had 15K into because he did not try to restore it.

My problem with "clones", "tributes", and LS swaps are that they are not what they seem to be and few will openly admit what the car truly is. I go to many car shows and you would think that every 1964-66 Pontiac that left the factory was a GTO and had tripower and 4-speed. I am good with any tri-power 4-speed car, but why do most have to change a Tempest or Lemans into a GTO? The argument that the GTO is an option or based on the Tempest/Lemans line anyway - is a lame argument. People do the GTO clone to get more money in a sale. Yep, you can PHS document most cars and know it is not a GTO, but they still pull more $dollars than its born as name, Tempest or Lemans. I am not impressed when I read "frame off and every nut/bolt replaced and all parts were NOS in turning this Lemans/Tempest into a concours GTO tribute." It was done because of the money it can fetch versus "frame off rotiserie rebuild with every nut/bolt replaced and all parts were NOS in turning this Lemans/Tempest into a concours example of the its big brother the GTO." You won't get the $dollars invested in a Lemans/Tempest restored to factory as you will a GTO clone/tribute car - period.

I like different and that's why my Lemans will remain a Lemans in body, but the rest is resto-mod with basically very little that will be factory. I hardly ever see a Lemans, let alone a Tempest, at a car show. I might be looking at several, but they all say GTO in appearance. But this is also true of any manufacturer brand, the big engines/4-speed, posi, and rebadging simply makes money sense when value comes into play.

But on the whole, it is your car. Do what you want just as I am doing. If the car is done "right", those looking at it may expect to see a GTO because it is what many know, but a well done Tempest/Lemans will still bring a lot of interest crusing down the road or at a car show. And those GTO and GTO clones/tributes hate to get stomped on by a Tempest or Lemans. ;)
 

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First, why didn't you go to the DMV and get a VIN from them to document your car using your registration and the numbers on the frame?

I get the '68 body, but you also used the '68 doors with the vent windows, right? '68 has different tail lights, rear bumper, and side marker lights, right?

So it may be a true '69 GTO, but it is also pretty far from near original, so what is it really? At the Norwalk Pontiac show there was a top notch '69 Convertible. The owner was straight up and called it a "Frankenstein". He said nothing in the drive train was original, the car was in poor shape and he cobbled it together with other parts, then painted it a color he liked, not the original color. He said he gets a lot of flak when he goes to a show where the "purist" attend, but he did not care because he built the car the way he wanted and drives it regularly putting quite a few miles on it every year - he and his wife simply enjoy the car as un-original as it is. Said he probably had 15K into because he did not try to restore it.

My problem with "clones", "tributes", and LS swaps are that they are not what they seem to be and few will openly admit what the car truly is. I go to many car shows and you would think that every 1964-66 Pontiac that left the factory was a GTO and had tripower and 4-speed. I am good with any tri-power 4-speed car, but why do most have to change a Tempest or Lemans into a GTO? The argument that the GTO is an option or based on the Tempest/Lemans line anyway - is a lame argument. People do the GTO clone to get more money in a sale. Yep, you can PHS document most cars and know it is not a GTO, but they still pull more $dollars than its born as name, Tempest or Lemans. I am not impressed when I read "frame off and every nut/bolt replaced and all parts were NOS in turning this Lemans/Tempest into a concours GTO tribute." It was done because of the money it can fetch versus "frame off rotiserie rebuild with every nut/bolt replaced and all parts were NOS in turning this Lemans/Tempest into a concours example of the its big brother the GTO." You won't get the $dollars invested in a Lemans/Tempest restored to factory as you will a GTO clone/tribute car - period.

I like different and that's why my Lemans will remain a Lemans in body, but the rest is resto-mod with basically very little that will be factory. I hardly ever see a Lemans, let alone a Tempest, at a car show. I might be looking at several, but they all say GTO in appearance. But this is also true of any manufacturer brand, the big engines/4-speed, posi, and rebadging simply makes money sense when value comes into play.

But on the whole, it is your car. Do what you want just as I am doing. If the car is done "right", those looking at it may expect to see a GTO because it is what many know, but a well done Tempest/Lemans will still bring a lot of interest crusing down the road or at a car show. And those GTO and GTO clones/tributes hate to get stomped on by a Tempest or Lemans. ;)
 

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Your history of the rebuild of the 68/69 is what makes the car cool in my eyes. It is a real American hot-rod story. Crashing the tree, finding another body, etc..

Remember that all of our cars are part of the “Tempset car Line” and depending on years (62 to 70) at least had four models, Tempest Base, Tempest Custom, Lemans (and in 66) a GTO. Before that GTO was an added package to one of the models.

So all are Tempests, and then eithe Base, Custom, Lemans and GTO, “sprint falls in there as well with the OHC six cylinder.

The great thing about all these cars is how you can make it yours. Some want the fastest car, some want the most beautiful, some want to to win the shows, some just just like driving it, some want perfect smooth running, some want a convertible, some want just a red one.

In the end is is all about the fun and enjoyment you have with it. I know some love to talk original everything, but not everybody has to die for that. If so all 32 fords would have stayed original and not chopped and dropped, and hoods and fenders ripped off and lake pipes, gosh that wasn’t original……or maybe it was more “original American hot rodding” than any factory made 32 Ford.

If you had your choice today of an original 32 Ford, or an “American Original” chopped deuce with lake pipes that raced on the bonneville salt flats which one would you want? And which one do you think would cost more? And be more fun?
That about sums it up , well said LG
 
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