wow, great job
I've been wanting to post this for months, but held off until I got all the relevant pics together and had a chance to actually see and drive the car myself. Hope you all enjoy.
Around Christmas time, my wife's father took me aside and confided a secret: for the last four years, he (Doug) and my wife's cousin (Tom) have been restoring a 1966 GTO at Tom's shop down south. Needless to say, I was completely shocked. I have always had an appreciation for classic cars, muscle cars in particular, but I never really had time to educate myself about them, and certainly I had no first hand experience other than seeing cars at car shows. In fact, the oldest car I had ever driven until last weekend was the 1980 Corvette that my father-in-law won in a raffle a few years ago. Yes, he's a lucky guy.
Before the story, a disclaimer: I know little to nothing about cars of this era, so what I am relating here is my recollection of what Doug told me several months ago. The gist is right, but the specific details may be mis-remembered.
So the story goes like this. One day Doug met a guy who was trying to sell a '66 GTO, a car Doug had always been in love with since the muscle car era. The guy had just finished rebuilding the engine and transmission, but the body, interior, and everything else were in rough shape. The guy also had a complete interior rebuild kit- carpets, seats, headliner, everything worth about $1,500. The guy wanted $5k for the car alone. Doug offered him $3k, and the guy refused. 6 months later, the guy calls Doug back, he had just filed for bankruptcy, and needed cash. He wanted $4k, Doug offered $3k cash for the car *and* the interior kit. The guy accepted, and Doug was the proud owner of a 1966 GTO. It had the original 389 (6.5L) 4-barrel, and unfortunately an automatic, but at least it was the 3-speed auto from a '67 GTO, not the 2-speed '66 power glide.
Doug shipped the car down to Tom's shop with the idea that he would install the interior kit, do a partial re-skin on the body panels, and create a reasonably good looking driver, that Doug would sell in a few years for a few thousand dollar profit.
Tom got the car, and had bad news. The body was worse than expected, and could not simply be re-skinned:
She's dead, Jim:
So they needed a donor body. Tom located one in the form of a '66 Le Mans:
At this point, the body was coming off the frame anyway, so they decided to take the extra time and energy and restore this car right. Thus began the dis-assembly, cleaning, coating, and re-assembly of every nut, bolt, washer, etc. on the entire car.
All the work was done by Tom and the guys in his shop, including painting, in their spare time. This car was the last car Tom restored before closing his shop last year.
Restoration in progress (I have dozens of pictures, here are a few):
Refinishing by hand:
In the paint booth:
Doug chose the color, Nissan Pewter Silver Metallic. They also added Flowmaster mufflers with quad exhaust tips. The rear shocks and springs are from a convertible, which gives the car a slightly raked stance.
And the final result, 4 years later (Tom's pics):
It's a perfect 1966 GTO in every way, except two: first, it has the '67 transmission (and console), and second, the non-factory color. Other than that, the car looks and drives like it just rolled out of the showroom in 1966. There are a few minor items that are not complete, one is the chrome rocker panel trim on the rear needs to be attached, and two is the in-dash clock stopped working, and may be replaced with a tach.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see and drive it. Unfortunately the car is quite dirty in these pics, as it has been in storage for a month prior and we had no time to wash it, so the paint looks a bit dull. But I can assure you it is gorgeous in person. Here are my (bad) pics:
The experience behind the wheel is amazing. The sound, the feel and the driving position are fantastic. Your left elbow falls perfectly to the window sill, and your right hand on the console. The V8 is loud and rocks the car when you rev it. This thing will cruise all day at 80 MPH, and despite the 15 degrees of play in the recirculating ball steering, it tracks completely straight. Putting the front windows down does not create wind in the cockpit, even at highway speeds.
As for power, it is surprisingly not that fast, despite its rated 325 HP and 3400 lb weight. Back in the 60's, Road and Track measured a tri-power, 4-speed manual at 6.8 seconds 0-60. This car feels about as fast as my Mazda 3, maybe 7.5 seconds. The 4-wheel drums take a lot of pedal effort for not much braking power, and as said before the steering is more of a general suggestion as to what direction the car should go. But none of that really matters, because the specifics of the driving dynamics are not this car's raison d'etre. It is the sound, the look, and the feel behind the wheel that make it, for me at least, a life-changing experience to drive.
At this point, the existence of the GTO is still a secret to everyone except Tom, Doug, me, and my wife. Neither my wife's mother, brother, or anyone else in her family has any idea that this car was even being contemplated. Doug plans to show the car this spring in Carlisle, PA, at which point Tom will come up and there will be the "big reveal" so to speak. It's no tri-power 4-speed convertible, but I think it's pretty damn cool.
At this point, Doug has invested about $12k, plus Tom's time, and the car is likely worth $35-40k. But the feel and sound of the 389 at full throttle: priceless.
That's stunning. What a fun summer cruiser!
A longtime dream of mine has been to rebuild one of the 'space-age' late 50's drive-ins, probably somewhere like SoCal, and host as many car club gatherings as possible. This would be the perfect car for such a place.
That's gorgeous. I love the color, but I feel a bit sad it's not a vintage color.
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Quote, originally posted by gintaras » nice, a fat, black stripe somewhere in the paint scheme would really set it off... or maybe I am thinking Mopar
Yeah, you're thinking Mopar. Beautiful GTO. The second generation goats have always been more popular, but I love the look of the first-gen cars.
Great car, great build!
Someday if the prices don't keep skyrocketing I would love some 60's muscle to work on too.
Current: 2012 VW Golf TDI Highline MT
Previous: 2003 VW Jetta 1.8T GLS MT | 2007 VW Rabbit 2.5 MT | 1997 Honda CRV
Nothing like the feel of an original '60s ride to give you a reference point for automotive lust. My uncle's '68 Firebird 400 was the same way, a little primitive, a little scary with the pedal down, but oh so right in so many other ways.
Congrats to your father in law on a completed project.
Turn out that damned light!
BTW, that Goat makes me wanna cry happy. It's full of 1960s Pontiac wonderfullness. Beautiful.
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Quote, originally posted by Fritz27 » That's gorgeous. I love the color, but I feel a bit sad it's not a vintage color.
I agree, but it's Doug's car, therefore it's Doug's favorite color.
Not that big of a deal, IMO, since it was never intended to be a show car, more like a driver that can also be shown. At any rate, the color looks great in person.
Any time I see a cherry original Goat it makes me think of a friend's father's car. Short and quick- Mr. Scott bought it when it was 1 year old (67 IIRC), black with white interior, Tri-Power, 4 speed coupe, his first car. Garage kept it, but drove it. Had someone respraying it, and it got, as he called it "french fried." Caught fire.
After nearly killing the guy (cops got there first. His wife called them when he left the house), it was shipped to somewhere in Florida for a complete restoration. 18 months later, it was trailered back home. John Z. DeLorean wouldn't have dreamed of a Goat that beautiful. And EVERYTHING is stock.
There is nothing quite as stunning as an original Goat.
FOUR years and that's all the pics ya gots???
1) I love this stance.
2) I normally don't like it when cars have long overhangs, but when it is in the rear with a relatively short overhang up front... it's da chet!!!
3) I wish I had the patience and skillz to do something like this. WTF do you find time do... wait... oh, yeah... four years. I couldn't last 4 months.
Gotta love a properly done american muscle car. Especially a GTO as they were kind of the start of the muscle car rage
Quote, originally posted by RS4PD » Beautiful. Are they planning on selling?
Some day. But as my father-in-law said, he's planning on enjoying the car ¨well into his retirement¨. And he promised that I get first dibs when he's ready to sell.
Love the car, love the color.
In fact, I knew instantly what color that was when I saw the car. I thought "nah, I'm just smitten by that color too much, I'll bet it's an odd GM color."
Very nice job!
Oh yeah, come on, I wanna see some more pictures!!!
Thanks for the comments guys, I will pass them on to Doug.
I forgot to mention in my driving review is that, aside from the exhaust noise, the car drives like a vault. There are no rattles, squeaks, or anything, which is a lot more than I can say for my brand new Mazda3.