Ed's 1966 GTO Restoration - Background

This site will (somewhat) document the restoration of my '66 GTO sedan (and possibly my hardtop later too). The car is a PHS documented 389 tripower, 4 spd car I purchased locally, when I was a punk kid way back in 1983. The original engine was long gone when I purchased it (replaced with a 1971 455, 4 bbl engine, with firebird mounts welded to the frame!). The original plan was for me to do a quickie paint and body job over the summer of 1984, replace the interior carpet, and have a nice second GTO to drive around while I worked on the long term frame-off restoration of my '66 GTO hardtop. Of course, once I started the "quickie paint and body job", it became a case of "well, if I take the fender OFF, I can do a better job of patching it...", and "well, if I take the engine OUT, I can do a better job of repainting it...", and "well, now that the engine is out, I might as well freshen it up...", and so on, and so on, until the second GTO was also disassembled down to its individual GTO molecules....

This is the car as I originally found it, when I showed up to see it for the first time. Note the lovely 2x3 pine front bumper. The car also had a '67 GTO front end installed when I got it (obviously there was an "incident" with the original '66 front end at some point). If you look really close, you can see a large chunk of body filler about to fall off the lower quarter panel.

Lovely engine, isn't it?

As soon as I got the car home, I threw the proper front bumper on it. After owning the car for a couple weeks, I flipped over the spare tire one day to find (to my surprise) a factory original US Royal redline spare tire! I still have that museum piece.

Talking about the car later to Richard Wood (track photographer for the old Bison Dragways), we discovered a bit of racing history for the car: seems it won a race back in 1976. Also amazing is how well the car looked here, and how much damage can be done in only 7 short years (before I found it).

NEXT: Initial Restoration Work

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