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1965 Pontiac GTO - Striking Gold

Stumbling Across This Pontiac On A Chevy Dealer's Lot Was More Than Luck.

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So, imagine you're in Arizona for a few weeks setting up a remote office for your communications company. While you're there, you're also shopping for a musclecar-a GTO in particular, a '65 to be exact. Nothing you've seen so far really strikes your fancy, but on your last day there, you decide to check out one last listing for a Goat on the used lot at a nearby Chevy dealership.

The car turns out to be exactly what you want, but you're supposed to get on a plane in a few hours to fly back home to Minnesota. So what do you do? You do the only sensible thing, of course, you blow off your plane ride, buy the car off the dealer's lot, and drive it 1,900 miles home.

Jim Galloway is no fool. He didn't let an airplane reservation stand between him and the car of his dreams. "I've always wanted a '65," he says. "The '65s seemed to be the start of musclecars." His particular '65 was a fortunate find. It had undergone a frame-off resto and immediately went into storage for 14 years before ending up on the used-car lot. "It was perfect. The body was straight with everything intact, and the interior was all original. It was spotless." Though the old Goat's four-barrel 389/Powerglide combo never missed a beat all the way back to Minnesota, it was the first thing to go once he got home, making way for a proper 455 and TH400. In fact, Jim was placing the order for the 455 while still on the road from Arizona.

In its new home in Minnesota, the car soldiered on for several years as an occasional cruiser, while Jim concentrated on growing his business. But two years ago, Jim got serious about building the GTO. First on the list was a complete color change from the factory yellow hue to something a bit more eye-catching. This task was performed by John Kochevar, a perfectionist bodyman who doubles as the resident Pontiac car-show judge. Next, he sent the car to longtime friend Jeff Schwartz of Schwartz Extreme Performance for some serious drivetrain finessing: custom springs, polygraphite bushings, and bigger sway bars. Loyal CC readers will recall that Jeff Schwartz won the '02 Real Street Eliminator in an enormous Cadillac, so he is well versed in the art of making large cars feel light on their feet.

Jim's '65 GTO was finished literally within days of the Car Craft Summer Nationals in St. Paul, and even though there were 4,000 cars, it stopped us in our tracks. We were stupefied by the Big Pontiac power in a super-clean and well-thought-out package-this car is a gold mine.

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