There's a rumor running around the office that Pontiac guys are among the most hard-core enthusiasts out of all the brand loyalists, and why shouldn't they be? After all, Pontiac is generally credited with starting the musclecar movement with the '64 GTO, the first car with big power in a relatively light chassis. But why such enthusiasm? In the '60s, torque ruled the streets, and few had more low-end pull than a Pontiac. Since then a strong following ensued, and year-after-year Pontiac continued to pump out brutal street brawlers and strip screamers.
When Dale and Robin Casino were dating back in high school, they cruised a '69 GTO with all the stylish features that go hand-in-hand with a teenage-fueled musclecar. Time passed, the two were married, and Dale eventually sold the GTO. Decades later, after their fourth child had left home, Dale and Robin came across a potential candidate to help them relive their high school glory days. The '68 Goat was in good condition when they bought it, and the paint was passable, but like all car-crafter projects, the poncho showed room for improvement. Dale found a '73 Pontiac 400 and crammed it full of 10.5:1 TRW forged slugs and a Crower solid flat-tappet camshaft. He sent the stock Pontiac heads out for a port and polishing, a good valve job, and Lunati valvesprings, and then bolted an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake and a Holley 750-cfm carb atop the healthy Pontiac mill and Hooker headers. The second-gear chirp is provided by a TH400, and the converter has a stall rating of 3,200. The 9-inch houses 4.11 gears and Moser axles, and a ladder-bar setup helps the Indian put the torque to the ground. The paint eventually needed help and was replaced with '98 Mustang GT Silver with several coats of clear.
With Pontiacs like these running around, it's no wonder the GTO has such a strong following. Dale and Robin are definitely relivin' the good life.
The DetailsCar: '68 Pontiac GTO
Engine: '73 Pontiac 400, bored 0.030-over
Heads: Stock Pontiac cast-iron, ported and polished
Induction: Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, modified Holley 750-cfm carb
Camshaft: Crower solid flat-tappet, 252/252 degrees duration at 0.050, 0.548/0.548-inch lift
Transmission: '73 TH400, 3,200-stall converter
Rearend: 9-inch housing, 4.11 gears, Moser 28-spline axles
Front suspension: Stock, 1-inch sway bar, Monroe shocks
Rear suspension: Stock, Monroe shocks, ladder bars, rear sway bar removed
Brakes: Wagner drums, front and rear
Wheels and tires: Stock Pontiac 15x6 wheels and P215/60R15 BFGoodrich
Radial T/As, front; widened 15x8 P275/60R15 BFGoodrich Radial T/As, rear.
Paint: '98 Mustang GT Metallic Silver by Buddy Hale, Glendale, Arizona.Cost to build: Approximately $20,000
Car Craft Q&ACar Craft: It's been a while since we last talked to you. Have you made any major changes to the GTO?Dale Casino: I recently rebuilt the motor and installed a stroker crankshaft that boosted the cubic inches to 466.
CC: Wow, that should add to the already-monstrous torque. What did it run?DC: Its best time so far with no tuning is 12.70.
CC: Do you think you would build something other than a Pontiac?DC: Maybe sometime in the future, but right now I'm just trying to finish up some restoration details on the goat.