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1965 Pontiac GTO - Circle Of Life

Brian Rock's Ultimate Road Warrior

Photography by , Tom Donchez

We first had the pleasure of meeting Brian Rock and his incredible '65 GTO at last year's 4th Annual Car Craft Road Trip. At first glance, the subtle goat looked like any other clean street machine rolling on a set of Center Line Convo Pros. But then we noticed Brian churning one hellacious burnout and blasting down the quarter-mile with an 11.18-at-121-mph pass down the Los Angeles Country Raceway tarmac--on BFGoodrich Drag Radials! It caught our attention and garnered Brian the low e.t. honor of the day.

Even more impressive is that this was accomplished immediately following a 200-mile commute from Santa Maria, California. This alone was worth a story, but there was still more to learn about the car's history. Brian's father originally purchased the car back in August of 1965, and one of the car's tasks was to bring newborn Brian home from the hospital. From that moment on, the GTO became an integral part of Brian's life, eventually leading to Brian owning the car.

As the years went on, the never-garaged GTO started to show its age with minor rust spots along with a few dents. But when the time came to restore the car, Brian and his wife Debbie decided to enhance its performance without cutting it up. And in true car-crafting fashion, they absolutely refused to farm out any of the work, making it a point to handle everything from the bodywork and paint to the entire drivetrain modifications. While they've done an outstanding job, it's overshadowed by what the car means to Brian and his family personally. The same car that transported Brian as a newborn was again enlisted 34 years later to bring home his newborn son. History has a wonderful habit of repeating itself, especially in a GTO.

Car Craft Q&A

Car Craft: What do you like best about the car?
Brian Rock: I like the fact that it's not a Chevy and that it does take a little more effort and creativity to make it go fast

CC: What changes have you made to the car since your father handed you the keys?
BR: Everything. The GTO was completely stock with a 389ci big-block, 8.2-inch 10-bolt, and a M20 four-speed transmission.

CC: How difficult was the overdrive automatic to install?
BR: Pretty easy, actually. I just had to move the crossmember back 8 inches and drill new holes in the frame. And get this, the driveshaft and yoke from the M20 Muncie fit the new setup perfectly.

CC: Should we expect any future modifications at the upcoming Car Craft cruise?
BR: I'm looking to update it a little with a newer set of 17-inch wheels and four-wheel disc brake system.

CC: When the time comes, do you plan on following the tradition and giving the GTO to your newborn son?
BR: That's the plan, but I'll probably put the GTO back to stock before I give it to him and let him modify it if he has the desire.

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