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1965 Pontiac GTO - Twisted Thinking?

As Ed Allen Sees It, The Tone For His Overkill GTO Was Set Long Ago.

By Eric English, Photography by Eric English

When the original owner of this '65 GTO took delivery of his pride and joy some 40 years ago, he must have had a good idea what it meant to be king of the street. The classic muscle car formula of big engine in a midsize package was still pretty novel at the time, and it just didn't get much better than what the GTO--particularly this GTO--had to offer. Was it special-ordered to be loaded for bear or simply discovered by chance on a dealer showroom? No one knows, but one thing is for certain--the original 360hp Tri-power 389 was top dog at the time, and with an M21 four-speed, a 3.90 Saf-T-Track rear axle, and metallic brake linings, this one was built to rip.

Four decades later, current owner Ed Allen figured that first owner's need for speed should be considered when planning for his Goat's rejuvenation. Ed picked up the rare post-bodied Pontiac in 2003 from the original owner's family, but to the chagrin of some, he never really considered a concours restoration. Instead, exhibiting only a slightly twisted thought process, Ed felt he'd stay mostly true to the car's original go-fast theme by creating a thumping street machine using the best of 21st century technology. Doesn't it follow that a guy who ostensibly checked off every performance box on the '65 Pontiac order form would follow it up with state-of-the-art high performance if given the chance? Well, maybe. We told you Ed was a bit warped, but we won't give him the kind of grief undoubtedly heaped on by GTO purists. Instead, we'll just admire his bad-to-the-bone '65 with a good measure of envy.

The heart of the whole affair remains as it should--all Pontiac. Who needs a big-block Chevy when you can swing 535 inches of Poncho power as built by Britco Racing Engines in Centralia, Washington? Developing 661 horses at the wheels, the big items that make it breathe fire are a Kauffman Racing Equipment (KRE) block topped with Kauffman aluminum heads and a large by large Erson solid roller. Not surprisingly, Ed reports a bit of trouble getting it all hooked through the 285/40ZR18 BFGs, so you gotta wonder about the presence of the direct-port Nitrous Pro-Flow system. But who are we to question somebody who obviously believes in a you-can-never-have-too-much-horsepower ideology? We largely subscribe to the same theory ourselves but doubt the juice will get much use if the rolling stock remains the same.

Frankly, we're getting a little ahead of ourselves, as the engine was one of the last items to be installed when the GTO was rebuilt from top to bottom. Ed happily reports the car has all original sheetmetal (a few patch panels), bumpers, and the majority of trim--such was the condition of the '65 upon purchase. Butch Kingery did a masterful job of prepping and painting the body, in the end spraying PPG products in a BMW Slate Gray with just the right touch of metallic determined by Ed's wife, Eileen. The quality of workmanship is top notch, as are the numerous details, such as OE-appearing 8.8L badges, which were fabbed up by Dave Barr. Very cool!

Ed has matched the massive power of his big-block Pontiac with the kind of accoutrements that will make it a balanced performer. Count a Keisler-sourced TKO-600 five-speed, Global West suspension, and massive SSBC binders as critical contributors to the mix and keeping with the theme created by the as-built close-ratio Muncie and hi-po brakes. These days, Ed needs little encouragement to take his GTO down the road and even less to lay down a serious patch of G-Force rubber. King of the street? Well, if not, this GTO is certainly no pretender. Could there be much doubt the original owner would approve?

By Eric English
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