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?
Who: Ed Allen
What: '65 Pontiac GTO
Where: Seattle, Washington
Engine: Never dreamt of back in 1965 when 389 cubes were big and 421 were huge, the current 535 Poncho by Britco Racing Engines was built around a Kauffman Racing Equipment MR-1 block, bored to 4.35 inches. A Sonny Bryant billet crank features 41?2-inch throws and moves the forged Ross pistons via Oliver steel rods. Helping fill the vast cylinder bores are a pair of Kauffman D-port aluminum heads, whose 2.11x1.77 valve package are popped by T&D shaft-mounted roller rockers and an Erson solid roller with 260/272 degrees duration at 0.050 and 0.742/0.749-inch lift. A much-massaged Edelbrock single-plane is home to an 850 Mighty Demon and direct-port Nitrous Pro-Flow system.
Exhaust: It has custom 1 7/8-inch stainless headers that feed a 3-inch exhaust system featuring Borla muffs.
Fuel: Ed sumped the tank and added a Barry Grant Endura pump feeding the fuel to the 850 Mighty Demon via 1/2-inch lines.
Ignition: It uses an MSD billet distributor and Digital-6.
Transmission: Despite the kind of massive power that might be more easily tamed through an automatic trans, Ed stayed true to the GTO's roots by installing a Keisler/Tremec TKO-600 five-speed with a 2.87:1 First gear and 0.64 overdrive. Clutch action is courtesy of a Hays twin-disc unit, while a Mark Williams carbon-fiber driveshaft transfers the grunt rearward.
Rearend: The Ford 9-inch has a Strange aluminum carrier, a 3.90:1-geared Detroit Locker, and 35-spline Mark Williams axles. Maybe it messes with the all-Pontiac theme, but it's out of sight and out of mind for the most part--and perfectly understandable considering the durability and parts availability. Bill Scribner whipped out one of his famous sheetmetal housings for a perfect fit.
Suspension: Up front, Global West tubular control arms and a Hellwig sway bar are teamed with adjustable QA1 shocks and a WS6 steering box for precision control. More QA1s, Hotchkis trailing arms, and a Hellwig sway bar bring up the rear.
Brakes: Stainless Steel Brake Corps 14-inch disc/four-pot front calipers work only with big-diameter rolling stock, which are certainly present here. The rear discs measure in at 12 inches.
Wheels/Tires: The 17- and 18-inch five-spoke wheel combination looks big--but not too big on this classic Goat. Measuring in at 8 and 9 1/2 inches, respectively, the billet rims are shod in 225/45ZR17 and 285/40ZR18 BFG G-Force rubber.
Paint/Body: All original body panels were finessed into shape by Butch Kingery of Classy Chassis Auto Body in Olympia, Washington. While the GTO is pretty radical, Ed was adamant about not detracting from the iconic muscle car shape and styling cues. The BMW Slate Gray is an obvious change from the original teal hue, but otherwise the body is stock--so is the brightwork, with original rechromed bumpers and hours of stainless restoration by Dave Barr.