The opportunity to bond with your father doesn't come around as often as a son would like. Work schedules and everyday responsibilities always seem to come between you and the old man's quality time, and pops still had to discipline you when your testosterone-riddled self got caught doing burnouts in the school parking lot.
So when those rare non-disciplinary opportunities came along, you grabbed them like they were gold and wished they would never end. Special were the times when affection didn't have to be voiced, a dad and his kid were more like friends, and the activity itself wasn't nearly as important as the time spent doing it. Some guys bond by competing in sports, while others discuss a good book over strong coffee. Ed Wolf underwent this rite of manhood by learning about Pontiacs from his father, and his '67 Sprint is a poignant reminder of those magical years.
By the look of the dazzling red paint, you would think that a ton of wet sanding was done.
The York Springs, Pa. resident started his Poncho memories young, since Tin Indians were a large part of his father's life. Paul Wolf owned and operated Wolf's Bus Lines, a motor coach and school bus company. The business gave Ed a chance to spend time with his dad while learning mechanical skills that would eventually serve him well.
"I came up Pontiac, since dad always owned one," 50-year-old Ed recalls. "Mechanical things were intriguing to me, and I was never satisfied until I figured them out. I learned something new every day, while at the same time I was earning and saving money for my special dream car."
In August 1967 the elder Wolf surprised his son by announcing that they would visit the local Pontiac dealer, and Ed arrived to find two new 230 cubic-inch 215 hp overhead cam Six Sprints on the lot.
To a 17-year-old gearhead, this was as plush as it could get. Over 30 years later, Parchme
"I had mentioned to him that I would like to have a Sprint, since I knew he wouldn't go for the idea of a GTO," Ed says. "When we arrived at the dealership, I saw one that had my name all over it--a red Sprint with a white top, a white interior and a 4-speed! It just couldn't have been any better. Dad haggled with the salesman until he was satisfied that the price was fair and affordable for me, and I drove my dream car home."
The next three years were a blur for Wolf--he and his buddies cruised and raced the 215-horsepower screamer, which handled superbly thanks to the lighter weight of the OHC 6 (as compared to the GTO's 400 V8) and the factory installation of the GTO's .938 front stabilizer bar, not to mention stiffer front shocks. Ed was in car-guy heaven, and he closed out the 1960s by pestering many a small V8 with the surprisingly powerful 6-cylinder.
He eventually turned the Sprint's keys over to his father's company in 1970. But what looked to be a cushy assignment for the A-body turned out to be more brutal than anything Ed had thrown at it. "She was driven by many drivers on relay bus trips from Maine to Florida, and also used for parts runs," he reveals. "Over the next 16 years it racked up over 180,000 miles, and the only major work done was a motor overhaul at 100,000."
The OHC inline Six was available in two configurations: a utilitarian 9.5:1 compression mi
The bedraggled Poncho finally earned its retirement in 1986. It spent the remainder of the millennium having a much-deserved nap before a reflective son decided to perform a complete frame-off restoration in 1999.
"My second GTO restoration was finished that year," Ed explains. "I had been contemplating a restoration of the Sprint, because by that time she was a pretty sorry sight. Remembering all of the fun that the great-looking car had provided years ago, I decided that it deserved to be restored."
Wolf tore into his newest project by pulling the body off and setting it aside. Once he had removed all of the frame's suspension components, the foundation was degunked and sandblasted. After it was cleaned up Martin Senour primer was sprayed on, followed by a generous coating of semi-gloss black paint. Much of the factory suspension was worn out, so new Moog suspension pieces were bolted in. TRW springs are coiled at each corner, and stock Delco shocks catch them on the rebound.
The exterior trim pieces were re-chromed and bolted up; that hard-to-find exhaust system w
Of course, the most unique aspect of the Sprint package was the overhead cam inline Six engine. The 3.8-liter mill featured a 10.5:1 compression ratio, a 4-barrel Quadrajet, split exhaust manifolds, and as mentioned, 215 horsepower for 1967 up from 207 in 1966. When he got to it, Ed knew the high-revving mill had served the Wolf family well--the question was, what shape was it in?
Ed tore the 230-inch 6-banger down, and he was pleased to find the ZD block in great shape. The motor traveled to Small's Auto Parts in Hanover, Pa. to be checked and cleaned, but other than boring it to .030 over, no other machine work was done. After the nodular-iron crankshaft had proven itself to be indestructible after all of those mile, (it didn't even need to be cut to clean up the journals), it was cleaned up and reinstalled with the factory 1038 steel rods that swing with help from Federal Mogul bearings. Wolf's stock bottom-end buildup turned out to be a breeze, but parts of the unique cast-iron OHC cylinder head would cause him some problems.
"The original 1.92 intake, 1.60 exhaust valves had 180,000 miles on them, and they were completely worn out. I couldn't in good faith put them back in, but the intake valves were unique to the '67 4-barrel engines only," Wolf explains. "It was tough locating the correct ones, but I finally found a set out west and installed them."
Tucked behind a 14x6 Rally I 7.75X14 Firestone Red Line combo, 9.5-inch drums provide Wolf
Those valves are still actuated by the original in-head camshaft, a fact that is nothing short of amazing since the overhead cam didn't use bearings and was known to fail due to oil starvation problems. It sports .438-inch lift and 244o of duration (for comparison the cam for the 1-barrel engine has 228* duration and .400-inch lift), and back in his wild days, Ed pushed it "to well over seven grand with no problems!" The original Neoprene belt with fiberglass cord reinforcement was still functional as well, but Wolf erred on the side of caution and replaced it.
A Sprint-specific intake is fed by the original #7027261 Quadrajet, which was sent out to be refurbished. Once go-juice is supplied by an AC Delco fuel pump, ignition takes place through a #1110397 Delco distributor and #1115224 coil, with Packard-style date-coded wires electrifying Delco's 44N plugs. The fuel takes a high-rpm ride through the overhead cammer's internals, then exits through a rare NOS exhaust system with a 2.00-inch branch feeding a 2.25-inch head and tailpipe that took Ed five years to find.
All of that high-revving power is passed on through an FS-code Saginaw 4-speed with a single-plate 10.4-inch diameter clutch with 2,350 pounds of spring pressure like the GTO. Wolf found the tranny to be in excellent shape as well, as it only needed new front and rear seals to be roadworthy. After spinning the stock driveshaft, the power hits a factory 10-bolt rear stocked with standard for the package 3.55 gears.
By this time, Ed has focused his attention on disassembling the body. This task was coming along nicely when he discovered an anomaly in the right door. "I had a real surprise during the teardown--when I was disassembling that door panel, I found green paint underneath it! Then when I removed the right rear inside panel I saw that there had been repair work done on the right quarter panel. I have no idea what the story is behind those repairs; all I know is that it was done prior to my ownership." Which narrowed down the culprits to either the factory or the dealership--strange, indeed. Wolf patched the area as best as he could and moved on.
Once the body was stripped, he handed the reins over to Mark Leer of York Springs, Pa., who had to replace the trunk and rear quarter ends because of rust damage. He then applied four coats of Spies Hecker red paint over Martin Senour primer, and finished the job with another four layers of Senour's clear. Good-as-new chrome provided the perfect complement to the freshly painted body, which was now ready to become one with the chassis.
Body finally met frame in January 2001, and then it was time to address the well-worn interior. Statler's Upholstery in Gettysburg, Pa. installed the parchment interior, and the Sprint was fitted with new black carpet and all the trimmings from Ames and Performance Years. Ames also supplied a new white Cordova top, which replaced the worn original. And only two years after the restoration began, Ed had resurrected one of the most important remnants of his adolescence. Over the years he has collected quite a few Pontiac hot rods, which included a '67 GTO convertible, a '69 GTO convertible, a '70 GTO convertible, a '70 Trans Am, a '70 Firebird, and a '94 Trans Am. But the limited-production Sprint would always remind him of the good times he shared with his father.
"My dad passed away in 1981, so he never saw the Sprint return to her glory. I relived many memories when I was restoring it, and she is in a way a link to my dad forever. I'll never forget the look of joy on his face when we purchased it--he helped my dream come true."
|1967 Sprint Option Content|
- Sales code 332 UPC W53
- 4-Barrel OHC six cylinder engine
- Side stripes and "Sprint" decals on two-door models only (four-door Sprints were available too)
- HD clutch
- 3-Speed manual transmission with floor shift
- 3.55:1 Rear gear (3.23:1 with A/C or optional automatic trans, 2.56: 1 on Tempest four-door sedan only)
- .938-inch front stabilizer bar
- Firmer front shocks