Nineteen sixty seven GTOs are legendary automobiles. Dubbed the "The Great One" in its ad hype, the '67 GTO was the culmination of all that was right about GM in the '60s. Larger displacement and more powerful engines notwithstanding (despite the loss of Tri-Power and what the horsepower ratings said), the '67 model year also brought with it the optional Turbo-400 three-speed automatic transmission, front disc brakes, hood tach, Rally II wheels, Wide Oval Tires and a host of safety features. In short, in just a few years since its introduction the GTO had grown into a sophisticated musclecar.
Seeing a '67 GTO restored to concours condition is a treat for the eyes and a nostalgic walk down memory lane to be sure. But tastefully modified '67 GTOs are highly appealing as well with improved straightline performance and handling and braking to match their Pontiac-bred style. Just ask the GTOAA about the popularity of this model. For many years, the '67 GTO classes at its annual GTOAA Nationals have been larger than any other. This record has been kept intact despite the fact that the GTOAA Nats is held in a different location each year. Safe to say that this model year GTO is a favorite amongst aficionados.
This fact is certainly not lost on Steve Lucas, who is not only the President of the Cruisin' Tigers GTO club, a Chapter of the GTOAA and the Chief Technical Advisor for the GTOAA, he is also a life-long GTO devotee. But Steve's '67 Goat comes with a twist. It was restored to concours condition--and was done well enough to make any well-heeled judge swoon--but it was also modified to go fast, encompassing the best of two factions of this great hobby in a single sultry package.
Like any in-depth project, it wasn't completed overnight. In fact one could argue that the seed of inspiration was planted in the Westmont, Illinois, resident's mind in his senior year of high school back in 1966, a full 23 years before Steve even purchased this GTO. "Two buddies had '66 GTOs and another bought a '67 the following May," Lucas recalled. "They were the fastest cars in the area. I went to college so I couldn't buy one for myself," he laments, having to make due with a '61 Ventura, which wasn't such a bad deal. "I finally bought my first GTO in 1973--a '69 hardtop."
After years of enjoyment and owning a bevy of other musclecars of the era, Steve finally bought this '67 in 1989. He remembers, "It was a rust-free numbers-matching California car with no Bondo. I paid $2,700 for it and after four years and $15,000 it was fully restored." Steve did all of the work himself save the paint and engine.
The body, which retained all of its original panels was stripped to bare metal and any small dents were repaired before it was primered, block sanded, sealed, and shot with three coats of PPG urethane basecoat in Signet Gold. It was then wet sanded, cleared with PPG urethane clear with wet sanding between each coat, and finally the finish was buffed.
Inside, the California toasted interior was replaced with a kit from PUI and a carpet from Ames. While the Goat was outfitted by the original purchaser with options such as power steering and brakes, AM radio, A/C, Turbo 400 with a His and Hers shifter and console, Lucas was not shy about treating the '67 to the options that he desired. They included: tilt column, rear speaker, 3.55:1 Auburn posi, a vacuum gauge, a hood tach, and front disc brakes.
Once the project was completed, Steve took to the track with the stock 400 on street tires running 14.16 e.t.'s, on slicks came high 13s. Knowing full-well that he may be pushing his luck racing the numbers-matching 400 at the track on a regular basis, Lucas pulled the original engine and tucked it into the garage. He then installed a built 455 in 1998 but retained a stock look up top with the GTO's 670 heads and intake. The Pontiac Performance Engineering-built two-bolt main '72 engine features a .030 overbore and TRW flat-tops connected to a stock refurbished nodular-iron crank via factory cast rods. A Ram Air IV oil pump keeps the crude moving and a 3/4 windage tray with added drain holes reduces whip off the crank.
Comp provided a 236/244 degrees at .050 duration cam with .489/.500 lift when combined with Harland Sharp 1.5:1 aluminum roller rockers. Centerline is 106 degrees. The Morton, Illinois, engine builder also installed the #670 heads but not before they were treated to an intake bowl massage, a three-angle valve job and Comp Cams valve springs. Stock replacement 2.11/1.77 valves were installed as were hardened seats on the exhaust side and the 72cc chambers combined with the large 4.180 bores create a race gas friendly 11:1 compression ratio requiring 110 octane for best performance.
A 68 Ram Air Q-jet carb (.072 primary jets and .041 primary rods and "BF" secondary rods) mixes the air and fuel up top and feeds the mixture to the stock cast-iron intake both of which are somewhat hidden by the elaborate aftermarket Ram Air system. This dual snorkel unit feeds buckets of cold atmosphere to the carb via the large tubes that run from the sealed air cleaner assembly to the hi-beam headlight pods.
Spark is provided by an MSD distributor, wires, 6AL box, and Blaster coil, sending current to NGK plugs. And spent fumes exit via Hooker 1 7/8 primary headers, a homemade 2 1/2-inch H-pipe, and Straightline Performance mufflers. At the far end of the system resides 2 1/4 tails and 2/1/4 factory chrome tips?
Backing the potent plant is a Coan 10-inch 3,000 stall converter directing the torque through the original Turbo 400 that was rebuilt by Transmission Repair Service in Orland Park, Illinois. The trans now features a shift kit, HD clutches and other upgrades. A His and Hers shifts it and an aftermarket cooler with a fan tucked under the passenger side floor board cools the fluid. At the far end of the driveshaft is the factory 10-bolt Pontiac with a fresh Auburn posi and 3.55:1 gears.
When it comes to roadability, stock is nice but mildly modded is better. While the factory springs and .938-inch stabilizer bar were retained up front, Monroe gas shocks and Polyurethane bushings provide more positive action when the transplanted quick-ratio Second-Gen Trans Am steering box gives direction. In the rear, stock springs and boxed control arms are complimented by Monroe air shocks, No-Hop bars for better launches and a .875-inch rear stabilizer bar to reduce understeer in the corners. A set of '69 single-piston caliper disc brakes was installed to aid the 9.5-inch rear drums in hauling it all to a stop. On the street, 14x7 Rally Is with 225/70-14 Diamondback radial redlines offer a stock look but improved performance. At the strip a set of 26x10x15 Hoosier slicks get the nod.
Since its completion, Lucas' Goat has won several awards at events around the country both in the show arena with multiple first place (in Popular Vote and Altered Restored) and Best of Show honors and on the race track in bracket races and burnout contests. The latest of which was a drag strip victory at the 2002 GTOAA Nats in Denver.
Here's the driving technique that wins races as explained by Steve, " I do a smoky burnout to heat up the tires but do no dry hops. I then shallow stage the GTO, footbrake to 2,000 rpm and launch after the last yellow light is on." Lucas shifts at 5,500 and goes the traps at 5,000 rpm in 12.98 seconds at 105 mph with typically a 1.86 60-foot. This with 22 pounds of air in the slicks and a race weight of 4,200 pounds with a little over half tank gas. Curb weight is 3,900 pounds.
As you can see, Lucas went along way to make his GTO appear to be a mildly modified concours restored Pontiac, while the truth of the matter is that it's quite a bit more than mildly modified. Though the ram-air system, headers, custom gauge console and exposed MSD ignition parts in the interior do not cloak their intent, many other mods are so subtle that the uninitiated will assume that they are stock. Take for instance the engine transplant that retains the factory heads, the disc brake swap, the Auburn posi, redline radials, etc. As he states, "I built it the way I wanted it." And that line of reasoning has obviously won him many races and shows. It would seem that in this case, "The Great One" has only become...well...greater.
A '72 455 short-block and the '67-68 400 top-end conspire to create 12.98 ETs despite a pr
A transplanted rear stabilizer bar improves handling and the stock exhaust tips offer no c
To the undiscerning eye it's a stock restored 400 with headers and aftermarket ram-air. Ev
The passenger will have to mind his toes as the ignition system has taken up residence in
Despite a race weight of 4,200 lbs, this '67 still runs 105-mph trap speeds.
This ain't no racer; it's a concours restored stocker. Isn't it? Just look at the suspensi
It must be a racer check out the engine oil cooler and trans cooler replete with fans tuck
Any restoration guy would be quite happy with the attention to detail in the interior and
A custom gauge panel with assorted dials gives the GTO a street fighter look and is insura