The GTO spent its entire life in a dry climate, so when it came to bodywork, the effort was minimal. “We stripped it to bare metal by hand and only had to repair minor dents,” adds Chuck. “We removed the door handles, adding remote openers. We then ‘frenched’ the rear-mounted antenna.”
Retaining all its original sheetmetal, the GTO’s fully prepped body shell was treated to fives coats of BASF primer. The foundation was then sanded smooth between each coat before it was covered with five coats of BASF’s Mocha Nut. Atop the base are six total coats of BASF clear with sanding occurring after every other coat. The top coat was smoothed using sandpaper up to 2,500-grit, and then polished using 3M products. The results are astounding.
The headlights are trimmed using modern reproductions of vintage tri-bar covers for a uniq
The body was then carefully reassembled. Standard practice at Run Rite Classics is perfect and consistent body-panel fit, and this GTO doesn’t disappoint. The crew spent a great deal of time ensuring that each gap between the hood, doors, and decklid measured exactly 4 mm.
The interior proved the greatest challenge. Due to the uniqueness of the car, Run Rite Classics wanted to maintain original interior proportions with a modern look. That meant reusing the stock seats but adding modern seating surfaces.
The interior specialists at Don’s Auto Tailoring in Sanford, Michigan, were selected to bring the interior ideas together. With new foam, custom seat shapes were created and covered with leather that closely matched BASF’s Crème Brulee hue, and a custom pattern was stitched in. A matching cloth convertible top was installed, the trunk panels were covered in the same leather as the interior, and a large Pontiac insignia was added.
The factory dash panel, console, and interior panels were all replaced with custom units. The soft interior panels were wrapped in the aforementioned leather, while the dash panel and console are fiberglass units that Run Rite Classics created in-house and were then trimmed in BASF Barista Pearl and treated to a plethora of modern accessories.
Run Rite rebuilt the original 389 Tri-Power engine and it was practically ready to install. “Being a Pontiac enthusiast, I wanted nothing more than to install a Pontiac V-8,” says Chuck. “I realized that with all the modern electronic equipment already used in the build and the trend for cars of this level moving toward fuel injection, we ultimately decided that a modern LS-engine and automatic transmission would be a more appropriate choice.”
Chuck ordered a complete Connect & Cruise LS3 assembly from his local GM dealer, which included a 6.2L LS3 engine; 4L65E four-speed automatic transmission with Overdrive; and engine computer, transmission controller, and the associated wiring harnesses. It fit the Art Morrison Chassis without any modification and was trimmed using late-model GTO engine covers. A custom fuel tank with internal fuel pump feeds the LS3. Art Morrison supplied the tubular headers, which send spent gasses through 2.5-inch-diameter tubing complemented by Magnaflow mufflers.
The GTO was finished the day before the Detroit Autorama, which was held in March 2013, one year after John and Peggy made the decision to build another car. Until this point, they’d been kept abreast of the progress, but trusting Chuck’s ability, they hadn’t yet viewed the result.
The smoothed firewall was hand-crafted and installed by Run Rite Classics.
A new fuel tank was sourced for the build, and Run Rite Classics created a custom underbod
The GTO’s body started out as a rust-free original that required only minimal bodywork. On
“The first time I saw the car was when Chuck and his crew were unloading it at the show site. I was simply overwhelmed with the color combination. We were absolutely thrilled with the GTO,” John says.
Of the colors, he adds, “It’s just so striking. It’s a break from the typical colors we so often see on custom classics. Every show we take it to, people just go crazy for it; men as well as women. In fact, Peggy named it Mocha Delite and that’s the name we have on the show board we display in front of it.”
The Siefferts cannot comment on the GTO’s performance just yet, but for good reason. “Everything is there to make it an exceptional performer,” explains John. “But it turned out so well and it draws so much attention that we hope to show it on the ISCA circuit for the first one to two years. The underbody is as beautiful as the exterior, and that means we won’t be able to drive it immediately. We certainly plan to though.”
Until then, if awards can measure performance, take into consideration those it received at the POCI-GTOAA Co-vention held in Dayton, Ohio. In July 2013, it went home with Concours Gold awards from both POCI and GTOAA, and the GTOAA felt it also deserved its coveted Best Modified GTO as well.
While it’s certainly not your traditional GTO build, this concours-modified example may very well be the new standard, as it’s far from average!
The Siefferts wish to thank Chuck and Debbie Woolery, Brian Debweke, Les Hawkins, Jim Tanney, Red Kurbitz, and Dallas Carl for their efforts on the project.