Exhaust is routed through a set of Doug’s four-tube headers, which dump into a 2.5-inch exhaust system from Ames Performance, containing an x-type crossover and Dynomax Ultra Flo mufflers. Tom admits he may reinstall exhaust manifolds, but he’s attempting to determine exactly what was original equipment on his GTO.

He explains: “Some claim that the XS-code 389 was fitted with Ram Air-style manifolds, while others say they didn’t come along until ’67. My car had standard manifolds on it when I bought it, but there was a single Ram Air manifold in the trunk. There’s no part number or date code on it, so I can’t rule out that it wasn’t originally part of the package at some point.”

When the body and engine work was complete, Brian, Tom, Dale, and Mike installed the new body on the frame. The XS-equipped GTO was finished in 2008, and Tom says he spent what seems like an eternity detailing it before entering it in the 2010 GTOAA National Convention in Wichita, Kansas.

“I was motivated to restore the car then,” Tom recalls, “but I might not tackle such a project today. It was pretty rough and required a lot of work, but all the effort was worth it when the car was so well-received [at the event] and awarded Silver.” It went on to receive Silver again at the 2012 GTOAA Nationals in Loveland, Colorado. He’s working towards Gold at the next event.

There’s no denying that the XS-equipped GTOs were an attempt at giving buyers a ready-made option package that improved the performance of the typical, readily available Tri-Power 389. We can only imagine how the original buyer of this GTO learned about the XS-code engine or to what extent he or she used its capabilities. Once likely feared on the street or dragstrip, this Blue Charcoal beauty is now a formidable contender on the show field.