There are certain occurrences that emblaze an image into our minds that lasts a lifetime. Most auto enthusiasts can vividly recall when they first spied their dream car. Whether a shapely silhouette, an eye-popping color, or wild graphics drew the initial look, it resulted in a body rush of excitement, especially if noise and/or motion intensified the experience.
A constant yearning to recapture that feeling fuels the passion that drives most hobbyists. Tim Burton of Lakewood, Colorado, happily admits that he shares that same affliction. "I have enjoyed tinkering with cars since before I could drive," he recalls. "My dad was an amazing man—very patient. He would be working on the family car and I would be right there with him learning how to fix things and what tools to use for each task. He helped me pick out a complete set of Craftsman tools before I even owned a car."
Tim's high-school parking lot was loaded with GTOs, Firebirds, Camaros, Mopars, and Mustangs, and that reinforced the desire to own a muscle car. "I was a sophomore in 1981, and there were two Pontiacs in my neighborhood that really caught my eye," he says. "One was a '69 Judge in Limelight Green and the other a '73 Trans Am in Brewster Green. The two cars would run up and down the road all the time, and that memory just stuck with me."
A '79 Camaro Z28 became Tim's first car. "I worked on it all of the time modifying it and installing performance parts to go faster. During my teens and 20s, I had bought, fixed up, and sold several other cars. I even owned quite a few great ones, but I always remembered those two Pontiacs running up and down the street. All I could think about was owning both someday."
By the time Tim was in his mid-20s, he started his own live-event production business. "I found that owning your own company gives you some freedoms, but it also creates many challenges in terms of time available for hobbies and such. The 9-11 attacks made me realize that life was a bit too short, and I was working too much. I made a personal commitment to reconnect with old friends and make time for my long-put-off hobbies. That's when I started looking for these two iconic cars from my youth."
Tim's search for both uniquely colored Pontiacs began in 2002. "I posted my want-ad on a few Pontiac web forums. I located a '73 Brewster Green, four-speed Super-Duty Trans Am on the East Coast in December 2003 and bought it immediately. It had about 35,000 miles on it and was complete and unrestored with only a single repaint. My plan was to begin disassembling it for complete restoration and detail, but that changed before it started."
Tim Burton of Lakewood, Colorado, owns this ’69 GTO equipped with the desirable Judge pack
It was just two more years before Tim found the '69 Judge in Limelight Green he dreamed of. "In January 2006, a gentleman emailed me after seeing my online ad," he explains. "He lived in Wisconsin and sent several photos of the car—and the piles of parts included with it. The seller planned to restore it, but he had a young family and decided his time and money would be better spent purchasing a nice driver. The Judge was basically a rolling chassis at this point. The interior was out and the engine was disassembled, but I was still interested because it was equipped exactly as I wanted—Limelight Green, The Judge package, four-speed transmission, and fixed headlights."
Tim and the seller agreed upon a reasonable price, and a few weeks later Tim and his two-year-old son, Nic, set out for upper Wisconsin with truck and trailer. Of the first time seeing the GTO in person, Tim recalls, "Let's just say it wasn't love at first sight. The nose wasn't on it and the fenders were loosely hung. The tires were half inflated, and it had been painted dark green with spray cans and a Judge stripe was crudely applied. The body looked pretty solid and I knew finding exactly what I wanted wasn't an easy task. I recognized that this GTO had that potential, so I bought it."
The body shell and boxes of parts completely filled Tim's enclosed trailer and the bed of his pickup. Once home, he reconfirmed that beyond some small parts that went missing, the GTO was otherwise complete. "My goal was to restore it to the condition it was in when shipped from Pontiac. I immediately began evaluating the original parts to determine if they were reusable. I replaced certain pieces with N.O.S. units and searched for used examples in excellent condition for others."
A pair of functional hoodscoops duct fresh air into the R/A III. A knob mounted beneath th
A Hurst-shifted, three-speed manual transmission was standard equipment. A close-ratio Mun
The dark green interior was in pretty rough shape when Tim bought his GTO. The seat frames