Ron had no idea about the rarity of such a thing...but soon he learned. "It had a poor red paint job on it, so I decided to get it painted. Then a friend tells me that this is a numbers-matching car. I got talked into a total restoration." That meant stripping away any last vestige of Resale Red and going down to bare metal. The flanks were twice coated in primer, treated to four coats of R&M acrylic enamel in the proper Code Y Candlelight Cream; the clearcoat was wet-sanded with 1000 and 1600 grit papers. Mosside Specialty Cars in Pittsburgh took care of squirting the pigment, as well as assembling most of the reproduction interior.
With a little bit of cleaning on the chassis, original factory paint inspection marks were revealed. (Such are the joys of original, rot-free California machines that such things remain visible decades after rolling off the assembly line.) "The chassis was so clean, you could have cleaned it with a sponge and seen original factory overspray. You turn a nut, and you don't need a torch, or Liquid Wrench, or anything," enthused Ronald. "The nut just comes off. I have a 2 year-old truck that you can't do that with." The inspection marks are more easily visible now that everything is once again GM chassis black.
The original mill was brought back to factory spec; it's not even .030 over. It was, however, balanced, blueprinted, given a blueprinted factory-spec Crane cam, and treated to a valve job to run on contemporary unleaded gas.
Ronald added a couple of options during the resto, including Rally I wheels, Rally gauges, and a power booster to help those 4-wheel drums grind to a halt. The entire effort took a whopping 10 on-again, off-again years, which saw Scott Tiemann of Supercar Specialties in Portland, Michigan, finish things up. Meantime, Ron bought another GTO, a '67, to putter about town in. "I got sick of not having something to drive," he says. He also stayed busy racing his '67 GTO (running 10.60s the weekend we caught up with Ron, at the 2002 Ames Performance Pontiac Nationals).
Ron says, "Scott told me that I wouldn't have a gold winner as it stood, so he plated all of the original hose clamps, attended to a couple of more details, and gave me some show tips." And then it was off to the show circuit. "First time at the POCI Nats in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in 1998, it got 391 out of a possible 400 points. The next year it was awarded 394 points. At first I wasn't too cool about a yellow car, but now I love it. The GTO doesn't always win local car shows, but it always wins at points-judged awards." The paleface Injun was trailered for 2 years, but is now driven to local shows, weather permitting.
Pontiac fans can breathe a deep, A.I.R.-cleaned sigh of relief.