Sporting multiple coats of Regimental Red urethane, this Ram Air GTO makes quite a first i
Would you believe this '67 GTO was driven daily for 25 years by its second owner, a Staten Island woman named Bea DeMonte, and it accumulated nearly 112,000 miles? A '67 Ram Air GTO with a stick does not sound like a typical daily driver for anyone having to endure three economic recessions and two fuel shortages. The cam goes rumpety-rump, and rowing that Hurst shifter through the gears each day could become a quite a chore in commuter traffic. Then there's the fact that today this GTO's worth is nearing the stratosphere.
Nevertheless, Bea piloted the Goat from 1970 to 1995, all while she and her husband, Lou, fended off would-be buyers. In the inaugural year of her tenure, the GTO's 4.33 rear was swapped for a 3.23. Soon thereafter, Bea was back on the highway turning lower revs, with more than two decades at the wheel ahead of her.
Finally, in 1995, the DeMontes gave in to one of the myriad purchase offers they had received and sold the GTO to Staten Islander John Traks, whose intent was to restore it. After that plan stalled, it was Joe Portagallo, also of Staten Island, who convinced John that he was the right person to whom he should entrust this prized possession. On a promise of a proper resto and kid-glove care thereafter, they made the deal.
The original carb was replaced in 1971 because it was acting up, according to the DeMontes
Joe's musclecar resume reads like that of a typical Pontiac nut: "Growing up in the '70s with musclecars and hot rods in abundance, I was always a major Pontiac fan--there's no better front-end design than the split grille. I purchased a two-door '67 LeMans with a 326 in 1975, and with encouragement from my friend Richie Marino, I was really able to have fun hot rodding that car." Thus the seed was planted.
"Many years later," he says, "a chance meeting with a guy named Ed Burns, who owned a very special '67 GTO, prompted me to pursue this hobby seriously, which led to finding a '66 GTO convertible in 1993." Later, he met Ed's brother-in-law, John Traks. You already know the rest.
Joe bought the GTO in 2001. PHS documentation verified the Goat's authenticity and provided a list of factory-installed options. Comfort and convenience additions included power steering, power brakes, AM radio, Rally Is, and a Cordova top. The most important option, however, was under the hood.
The engine was the original XS-code 400, according to Joe, and it was still wearing its factory distributor, intake, No. 997 heads, and Ram Air exhaust manifolds when he took possession of it. The Ram Air system was found in the trunk.
During the restoration, which was handled by Paul DiMauro and staff at Pro 1 Restoration in Deer Park, New York, the engine was rebuilt by Ace Crankshaft (also in Deer Park). The XS block received a 0.030 overbore to clean up the cylinder walls, and the stock cast crank was cut 0.010/0.010 and polished. Factory cast rods were refurbished, and the bottom end was rebuilt with TRW forged and dished 0.030-over pistons. To keep it all cool and lubed, the oiling system was upgraded with a Melling high-volume pump that draws from a stock pan.
In all its glory is one 360-horse Ram Air engine. Due to a July 31, 1967, build date, the
A Nunzi No. 2042 Ram Air replacement cam features 301/313 advertised duration like the factory 744 cam, but with more lift--0.460/0.470 versus 0.413/0.413. The seldom seen No. 997 heads were upgraded with a three-angle valve job; Manley stainless steel 2.11/1.77 valves; fresh guides, springs, keepers and pushrods; and 1.50:1 Comp Cams roller rockers. Compression ratio checks in at 9.75:1 thanks to the dished pistons. Joe runs the Ram Air 400 on pump gas.
Up top, the Ram Air/H.O. carb that was on the engine when the GTO was purchased was recolored and rebuilt by Performance Years, and the factory Delco points distributor was upgraded to breakerless operation using an M&H kit. Date-coded wires carry the current to the AC plugs. The Ram Air manifolds were restored and reinstalled, and a Gardner OEM '67 Ram Air exhaust system was bolted in.