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.
Subtle advances in technology didn't end with the engine, as the worn clutch was swapped for a Centerforce unit. The factory M21 trans was rebuilt by Ace Crankshaft. To ensure a positive experience when slamming gears, Pete Serio of Precision Pontiac restored the original Hurst shifter and rechromed the stick.
Though incorrect by factory standards, Joe chose to install a 3.55:1 Safe-T-Track rear since he plans on plenty of highway cruising. While the drivetrain was being rebuilt, restoration of the chassis and sheetmetal were underway as well.
Joe couldn't resist adding a few comfort and convenience options, including a tilt column,
With the body separated from the frame at Pro 1 Restoration, the latter was stripped and treated to powdercoating with an eye toward longevity. All the suspension-wear items were replaced with stock components, right down to retaining rubber bushings. Custom Eaton springs set the GTO's ride height 1 inch higher than stock, and the four-wheel, 9.5-inch drum braking system was rebuilt. Factory colors and textures were re-created on the undercarriage as this GTO was to be concours judged.
Spending its whole life in the Northeast, winter weather and road salt had taken their toll on the steel body of the potent Poncho. Therefore, body repairs were extensive, and all were performed by first-rate metal fabricator Umberto Torres at Pro 1.
The metal was stripped to bare, and both rear quarters received new skins, with the same treatment afforded the outer wheelhouses. On the driver side, the inner wheelhouse was hand-fabricated. The taillight panel and the filler panel between the rear window and the decklid were cut out and replaced with new metal. Patches were required on the front fender heels, and fresh inner and outer rockers were welded in on both sides, with the former custom made. Inside, all the floors were replaced, including the trunk floor and its braces.
Once the welding sparks stopped flying, the welds were ground smooth and filled, the rest of the body was straightened, and tons of blocksanding on PPG K38 primer was performed, it was finally time for paint.
XS--for 1967 denotes a GTO Ram Air 400 engine with four-speed trans. Note the engine seria
With a coat of PPG sealer laid down, six coats of PPG single-stage urethane paint were applied in the factory hue of Regimental Red. When dried, the finish was wetsanded with 1,000-grit and 1,500-grit paper and then polished to a mirror shine.
The bumpers, though near perfect to begin with by Joe's admission, were rechromed, and the bright trim that was retained was polished. Lower fender and quarter-trim is new, and the vinyl roof is from Ames.
Raising the standard of the interior to that of the now-fresh body, chassis, and drivetrain, Pro 1 restored the cabin of the GTO in black Morrokide, using upholstery, door panels, and carpeting from Performance Years. While the pad and the cluster are original, a rechromed bezel was purchased from Barry Martin of Michigan.
Feast your eyes on this--the extremely rare No. 997 casting. Notice how it actually hangs
The Ram Air system was delivered in the trunk for dealer installation back in the day. Its
Note the attention to detail under the hood. This Goat received Concours Gold honors at th
According to Joe, the steel Ram Air pan and the air cleaner top are original.
This was the first incarnation of the now legendary hood tach.
In 2003, the Regimental Red road rocket was completed and ready to hit the streets and the show circuit. Thus far, it has racked up numerous First- and Second-Place trophies at various events, including a First at HPP Day at E-town in 2005 where we first spotted the Goat and met Joe. In August 2004, the Ram Air GTO earned Concours Gold at the GTOAA Eastern Regional Meet. But show trophies are only part of the fun. Joe has found that driving the GTO, like his '70 Ram Air III Judge and new V-8 303hp GP GXP, makes great memories as well.
He expects to put 750-1,000 miles per year on the Goat in the future and to keep winning at the shows. Joe travels with a pack of Staten Island buddies, all of whom are into Pontiacs, owning 20 between them. No further improvements to the GTO are planned since he "likes it just as it is," which gives Joe something in common with a previous owner named Bea who thought the same for 25 years.
|IN THE CODES |
|Ram Air 400 Engine (Man Trans) ||XS |
|Heads ||997 (670 or 97 on earlier engines) |
|Carburetor (correct) ||7027263 |
|Carburetor (in this GTO) correct replacement ||7037263 |
| for '67 Ram Air four-speed with A.I.R |
|Distributor ||1111250 (or 183) |
|Intake manifold ||9786286 |
|Cam ||744 |
|Exhaust manifolds: Ram Air ||9777642 (or 1) RT / 9777346 LT |
|Transmission: Muncie M21 ||FT |
|Rear: Safe-T-Track 4.33:1 (correct) ||YL or ZL |
| (Safe-T-Track 3.55:1 in this GTO) |
|Paint: Regimental Red ||R |
|Cordova Roof: Black ||2 |
|Upholstery: Black Morrokide ||235 |
|'67 Ram Air GTO Production By Engine Code |
|XS ||532 ||Manual ||None |
|YR ||63 ||Manual ||AIR system |
|XP ||136 ||Automatic ||None |
|XP (or overstamped XF) ||20 ||Automatic ||AIR system |
|Total Production Ram Air ||751 |
|Total Production Ram Air convertible ||56 |
Here is the engine bay as the GTO was received. Note the bronze paint in the fender in the
Quarter skin and wheelhouse surgery shown.
As you can see, the GTO was torn down all the way for this resto.
The sheen of the powdercoating on the frame matches that of the factory paint--but the pow
Here, the jambs are getting color.
The body has been painted in single-stage paint to better replicate what came from the fac
The Ram Air 400 Package
The L67 400 Ram Air engine could be found under "Special Order Engine Options" on the "Special Equipment" page of the '67 Tempest-GTO order form. This powerplant was rated at 360 hp just like the H.O. engine, but the rating was at a higher 5,400 rpm. The package retained the carb, distributor, intake, exhaust manifolds, and compression ratio of the H.O. package, and even its No. 670 heads on earlier engines.
Where it differed from the H.O. was in cam timing and valvesprings, the addition of the Ram Air system, and on later engines, cylinder-head upgrades.
Ram Air engines received a hotter 301/313-degrees advertised duration "744" cam in place of the H.O.'s 288/302-degree "068" cam. Overlap was 63 degrees for the 068 and 76 degrees for the 744. Lift was the same for both at 0.413/0.413. The Ram Air system was shipped in the trunk for dealer installation of the pan, seal, black-topped air cleaner, and open hood ornament. Early in the season, the 670 heads were retained. Beginning in May 1967 after engine No. 646616, they became "97" heads. According to historian Pete McCarthy, this was done by replacing the "6" of 670 with a stamped "9", retaining the "7" of the 670, and grinding flat the "0" of the 670.
This head received valvespring-seat mods to accept taller dual valvesprings, and polished valves were employed. Finally, late in the production year, the No. 997 (casting number placed just under the No. 4 and No. 5 sparkplugs) heads were introduced featuring all the upgrades of the No. 97 head.
The price for the Ram Air engine option was $203.30, according to a Pontiac Car and Equipment Price Schedule issued 9/29/66. The Ram Air package was available only with the close-ratio M21 four-speed ($142.31) or Turbo Hydramatic transmission ($174.84). A 4.33 Safe-T-Track rear ($48.79) was mandatory.
According to the 1967 GTO Assembly Manual, steering columns for the H.O. and Ram Air GTOs were coded differently than the standard GTO. The H.O.s and Ram Airs had code RA (PN 7802525) for column-shift auto trans, KR (PN 7802713 for floor shift, and RB (PN 7802849) for tilt floor shift. They required PN 569917 flange and 5686553 bolts. The design of the exhaust manifolds forced revised positive battery cable and wire routing to the starter. Though Ram Air GTOs were not available with air conditioning, they still employed the A/C radiator and support for improved cooling.
On the dragstrip, the Ram Air GTO was no slouch. Road testers at Car Life magazine loaded up one equipped with an automatic trans and A.I.R., with about 400 pounds of driver, passenger, and testing equipment, and ran 14.5s at 101-103 mph. With just the driver, 13.90 at 102.8 mph was achieved. The magazine declared it "King of the Supercars!" in its October '67 issue for its power, styling, braking, and price. The magazine did, however, lament the Ram Air GTO's jarring ride, temperamental engine manners under 3,000 rpm, valve float at 5,400 rpm, and 3,500-rpm engine speed at 70 mph thanks to the 4.33 gears.
Joe would like to thank "Pro 1 Restoration and Ed Walter of Performance Years for their professionalism and for making this hobby fun, my wife, Maria, for her constant support and love as I pursue a hobby that lets me remain a kid, and warm regards to the people of Staten Island for keeping the hobby alive with many cruise nights and organized shows."
The 1967 Ram Air GTO Registry has been able to verify the existence of 12 of these cars. Contact Ken Colacino at email@example.com for further information on the registry.