What's black, white, red-and gold-all over? Just ask Tom Hamilton of Carroll, Ohio, the owner of this '67 400 H.O. GTO that earned Gold Concours at the '06 and '07 GTOAA Nationals. Tom's 26-year love affair with his GTO is no riddle. It began in 1981 when he was only 21 years old. "I bought the GTO when I was working at a local Pontiac dealership," Hamilton recalls. "The new car manager had picked up a nice, clean, 61,000-mile GTO off the second owner. After months of persuading him, he finally sold it to me for $3,200."
Tom always wanted a musclecar and his GTO was equipped with the right stuff: 400 H.O. engine (code WS), four-speed wide-ratio transmission (code FO) and Safe-T-Track differential (code YH or ZK). There were convenience options, too, but they were kept to a minimum to give the Goat a weight advantage over its street brethren. They included: AM radio with manual antenna (code 342), custom front and rear seatbelts (code 431), Rally II wheels (code 453), power steering (code 501), power drum brakes (code 502), Soft Ray glass windshield only (code 532), and front floor mats (code 631).
The classic GTO became Tom's daily driver. He kept it garaged, and after a few years it was relegated to show and pleasure use only. Tom didn't even know the GTO had an H.O. engine when he first bought it. "I found out that I had an original H.O. car at a GTO show hosted by the Central Ohio GTO club. Judge Andy Syrkin brought it to my attention that I had the wrong air cleaner lid. The pancake style that I had at the time was correct for the standard 335-horse motor, and the H.O. motor took the open-element type. I actually had the correct air cleaner at home in the garage, but I thought it was incorrect because all the '67 GTOs that I had seen had the pancake-style air cleaner. I quickly changed it back when I got home. At that point, I realized I had something much rarer than a run-of-the-mill '67 GTO."
In 2001, Tom sent away to PHS for a billing history information packet and confirmed that his GTO was a real "242" vehicle, and it was numbers matching. "After I got the paperwork back from PHS, I decided to do a full body-on resto on the GTO. It was already a local-winning car, but I wanted it to compete at the national level," Tom says.
The '67 GTO was the second most popular year of the early ('64-'67) Goats and sold 81,722
The 400 H.O. GTO is somewhat of a rarity. Only 13,310 were built in the '67 model year.
Reproduction red fender liners were added during the restoration, but are not original to
To accomplish his goal, he pulled the engine and sent it to Humphrey Machine Shop in Logan, Ohio. It was subject to a complete rebuild to factory specs, which included maintaining the factory 4.12-inch bore, 3.75-inch stroke, and a cast crank directing factory cast rods and pistons. An "068" H.O. cam features 288/302-deg duration, and 0.414/0.413-inch lift. Bolted to the block are original 72cc No. 670 heads, a one-year-only closed chambered casting with 2.11/1.77-inch valves actuated by stock pushrods, 1.50:1 stamped steel rockers and fresh springs. Up top, a Rochester four-barrel carburetor (No. 7027263) feeds a factory dual-plane intake (No. 9786286). Spark comes from a Delco distributor (No. 1111250) and travels down date-coded reproduction GM wires to AC 44 Fire Ring spark plugs.
Exhaust exits through factory H.O. manifolds (No. 9777646 and 9777641) and a correct-reproduction Gardner exhaust system featuring 2.25-inch headpipes, unequal-length factory-style mufflers, 2.25-inch tailpipes with correct double-angle cuts and an upgraded "concours" package with ceramic-coated flanges, stainless steel clamps, zinc-plated hangers and retainers, and strap clamps.
A stock steel flywheel mates to an NOS Delco clutch and feeds power to a Muncie M20 four-speed, through a stock driveshaft and on to the Safe-T-Track rearend with a 3.55 gearset.
The Body And Chassis
While he was waiting for his engine rebuild, Tom began the body restoration. First, he removed the front sheetmetal and stripped the frame and undercarriage. He then rebuilt the suspension and braking system to stock and reinstalled the fresh engine.
For the next step, he turned to GTO restorer Doug Gauerke of Lancaster, Ohio, for paint and body assembly. "When I received the GTO, some of the body panels were chemically stripped and some were not," Doug recalls. "Basically, the car was on its wheels without its bolt-on sheetmetal. The motor was already rebuilt, painted and installed."
This '67 hood tach was added during the restoration. It's a taller design not carried over
The 360-horse 400 H.O. was equipped with free-flowing exhaust manifolds, a hotter cam, and
The first year of the Rochester four-barrel carburetor on the GTO was 1967. Debate over wh
He prefit the body panels and stripped the rest of the GTO to bare metal. Then he performed the bodywork required to make the concours candidate straight. Once satisfied, Doug removed the bolt-on panels and used PPG corrosion-resistant epoxy primer on the entire body, followed by block-sanding. He reprimed in some areas as many as three times. After that, Doug sprayed a coat of PPG white epoxy sealer and performed final spot-sanding where needed. Finally, he sprayed three basecoats of PPG Cameo Ivory, followed by three coats of PPG Concept Clear. To complete his role in the restoration, Doug wet-sanded the paint with progressive grits (1,500-2,000) of sandpaper, followed by a polishing.
With the body panels shining in their factory hue, he carefully bolted them back onto the GTO. As a final touch, he handpainted dual-line body pinstriping to match the Goat's red interior.
Tom allowed the faded original seats to be recovered by Bill Nye, who also installed a reproduction 80/20 carpet and an NOS headliner. The door panels, dash, windlace and interior trim are all original to the GTO.
Tom says the results have made the 20-year wait to begin the restoration well worth it, but it was hard for him to believe how he kept the GTO through three turbulent decades. "Over the years, between buying homes, having children, losing jobs, and getting divorced, somehow I managed to hang on to this '67 GTO. It's just like a part of the family and I intend to keep it that way."
The optional walnut shift knob displays the GTO emblem and is mated to a Hurst shifter and
A striking and correct red interior (code 225) helped this GTO earn Concours Gold at the G
After five long years, the restoration was completed in 2006 and Tom says he is honored by the compliments bestowed upon his GTO by the judges and peers in the GTOAA, even when the judging pressure is on. "It was a great achievement for me to win Gold in 2006 and 2007. GTOAA's judging standards at this level are intense and the competition seems to get tougher every year. The quality of the restorations is simply amazing. Judges at the GTO Nationals are true professionals and are very thorough. In 2006 at the Nationals, four concours judges spent 40 minutes judging my car. If something is incorrect, they will find it. I seem to learn something from them every year. Their time and contribution to the hobby is priceless."
Currently bragging only 76,000 original miles on the odometer, this GTO definitely looks as good as the day it was sold new. Believe it or not, Tom has a witness to prove it-the original owner. "An older man walked into my used car lot and introduced himself as the first owner of my GTO. He wanted to see it again and he told me of the day in 1967 when he and his father went to Householders Pontiac in Lancaster, Ohio, and purchased the Cameo Ivory GTO brand-new, stating that in 1967 a Goat was the car to have. I took him back into the garage to show it to him. After looking at his old Goat, he said it looks just like it did nearly 40 years ago and sure brought back a lot of good memories."
Perhaps Tom Hamilton has restored more than a good memory. He seems to have total recall when it comes to his GTO. "I have also been a matching numbers nut. If it's not original, I want no part of it. I enjoy looking at all GTOs, modified or stock, but my true love is for the 100 percent original cars. I feel very fortunate to own a piece of Pontiac musclecar history today." No riddle in that statement.