Originally purchased in 1994 by his son-in-law as a drag-racing project, Bill Lorenzen too
Like many of our feathered friends, a large number of retirees venture south during the winter months to bask in warm sunlight, but not 70-year-old Bill Lorenzen, who calls sometimes-frigid Lincoln, Nebraska, home year-round. Though currently employed on a part-time basis as a courier for a local medical laboratory, this retired telephone-company troubleshooter still has a full-time job-and the office he reports to is a '67 GTO.
The Early Days
Bill found an interest in anything mechanical early on and developed a love of racing after graduating high school, a time when muscle cars were an integral part of pop culture. His first new car was a Fontaine Blue '65 GTO post coupe, and he immediately went racing with it. "It had a 389, four-barrel carburetor, and four-speed manual transmission," he recalls. "I added Tri-Power, a more aggressive factory cam, and headers, and raced in the B-Stock and FX classes. It consistently turned the quarter in the high 13s."
Racing took a back seat when Bill sold the GTO and joined the Army in 1970. Once back in civilian life, he enrolled in vocational school, married, and purchased a '69 LeMans that served as family transportation for the next few years. Though racing wasn't completely out of his system, time and funding for such an activity was sparse. It wasn't until his son-in-law Bill Krause purchased a '67 GTO in 1994 that the racing flame rekindled, and Bill picked up where he had left off years before.
"The car was rough, a real basket case. It was Medium Metallic Green and had a black spider web painted on the hood," recalls Lorenzen. "The title said it was a '67 GTO coupe, but it had gotten hit in the rear and had a '66 Tempest rear clip. At some point in its life, someone installed a D-port 455, and my son-in-law asked if we could race it. I really wanted to get back into racing, so we started running in the 14-second bracket at Nebraska Motorplex in Scribner."
Back In The Saddle
The father and son-in-law team raced the GTO regularly for the next two seasons. Son-in-law Bill changed careers in 1996, however, and his new job left him with little time for the car. Not ready to give up racing for a second time in his life, Lorenzen decided to purchase the GTO and forge onward. "I already had money invested into the project and bought the car as a package deal for $1,600. I quickly made a few changes with help from fellow racers and continued racing," he recalls.
Over the next few years, Bill rebuilt the 455 and added such items as headers, an aftermarket camshaft, and a Holley carburetor, whittling the GTO into the 12s. "It was quick for what it was," he says, "but we wanted to go faster, and that would involve lightening the body, improving traction, and building an engine that could produce the horsepower we needed." Upon his retirement from the telephone company in 2001, Bill immediately began to transform the once-portly GTO into a svelte racecar.
This one-piece front clip is removable. The hood, deck lid, and front and rear bumpers are
The 472ci, alcohol-burning mill built by Moore Performance in Lincoln, Nebraska, sits 11 i
A belt-driven fuel pump from Ron's Racing Products pressurizes the fuel system, while an M
Assembling The Combination
The GTO's body was sent to Jippsy Motorsports in Lincoln, where the rear framerails were narrowed, a 10-point rollcage was added, and front and rear motor plates were installed. Once the chassis modifications were complete, Bill sent the body to R&R Restorations of Clarkston, where the body was prepped and treated to a basecoat/clearcoat application of PPG Dodge Intense Blue, polished to a show-quality finish.
Knowing that precise machining and exact tolerances are key elements in the success of any race engine, Bill knew of one ASE-certified Master Machinist he could entrust with his engines. Randy Moore owns Moore Performance in Lincoln; Bill had gotten to know him over the years and liked what he saw of his ability. When it came time to machine and assemble the GTO's race engines, Randy was the only choice.
"We wanted a powerful design that was reliable, and Randy and I spent a lot of time experimenting with different combinations. We even consulted Jim Butler Performance in Leoma, Tennessee, to get everything just right," says Bill. "The decision to run methanol injection was made when I came across a Ron's Flying Toilet setup for $300. It was used and needed lots of work, but I knew it was what we needed to go fast, so we went with it."
He adds, "Our first engine got us into the 10s, but we found the flow limits of cast-iron D-port heads. They were professionally ported and flowed around 260 cfm, but we needed more airflow to go quicker. When we switched to the current engine in 2003, we added ported Edelbrock heads and reached the performance level we're presently at."
Starting with a '72 455, Randy bored the block 0.060 inch to 4.21, and increased the stroke of the stock nodular-iron crank to 4.25 with an offset grind of 0.040 inch. Total displacement is now 472 ci. Eagle forged-steel connecting rods in 6.800-inch length, Ross forged-aluminum flattop pistons, and Total Seal gapless rings round out the balanced rotating-assembly. A Melling oil pump providing 65 psi of pressure resides in an 8-quart-capacity Canton pan, along with a stock windage tray.
A pair of 72cc Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads fitted with 2.19/1.77-inch stainless steel Ferrea valves were fully ported by Larry Pierce of Pierce's Porting in Gretna. Intake and exhaust airflow measures 333 and 263 cfm at 0.700-inch lift as recorded at 28 inches of pressure, respectively. Randy then milled the heads to reduce combustion-chamber volume to 65 cc, producing a compression ratio of 13.2:1
Controlling the valve events is a custom Comp Cams solid-roller camshaft specified by Jim Butler Performance. The radical bump stick boasts of 284/288 degrees of 0.050-inch duration, and contains a lobe separation of 110 degrees and an intake center at 106. Gross valve lift calculates to 0.726/0.660 inches with stainless steel Crower rocker arms in ratios of 1.65:1 and 1.50:1, respectively.
Backing the alcohol-burning mill is a Moore Performance-modified Turbo 350 transmission featuring a reverse-pattern manual valvebody and a Trans King transbrake, while the 8-inch Trans King torque converter stalls to a maximum of 4,200 rpm. On the opposite end of the modified original driveshaft is a narrowed 12-bolt GM rear axle that's filled with a 4.33:1 gear set, and a spool and steel axles from Moser.
The 472 ci exhales through a set of Moore Performance-modified four-tube headers that orig
Jippsy Motorsports in Lincoln fabricated and installed the aluminum floor and door panels,
Moroso drag-race coil springs, Monroe 90/10 shocks, Global West tubular upper control arms
Out On The Range
When the completed project finally hit the track, Bill recalls, "Everyone loved seeing it go fast. My grandchildren and family always came to help. It really turned into a family project.
"My son Scott moved back home from Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2003 and expressed an interest in drag racing, so we let him get behind the wheel. His first season of driving was spent learning from his bracket-racing mistakes. In February 2004, we sent him to the Edmond Richardson School of Drag Racing at Beach Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and he returned a new driver. That's when we started winning some of the NHRA races at our local tracks."
Of the drag racing school, Scott says, "I drove a '91 Cavalier that ran a best of 9.44 at 145 mph. I quickly learned how to be comfortable in a car that pulled the front tires and carried them 80 feet down the track. We really started seeing consistent results when I had a few full seasons under my belt." The team races twice a month during the season, making about 100 passes per year following the Pontiac racing circuit. Commonly found at such events as Pontiacs in the Park in Topeka, Kansas, and the Tri-Power Nationals in Cordova, Illinois, Scott adds, "We finished Second in the Electronics Class at the Pontiac Challenge in Pacific Junction, Iowa, and finished Third out of 165 cars at the Pontiac Uprising in Wichita, Kansas."
Bill adds, "In the past few years, we've found great sponsors, like Krull Construction, Husker Dent, SourceOne, and Parkway 66 (all of Lincoln) that help support our racing. To provide exposure to them, we've added car shows to our schedule." In addition to numerous race trophies, the GTO has been awarded several best-in-class honors at events such as the annual Pontiac, GMC, and Oakland Show in Gretna; consecutive World of Wheels events in Omaha; and various other area shows.
Basking In The Glory
Bill takes pride in the fact that his GTO was once in the 14s, and is now deep into the 9s, but what he really enjoys is the family involvement. "I had no idea when I purchased this '67 GTO that it would bring my family into the racing and show car business, and it's going to stay here with us-Scott will get the car when I retire from racing," says Bill.
With future plans that include a fiberglass front clip, and more displacement and horsepower to push the GTO into the 8-second range, it sure doesn't sound like this retiree or his GTO will be slowing down any time soon.
While fabricating the GTO's back-half kit, Jippsy Motorsports incorporated a few special t
Bill decided to name his GTO when local businesses began sponsoring his race effort. He ul