Eric already knew exactly how a stock-suspended ’65 GTO with drum brakes cornered and stopped, and he wasn’t nostalgic for those handling traits. He wanted to upgrade both areas, but didn’t want the Goat to lose its character.
Eric changed the cabin from...
Eric changed the cabin from gold to Parchment with an interior kit from PUI. Kelly Trim Shop in Covington, Kentucky, recovered the buckets, but Eric did the rest. “I bought the repro manual console top from Performance Years,” he says. He also added the wood wheel, Rally gauges (from Pete Serio), and Summit coolant-temp and oil-pressure gauges.
To that end, he rebuilt the suspension with Moog parts and in the process, added a 12.7:1 quick-ratio power-steering box, a 1.25-inch front swaybar, rear frame reinforcing brackets, boxed lower rear control arms, and an 0.875-inch rear bar. Coil Spring Specialties HD springs and Monroe Gasmatic shocks are at the four corners, and Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings are employed throughout.
A ’70s GM A-Body junkyard find resulted in an 11-inch front disc brake swap to augment the stock 9.5-inch rear drums. A set of 15x7 Rally I reproduction wheels with 4.5-inch backspacing run modern Yokahamas, 235/60R15 front and 255/60R15 rear, with redlines added from Diamond Back Classic Radials.
A vintage white ball with...
A vintage white ball with five-speed pattern looks right at home in this resto-mod. The five-speed shifter is offset on the Tremec to fit the stock console.
Eric used the YC-code ’72 455 to build a 462ci terror. A set of Tomahawk I-beam 6.625-inch forged rods connect the nodular-iron 4.210-stroke crank to BRC forged pistons, which feature a custom dish to reduce the compression to 9.8:1 with the 72cc chambers in the ported E-heads. Eric says, “I bought them used from a drag racer in Missouri after he blew up his block.”
A Melling oil pump and pickup and a Pacific Performance windage tray work from a stock oil pan to keep the engine lubed and cool. The Comp hydraulic flat-tappet cam features 230/236-degrees duration, a 110-deg LSA, and 0.535/0.539 lift with Harland Sharp 1.65-ratio rockers.
For something different yet familiar under the hood, Eric decided on a Tri-Power induction system, but not a stock one. He installed a Barry Grant Six-Shooter, featuring three BG 250-cfm Road Demon two-barrel carbs on a high-rise aluminum intake—all of which are fed by a Carter mechanical pump.
An MSD distributor with vacuum advance, a 6AL box, coil, and 8mm wires deliver the spark to Champion plugs to the tune of 32-degrees total timing. After the combustion process, Doug’s ceramic-coated, round-port, 1.875-inch headers evacuate the fumes into a 3-inch, X-style system from Pypes with Race Pro mufflers.
“For the transmission, I bought a Classic Chevy 5-Speed conversion kit,” Eric says, “and it’s the best mod I’ve made—without a doubt.” A Centerforce 11-inch clutch puts the torque to that Tremec TKO 600, and at the far end of the driveshaft, a GM 12-bolt Posi with 3.73:1 gears gets it to the ground.
Eric says, “The convertible...
Eric says, “The convertible top is new and was difficult to get on right, but it turned out ok.” DG Custom Chrome in Cincinnati, Ohio, rechromed the bumpers, and Eric straightened, sanded, and buffed the bright trim.
Eric says, “I restored this GTO myself in my garage with my son, Ethan, 19, and daughter, Hayley, 15, and my wife, Karen. Without her help and support, I could have done none of this. I’m pleased with the restoration and surprised how well the paint turned out—this was the first paint job I have done alone.”
You’d think that since the GTO was finished, Eric would simply enjoy open-air cruising and collecting show trophies. Well, he’s done both, but the story isn’t over yet. When he was looking for our featured ’65 GTO convertible, he actually bought two. “I found one in Missouri—Nightwatch Blue with Parchment top and interior—and its ready for its restoration.” Here we go again…