Not many consider the '74 GTO to be a true descendant of the original Goat. In fact, most regard it as "the other Nova" in GM's X-chassis lineup. True, this mini musclecar never had the oomph of earlier hi-po examples. It did, however, offer respectable performance figures. Back in the day, the '74 GTO was capable of eclipsing the 1320 in 15.7 seconds at better than 88 mph; and that was in stock tune. By comparison, a 325-hp, 389-powered '64 GTO didn't perform much better, with 15.6-second ETs at around 90 mph. Sounds pretty close to me, but the performance of the Tri-Powers, Ram Airs and HOs have greatly overshadowed the offerings of the standard models and, sadly, in 1974, there was no optional hi-po powerplant.
Nothing's been changed in this GTO's original 350. It still packs 7.6:1 compression, facto
One couple who can relay the subtle attributes of the '74 Goat is Fairfield, Pa., residents Wilbur and Beth Fair. Wilbur has been a fan of the final GTO since he first saw one roll off the car carrier new. It was only during this Poncho's restoration that Beth became an aficionado of the little Goat.
They realized that the GTO option was more than just some decals and a Shaker hood scoop in '74. What you got with the $195 option was a 4-barrel-equipped 350 with 7.6:1 compression, .812-inch front and .562-inch rear stabilizer bars, radial-tuned suspension, Pliacell shocks, power steering and drum brakes all around (front disc optional). E78-14 tires mounted on 14x6-inch Rally II wheels, heavy-duty 3-speed manual transmission (a 4-speed was optional, as was a 3-speed auto), dual exhaust (which raised the engine's output from 185 to 200 hp) with dual chrome splitter tips, 3.08 gears, a special grille with marker lights, and a working Shaker hood scoop (even the T/A didn't have that in 1974) were also included with the GTO option. Of the 7,058 GTOs produced, 1,723 were hatchbacks while the remaining 5,335 were coupes. There was even a cool camper option available with the hatchback models. Wilbur's Goat was optioned with air conditioning, front disc brakes and trim rings for its Rally wheels.
Almost everything within this GTO's interior is original, including the carpet. All of the
But rarity (one of 2,848 automatic-equipped coupes produced in '74) isn't what drove Wilbur to complete the grueling restoration, which transformed this once junkyard-bound Ventura into the multiple show winner it is now. A love for the car is what made him do it.
The GTO's purchase and resurrection was a long and tedious process, one that took almost eight years to complete. "Having known the original owner of this car and being an admirer of the last of the GTOs, I couldn't pass this one up when it came into my family's salvage yard in 1987. I promptly purchased the Pontiac for $300," Wilbur explained.
"I began the restoration by taking the car completely down to the frame. Then came the challenge of replacing the driver's door, both rear quarters with genuine GM parts, and the taillight panel. I also had to fabricate the left rear floor pan with 24-gauge steel, as well as various areas of the trunk floor. I accomplished this by using a torch, air chisel and spot-weld drill bits to remove the panels, while attempting not to damage existing panels that were salvageable.
"I moved on to the underside of the car, scraping off all existing undercoating and surface rust. All of the brake and fuel lines were re-moved, wire brushed, painted and stored until it was time to reinstall them. The rest of the undercarriage was wire brushed, prepped and then painted. It was at this time that I chose to install new rear leaf springs from Frederick Spring Works. From there I tackled the interior. Every-thing was removed, cleaned, prepped, painted and stored until reassembly. When that time came, I only had to replace the dash pad, as everything else was in exceptional condition."
It's hard to believe, but this GTO has racked up over 180,000 miles in its lifetime. It's
Here's how the GTO looked when it was purchased for $300 in 1987. It was not a pretty sigh
As you can see, some serious metalwork was done.
Here are the proud owners, Wilbur and Beth Fair.
You either love the look of the '74 GTO or you hate it, and most hated it, but for the wro
Engine compartment ... before.