It looks like a stock, concours-restored...
It looks like a stock, concours-restored '64 GTO. But this one packsmany surprises. Single-stage PPG Concept urethane in Cadillac Red wasapplied four times and then wet-sanded with 800-2,500-grit paper beforefinal polishing.
Do you desire a Pontiac that appears just about concours stock yet isequipped with enough performance upgrades and creature comforts to bothscare the locals and pamper you with each passing mile?
If so, then youand Bruce Ling of New York City have something in common. And to giveyou an idea of what is possible with said line of reasoning, we presentBruce's '64 GTO as restomodded by Jim Mott of Jim Mott Restorations inKimberly, Idaho.
Most stock restorations are guided by the owner's needfor correctness to please him or to earn status and awards at events.Most modification projects are geared toward going faster and lookingthe part. This project, however, would combine the two to create amodified '64 for GTOAA's Concours Modified and later be driven, which ispressure enough. Throw in Bruce's stipulations that the mods be hiddenand most all of them had to be sourced from GM--not the aftermarket--andyou will begin to realize the scope of this endeavor for restorer andowner alike.
This engine appears to be...
This engine appears to be restored to factory issue, but truth be told,it hides an overbored 421 block with a 455 crank down under. Up top,however, it's all '64 GTO, right down to the casting codes andstampings.
"Jim and I became close friends during the restoration ofmy concours stock '65 GTO," Bruce says, "so we were both looking forwardto another project and taking it in a different direction. Though Ioriginally was looking for an automatic A/C car for my wife, Mary, weactually found a GTO that was too good to pass up." He's referring tothis once factory black with red interior, four-speed, Tri-Power '64 GTOthat was nearly rust-free and was holed up in Oregon. Bruce snapped upthe Pontiac and decided to keep the four-speed and have A/C added.
Onceat Jim Mott Restorations, the left rear quarter was replaced with arust-free donor, and a new trunk floor was welded in. Then the body wasseparated from the frame. Once necessary frame and remaining bodyrestoration were underway, the modifications began.
ENGINE AND DRIVELINE MODS
The cruise control is from...
The cruise control is from a '67 GTO, and, according to Jim Mott,"installing it required mods to the Tri-Power linkage, firewall, andclutch and brake-pedal hanger, as well as a lot of wiring changes.Cruise was not an option on manual-trans cars back then because ofclutch-linkage issues." Note the dual-pot master cylinder for the discbrakes--you can't hide everything!
The factory short-block was tucked away, and a '65 421 short-block waspurchased. It was torn down and the block was treated to an overbore, analign boring, and decking. A 455 crank that was cut 0.010/0.010 underand polished was chosen to add more stroke (4.210 versus 4.00). The rodsare stock refurbished cast pieces, and the pistons are customFederal-Moguls to work with the new bore and stroke and to reducecompression to a pump-gas ratio. A Ram Air IV-spec cam (308/320 degreesduration with 0.516/0.516 lift) is employed with 1.65-ratio stampedsteel rockers, custom-length pushrods, and Rhoads lifters. The heads are'64 GTO issue and have been ported for a 15 percent flow increase overstock and were updated with screw-in rocker studs, TRW replacement1.92/1.66 valves, and a three-angle valve job.
While the interior appears...
While the interior appears stock restored thanks to many parts from AmesPerformance, shown on the seat are a cell-phone charger and a remote forthe trick, 10-disc, four-speaker stereo system with XM radio. While thecontrols can be easily hidden, the stereo system took lots of work toinstall and hide. The steering column is a tilt unit from a '67 GTO,which offers a collapsible shaft for accident protection, four-wayflashers, and the proper wiring to set up the '67 cruise control. Oh,yeah--and there are power windows, too.
A factory '64 Tri-Powerintake ingests air and fuel from three numbers-matching carbs, withmech-anical linkage and custom jettings. K&N air filters replace thefactory units for better airflow into the engine.
Ignition is handled bya PerTronix unit tucked under the stock cap on the correct distributor,a disguised MSD blaster coil, and Taylor 8mm wires. Timing is set at 34degrees, all in by 2,800 rpm.
Ram Air exhaust manifolds usher thecombustion remains into a custom 21/2-inch-diameter dual-exhaust withlike-sized DynoMax mufflers.
While Jim and Bruce admit the combinationdoes suffer somewhat from the reduced flow of the '64 induction systemand heads as compared to later factory and/or aftermarket equipment,these factory pieces are part of the philosophy of the build, so theywere retained.
The M20 Muncie four-speed was completely rebuilt, theflywheel was updated to an 11-inch unit, and a Centerforce II clutch wasinstalled. At the far end of the stock-rebuilt and balanced driveshaftis a Safe-T-Track rear with 3.08 gears.
If the gauges appear to be...
If the gauges appear to be stock--but not--it's because the second podfrom the right is housing '66 gauges for oil pressure and water temp.The right-hand pod has a rare (read: expensive today) optional tach for1964.
Bruce wanted a suspension system that was much improved over the stock'64 but that lent itself to long road trips without being harsh. Tomaintain civility, stock replacement springs were employed up front with'66 GTO-with-A/C springs out back, and rubber replacement bushings wereused throughout the suspension system. A larger 1-inch front stabilizerbar from a '69 GTO and a 7/8-inch rear bar and boxed control arms from a'70 GTO reduce understeer and body roll in the corners, and more modernKYB gas shocks, painted factory gray, dampen road irregularities.
A radio block-off plate is...
A radio block-off plate is cool, and the 421 emblem is cooler. Thepresence of the hidden radio explains the power antenna on a GTO with aradio-delete plate. Bruce and Jim couldn't keep everything a secret.
Aquick-ratio 12.7:1 steering box from an '80s GM car and a steeringdampener from a '64 manual steering GTO make road chores a pleasure,while retrofitted four-wheel disc brakes provide short stops. A set of14x6 steel wheels pirated from a '69 GTO offer the proper offset to fitthe disc brakes behind them while maintaining a stock appearance.
Ridingon repro '67 GTO-sized F70-14 redline bias-ply tires again keeps thenearly stock look. (Perhaps radial redlines will be a future upgradeonce the GTO is driven on a regular basis to further improve ride andhandling.)
Even the shifter has a story....
Even the shifter has a story. Bruce wanted a stick with the Hurst logo,which the '64 didn't have. So Jim located a first-design '65 lever,which has the same angle as the '64 and has the logo.
Upgrades were not limited to the drivetrain and suspension. Otherfeatures include halogen headlamps; a remote trunk release from aCadillac; a '63 Bonneville trunk mat, spare tire cover, and cardboardtrunk liners; '70 Firebird hubcaps; and myriad mods mentioned in thecaptions.
To enjoy this GTO the way it was meant to be, Bruce will start drivingthe car now that the judging is over. Incidentally, the '64 did, infact, take Concours Gold at the '04 GTOAA Nats and was considered forBest Modified. But Jim says the car's Achilles' heel in that competitionturned out to be the very philosophy of its build---the modificationswere so well hidden that many went unnoticed.
Owner Bruce Ling couldn't...
Owner Bruce Ling couldn't resist the 421 badge, which tells only part ofthe story of the powerplant.
Bruce's take on theproject is that, "The car turned out great. Unless you look closely, anovice would think that it's totally stock. And yet it has an incrediblelist of mods that increase performance, comfort, and safety."
Jim sumsup the GTO by saying, "Bruce ended up with a '64 GTO that accelerates sohard it makes you swallow your tongue, and it stops so hard that youwant to throw up. Yet it can cruise from New York to Florida with thecruise set at 75 mph with great tunes and air conditioning, all with the'64's timeless styling."
Both are enthusiastic about the result, andthey have a right to be. All told, more than 40 mods were performed onthe '64 with approximately 1,700 man-hours invested, according to Jim.
So, if your tastes follow the same line as Bruce Ling's, then a templateof sorts has been provided for your next project. Let's see whatcreativity in this genre you are capable of.
Today, Bruce's GTO offers just about the best ofwhat GM could provide option-wise. Getting all these components into his'64 to function correctly and then ensuring that most were hidden, wasthe task of Jim Mott Restorations. Here are some before shots and a fewbuildup photos to give you an idea of what was involved.
Here is what Jim Mott started...
Here is what Jim Mott started with--a rough-but-ready '64 GTO with somerare options and little rust.
This project was done from...
This project was done from the ground up--literally. Though onequarter-panel and the trunk floor were replaced, the rest of the bodywas clean and retained the remainder of its original sheetmetal.
As the project progresses,...
As the project progresses, you can see the chassis coming together. Thefront disc brakes and spindles are from a '71 Monte Carlo and thestabilizer bar is from a '69 GTO. Note that all the suspension piecesare detailed to appear as stock '64 items.
Here you can see attention...
Here you can see attention to detail. Note that '67 Ram Air exhaustmanifolds have replaced the factory log type. The top end is still '64GTO, so the correct heads and the short valve covers belie the extracubes beneath them.
The rear disc brakes are from...
The rear disc brakes are from an '80 Cadillac and required machining ofthe axles and rearend housing flange, along with custom mountinghardware and e-brake cables for a proper fit. A Baer brake adjustmentmetering valve and '69 GTO Ram Air lines and distribution valve wereemployed as well.