From a full tube-chassis '70 GTO to a front-halved (we'll explain later) and back-halved '64 GTO, through a coil-sprung '80 LeMans and a leaf-sprung '73 Ventura, this shootout will show you that any of these chassis setups can perform and do it well with pure Pontiac power up front. So for our final installment of the Norwalk Raceway Park series of the HPP shootouts, let's meet our contestants:
As you know if you read the obituary in "Tribal News" in the Oct. '06 issue, Pontiac hobbyist Butch Kale was involved in a fatal motorcycle accident on May 15, 2006. HPP would like to remember Butch by publishing his shootout experience from 2005 in this issue.
Butch arrived from Belmont, North Carolina, ready to race with a methanol-sniffing, mechanically fuel-injected 469 stuffed between the custom framerails of his '64 GTO. With a svelte 2,920-pound race weight and a trick Turbo 400 and 4.10 rear, the custom-chassis Goat was hunting for mid 9-second e.t.'s.
After Rich Roup did a motor-swap thrash a couple weeks prior to the shootout, installing a borrowed 462 because his motor expired, the loaner motor blew a head gasket. Following repairs, Rich ran the car just once, resulting in 12-second e.t.'s, so he made the trip from Pittsburgh with his coil-sprung '80 LeMans not knowing what it would actually run at the strip or if it would even survive the day. See what the Turbo 350-equipped 3.73-geared A/G-body was actually capable of.
One of the quickest cars to run in an HPP shootout is Fairport, New York-resident Jim Gnadt's tube-chassis 4-link-equipped '70 GTO, which came ready to put down mid-8-second passes thanks to a 2,715-pound race weight and a potent two-four nitrous-ingesting 462 with a sheetmetal intake of the owner's making. A Turbo 400 trans and 4.29 gears round out the package.
Cliff Ruggles showed up from Mount Vernon, Ohio, with his pride-and-joy '73 Ventura and an armload of parts to swap and tune at the track. A rolling testbed for his company, Cliff's Q-Jet, it's fortified with a 469, a Turbo 400, and a 3.42 rear. The leaf-sprung X-body had been known to run mid-11s at the time of the shootout. What would it do on this day?
The average temperature during our shootout was 92 degrees, while relative humidity checked in at 47 percent. The density altitude figure of 3,900 feet is used to project these Pontiacs' potential at sea level under perfect conditions.
A factor of 0.9523 for e.t. and 1.0507 for trap speed is employed for the best pass only (based on e.t.) in the Strip Tuning Log. (Multiply the e.t. or mph by its factor to convert the other runs.)