For all who asked for more 400s, you are certainly getting your fill of them in this shootout series-and the latest installment is no exception, as we have a 9-second 400 '65 GTO, an 11-second 400 '73 Ventura, and a 10-second 400 '69 Firebird. Just to keep all those 400s honest, we also have a 455-powered '70 GTO convertible. So let's meet this month's contestants who, thanks to Virginia Motorsports Park management and Jim Zeek at Pontiacs In the Park, had a great track on which to race in our Pontiac Pavement Pounders Shootout.
James Emory's '65 GTO is a serious race car. The Matoaca, Virginia-based Goat packs a 400 that has grown to 447 cubes thanks to a 0.040 overbore and a custom 4.100-inch stroke crank. A Jerico five-speed and a 4.56-geared Dana distribute the power to the wheels to move the back-halfed lightweight down the 1,320 in the low 9s. But will the track conditions allow that today?
Joe And Josh Maguire, a father-and-son team from Fourmile, Kentucky, arrived with a '73 Ventura stuffed with a 0.030-over 400 and backed by a built Turbo 350 and 4.10 rear. Sporting enough fiberglass body parts to make a Vette blush and stripped of every item not absolutely necessary to go fast, the X-body was poised for low 11s. Did it get there?
Tom Fredericks' Wheeling, West Virginia-based '69 Bird showed what can be done with an iron-headed 0.040 400 in a 3,260-pound '69 Bird and lots of know-how. With a Turbo 350, a 5,000-rpm converter, and 4.33 gears, the F-body was willing-but 10s? See what happens.
Rich Dwin came in from Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, to represent the 455 contingent with his '70 GTO convertible. His 0.030 mill feeds power through a Turbo 400 and a 4.11-geared rear. But will the fact that his is the only pump-gas motor and the heaviest Pontiac of the bunch affect its performance, or will another gremlin surface?
On race day, the thermometer read 72 degrees and the barometer 29.3 hg. Humidity was 43.1 percent and a strong 9- to 12-mph headwind (somewhat side too) was blowing. Our measured density altitude reading was approximately 2,300 feet, which was used to project these Pontiacs' potential at sea level under perfect conditions. A factor of 0.9731 for e.t. and 1.0283 for trap speed was 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.)