Any of us who have owned a Pontiac for an extended period know that it ultimately becomes a member of the family. And while some owners decide to sell their Pontiacs to buy others when their tastes change or when the methods by which they want to enjoy them change, people like Chad Ely, owner of this month's cover car '65 LeMans, keeps it and instead reinvents its character.
I have said more than once in HPP, if you are planning to buy a project for a specific reason, try to get one that is as close to your intended goal as possible. For instance, a stripped shell and chassis may be a good starting point for a race car, but it isn't for a concours restoration. Too many original parts are missing to make it economically feasible unless the car is incredibly rare and valuable.
This situation, however, is completely different. You already own the Pontiac and you originally built it for a certain purpose-cruiser, show car, race car, Pro Street, Pro Touring, and so on. Though you are ready for a change, you still want to keep your Pontiac, as it holds many great memories, as Chad's did for him. So you decide to perform different mods that reflect the new way you choose to enjoy your Pontiac. As long as it has not been cut up too much or too heavily modified in the opposite direction already, you will probably be cash ahead by doing it this way, because you don't have to sell one car and then search for another.
The familiarity you already have with your current Pontiac is a huge advantage when it comes to planning for its new purpose. You know its strengths and weaknesses, and can work to exploit the former and correct the latter. You can take your Pontiac's new theme as far as your imagination and wallet will allow. Just change the look? Just change the drivetrain? The suspension? The wheels, tires, and brakes? Do whatever makes you happy and achieve the appearance and performance and/or comfort that you want.
If the changes are dramatic, people who know your ride will be impressed. Because, unlike a project car you bring home on a trailer and build in the garage, they have seen your Pontiac over the years on the racetrack, show field, or street, so they too have recollections of it to draw from when they see its latest transformation. Another positive aspect is that you retain the bragging rights of owning your Pontiac for a long time, but can also enjoy the feeling of driving it and thinking of it as a new-to-you machine because of the updates you made.
You still have time before the 2013 show/race season to decide if you would like to treat your Pontiac to an attitude adjustment. Mild or wild, it may put even more Pontiac excitement into your future exploits behind the wheel.
In Other News
In "Big Blue Bonne," the '61 Bonneville story in the March '13 issue of HPP, I stated, "Its 123-inch wheelbase was 4-inches longer than the Catalina and Ventura, and it was all added between the door and rear wheelwell opening to offer more rear-seat passenger room." That statement is true, but I should have finished the thought by adding the fact that the Bonneville body is 7-inches longer overall (217 inches) than the Catalina (210 inches). So an additional 3 inches were added with an extended trunk, requiring a longer trunk floor, decklid, and quarter-panels than the Cat.
In this month's Motorhead Gear, you'll see that FAST has a new EZ-EFI unit. This issue we also have Part 2 of "Fuel Injection Interjection," which covers the testing of the currently offered EZ-EFI system. FAST has told HPP that the new system is not a replacement for the original. It is, in fact, an addition to the line, with upgrades in many areas, not the least of which are those required to handle up to 1,200 hp as compared to the current model's capacity of 600 hp. As such, it will be sold at a higher price point that has not been announced yet; the original EZ-EFI system will remain available at approximately $2,200.
Are LeMans and Tempests taking over the world? No, but they are taking over a good portion of this issue with a LeMans (GTO Tribute) on the cover, two in the HPP Pavement Pounders Shootout (one a GTO tribute), and a pair of Tempests-one a GT-37 and the other a Magnum 400 Tribute-in the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race coverage. Is that a bad thing? I certainly don't think so. These models are the unsung-hero starting points of many a great project, and are usually somewhat more economical to build than a GTO. In this economy, that's never a bad thing. So enjoy these examples, which cover sensational street performers, heavily modified strip machines, and Pure Stock run'em-on-narrow-bias-ply-street-tires-and-still-go-fast crowd-pleasers.