Rarely do we see an original 1969 GTO exhaust system, particularly one that is still in excellent, working condition.
This low-mile Ram Air IV convertible with Turbo 400 automatic transmission was in storage for many years in a dry San Fernando Valley, California, garage. It was ordered by a Vietnam vet who lost both legs during the war. When he recovered and returned to Los Angeles, he wanted to start drag racing, and had the Goat equipped with shifting and throttle hand controls mounted on the steering column. He raced regularly at the San Fernando dragstrip until his physical condition deteriorated and the car sat in his garage. It was brought back to life by the current owner and is now enjoyed regularly.
According to published manufacturing numbers, only 14 R/A-IV automatic convertibles were built. The R/A-IV engine code is XP and the Turbo 400 code is PQ. The vehicle underwent a complete on-frame restoration, and the pipes, mufflers, and resonators have been retained for originality. Even the original U-clamps were reused where possible.
Here’s the factory diagram of the complete R/A-IV exhaust system with the original nomencl
Any owner of an original 1969 Ram Air GTO would love to have this system. Besides the pipe diameters, the only difference between a four-gear and automatic is the resonators. They only came on auto-trans–equipped cars. The pipes were covered with surface rust, so the system was removed from the car and wire wheeled, then painted with Eastwood high-heat exhaust paint. The mufflers and resonators were left as is. (The way to tell an original headpipe is there is a slight flattening of the tubing as it passes under the front crossmember. It's a small bottleneck and an indicator the pipe is original. Replacement muffler-shop tubing does not have this crimp, although some restoration suppliers add this alteration to their systems.)
This roaring Tiger's mufflers were two different lengths, as shown in the photographs. The shorter of the two is the left hand or driver side (No. 9798592) and the longer (No. 9798591) is the passenger side. What looks like a rust hole on the shorter muffler is actually lube from the U-joint. Notice the mufflers are not welded to the pipes, but secured with U-clamps.
The parts book indicates that the mufflers used on the GTO were different part numbers than those used on the LeMans or Tempest models, which would make sense! Another difference is the manual-transmission R/A-IV GTOs use 2.25-inch-od pipes, while the auto-transmission ones used 2-inch-od pipes, thus requiring different part numbers for those mufflers.
The dual resonators were used only on the automatic transmission cars in 1969 and carried PN 9797124. The exhaust tip is part of the resonator, and additional frame hangers were required for the resonators. The accompanying factory diagram lists all the original system information and part numbers.
It's not uncommon to find original head pipes on Southern California GTOs, but factory mufflers or resonators are usually long gone from internal rust caused by condensation. This is a relatively rare find and fun to see.
This image shows all the various manufacturers codes and the Pontiac PN 9797124 embossed o
Here’s the complete resonator assembly on the passenger side. We’re not exactly sure why t
The original mufflers still function fine, and the 45-year-old patina and part numbers ver