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I’m 74 years old and lived in Connecticut for 35 years before moving to Florida in 2021. I have always loved classic cars, particularly the 1966 Pontiac GTO. In 1971 I had an opportunity to purchase one from a friend, a 389 Tri-Power with 4-speed transmission. It didn’t take me long to realize the engine was tired, so I had it rebuilt. A couple of months later I got up to go to work and found that my car was gone. After a couple of weeks I received a call from the Rhode Island State Police that they recovered it on I-95 where it was abandoned. I collected the car, which was still drivable, brought it home and repaired a couple of minor issues. Again I got up to go to work and found my car missing. However this time it was never recovered the second time.
My passion for the GTO never waivered, and just before retiring in 2006, a person I worked with told me his cousin had a ’66 GTO he wanted to sell. After inspecting car, and the seller assuring that the recent paint job was applied to protect recent body work, I felt comfortable in purchasing the car. It wasn’t until I finally started to engage in the restoration that I realized the claims of body work were misstated; it was more like a butcher job.
I spent approximately a year replacing numerous sheet metal components: rear frame repair, deck behind rear window, trunk floor & drop-offs, two rear quarter panels, two rear outer wheel housings, outer rocker panels, two door skins, complete interior floor pan with braces, patched the sunroof, and patched lower rear front fenders. This led me to accumulating almost a full five gallon bucket of Bondo.
The car was originally a four barrel but I upgraded to a Tri-Power, 200R4 trans, Eibach coil springs, KYB shocks, and wheel disc conversion. I also added driver and passenger door power windows, vintage Crager rims with trim rings, and BF Goodrich T/A radials 205-15 FRT, 225-15 R. I had a business doing upholstery work for 20 years, so I did a custom interior with a combination of light grey and charcoal grey suede material for the door panels, quarter panels, bucket & bench seats, including headliner. Exterior paint is light metallic blue with graphite metallic accent on the tail panel, fire wall, and inner fenders under hood. This was a 13 year labor of love, I did everything myself except paint and engine rebuilding.
In April of 2023 I entered the car in my very first car show and won Best in Class.
–Michael F., Florida