Ultimate Pontiac GTO Picture Site for the 1964 through 1974 G.T.O. Goats!  All with thumbnail images.
The Ultimate Pontiac GTO Picture Site By Sean Mattingly. There's no bigger GTO image collection anywhere!

[an error occurred while processing this directive]



Let's do a frame-off on a 1969 GTO hardtop     In words and pictures.

Exclusive logo
This is a rare treat. This is probably the first web site EVER to show you step-by-step how to do a frame-off restoration on a GTO. And most people would agree that car magazines only scratch the surface of this lengthy subject with their black-and-white photos. Dan Zabetakis (DAN@cbmse.nrl.navy.mil) shows us the guts of his 1969 GTO in living color. He's two years into the restoration, and totally blew his estimated cost of $22,000. The current running total is $56,000. He tells us in his own words - how he did it...

Page: 1 2 3 4 [ 5 ]  

CLICK-> 69 resto pic #121 As Dr. Frankenstein said: "It Lives!" Here we have the engine running. I learned two things on this day. First, that a 502 with dual 3" exhaust is a very loud engine. Second, a carburated engine not fully tuned is extremely noxious. The fumes were unbearable. After about 5 minutes, my eyes were watering. The noise needs some description. It is loud, yes, a sort of pulsating throbbing drum. It is deep too, and sort of envelops you. But it is a clean sound. American Grafitti, Little GTO, let's-hit-the-bricks sort of sound. The initial roar when the engine starts up is quite gratifying.

In the picture can be seen several modifications that were necessary. Most obvious is the steel braided hose. The hose and 4 fittings cost over $200. We used braided hose because the oil line goes quite close to the headers. The oil filter relocation was necessary but unexpected. It is another of those things that is very amusing when you are way over budget already. Between the headers, the frame, and the engine there is very little room. It is possible to unscrew the filter, but not to remove it. I used Chevelle Dynomax painted headers, which were the cheapest "big" headers available. We took the opportunity to relocate the oil filter to a more convenient location. We put it where the battery was, which has been moved to the trunk.

Also visible is the alternator. Mark VI engines have the alternator and A/C units reversed from where they were on older GM products. In order to keep the original configuration we had to use some special brackets. Several different options were tried, without success. The aftermarket alternator bracket that we used had a pretty poor fit, and Dave had to modify it.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #122 The driver's side inner fender well was modified to accept the oil filter. A small housing was fabricated to protect the filter from debris coming off the road or tire and still allow easy access from the front underside of the car. The hole for the filter can be seen at the right of the image. The fender wells and brake booster were painted body color.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #123 The trunk lid is painted solid white. No defect from the repair around the key is noticeable.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #124 The hood design of the Royal Bobcat is very striking. I think it is even more so when done in orange and white. White is a very good color for the hood scoops because it really brings out the shadows and highlights, and makes them more visible. I'm very pleased with the hood.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #125 The brake system gets powered up. I have to say that I did not notice before that the master cylinder sticks up in the air like that in a GTO. Looks a bit silly, really. Plastic sheeting was placed over the engine and frame to protect the paint from the brake fluid. I cracked Dave up when we went to bleed the brakes by asking which pedal is the brake and which is the clutch? I thought it was a perfectly reasonable question. I never drove a manual before, so there is no excuse for laughing at me.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #126 The trunk lid is installed, and you can see how the rear will be all white. This reminds me that we have not yet done anything about the tail light bezels.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #127 The exhaust system is installed. These are the same Flowmasters 40 series visible in picture 8. I think the mufflers are principally responsible for the quality of the exhaust sound. They are also responsible for the noise heard inside the car too. The resinstallation required cutting a couple inches off the pipes due to the different headers. There was talk of putting in an H-pipe, but I think we will wait on that due to the cost. I may upgrade to coated headers at a later date, and maybe we will fit an H-pipe then.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #128 The main front-end assembly begins with the installation of the inner fenders. Note how the oil filter will be accessible from the underside.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #129 Both inner fenders are installed. The orange and black motif in the engine compartment will complement the orange and white exterior of the car.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #130 The last thing to go on prior to the fenders is the blower motor for the heat and A/C. On the right is the original impellor, which had nearly rusted away. The replacement is plastic.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #131 The drivers fender goes on. Dave put tape along the edges of the fender and the door to reduce the risk of paint chipping. Notice that the white striping has not be painted yet. Dave decided to leave that until the car was assembled so that the stripes will line up correctly.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #132 Hoods on. This was a very solemn moment. The car has never looked so complete before. It will look great on the street. Or should I say gr-rrreat? Nah. Anyway, we got the fenders and hood on and only chunked the paint twice. This car should terrorize people on the street. Well, it is a GTO.

CLICK-> 69 resto pic #133 At this point the car is getting very close to "done". The paint scheme is complete, and the glass is in. We had a fellow come out to install the windsheild and rear window. Only a few minor items still to be installed.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #134 When the bumper was installed it became clear that the hood design needed correction. The point needed to be made sharper so the the surrounding stripe would remain on the bumper, and not encroach on the grill area. Compare with earlier pictures of the hood.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #135 In this close-up of the bumper you can see water from the final wet-sanding of the stripes. The second refinishing of the bumper came out extremely nice with a good glassy surface.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #136 IT'S DONE! Here we are, fall of 2001. It's ready to hit the streets at last!
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #137 The other side. There is still quite a bit to be done. For example, the passager-side window regulator doesn't work properly. But that doesn't interfere with drivability.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #138 Detail of the door and fender, showing the badges and stripes. Note the custom decal used to terminate the upper stripe. We also added a passenger side mirror.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #139 The interior looks exceptionally nice. Just about everything is new. And those things that were not replaced need to be...
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #140 The headliner was also installed by a professional. We thought it best to go with someone experienced. The headliner is white, the seats are parchment, and the carpet, dash and most of the trim are black.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #141 The dash cluster looks just right. And that's a new Grant steering wheel.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #142 The engine is running strong and looking good. No A/C. No heat. Manual steering. We will probably not continue with the original A/C unit. I may later install Vintage Air system.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #143 Here's the front. I very much prefer the standard headlights to the hideaway version. This is the view of a GTO that Mustang drivers only get briefly.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #144 Underside view of the headers, exhaust and that wazoo Richmond 6-speed. I thought I busted the transmission on Thanksgiving 2001, but it was only the linkages rattling loose. It turns out that the 6-speed is rated to 450 lb-ft of torque. The 502 engine however is listed as 567 lb-ft. There is a danger of breaking the transmission, but in street tires there is little chance of getting the full torque to the wheels.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #145 The Holley fuel pump is tucked in beside the frame rail behind the rear seats. It makes noise. A lot of noise. It is really irritating. Soemthing to worry about in the future.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #146 Here is the front underside of the engine, showing the Moroso oil pan, the pulleys, and parts of the front suspension. Looks good, but for a driven car you can't keep this part clean.
CLICK-> 69 resto pic #147 Close-up of the custom sticker. It says "Gran Tourismo Omologato" which answers the ubiquitous question of "What does GTO mean?" The design is similar to the old Royal Bobcat sticker, which goes with the overall paint scheme. Note how the letters lean back with the force of acceleration!

Page: 1 2 3 4 [ 5 ]  

Support this web site by buying your GTO and other Pontiac restoration books in our big "GTO Bookstore" section here.
Or, here are some good engine and chassis detailing books. Just hit the GO button...
Search by keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com

Return to the GTO Frame-Off Table of contents
Go bookmark the main GTO section to see All the latest changes.
Send Sean some positive comments, GTO pictures, or flames.


Here's a comment from a recent visitor...
[an error occurred while processing this directive]