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Brandon's '66 Pontiac GTO

At Grand Coulee Dam with my Dad and his '51 Chevy

Times Square Pontiac sign

Near Times Square in NYC

GTO in Seattle Roadster Show

Seattle Roadster Show

Pontiac GTO 400 stroker

Pontiac GTO 400 dyno

Dyno results: 474 HP @ 5500 RPM, 534 Ft-lbs @ 4300 RPM

Mission Raceway

Brandon Racing GTO

Mission Raceway

Bremerton BOP Drags

My first car, back when I was in high school (1977), was a '64 LeMans. My second car was a '67 LeMans (I don't count the car I drove briefly inbetween these two - a '61 Comet!), so as you could imagine, I always yearned for the big brother of the LeMans - the GTO!

Years later my Dad got into old cars and bought a '51 Chevy, and started bugging me to buy a 60's era musclecar so I too could begin my second childhood. Time to buy a GTO! I started looking for the early body style of '64-'67, and was prepared to travel if needed. I looked online, found some nice possibilities, then got the idea to check the phone book. I called a few places, realized that it was a stupid idea (they're not sitting in the used-car lots), then got lucky and found this '66 nearby at Memory Lane Motors.

I bought it in August of 2000, just one week before I was to leave on a vacation to Lake Chelan in Eastern Washington. Of course I wanted to drive my new car. I did the usual things to get it ready: oil change, lube the front end, check the tire pressures, etc. The day before I was to leave I thought I'd adjust the clutch freeplay. When I took a look at the clutch fork push rod (photo), my heart sank. Where the hell am I going to find a replacement? I don't want to break down in the middle of nowhere! I called around, and the best I could find was Kirkland Pontiac, who said they could have the part in on Monday. Cool, but that would be too late. I kept calling, was about to give up, and then tried Evergreen Musclecar. They had the part in stock. Lake Chelan here we come!

A few years later my 389 was showing its age - burning oil, etc, so I decided to get it rebuilt. Because it's numbers-matching, I decided instead to pull it and buy a Pontiac 400 (much more plentiful) to rebuild. I found a 400 for $100 and took it to Dave Bisschop of SD Performance up in Canada. He's known as one of the top Pontiac engine builders in North America, so I knew I was in good hands. We decided to stroke the 400 out to 461 cubes and selected a solid lifter cam with duration of 256/262 at .050" lift. Dave ported my 6X heads to flow 240 CFM. The CR is a pump-gas friendly 9.5:1. The dyno rated this bad boy at 474 HP at 5500 RPM and 534 ft-lbs of torque at 4300 RPM.

Now that I could go, I needed to stop, so I installed a front disc brake conversion kit. While I was at it I replaced the ball joints, springs, bushings, tie-rod ends, center link, etc. The steering really tightened up as a result, and it was really nice to not have to plan in advance to stop.

To eliminate the maddening wheel-hop, I boxed the rear control arms and replaced the bushings. While I was at it I replaced the stock 10-bolt rear end with a 12-bolt built by Bill Scribner. It is slightly narrowed and running Moser axles and weld-on C-clip eliminators. I went with highway-friendly 3.31 gearing and love it. Not great at the track, but the drop in RPM on the highway is a relief!

The graph below shows the results of a chassis dyno tune done recently by Alex at Carburator Connection in Kirkland. Run 1 (red line) is the baseline. You can see that when I first floored it, it went really lean until the vacuum seconaries started to kick in. So we richened up the primary jets, make a few more runs, richened up a little more, then did run number 7 (blue).

Now the lean spike is under control, but the torque is not responding as hoped. Alex advances the timing about 5 degrees, and Run 8 shows a nice improvement. Good to go!

Chassis Dyno Results


Specs
Purchased:August, 2000
Color:Burgandy
Engine:Pontiac 400, stroked to 461 ci
Cam:Solid lifter
Tranny:Stock Muncie M20 wide ratio
Rear end:Narrowed 12-Bolt with hiway 3.31 gears and Moser axles
Brakes:Upgraded to Disc in front, dual master cylinder
Rear rims, tire size:Radir Tri Ribb III 15x8, 4.5in backspace, 255/60
Front rims, tire size:Radir Tri Ribb III 15x7, 4in backspace, 235/60
Horsepower:474 HP @ 5500 RPM
Torque:534 Ft/Lbs @ 4300 RPM
Credits
Engine:SD Performance
Transmission:Accutran Transmissions
Rear end:Scribner Welding

Related

My first car: '64 Pontiac Le Mans
Father and Son Showdown
More Cars of the 1960s
More Pontiac Coverage

277 car nuts gave this a thumbs-up. Do you? Thumbs-up


Comments

fjr340gts on Aug 8, 2008 said:

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!! Owning a super looking car, and NOT being afraid to take it out on the dragstrip!! That's great!!

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Sptsmn on Jun 20, 2009 said:

Brandon,

Appreciate your comments on my 72 Charger. That's a terrific car you've got there. GTO was my second choice over Chargers. Bought mine in 1978...2nd owner. Keep it rolling and looking good.

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Doc on Jun 29, 2011 said:

Brandon, thanks for the comment on my Bel Air. I'm diggin the GTO. I know what you mean about doing an engine swap. Mine does not have the stock motor, but it does have a very desirable '67 L79 with a power glide that are showing their age. It would be very easy to find a crate engine and 350 turbo, but I love the 2 speed and 327 combo, and hate to be stuck with a cookie cutter 350-350 like lots of others.

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Doc on Jun 29, 2011 said:

When 2nd gear hits and you push all three carbs wide open, you have to ask yourself the question, do I really want to go faster?

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ghpcnm on Jul 3, 2011 said:

Brandon...Thanks for the compliment on my Riv. I really appreciate it. For some reason, I had missed seeing your GOAT until you posted. YOU HAVE ONE BEAUTIFUL & POWERFUL CAR. My first car was a '64 GTO, 389, 4spd. Like so many others, I wish I still had it.

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Brandon on Jul 10, 2011 said:

Thanks Dave! My first car was a '64 LeMans.

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OhioT on Jul 3, 2011 said:

Excellent! Goats rule

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RonRRC on Oct 28, 2011 said:

I always loved the GTO, 67 my favorite one and this is a real nice 66!!! Love the color...

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C5CHICK on Dec 31, 2011 said:

Thanks for the comment. The paintjob started small then got a life of its own. Let my friend have his way with the car. Hooking up isnt to bad with drag radials and my tration control on. Thats one beautiful Pontiac GTO you have there.Nice to see other people out there enjoying their rides. No one ever believes me when I tell them the mileage I have on mine.

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miamimtg on Nov 3, 2012 said:

What wheel and tire combo is that ..I want to improve my 66 GTO. Which springs did you put in ..yours sits great.

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Brandon on Nov 5, 2012 said:

Thanks! I have 255/60 15" on the back and 235/60 15" on the front. Rims are Radir Tri Ribb (www.radirwheels.com). The front springs are for a convertible. I'd rather lower it about 1", but I was tired of scraping my headers. Please post your GTO!

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miamimtg on Nov 5, 2012 said:

The back sits up-a-little which I like, are those stock springs? The fronts being convertible sit lower? What offset and backspace are the wheels? [..hmm how do I post my GTO pics hmm..]

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Brandon on Nov 13, 2012 said:

I'm not sure if the back springs are stock, but the back is a little high because I have air bags in the springs. I needed the air bags to keep the driveshaft loop from getting hit by the driveshaft.

Convertible springs make it sit higher (convertibles are heavier).

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miamimtg on Nov 5, 2012 said:

..boy I wish you would teach me: I'd like to copy for my 66 Goat your dyno tune, your suspension, and many of your set-ups - but I'm in Miami and have no idea who could do what you know how to do..

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pauleysnova on Nov 18, 2012 said:

Have always liked GTO s I used to be a painter at a Pontiac dealership in the 80s and 90s I have worked on a few. Have never had the privilege of owning one.

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TOXIC on Jan 15, 2013 said:

Your car is a true "American Muscle" machine! 66' is best GTO ever produced!

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65_Goat_Lover on Jan 15, 2013 said:

Great car, and very impressive Dyno results, kudos!

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Anonymous on Jan 30, 2015 said:

Beautiful Car, Brandon. I have a very simular car and was wondering if you could tell me what size tires you run and size and back space on the wheels. You are driving my very favorite car..Rich from Michigan

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Brandon on Feb 3, 2015 said:

Thanks, Rich! I added the size info to the spec table above. Note that my rear end is not stock. I think the tires and wheels fit OK before I changed the rear end, but don't remember for sure.

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azmusclecar on Feb 4, 2015 said:

Funny how things run similar in another person's life. I just bought a 1966 Pontiac Tempest that MAY become a GTO...someday. Right now it has the OHC 6 in it and I'm having fun with it's uniqueness. I had a 1965 COMET as my first "muscle car". I'm happy with my new 66 Tempest and I love everything you did to your ride Brandon. I hope someday to have my ride as nice as yours! Thanks for posting all the info pertaining to your ride. It helps us who haven't reached that level............................YET!

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Brandon on Feb 6, 2015 said:

Thanks, Rob! Your '66 Tempest running an OHC-6 is unique, and you have the 'Vette to go fast!

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keith on Apr 11, 2015 said:

Sweet ride Brandon I love goats my best friend had a 66 when we were kids boy do we miss that car! I also love the color scheme you have Burgundy is my favorite color ,Just make sure to keep her right side up ok signed Drlaguna.

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nickmon4321 on Apr 23, 2015 said:

...Luv all the cars shown above and just luv all the comments posted which proves American Torque is a great all around car club..Thanks Brandon and Dick W for keeping it alive and well.!!!...Nick

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Brandon on Apr 26, 2015 said:

Thank YOU Nick!

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nickmon4321 on Apr 24, 2015 said:

...Also you will notice that it was the Pontiac that I borrowed a side molding from in order to separate the car colors when I sprayed 19 coats to my '49 Chevy back in 1954...Nick

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Brandon on Apr 26, 2015 said:

Cool, Nick, I didn't notice that at first!

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Warrior on Jun 1, 2015 said:

Tons of excellent information for others looking to squeeze out a bit more performance. The tail lights on the 66 were a styling triumph in my opinion. Gorgeous Goat!

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Brandon on Nov 14, 2015 said:

Thanks, Warrior, much appreciated! (I cannot believe that I didn't notice this until just now!)

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azmusclecar on Nov 12, 2015 said:

Just wanted to say I approve (not that it matters much) of the new choices for the cars for featured members rides. You do such nice work.

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Brandon on Nov 14, 2015 said:

Thanks, Rob! The toughest part is picking 4 from the many awesome rides posted on this site!

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