#1  
Old 08-11-2019, 02:12 AM
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Default 71 GTO Hardtop. Finally...

Well Gents,

After searching off and on for a couple of years now, I finally found the 71 GTO Hardtop I've been wanting. Another 09A build (like my 71 GTO Convertible project), and only about 300 VIN's apart. While both bodies were built in the same week, they were both caught in limbo during the Sept-Nov 1970 UAW strike. Eventually however, both shipped from the Pontiac plant on exactly the same date in early December. That's serendipity to me.

Quick breakdown on her: Base 400/400 column shift car, Quezal Gold, White Vinyl, and Jade Green interior. Certainly not a color combo high on most guys' lists, but I think she's absolutely beautiful! She's pure 1971 with that look.

Options include A/C, PS, PDB, Soft Ray windshield, sport mirrors, Rally II's, trunk light, and not much else. She's the right base from which to build my perfect daily driver. The original block is long gone, and while the current NOM 400 runs fine, I have a date correct 455 block and set of #66 heads I'll eventually build and install. Also, having fallen in luv with daily driving an M-13 (3 speed) in my 72 LeMans GT the last 6 years, I searched for and found a spare M-13 that will be installed in this girl along the way too. Other mechanicals will be tended to as needed, but the important thing is that the body work is already in what I call decent "driver" quality condition. It should be many years before I have to think about paint/body again. And though she looks beautiful in the pics and from a few feet away, she's not a show car and that's exactly what I was after. I simply wanted a good looking driver that I'm not afraid to drive regularly.

I found the car out in Illinois, so as I am want to do, I flew out to pick her up and drove her back here to AZ. The only casualties of the trip were one bad coil, one bad fuel pump, and a lost wheel center cap. To me, that's not too bad for a 2 day/2 night, 7 state, 1700 mile adventure in an unknown car. I bought her to drive, and that's just what I did and what I intend to keep doing.

I've attached a couple pictures of this great trip last week. Along the way, I met up with my brother (and my old 74 Bonne) in Springfield, MO, stopped during daylight hours at the TX and NM borders, and finished up with a final fuel stop in Flagstaff, AZ before getting home. What an adventure!

I am blessed and happy beyond what I deserve!
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__________________
Eric "Todd" Mitten

Drivers:
'67 GTO Coupe ("Birthday" 455/ST-10)
'67 Tempest Wagon (Stock 428/TH400)
'71 GTO Hardtop (400/TH400)
'72 LeMans GT (Mild 455/M-13)

Project:
‘71 GTO Convertible (full resto and 455 HO in the works)

Deuteronomy 8:3
  #2  
Old 08-11-2019, 06:38 AM
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Kurt L71S Kurt L71S is offline
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Todd, What a nice score! Hat's off to you for flying in and driving her home...what a great way to get to know her....Really QT!!
Congrats...

Kurt
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Kurt L71S....1971 LeMans Sport Coupe 350/TH350
  #3  
Old 08-11-2019, 08:51 AM
skipp65 skipp65 is offline
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That’s awesome. Good for you, I would love to do that someday.
  #4  
Old 08-11-2019, 08:53 AM
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Congrats on the "new" 71. What a way to get personal with your car ! That's a big trip, Glad you both made it home !
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  #5  
Old 08-11-2019, 10:03 AM
Pepper Judge Pepper Judge is offline
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Great Road Trip.

Did you have tools for the repairs or did you stop along the way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Pontiac View Post

I found the car out in Illinois, so as I am want to do, I flew out to pick her up and drove her back here to AZ. The only casualties of the trip were one bad coil, one bad fuel pump, and a lost wheel center cap. To me, that's not too bad for a 2 day/2 night, 7 state, 1700 mile adventure in an unknown car. I bought her to drive, and that's just what I did and what I intend to keep doing.
  #6  
Old 08-11-2019, 11:59 AM
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OCMDGTO OCMDGTO is offline
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Very nice car and you are really bold to drive an unknown car that far. Well done!
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69 GTO 467, 850 Holley, T2, Edelbrock Dport 310cfm w Ram Air manifolds, HFT 245/251D .561/.594L, T400, 9" w 3.50s 3930lbs 12.10 @ 111, 1.76 60' still tweaking

The spare/old combo: 400 w 16 Heads, 750 Holley, T2, Comp HR 236/242D, 520/540L, RA manifolds, T400 w 3500 stall, 9" w 3.50, 3950 lbs, best of 12.93 @ 104
  #7  
Old 08-11-2019, 08:03 PM
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Mister Pontiac Mister Pontiac is offline
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Thanks for the kudos everyone. She sure is a sweetie to me, and I had a blast bringing her home. Now I have to tend to the regular tune up items, and get her registered, then the fun can (legally) continue!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepper Judge View Post
Did you have tools for the repairs or did you stop along the way?
I did both. I always carry a tool bag and a few spare parts with me in the car(s), and this was no exception. I brought my tool bag from home, and the seller was extremely helpful. He threw in the spare fuel pump, and a spare (Chinese) HEI. Fortunately, the coil died at the first fuel stop (that one surprised me a little), so the seller brought me out a spare he had in his stash. I swapped it there at the pump, and she roared back to life. Off I went.

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere TX the next day, she started vapor locking a bit, so I took the first exit and (forutnately) there was a local auto parts store, convenience store (with restaurant), and shade tree all right there. After a couple hours of maintenance and two walks over to the auto parts store, I was back on the road late afternoon.

I've done enough road trips now that I have a pretty good handle on the weak points of these cars during long hauls. There are only a few things that will really stop you, so I tend to either start off with those spares in the trunk, or stop at a local Napa or the like and pick up what I need as I go. If a big failure occurs (trans, windowed block, etc...), there's precious little you can do to prepare, so those you just deal with if they ever occur. But my experience tells me they are very rare occurrences (only ever lost one trans in 30 years, and never destroyed an engine on a road trip).

So for me, the list looks something like this: Aside from my tool bag (hand tools and a timing light/dwell meter/vacuum gauge), I try to have a spare (big can) fuel pump, section of fuel hose, starter solenoid, set of points, and a couple plugs and wires. Q-jet fuel filter is a good idea too, but not a requirement. Carrying a spare inline filter, a section of fuel hose and a couple clamps is an easy (temp) fix as well.

I'm reminded of something my friend Keith Collier (mechanickeith) said years ago... "People work on their cars too much." He didn't mean that in a negative way, rather that our old cars will run and drive fine even when things aren't mechanically perfect. I've found that to be pretty accurate myself, and I remind myself regularly that we daily drove these things for years, back in the day. Nothing substantial has really changed, so why not keep doing it?

Of course the biggest (unspoken) reason these trips go so well is that I see the hand of the Lord in every one. I've seen it so many times now over the years, it's almost fun to see what the Lord will do on each journey.

I mean as I think about it, the coil dies just a few miles from where I bought the car and the seller can rush me a spare in less than an hour? And then vapor lock occurs at just the perfect exit for me to do the repairs, cool off, and eat lunch? I just don't see these as coincidences. They're divine appointments.
__________________
Eric "Todd" Mitten

Drivers:
'67 GTO Coupe ("Birthday" 455/ST-10)
'67 Tempest Wagon (Stock 428/TH400)
'71 GTO Hardtop (400/TH400)
'72 LeMans GT (Mild 455/M-13)

Project:
‘71 GTO Convertible (full resto and 455 HO in the works)

Deuteronomy 8:3
  #8  
Old 08-12-2019, 06:53 AM
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Judge273 Judge273 is offline
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Great pickup Todd! Where about in Illinois was it?

Hopefully, when I'm in Arizona visiting my parents in January I'll see you cruising...

Great place to have a daily driver!
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Mike/Illinois
  #9  
Old 08-12-2019, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judge273 View Post
Great pickup Todd! Where about in Illinois was it?

Hopefully, when I'm in Arizona visiting my parents in January I'll see you cruising...

Great place to have a daily driver!
Thanks Mike! I picked it up in southern IL. Small town called Anna. PHS says it sold new in Pinckneyville, just a few miles up the road from there. I'm assuming it was a local car there in southern IL all of its life.

Seller tells me he bought it a couple years ago off a collector nearby who had it in a storage building since the early 80's. He told me it had a cracked block with a spun timing chain (hello nylon gear teeth) when he bought it. 109K on the car when I picked it up, so I'd imagine that's a fairly accurate history.

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Eric "Todd" Mitten

Drivers:
'67 GTO Coupe ("Birthday" 455/ST-10)
'67 Tempest Wagon (Stock 428/TH400)
'71 GTO Hardtop (400/TH400)
'72 LeMans GT (Mild 455/M-13)

Project:
‘71 GTO Convertible (full resto and 455 HO in the works)

Deuteronomy 8:3
  #10  
Old 08-12-2019, 10:54 PM
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OVERULD OVERULD is offline
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I love it Todd! Great car with a cool and unusual color combo. My 71 has the Jade Green interior and it grows on you. I love driving it too. Back in 2009 I drove it from Atlanta to Dayton, OH for the Co-Vention. Only casualty was the brake master cylinder. The car rode really well and it was a fun trip. Enjoy your new ride in good health!

BJ
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1974 Formula 455 I Owned in 1975-1976. Now Own Its Twin From Same Dealership

  #11  
Old 08-13-2019, 01:32 AM
Mister Pontiac's Avatar
Mister Pontiac Mister Pontiac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVERULD View Post
I love it Todd! Great car with a cool and unusual color combo. My 71 has the Jade Green interior and it grows on you. I love driving it too. Back in 2009 I drove it from Atlanta to Dayton, OH for the Co-Vention. Only casualty was the brake master cylinder. The car rode really well and it was a fun trip. Enjoy your new ride in good health!

BJ
Thanks BJ! Yes, I've silently drooled over your 71 since the first time I saw pictures of it when you owned it the first time. Heck, I still drool over it.

Always hoped for a Jade interior myself in a 71, and so happy that I now (finally) have one too! But I am kinda partial to shades of green. My 67 GTO is Cameo Ivory/Turquoise, and I've been in luv with that combo since I bought it 27 years ago.
__________________
Eric "Todd" Mitten

Drivers:
'67 GTO Coupe ("Birthday" 455/ST-10)
'67 Tempest Wagon (Stock 428/TH400)
'71 GTO Hardtop (400/TH400)
'72 LeMans GT (Mild 455/M-13)

Project:
‘71 GTO Convertible (full resto and 455 HO in the works)

Deuteronomy 8:3
  #12  
Old 08-14-2019, 10:23 PM
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OVERULD OVERULD is offline
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Todd,
Is that the original carpet in the car? It looks like a different shade than what is in mine. When I had it the first time, I bought a new carpet for it but didn’t put it in. It was a darker green and I decided the one in the car looked better. I still have that carpet if you are interested. I have a few other Jade Green interior parts as well.

BJ
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1974 Formula 455 I Owned in 1975-1976. Now Own Its Twin From Same Dealership

  #13  
Old 08-16-2019, 06:46 AM
Mister Pontiac's Avatar
Mister Pontiac Mister Pontiac is offline
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BJ, good eye! The carpet was replaced by the seller a year or two back, and unfortunately, it's not the correct color (as you noted), or even the correct type (it's cut pile, not loop). My plan is to replace it with the correct style and color at some point in the near future, probably when I convert the car to a manual. For the time being, I'll be sorting out other mechanicals on the car, but the carpet is indeed on my radar.

Feel free to PM me about your carpet kit and the other jade interior pieces. I may be interested! Thanks!
__________________
Eric "Todd" Mitten

Drivers:
'67 GTO Coupe ("Birthday" 455/ST-10)
'67 Tempest Wagon (Stock 428/TH400)
'71 GTO Hardtop (400/TH400)
'72 LeMans GT (Mild 455/M-13)

Project:
‘71 GTO Convertible (full resto and 455 HO in the works)

Deuteronomy 8:3
  #14  
Old 08-16-2019, 02:52 PM
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unruhjonny unruhjonny is offline
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very cool find!

I was thinking this was all cool before I read of your road trip or this:

Quote:
Also, having fallen in luv with daily driving an M-13 (3 speed) in my 72 LeMans GT the last 6 years, I searched for and found a spare M-13 that will be installed in this girl along the way too.
Where did you find your spare Muncie three speed?
My car is a way off from being driven, but everyone I have spoken to who drove a Muncie three speed car said something akin to thinking it was near perfect...

If you happen to stumble across more of them, please pass on the word (because of this).

I whole heartedly agree with this:
Quote:
Of course the biggest (unspoken) reason these trips go so well is that I see the hand of the Lord in every one. I've seen it so many times now over the years, it's almost fun to see what the Lord will do on each journey.

I mean as I think about it, the coil dies just a few miles from where I bought the car and the seller can rush me a spare in less than an hour? And then vapor lock occurs at just the perfect exit for me to do the repairs, cool off, and eat lunch? I just don't see these as coincidences. They're divine appointments.
The last time I did something such as yourself, I flew in to Fresno California to buy my Grand Am;
According to google maps, it's a little over 1,400 miles, but I took the scenic route, so I added several hundred miles along the way - All I can say is that the Pacific Coast Highway north of San Fran is gorgeous...
__________________
1970 Formula 400
Carousel Red on black (std) interior
1:286 W66/L78/M13 or 1:301 W66/M13
(likely one of very few '70 M13 Formulas still existing)

1991 Grand Am: 14.4 @ 93.7mph (DA corrected) (retired DD, stock appearing)
2009 Cobalt SS: 13.9 @ 103mph (DA 3078ft) (current DD; makes aprox 300hp & 350ft/lbs)
Luke 23: 39-43 / Ephesians 2: 8-9 / 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 / 2 Timothy 3:1-5;12
  #15  
Old 08-16-2019, 06:03 PM
Mister Pontiac's Avatar
Mister Pontiac Mister Pontiac is offline
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Thanks Johnny. I appreciate the comments!

I found my spare M-13 on Craigslist in Denver last year while doing one of my usual searches for (a running list of) things Pontiac. My head (and browser) is always on the hunt for things that I may have need of now, or will have need for in the future. So when this one popped up, I had a friend pick it up for me, and then I picked it from him earlier this summer while I was visiting Colorado in my 72 GT.

I think Preston (thepontiacman) here on PY had one for sale a year or two back as well. Maybe he still does?

And yes, the PCH north of San Fran is phenomenal.
__________________
Eric "Todd" Mitten

Drivers:
'67 GTO Coupe ("Birthday" 455/ST-10)
'67 Tempest Wagon (Stock 428/TH400)
'71 GTO Hardtop (400/TH400)
'72 LeMans GT (Mild 455/M-13)

Project:
‘71 GTO Convertible (full resto and 455 HO in the works)

Deuteronomy 8:3
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