The Massachusetts based Chapter of the Pontiac Oakland Club International.
Cars of the Month
June 2017:Bob Lassman’s 1963 Grand Prix
Pontiac introduced the Grand Prix for the 1962 model year. It was billed as a Personal Luxury Coupe. This was an emerging market for the Detroit automakers. It competed with the Buick Riviera and Wildcat, Oldsmobile Toronado, and Ford Thunderbird among others. The 1963 Grand Prix offered a new design that included clean body lines and stacked headlights which would be a Pontiac cue for the next 4 years. This is Bob Lassman’s ’63 GP. Originally Cameo White, it is now in the GM hue of Bright White.
The luxurious black bucket seats were standard on the GP as was the center console and vacuum gauges.
Under the hood is the original V-8 powered 389 with 4 barrel carb capable of 303 horsepower. The 3 speed automatic transmission is console shifted. Options in Bob’s car include power steering, power brakes and AM radio.
The Grand Prix combined some of the luxury appointments of Pontiacs upscale models in a sporty coupe. Dealers sold 73,000 GP’s in 1963. That’s more than double the 1962 number. Grand Prix would go on to be a staple in the Pontiac line-up until the final years of the brand existence. All totaled, it was a very nice 40+ year run for this very popular model.
May 2017:Linda and Bill Kelley’s 1970 GTO
Linda and Bill Kelley have a real “Looker” with their 1970 GTO convertible. It’s painted in a beautiful coat of Palladium Silver with a black top and black comfort weave interior.
This car is very original with a numbers matching 350 horsepower 400 motor (YS block.) It’s mated to a TH400 transmission. There’s mounds of documentation including bill of sale, protecto-plate, PHS, build sheet, and window sticker. The Kelleys even discovered an original Tiger Paw spare tire in the trunk.
This Goat was assembled at Pontiac plant and shipped to Red Holmans dealership in Wayne Michigan. It is one of 3,700+ drop top GTO’s made that year. It also has lots of goodies including power steering, power disc brakes, AM/FM radio, and a wood steering wheel.
The 14 inch redline tires on Rally II rims are a classic Pontiac look for the era. Linda and Bill purchased their GTO in 2011 from a gentleman in Ohio who owned it since 1994. He was holding on to it for his son who was sadly killed in action serving our country during one of the desert wars. It must’ve been a very difficult decision to part ways with this vehicle but he can take comfort in knowing that it’s in very good hands with Linda and Bill.
April 2017:Ned Anello’s 1966 Grand Prix
Ned Anello has quite a sweet ride with this 1966 Grand Prix. It’s wrapped in stunning Reef Turquoise with a black cordova top.
Inside is a parchment strato-bench interior with center armrest.
Powering this beauty is a 389 – 4 barrel with Turbo Hydramatic transmission generating 330 horsepower.
And there’s lots of options, including….. Power steering, power brakes, power antenna, power windows, dual exhaust, gauge cluster, AM radio with reverb, remote mirrors, soft ray glass, custom retractable seat belts, lamp package, front and rear floor mats, and Safe-T-Track differential. The custom wheel covers are mounted on 14″ white wall tires. Ned’s GP was built in the Pontiac, MI plant and was shipped to Hardin Motors in Kentucky. It’s nice to see it enjoy car shows and cruise nights in New England.
In addition to this ’66 Grand Prix, Ned also owns a ’63 GP, ’67 GTO, ’68 Bonneville, and a ’78 Bonneville.
March 2017:Steve Colacchio’s 1981 Trans Am
Steve Colacchio had a big decision to make in the Fall of 1981. He had to choose between two of the hottest cars at the time – a Chevy Corvette or Pontiac Trans Am. Most would relish a situation like this and after much thought the choice became clear. Steve went with the Trans Am, the very car you see in this story. The reason you may ask came down to a few things. According to Steve, the handling on the T/A was much better than the Vette. The fact that it was also $2,000 less sealed the deal. Case closed!
Steve took delivery of this gorgeous T/A in December of ’81 from Lee Pontiac/Olds in Fort Walton Florida near where he was stationed for his military service. He has been enjoying the ride for over 35 years. Steve’s car is a beautiful Alpine White exterior.
The interior is a special order blue velour.
Under the hood creeps a 5.0 litre, 150 horse 305 engine. Transmission is a four speed manual with 3:08 gears. Options include T-Tops, air conditioning, shaker hood, limited slip differential, front and rear defroster, soft ray glass, power antenna, power windows, and a rear spoiler. Interestingly, Steve ordered his T/A as a radio delete.
The screaming bird on the hood as well as other T/A graphics are black and silver.
At the corners are 15″ tires on rally II’s with trim rings. Being an original owner of a 35 year old car is extraordinary. For Steve, it’s been 35 years of miles and smiles as he cruises this bird throughout New England.
February 2017:Diane and Dick Krafton’s 1969 GTO
Try saying “Rare Ram Air” five times fast. This is Diane and Dick Krafton’s 1969 GTO. A numbers matching Ram Air III engine, convertible body style and a 4 speed to boot. It’s one of 249 with these options. Born out of the Baltimore, MD plant in April 1969, it was shipped to Seacrest Pontiac on the Lynnway. Dick purchased it in 1980 after seeing it in the used car rag, “The Want Ads.” For those who don’t know, “The Want Ads” are the 70’s and 80’s print version of Ebay and Craigslist.
Dick said the car was in rough shape with rotting fenders, ripped top, and a bad rapping noise in the engine among other issues. A frame off restoration was started in 1990 followed by a new paint job in 1995. Here’s what Diane and Dick have now……….A beautiful ’69 convertible in Verdoro green with tan interior and a black top. Options include hood tach, power steering, 8 track player and chrome exhaust tips. The wood wheel is a nice touch and was added at a later date.
The 400 Ram Air III is mated to a manual transmission with factory 3:55 gears. Brakes are a front disc, rear drum set up. The 14″ tires are mounted on rally II rims with trim rings.
It’s been 36 years since Dick saw that ad for a “rough” ’69 GTO and it’s great to see it enjoy a second life in such a happy home. And…….if a 69 Ram Air GTO isn’t enough, Dick informed me that he and Diane are proud new owners of a ’70 goat. More on that car in a future story.
January 2017:Cathy and Tom DuBois’ 1985 Parisienne Brougham
Style and elegance………This is Cathy and Tom DuBois’ pristine 1985 Pontiac Parisienne Brougham. It’s silver with silver velour seating and black vinyl top. The Dubois are the 4th owners of this 80’s classic which has only 49,000 miles on the odometer.
Under the hood is a 301 cube, 4.9 litre V-8. The transmission is an automatic on the column and it’s rear wheel drive.
Options include AM/FM cassette, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power antenna, power door locks, and the gauge package.
At the corners are 15 inch P225 white walls with wire wheel covers. Pontiac discontinued the Parisienne in 1986 making this car one of the last of this B body breed.
December 2016:Roger DeSaulniers 1955 Star Chief Catalina
This is Roger DeSaulniers beautiful 1955 Star Chief Catalina Custom 2 Door. Colors are a stunning Firegold and White Mist with two-tone Ivory and Copper seating. The stance looks great on those beefy bias ply wide white wall tires, spoked hubcaps, and body color painted rims.
Under the hood is the 287 cube, 200 horsepower Strato Streak V-8, the first year for this power plant. A column shifted automatic controls the gears.
Roger’s “Cat” is loaded with almost every option available in 1955 including………..6 way mechanical seats, power steering, power brakes, power windows, padded dash, AM radio with rear speaker, spoke wheels, and adjustable side view mirrors.
And of course there’s the amber lighted indian head hood ornament.
The classic Continental Kit was added at a later time. Roger’s owned this car since 1985. He’s been a long standing member of our club since 1982. In addition to the ’55, Roger also has a ’66 and ’69 Grand Prix. Thank you Roger for sharing your story with us of this outstanding car and for being such a dedicated member in what will be your 35th year with the Yankee Chapter.
November 2016:Lou Maffei’s 1977 Grand Prix
This is Lou Maffei’s stunning 1977 Grand Prix SJ in Sterling Silver Metallic with a black Landau top, black pinstripe and black Morrokide interior.
Under the hood lies the 180 hp 400 engine with 4 barrel carb. Lou is the third owner of this “A” bodied beauty having acquired it in 1991 with just 80k miles on the odometer. He immediately started the restoration process. The body was bead blasted to bare metal and new paint was applied. The chrome was polished to a mirror finish and all new rubber was installed. The engine was also tuned up and cleaned. I’ve known Lou for close to 10 years and his GP has always been in showroom condition.
And………..it has all the options including power windows, power locks, power steering, tilt wheel, rally mirrors, console, and white wall tires on rally II rims.
Heads turn at car shows and club meetings when Lou arrives in his pristine Grand Prix. It’s a beautiful car and one of the true highlights of the Pontiac brand in the 1970’s.
By looking at Lou’s car it’s no wonder why Pontiac dealers shipped over 250,000 Grand Prix in 1977.
October 2016: Joan and John Bace’s 1941 Super Streamliner Torpedo DeLuxe
No doubt if you’ve been to car shows and cruise nights in New England, you’ve seen Joan and John Bace’s 1941 Super Streamliner Torpedo Deluxe…….or more simply known as Aunt Millie. This dark grey beauty has all the styling cues of the era including fastback rear, chrome fins along the lower body, art deco Pontiac badging and the beautiful Pontiac indian head hood ornament. Let’s not omit the silver streak that runs along the bulbous hood.
The 6 cylinder flathead motor gives her some get up and go with plenty in reserve. The standard transmission is column shifted.
Aunt Millie also sports some pretty high end options including tinted glass, anti-glare rearview mirror, dual heater, split front window, and fold down armrest. Back in the day, that pushbutton AM radio came in handy to listen to the likes of The Andrew Sisters and Benny Goodman.
The 650/15 black wall tires with chrome caps enhanced by the red painted rims, give Aunt Millie a nice stance.
Aunt Millie was born in the days before the Mass Pike. The main east-west roads were The Worcester Turnpike and the Old Connecticut Path. Route 128 was hodgepodge of roads cobbled together through the cities and towns just outside of Boston. Ahhh but if Aunt Millie could talk, we know she would have lots of wonderful stories to tell of a simpler time. Fortunately for Joan and John, she has many more memories in the making.
September 2016:Paul O’Toole’s 1968 Bonneville
Talk about loaded! Paul O’Toole’s 1968 Bonneville is filled with all the goodies one would expect to find in a full size Pontiac land yacht of the era. Power steering, power brakes, power windows, power door locks, power antenna, cruise control, tilt wood wheel, safety track, tinted glass, rear window defogger, and a big ole bench seat with fold down armrest. If that’s not enough, dig the 8 lug wheels, the last year this rim was offered.
To haul all of these options as well as 6 passengers, Paul’s Bonne has the Pontiac 400 engine with 4 barrel carb. The 400 was the workhorse for PMD throughout the late 60’s.
The wood wheel is a nice touch.
The wildly popular hue of Verdoro green wraps this beauty in luxury. It’s accented by an ivory interior and a stunning white vinyl top, all original to the car.
Paul’s Bonneville was early for the model year having been assembled in New Jersey in October 1967. It was immediately shipped to Brigham Gill Pontiac in Natick, MA. This Bonne is long and lean with a pronounced chrome front bumper, huge hood and trunk, and rear skirts. Truly a sweet ride on highways or backroads.
August 2016:Eddy Echevarria’s 1957 Super Chief
This is Eddie Echevarria’s 1957 Pontiac Super Chief 4 Door Sedan. Exterior color is a stunning black with pearl side spear and lots of chrome. Duly noted are the Dagmars attached between the “toothy” grille and the humungous front bumper.
Under the hood is the 347 cube, 4 barrel engine rated at 275 hp. The Hydromatic transmission is column shifted.
The blue tri-color interior compliments the black and pearl body.
The rear bumper exhaust ports are also a very nice touch. 14 inch wide white wall tires with full wheel covers adorn the corners. Even though the Super Chief was the “up” model to the popular Chieftain, this is a “No Frills” ride – No Air Conditioning, No Power Steering and No Power Brakes. Eddie’s car is a beautiful example of Pontiac styling and performance in the years prior to the Widetrack era.
July 2016:Phil Guerra’s and Jack Day’s 1962 Tempest LeMans
Pontiac’s entry into the burgeoning compact car market occurred in the 1961 model year with the introduction of the Tempest.
The Tempest offered a unique rear drive train, four wheel independent suspension, roomy interior, and economical gas mileage (20 mpg.) The removal of the “center hump” enabled 6 passenger comfort with more leg room. Just some of the many reasons that the Tempest was named Motor Trends Car of the Year in 1961.
For 1962, Pontiac offered the upgraded LeMans trim package which included a convertible.
Our Co-Cars of the Month for July are 2 fine examples of Pontiac’s pioneers of compact. Phil Guerra and Jack Day’s cars are identical in year, make, model, body style and engine.
They are two great stories about this distinctive and not often seen Pontiac.
The Yankee Chapter is very fortunate to have these “Lil Indians” as a part of our club
Phil’s 1962 Tempest LeMans is in Seafoam Aqua (not to be confused with Kimberly Blue.) It has a white interior and white convertible top.
Under the hood is the peppy and fuel efficient 195 CID with 4 barrel carb. Also known as “half a 389” or “half a V8,” this little drop top is rated at 165 horsepower. It’s controlled by the 2 speed Powerglide transmission.
The outside has a nice sculptured look with chrome embellishments along the belt line. The faux louvers, full wheel covers, and white wall tires give it a real sporty look.
Phil’s car came out of the Kansas City, Kansas plant and was shipped to a dealer in Iowa. Not much else is known. Phil just recently acquired this beauty in January of this year.
Jack’s ’62 Tempest LeMans is a stunning red with a white top and white interior. It also has the 195 CID Trophy 4 under the hood with the 2 speed Powerglide automatic.
Jack purchased his car in 2014 and it has since had a full restoration including extensive body repair, engine detail, suspension, drivetrain, transmission and interior. He feels very fortunate to have this vehicle because it was a day away from the crusher before it was rescued and restored by the previous owner.
The seed for Jack’s passion for Pontiacs was planted when he was a boy and visited his Uncle Jim in Florida. Uncle Jim was a Salesperson at a Pontiac dealership back in 50’s and 60’s. Jack vividly remembers all the new convertibles on his Uncle’s lot with their bright white interiors.
In a way, Jack’s convertible with white interior is a tribute to his beloved Uncle.
June 2016: Jim May’s 1964 GTO
This is Jim May’s gorgeous 1964 GTO drag car.
Under the hood is a 467 cube, 650 horsepower engine mated to a turbo 400 transmission. It has a 3:73 rear gear and 10.5 compression and runs on pump gas! And…..IT’S FAST. This car has done 10.55 seconds at 126 mph at the New England Dragway in Epping, NH.
Inside this Grenadier Red beauty is a full roll cage and 5 point harness for safety. Jim kept the stock dash but substituted fiberglass for the factory morrokide seating.
On the outside of Jim’s goat are fiberglass front and rear fenders, bumpers, hood and trunk lid. The high rise hood scoop gobbles up lots of cool air to help feed this beast. For shoes, Jim has 29×10 steel wheels on the rear and 15×3.5 Weld Wheels up front.
All total, weight comes in around 3,000 lbs. That’s about 400 lbs lighter than a stock ’64 GTO. Nice job Jim……..may you travel many distances in your goat…..one 1/4 mile at a time!
To see and hear Jim’s GTO, click on video below……..
May 2016Steve Bresciani’s 1966 2+2
This months car is very sentimental for the Yankee Chapter. It was the pride and joy of our beloved club member Steve Bresciani who passed away 5 years ago this month. Steve was a true “Car Guy.” He started working at the GM plant in Framingham in 1962 when he was 19 years old. He would spend the next 30 years helping to assemble some of the greatest American cars ever. Steve had a passion for Poncho’s. He’s owned many Pontiacs over the years, some brand new off the lot. Our Car of the Month is a fine example of the quality of vehicle that Steve had in his collection. This is his 1966 Pontiac 2+2 Convertible in Fontaine Blue with a Black interior and Black top.
Underneath the massive hood lies a 421 cubic inch V-8 mated to a TH400 transmission that’s capable of 338 horsepower at 4600 rpm. The “pesky” Tri-Power set up original to the car was replaced with a 4 barrel carb. The air conditioning was a nice option on those hot summer days when the top was up.
Luxurious black seating adorns the inside of the 2+2 with enough room for a well fed family of 5.
Outside is all classic Pontiac styling including Split Grill, Stacked Headlights, Rear Quarter Louvers, Dual Exhaust, and 8 Lug Wheels. Also duly noted are the “2+2” and “421” exterior badging.
Often called the GTO’s “Big Brother”, the 2+2 combined the luxury of a full size with the sportiness of a 2 door. Throw in a potent 421 engine and you have a triple threat that is capable of laying rubber at the drop of the pedal or comfortably cruising highways and backroads. The car is under the stewardship of Steve’s daughter Lisa and her boyfriend Rob. They enjoy taking long rides on nice days as well as going to the many car shows in the upstate NY area. We miss Steve and his enthusiasm for cars but are pleased to see this outstanding vehicle continue its journey with his family.
To see a video of Steve’s car, click on link below:
This is John Howards 1967 GTO in burgundy with a black vinyl top and black morrokide interior.
His Goat came out of the Pontiac Michigan factory in late 1966 with the 360 hp High Output (HO) engine. The block is now a date code correct 335 hp 400. It does retain the original exhaust manifolds and Harrison radiator. The Rochester 4 barrel carb has been replaced with an Edelbrock model.
Inside this beauty it’s all GTO including the Hurst Dual Gate (His ‘n Her) shifter and tilt wood wheel.
Johns Goat rides on classic 14 inch Rally I rims with white wall tires. They are stopped by power assist front brakes. Other options include hood tach, remote control side mirror, and rear power antenna. The ’67 GTO was known for its sleek “Coke Bottle” styling and large cube engines. These were the main reasons that Pontiac shipped close to 82,000 GTO’s that year.
March 2016:Charlie Barron’s 1978 Trans Am
This is Charlie Barron’s stunning 1978 Trans Am in Solar Gold with a Black interior. Born out of the Norwood Ohio plant, Charlie is the third owner having purchased it in 2006.
This T/A is a 4 speed with a 400 cube engine bored 30 over and a four barrel carb. A mild cam and ceramic headers give this bird a sweet exhaust note. Originally a radio delete car, tunes now emanate from an AM/FM sound system. Options include power steering and power brakes.
The nice rake is courtesy of the beefy 15″ tires on gold snowflake rims. Note the dynamic Trans Am cues like the T-Tops, Shaker Hood, body color rally sport mirrors, front quarter air inlets, dual splitter exhaust tips, and the T/A graphics including the ginormous flaming bird that adorns the hood.
Over 93,000 Trans Ams were manufactured in 1978. Charlie’s car is a fine example of this Pontiac success story.
February 2016:Les Ward’s 1957 Chieftain Catalina Hardtop
This is Lester Ward’s 1957 Chieftain 4 Door Catalina Hardtop. Les has owned this beauty for 33 years. Color is in the Cadillac hue of Astro Gray with a white painted top and white side spear.
Car is powered by a 347 cubic inch V-8 engine with a column shifted Jetaway Hydromatic transmission. It’s stopped by a manual braking system.
Make no mistake, this ’57 can light up those 14 inch white walls. Other goodies include dual exhaust, full wheel covers, AM radio, and heater.
Beautiful chrome bumper, trim pieces and side script adorn Les’ ’57. This shot was taken at our annual Dust-Off at CJ’s in Framingham.
January 2016: Charlie Egirous’ 1969 GTO
This is Charlie Egirous’ beautiful 1969 GTO convertible in Antique Gold with Black top and Black interior. Charlie is the original owner of this goat having special ordered it at Wheaton Pontiac in Belmont, MA in October 1968.
Born into a Pontiac family, there was no question what make he wanted when he was ready to purchase his first new car. There would be questions however as to the details. Charlie, being a teenager at the time, wanted a red car with the four speed transmission. His parents, who were also partners in this transaction, quickly nixed that idea. He settled on gold with the Hurst Dual Gate shifter. Interestingly, due to a misinformed salesperson, his car arrived with the standard automatic shifter in the console. He was told that Pontiac discontinued the very popular “His and Her” shifter after the 1968 model year.
Charlie’s car is equipped with a 400 engine, 4 barrel carb, Ram Air 3 cam and exhaust manifolds. Other options include……Power Front Disc Brakes, Rally II Wheels, Custom Sport Steering Wheel, Tilt Wheel, Hood Tach, Rally Gauge Cluster, Power Antenna, Soft Ray Glass, AM/FM Radio with rear seat Verba Phonic Speaker.
Charlie’s goat is a fine example of the beautiful styling and high performance that Pontiac was known for though out the 1960’s.
December 2015:Dave Cataloni’s 1968 Grand Prix
Dave really likes ’68 Grand Prix’s. He has two on the road and one currently in restoration. This is Dave’s stunning Burgundy on Burgundy 1968 Grand Prix. The long sleek body lines, full chrome bumper, and hideaway headlamps give the car a real Luxo-Sporty look.
Car is powered by a Pontiac 400 cubic inch mill with a four barrel carb. The automatic transmission is console shifted.
Options include power steering, power brakes and AM/FM radio. The redline tires are shod on 15 inch Rally II rims.
Classic Pontiac chrome laden beak with egg crate styling. As with its predecessors, the lone GP logo adorns the front end.
November 2015:Paul Melanson’s 1958 Star Chief
This is Paul’s outstanding 1958 Star Chief 4 door. Painted in the eye catching hue of Burma Green with White trim, this behemoth is originally from Maine. Paul purchased the car 4 year ago from fellow club member Tony Dagata.
Under the hood sports a clean but potent 370 cubic inch engine.
Options include power steering, power brakes, power antenna and speed control. The fender skirts and lots of chrome detail give this Poncho a classic full size look.
This award winning car sits on 14 inch rims with wide whitewall tires and premium hubcaps. The load is cushioned by an air ride suspension which comes in handy when Paul travels the hilly areas of northern New England and Canada.
October 2015:Derek and Curtis William’s 1971 LeMans Sport Convertible
This is Derek and Curtis’ gorgeous 1971 triple white LeMans Sport Convertible. Cameo white exterior, parchment interior, white top. They are the second owner having purchased the vehicle 3 years ago.
This Pontiac has an automatic transmission and bears a 350 four barrel engine with electronic fuel injection. The air conditioning is duly noted.
BF Goodrich Radial T/A’s are mounted 14 inch Rally II rims. The brakes are a front disc/rear drum set-up.
September 2015:Ben Bennett’s 1961 Bonneville Bubbletop
Ben knows Pontiacs. He spent years working on the manufacturing line at the GM plant in Framingham and has lots of great stories to share. This is Ben’s 1961 Bonneville Bubbletop in Coronado Red with Burgundy Tri-Color interior. Options include power steering, power brakes and the rare power windows.
Note the 8 Lug wheels common on the early to mid 60’s full size Pontiacs. The ’61 Bubbletop was a 1 year body style. Ben’s car is also an automatic on the column.
The 400 Tri-Power engine that lurks under the hood is mated to a 700R4 transmission. This car has done 13 seconds on the quarter mile.
August 2015: Jeff Copson 1968 GTO
You may recognize our local member Jeff’s car from the July Issue of POCI’s Smoke Signals magazine. Jeff lost his brother Mike many years ago. Mike owned the GTO and it sat for over 20 years. With only 41,000 miles on the speedo, Jeff decided to restore it in his memory. See full Smoke Signals article below.
July 2015:Joe Sinko’s 1979 Trans Am and 1970 GTO Judge
1979 T/A: 31 years ago I found this 1979 T/A, or did this dark and mysterious beauty find me? Working as a young man in Boston, she was parked in front of a Kenmore Square office building in 1984. She had everything a boy could want with just 42,000 miles, in black, WS-6 403 auto, & houndstooth cloth. My high school dream come true. It would take a few months of persuading to convince the owner I wasn’t just a dumb kid about to break my neck. All these years later, untouched and with all the same equipment as day one, we’re still as much in love as ever. But a bit of a mystery lurked under her hood. With its 130 plus speedo, larger radiator, and, one thing that should not be on any T/A of the time, an engine block oil cooler. Was her mysterious past as a police car from Canada? A number of people over the years at shows would tell me that they thought she had the same set up as ones used by the state police in Georgia back in the day. Pointing out the 79 T/A only needed a little better cooling, for the long hours of idling. It had, at the time, some of the best brakes and handling, as well top speed. This T/A was shipped to Montreal Pontiac Dealer in Canada. Then brought back home to the states in about 1984. What a fun car to drive.
1970 Judge: The second car is a barn find 1970 GTO Judge, untouched. I first came across her in 1979, when she’d been off the road since 1977. 28 years later, my patience & persistence won out. It still had its bias ply tires on it, points-not changed in any way! It was probably the T/A that convinced the owner of the my respect for the power and history of these magnificent machines. This was one of the few early built Judges in Canada & sold on Main Street, Waltham, Mass. She’s always popular at car shows, especially with the little ones drawn by her lines, style and color.
June 2015: Scott Peitzsch’s 1970 Bonneville and 2002 Trans Am
1970 Bonneville convertible, Granada Gold, 360hp 455cid automatic, 2.93 open rear axle, JL2 front disc brakes & N10 dual exhaust. 88,000 miles. This was my Dad’s first new car, which of course means I pretty much grew up in it. It was on the road from 1970 until 1985, at which point Dad replaced with a new Oldsmobile Delta 88. It went into storage shortly after. Dad gave it to me in 2003 for my 30th birthday. For the first few years that I had it, I focused on just continuing to maintain it and keep it running as well as Dad had. The biggest issue was fuel. Being a 1970, it had a 10:1 compression 455, which meant it really wanted 100 octane leaded or better in order to run in a stock state of tune. For many years I simply headed to one of the Haffner’s stations in NH and brought home multiple 6-gallon jugs of CAM2 racing fuel. I’d mix it 50/50 with Mobil 93, making a functional equivalent of 100 octane leaded. The engine ran great on it, but my road trips were limited to the distance I could travel on a single tank of gas. So, in the winter of 2007/8 I pulled the 455 and TH400 out, and rebuilt both. The engine was far from worn out, but was starting to develop some leaks, so it was a good time to build the engine to run on modern gas. The only components I reused from the original 455 are the block and crank. The rest were updated as follows: Engine bored +.004″ to 4.125″ (truth be told, it cold have just been honed, but Butler had some nice Ross forged pistons in 4.125″) Ross forged 4.125″ pistons Eagle forged rods Stock N-crank micropolished and balanced Edelbrock 87cc aluminum heads, ported and prepped by Butler Performance (retained stock 10:1 compression ratio) Crower 60241 camshaft (215I, 221E, 112LSA) Crower timing set Edelbrock performer RPM intake manifold Flowcooler aluminum water pump Franken-carb quadrajet (1973 7040273 carb main body w/ electric choke conversion, combined with 7040268 baseplate, tuned by me) Pontiac HEI swapped in place of original points distributor Delco 12SI alternator swapped in place of original external regulator setup Ram Air Restorations round port long branch manifolds and exhaust (RARE manifolds were the easiest way to ensure compatibility with the Eheads) This engine combo, along with the freshened TH400 ran great on 93 octane, and really expanded the cruising range of the car. As a result, I started to turn my focus to other areas for a while. In the years since the engine update, I’ve changed the following: Suspension Custom Moog springs front and rear (all the aluminum engine components in the front meant stock springs didn’t work well) KYB GR2 shocks front and rear Addco 1.125″ front anti roll bar and RARE 1″ rear anti roll bar RARE upper and lower tubular rear control arms and frame reinforcement braces Wheels & Brakes Stock front disc brakes Rear disc brakes adapted from a ’94-6 Bbody (Caprice, Impala SS, etc…), including integrating the drum-in-rotor Ebrake 15×6″ Rally IIs with 235/70R15 Firestock Firehawk RWL tires Rear end Original 2.93 open rear removed and replaced with a freshly rebuilt donor ’70 rear with a 3.23 Safe-T-Track This all brings us to last year, at which point I really wanted to make a bigger change to the power train. For a long time, I wanted to go EFI, but needed a push to get the project kicked off. Last year, a friend of mine sent me a link to an EBay auction where Professional Products was blowing out the Pontiac EFI kits for $500 shipped. At that point, I was all in. I bought the kit and spent the last year not only swapping in EFI, but also swapping a 4L80E in place of the original TH400. My reasoning was pretty simple – I knew I was going to use a stock GM 12200411 PCM for the EFI conversion, and since it is perfectly capable of controlling a 4L80E trans, I’d go ahead and get overdrive, a lockup converter and electronic trans control at the same time. At present, the swap is better than 90% complete. The car now has an EFI fuel tank and pump from Tanks Inc. The 4L80E is completely installed using a TransDapt bellhousing adapter and a custom transmission crossmember I fabricated using a ’70 Bonneville 4-door crossmember as a donor. The 4L80E was a good running core from a 2002 2WD van that I freshened using parts from Sonnax. The engine harness was basically fabricated from scratch, and integrates the necessary elements from the stock engine harness to keep everything in the car functioning as it should. The wiring is hidden in the fender well, and the PCM is hidden underhood behind a brand new Odyssey battery. The driveshaft did need to be lengthened slightly for the new trans, and the task was handled by the excellent folks at Mitchell Differential. The final task, which is in process now, is the fabrication of the cam and crank sensor trigger wheels to feed the timing signals to the ‘411 PCM. My plan is to have those fabricated in the coming weeks, and have the car on the road by early July. I had hoped to have it done a bit sooner than this, but there are only so many hours in the day, and I do still have a real day job that demands my attention! I’ve attached a couple of pics of the work from this winter. I have hundreds more that I took to document the work, but I’m guessing much more than 4-5 will bounce on the email server. Just a small sampling of some of the fabrication work.
2002 Pontiac Trans Am, T-tops, Bright Red, Ebony leather interior. 63,000miles. LS1 V8 & Tremec T56 6 speed manual transmission. It was built very late in the final year of production, delivered to Ragsdale Pontiac in Auburn, MA in the fall of 2002. Since not many people buy sports cars in the late fall and winter here in New England, it sat inside on the showroom floor until the first warm spring day in April 2003. That’s when my wife Jen and I traded in her 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP for the new Trans Am. We evaluated many cars that weekend, looking for a sunny day playtoy, including a 2003 SVT Cobra, a 2003 SVT Lightning, and a 2003 Corvette, but the Trans Am was the one we both knew belonged in our garage. The list of things we’ve done to it since new is long, each one intended to make it more enjoyable to drive. I’ve tried to group them below: Suspension BMR weld-in subframe connectors (done within the first month of owning the car to keep it straight!) BMR strut tower brace BMR torque arm BMR panhard rod BMR lower control arms BMR weld-in lower control arm relocation brackets Suspension Techniques 35mm front anti roll bar 3rd gen 1LE Fbody 24mm rear anti roll bar Brakes 2nd gen Cadillac CTS-V 4-piston Brembo front calipers w/ 14″ Gen5 Camaro front rotors 18″ C5 Corvette 5-spoke wheels w/ 275/40R18 Continental Contisport Contact DW tires Powertrain Thunder Racing TR220/220/114 camshaft w/ Comp Cams 26918 springs & titanium locks/retainers FTP 85mm LS1 air lid 85mm screened MAF sensor AAM 3.73 rear gears with TA performance cover and ARP stud kit Raptor Performance shift light Mallory Billet Aluminum products engine dress Interior Hurst shifter & short stick Kenwood navigation headunit Rostra heated seat kits (driver and passenger) Exhaust Interestingly, the one thing it doesn’t have right now is headers or a cat back exhaust. It used to have Kooks long tubes and a variety of cat back exhausts, but I never could get the sound out of it that I wanted. There’s something about the single Y-pipe configuration in the 3rd and 4th gen cars that seems to make them difficult to get a good exhaust note. I even went so far as to try the Kooks true-dual exhaust, but that setup was just unholy loud. A friend with a 2000 Camaro Z28 convertible has that now and loves it! So, at the moment, the car has a completely stock exhaust from the manifolds all the way back.