Excerpt From: Herding Goats

By Albert Drake

Pontiac, Michigan

1965 GTO Another good GTO story, since we're on a roll here, being I been in Pontiac all my life and worked for the factory and had an entire family that was working different facets of manufacturing, engineering and administrative work at Pontiac over the years, I got the opportunity to hear a lot of these told-by- the-fireside chats about GTOs that were. In New Jersey, back in '65, toward the end of the model run, about this time of year, tweny years ago, they ran out of 360 hp tri-power 389 engines for the GTOs. Well, there was a kind of lull in sales with the big cars with the 376 hp engines which, of course, was the 421 HO. So what they did--A sidebar here: a neighbor of mine was an inspector that went around to all the B-O-P plants and checked up on inventories and that kind of thing, and what he told me was that they built approximately seventy to seventy-five GTOs with the 376 hp engine rather than the 360 because they didn't have any more in stock, because you know 1965 was a big year for sales and that engine of course was a big seller. Well, the factory didn't anticipate that many to be built toward the end of the run by the New Jersey assembly plant, so they took off the long branch manifolds and the oil filter adaptors and threw all the GTO manifolds and oil filter elbows on it and put it the car. They restamped the blocks for the proper coding for a 360 horse and they did this to approximately seventy to seventy-five engines. Who knows who got them. The were for sale to whoever put an order in for a GTO. The cutoff point for any new car has traditionally been May, and these things were built in June.

I remember a pair of GTOs built for Sonny and Cher they were either pink or purple, and I can't even remember the year of them but they were late '60s. They were matching convertibles. I saw them. Then there was the special Monkeemobile GTO. That was done by Dean Jeffries, but they bought it back here, brought it up to Engineering a few times and out to Shows and Exhibits, that's where they store all the old special cars. It's in the same building where the old Oakland Motor Car Company used to have its car assembly plant. That's all been re-done into the garage for all the show cars.

From there you went up Perry Street in Pontiac to the Blue Star restaurant, which was right off from the Blue Sky Drive-in. You'd cruise through there, then you head down Perry Street and head out onto Wide-Track Drive, they you got onto Woodward, then you went through Ted's. By about this time it's going on 9:30, the air's starting to get electrified, people are getting a little crazy. So then, by this time, you're getting into two and three way drag races from a roll--Woodward Avenue, being four lanes wide, it wasn't nothing to have three and four cars, all four lanes across and have a four way drag race. That's no baloney. It got kind of hairy if a guy's tires weren't just right and he got a little squirrly! Then of course you'd make the whole scene--you'd hit the Big Boy, next was Maverick's, the Big Town, then you'd go down to about 8 Mile Road, just before the overpass there, then come around and hit the Totem Pole. By this time you're going on 10:30, 11:00, so you're back at Ted's and you'd sit there for the rest of the night.

I've thought about it: if I had a nickle for every time I've been down Woodward I'd be a millionaire.

c Albert Drake, 1989
ISBN: 00936892-15-3
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 89-83634
All rights reserved. With the exception of quoting passages for the purpose of reviews, no part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written permission of the publisher.

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