“I think the 1967 GTO is one of the most iconic muscle cars of the ’60s,” Jake Stossel of Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, asserts. Shortly after purchasing this example in August 2005, the then-28-year-old electrician began planning out his project, but he soon arrived at that fork in the road where it was time to choose between “Factory-Equipped” and “How I Really Want It.”
After negotiating with a nearby seller for two weeks, who wanted to move a 1968 GTO out of his collection of restorables instead of the ’67, Jake was certainly grateful to have snared this Goat, yet there were a few lingering issues. The Pontiac was Signet Gold, but he didn’t really like gold. It didn’t have a Cordova top, but he wanted one for it. It was fitted with the standard 335-hp 400-cu.in. engine, but he preferred the 360-hp 400 H.O. It had the Turbo 400 automatic, but he wanted a Muncie four-speed. You get the picture
Nevertheless, like most of us, Jake didn’t possess unlimited funds, so he had to settle. Or did he? Rather than be forever haunted by what could have been, he instead decided to deviate from the original equipment path and build this Pontiac how he would have ordered it in 1967
.Based on input from his wife, Lindy, he decided to paint the Goat Linden Green, his friend Matt Lamer suggested changing the black Morrokide interior to Parchment, and Jake specified a black Cordova top. The resulting trinity of contrasting hues heighten the visual appeal of an already arresting body design. And, each of those choices were readily available for 1967. Regarding the mechanical aspects of the build, Jake used factory-issued or reproduction components for the majority of the upgrades. Thus, the GTO retains a primarily stock appearance.
Unlike the “Old Man” cheerfully unwrapping his can of Simoniz in A Christmas Story, my track record with scoring car stuff as holiday gifts has been notably poor, but it’s all my own fault.For years, family members have asked what I would like for my endless projects, but I’ve always felt guilty about taking them up on their offers, since what I needed was usually too expensive for a gift (at least in my mind), so I told them not to worry about it.Nevertheless, thinking about cars and Christmas did remind me of the best automotive-related present I’ve ever gotten—my 1967 GTO.
Though I’ve discussed some of its aspects before, I have yet to delve into how I found it and what the test drive was like.I’m sure you’ve seen the seemingly endless ads each holiday season that depict people receiving a car for Christmas by simply walking out their front door and finding the latest and greatest model, already in their driveway wearing a big red bow and ribbon. Yeah… that didn’t happen to me.
The 1964 GTO enjoys legendary status, having been credited with kick-starting the muscle car era, and it remains a revered collectible. Conversely, the 1974 example has been viewed as the Goat that ended that same era, resulting in fewer fans and lower resale values. The Ventura’s compact economy car status, its close kinship to Chevrolet’s Nova, its smaller engine than found in previous GTOs, and the climate in which it was introduced are a few reasons that are typically cited.
To be fair, any car produced for 1974 faced difficult circumstances. Insurance companies had been cracking down on muscle cars for years, hiking rates and putting them financially out of reach of many potential buyers. Additionally, in a continuing effort to reduce pollution, federal emissions standards were becoming more stringent. Compression ratios started dropping in 1971 to burn cleaner low-lead and unleaded fuel but that also reduced power. Federal safety regulations were increasing occupant protection in a crash, but also added weight in many instances, further degrading performance and economy. The advancing bumper requirements also influenced styling.