Not really a racing story, but this is the event from my teens that started my obsession with GTO's
It was around 1968 or 1969, during the summer. My dad owned a small used car lot in the small Texas panhandle town were I was born and raised. I helped out during the summers and on weekends, going down early to open up the place, make sure all the cars would start, filing the paper work for sales transactions, running errands, and the like. We had a relationship with a local bank for customer financing, and one day our contact dropped by to ask if he might store a couple of bank repo's on our lot until he could decide what to do with them. It's good to be nice to the bank guy, so of course we said "Sure! bring 'em on by." The "them" in this case turned out to be two GTO's: one a maroon '66, the other a '65 - both 4-speed cars. The '65 was that metallic orchid color - Iris Mist, you know the one, it looked good for about a week until it oxidized. Then it looked like metallic puke. I was still fairly young, just barely in high school, and though I'd heard all the hubbub surrounding GTO's I'd never actually driven one. I usually just drove something "off the lot" and at the time, that was a '62 Ford Fairlane with a mighty 221-inch V8, "three on the tree", four-door sedan. The manual transmission was fun, and it was, embarrasing as it is to admit, the fastest car I'd ever driven. Well, since I had keys to the place a buddy of mine and I made plans to return late one night and test drive one of those GTO's. We chose the '65. Of course it was almost out of gas, and as we eased it off the lot I kept thinking about how much trouble I'd be in if we got caught, or managed to tear up a car we didn't even own. I was careful. For awhile. Leaving a stop sign at an intersection on a residential street in the middle of town, not far from the lot, my curiosity got the better of me and I dropped the hammer. Mercy! In about 1.5 heartbeats the tach needle swept past 5000 rpm and I grabbed second gear --- then third gear. We were rocketing down this residential street, winding out third, parked cars flashing past in a blur, well north of the posted speed limit for the highway (let alone a tiny residential street) with our eyes as big as saucers. Nothing, and I mean nothing, in my previous vehicular experience had prepared me for a car that would accelerate that hard in such a short time and distance. That's when I looked up and saw the rapidly approaching stop sign where that residential street tee'd into the main highway going through town. No way was I going to get that GTO stopped in time. We were in big trouble. :eek: Well, I got on the brakes and locked up all four wheels. We slid through the stop sign, across all four lanes of traffic, and off onto the shoulder on the opposite side of the highway. By some miracle we didn't hit anything or anybody, and the car was still upright. As we sat there, with a huge cloud of dust and debris slowly settling down around us, for awhile all you could hear were two pounding heartbeats and the sound of that idling 389.
That's when I looked over at my buddy, sitting in the passenger seat, his face white as a ghost, and said, "I have got
to have one of THESE!!!
That's how I fell in love with GTO's.
My dad, in his wisdom, knew to keep my round butt out of a car like that though. I probably would have killed myself. A few years later, when I was still going through college and married, I found a 69 hardtop. I talked it over with him, and we bought it. It turned out to be the last car that he and I bought together before he died, and I still have it. With luck, it'll finally be back on the road again by next summer after I finally finish a 20+ year restoration project. Some day I'll pass it on to my son.
I still miss you, Dad.
My 1969 Pontiac GTO Restoration Project