"Rare?? '69 RA III GTO"
Newbie here and really excited about being able to get back in the 'Street' racing scene. (I don't do 'organized' Drag Racing, too many rules and too much $$money$$) I love the site by the way!
One of many stories from the "Good 'ol Days!"
Year, 1978, just turned 16. Car, '69 GTO RAM AIR III with a TH 400, Buckets with Console delete and Column Shift....Rare? I put more about the Car and how I got it in the "New Comers" section.
I am from Huntsville, AL and still live in the area. Back in 1978, Huntsville was a city of about 200K people. Not a big city, but, big enough to have plenty of fast Cars.
My Dad was a Chevy man, by no means a Racer, he just liked Chevies. So, while still shitting green, I too thought a Chevy was the only Car to own.
I do remember however, thinking that those old Mopars all painted up in Plum Purple, Panther Pink, Lime Green, Lemon Twist Yellow.....were cool too.
I bought my Goat when I was 3 months away from turning 16. My Dad and I went to take it out for a test drive. Dad let me drive.......mistake. We were on a 2 lane country road, going about 50 or so, Dad says "get down on it", with no reluctance, I pushed her on down, ran it up to about 110 and Dad says "that's fast enough son, this Car is too fast for a kid!" After some begging and pleading, he gave in and I bought the Car. Follow along with me here.......there my Car sat, me having no clue what I had nor it's potential. I did clean it up from front to back and top to bottom, including the Engine bay and put a set of L-60 Street Tires on it. Oh yeah, let's not forget the 8 Track Player I installed.
One of my best friends, Keith, was 3 years older than me and knew of some fast Cars in the area. One being a '68 Camaro with a souped up 396 and 4-Speed, said to be the baddest Car around, that was owned by an 'old man' Rockie, he was about 35...lol. He was also was friends with the local 'Chief Of Police' son, Tony, that owned a '74 SD 455 Trans Am with a TH 400.
The day finally came, I went and got my Driver License. First stop after dropping my Mom off, Keiths house, picked him and another buddy named Jerry up.
Leaving the Neighborhood. We turn out onto a 2 lane road, going about 35, Keith says, "let's see what it will do." Ofcourse, I was more than happy to do so. I ran it up to about 70 or so and Keith says, "this thing has got more than that!" By that time, we had slowed down to the posted speed limit of 35........we aint but a mile from the Police Station! About that time, once again, Keith says, "Kick it", I obliged. This time, Keith reaches over, snatches the shift lever into low, man did all HELL break loose! I don't know how long it had been since the old man that I bought the Car from had put his foot in it, but, I can tell you this, when the Secondaries of that old Quadrajet opened up, after the 2 second bog, it was just a blessing from God that noone else was in the oncoming lane! The Car broke traction, went almost completely sideways.........I am too busy fighting it to worry about shifting it into second, it shifted itself........you got it, when it shifted, here comes the ass end in the other direction, still spinning until I let out of it and finally getting it straightened back out. We were all in complete shock, to say the least.
Later that evening, we are cruising down a well known road for Street Racing, this one is a 4 lane. As luck would have it, along comes Tony in his '74SD 455 T/A. He pulls up along side of us, Keith riding shotgun, rolls down his window, says to Tony, "this is the Goat I have been telling you about, wanna see which one is faster?" Tony is confident he has the faster Car, his response, "how do you wanna run, from a dead stop or a roll?" I yelled to Tony, "lets go from a 30 MPH roll, I can't get enough traction to go from a dead stop." Tony is agreeable, we slowed to 30, Keith gives the go, I took him by an easy 3 Car lengths. Tony must not have wanted to go a second time, he turned off the first chance he got.
Another memorable race, same road, we are stopped at a red light. Four of us in the Goat this time......all the better for a true Drag Race in this Car. Along side pulls a '72/'73? Plymouth Road Runner, it was Black with White striping, 4-Speed Car, hitting a mean lick, it was a really sharp Car. At that time, I had never heard of a Mopar 400, but, that is what it said on the Hood.
There were no words exchanged, just the "hit the Throttle a couple of times and the Head nod as to say I am ready when the light turns green!" This was a great race, the Goat pulled hard from a dead start and when she was shifted into second, it really pulled. The light turned, we took off, I spun some but not too bad, side by side, him running a 4-Speed, he shifted into second and pulled me by about a fender, when I hit second, I regained and pulled him by about a fender. We ran up to about 120 MPH and when it was all said and done, I beat him by about half a Car length. He gave a little smile, with that "I can't believe I just got beat by a punk ass kid smirk on his face" and turned off.
I have probably a hundred stories about all the fun and races I had with that Car. Like most of us that love fast Cars do. I'll post some more as time allows. The one with the HEMI 'Cuda is a great one and i'll even tell of the one and only time I got beat.....i'll leave you in suspense on what it was.
I do know that the Car would run 12.70's to 12.80's, can't remember the MPH, only took it to the Drag Strip a couple of times. Some say it "had" to have had some work done to it or either it had a 428, to run those kind of numbers. Nope, it was as stock as the day it left the assembly line, with the addition of the L-60's. The local Garage/Gas Station, a Union 76, where my dad traded and had his major Mechanic work done, was owned by Ralph. Ralph had a huge book with I would guess every Engine made listed and the specs. in it. According to all the numbers, it was a 'true' RAM AIR III 400, #62Heads and yes it had factory A/C, TH 400, 3:23 10 Bolt and PS and PB.
I did have two Great Uncles that both worked for Pontiac from the mid 50's through the late 70's that told me, and I quote, "there aint no telling what someone may have done to that Car during assembly, we done things all the time just for kicks!" So, in all reality, who knows what was done to any given Car on any given day, back in the days when they could slip in a few tricks here and there for shits and giggles. I miss those two old guys, they were a wealth of information and a blast to just sit down and talk to about the "GLORY DAYS" of the true American Muscle!
Cool site. Be Cool.
"If it is a PONTIAC, it aint shit if it aint got a PONTIAC Engine in it!"