1966 GTO Restoration Guide

Save

Restoring a 1966 Pontiac GTO is an arduous task that requires extensive knowledge about the car. GTOs present special challenges because they are performance cars immensely popular among enthusiasts willing to up to $25,000 for a pristine version. Enthusiasts often modified GTOS or cannibalized parts from others for repair. This makes restoration to original factory specifications an expensive and difficult project.

Restoration Levels

  • Restoration of a GTO means only one thing: restoring the car to the condition on the day it left the factory assembly line. Every nut, bolt and odd widget should originate from the factory. Budget constraints, however, often make full restoration impractical. If you can live with without the small details of a full frame-off restoration, consider focusing on what is important to you. This might be the 389-cubic-inch V-8 engine restored to factory specs or the body returned to its original color with factory badges, chrome trim and correct factory wheels.

Research

  • The most difficult and important aspect of auto restoration is research. Purchase 1966 Pontiac GTO/Tempest/LeMans shop and parts manuals. These manuals provide systematic instructions for disassembly and assembly of parts and list every part. Purchase an owner's manual that sits in the glovebox. It has a wealth of information on the operation of the car. Purchase or download exterior, interior and engine compartment photos of original 1966 GTOs. Purchase or download interior and body color charts to match paint and fabric. Serious restorers will attend car shows and photograph factory original GTOs and pepper owners with questions about their restorations.

Your Car

  • Research your GTO by writing down the vehicle identification number and matching it against online Pontiac VIN charts. The VIN tells you what engine and transmission belongs in the car. It identifies the car as a coupe, four-door sedan or convertible. The 1966 GTO featured a 389-cubic-inch V-8. If your car has a 421-cubic-inch V-8, it's likely from a Pontiac Catalina. You can keep the 421, but your GTO is not a restoration piece. Dump the 421 and find a 389 with triple two-barrel carburetors that fits your GTO. A new 389 is not original to the car, but close.

Work Environment

  • Cleanliness and preparation are paramount to a successful restoration. Invest in the right equipment. A 100-piece tool set in a rolling toolbox is the minimum requirement. Purchase an engine hoist, hydraulic jack and four floor stands. Have a means to dispose of oil and cleaning liquid waste. Keep your work area spotless at all times. Make sure you have a friend available to help with the heavy lifting. If you are performing a frame-off restoration, purchase a hoist that allows you to lift the body from the frame. Label each part after removal and bag it.

Devil in the Details

  • A restored car is not a perfect car. As a factory car, it may feature overspray under the wheel wells. Consider these imperfections as interesting touches. Each make and model car rides at a specific height, so leave the springs alone unless damaged. Your 1966 GTO's engine features light metallic blue paint, not the 1965 GTO's solid light blue. Fellow GTO owners will spot such mistakes. If your GTO left the factory in October 1965, make sure your parts catalog wasn't published at a later date because it will list parts not specific to your model.

Related Searches

References

Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • How to Replace the Thermostat in a 1966 Mustang

    The 1966 Ford Mustang features a poppet-type thermostat between the radiator and the engine block. If the engine overheats or takes an...

  • How to Replace a 1966 Chevelle Quarter Panel

    The 1966 Chevy Chevelle features classic lines and a clean design that numerous collectors and classic car enthusiasts are enamored with. While...

  • The Colors of a 1966 GTO

    The 1966 GTO was available in several color combinations. There were solid color, body color with contrasting hardtop and body color with...

  • 1965 Chevrolet Colors

    1965 was a year of renovation and revolution for the Chevrolet factory line. Trademark cars such as the Chevrolet Impala underwent a...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How To Travel For Free With Reward Points

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!