A triple black 68 GTO. What I consider in the "inner onion" of iconic muscle cars. Both my wife and I were born in 1968 so we grew up seeing this car as one of the bad boys. Growing up, my great grandfather was a machinist and tool and die man from Austria. My grandpas both worked for Chrysler and Pontiac, respectively. My dad retired from GM after 32 years. But my Uncle Gene worked for Pontiac and had a super bad 68 black GTO that he kept in his barn under a cover. Whenever we would visit, my dad the GM engineer would take me and my little brother out to the barn and uncover the car. We would admire the lines, the blue paint on the motor, the factory chrome valve covers, the wild front end. Then Uncle Gene would come out and yell, "get away from that car! That car is a killer! I am never letting anyone drive it!" and he would make us cover the car again. He let his own son, my cousin, drive around in a Formula 455 Firebird but yet he would not let him drive that GTO. I knew it was something special. Going back for a second peek was a sure way to get him to yell if he hadn't yet. He must have had a heck of a scare in his High Output 400 big block, which was grossly underrated by Pontiac for insurance reasons. I'm sure he hammered on it and it hammered back. Those things are brutally fast. Everyone has a GTO story. I sure miss Dad and Uncle Gene talking about horsepower, they were Detroit hot rodders that worked at the factories, so they knew motors and drivetrains better than most folks. Maybe there is a Pontiac garage in heaven and I can find them there one day!
So, both my brother and I grew up knowing that a black GTO had to be one of the deadliest, most violent muscle cars on Earth. A real cousin-killer. One look, like Medusa, would freeze you.
Two years ago, I was searching Craigslist on my birthday, and typed in 1968 to see what would pop up. First thing: "68 GTO real 242 vin car from California $18500". I went and bought it that moment for $16000 cash. Since then it's had a frame off restoration and a nut and bolt Pontiac correct restoration and concours level paint job, and Hotchkiss suspension. We just re-did the motor with the HO cam, smoothed manifolds, Keith Black .40 over pistons, h beam rods, balanced, blueprinted, etc etc and it's a Dandy now. I had to sell my restored 74 Formula 400 Firebird to fund the GTO restoration, and that was not a fun decision.
Whenever I cruise around in it in my Southern state with it's all-year cruising weather, I think of Uncle Gene and how I would laugh if I jokingly told him to get away from my car! Actually he was a bad to the bone US Marine with Korean war service so he was just the type of guy that SHOULD have a High Output GTO. In honor of him and my dad, I cruise it as much as possible and take the time to tell folks the story of why every person is linked to a muscle car for very different reasons. That's what makes it so cool! Restore your dream. It's worth it.