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Grahams GTO Barn Finds

GTO Barn Finds

Barn Finds reader Graham L, like most of us here, is an autoholic and he has been building himself a nice collection over the years. He isn’t by any means a GTO fanatic, not to say that he doesn’t love Pontiac’s goat, but recently he was offered the chance to add two more to his collection and had to jump on the offer. He already had a ’66 GTO parked in his barn when the offer came, so he decided it would enjoy the company.

GTO Barn Finds 2

These aren’t your typical finds, as Graham has actually known these cars for the past 30 years or so. In 1981, while on a trip from his home in Ontario, Canada to the Carlisle Swap Meet in Pennsylvania, he came across his ’66 GTO. It was being offered by a woman who lived in the area and given its condition and options, Graham had to have it. A close friend had joined him for the trip and after they returned home, he decided that he needed a GTO too. A few months after the trip, his friend purchased a ’64 GTO Convertible in St. Catherines, Canada. After just 2 years of use the motor failed and had to be rebuilt. With a fresh engine rebuild completed, he got several more years of service out it, but eventually put it into storage. This is when the third GTO enters the picture. On another one of their trips, this time to Alabama, they came across a ’67 GTO at a used car lot. Not being able to resist the temptation, his friend purchased it. After just a year of ownership, he began restoring it, but life got in the way and he was never able to finish.

GTO Barn Finds 3

Graham’s friend is in the process of moving to the Caribbean and since the GTOs can’t go with him, he decided to make a deal with Graham for both cars and a 1928 Ford Model A. Graham still hasn’t decided what to do with the ’67 GTO or the Model A, but he already has plans for the ’64. He already has three projects ahead of it, one being his ’66 GTO. If you were in his position, with a collection of cars already in your barn, what would you do? Whatever he decides to do, we hope he will keep us updated on his progress! He has promised to send us photos of his entire collection as soon as the snow melts enough for him to get into it, so be sure to keep an eye out!


  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Thanks for sharing Graham. If you decide you don’t need the Model A, you could always send it our way! We are looking for our next BF project, you know.

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    • jim s

      yes a Model A would make a very interesting project.

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  2. Jim-Bob

    The GTO did not come out until the 1964 model year with the new A bodies. The previous Tempest body was a compact with a rear mount transaxle and a rope drive driveshaft that never would have supported the 389’s torque.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks for catching that Jim-Bob! It was a typo on our part.

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    • tom schweikert

      yup always wondered what mods they had to make to those early tempest drag cars to force it down the track {arnie beswick?}

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  3. Dolphin Member

    Always preferred the earliest GTOs to the later cars, like the good looking dark blue ’64 convertible in the picture above. I can still see a ’64 GTO blasting down the drag strip at Sanford, Maine and remember how it and the Hemis that ran there used to make the ground shake.

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    • Graham Lloyd

      Glad you like the 64. It’s actually black in colour.

      As for drag racing, the 66 spent the first 3 years of its life as a drag car in the Harrisburg Pa. area. From what I was told, it was considered a tough car to beat..

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      • jim s

        did it ever race at York US30 dragway? great collection and thanks for sharing.

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      • Graham Lloyd

        Jim: I think that was the place. The car ran from 66 to 69 and was retired from racing (on the strip anyways) when it was replaced with a 69 Ram Air 4 GTO.

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    • Woody

      I see your an old Sanford,Maine drag racer. Too bad the powers that be were such old Fuddies, with all those Car crazy young folks running around. They shut down the old Stock Car track down the road too after some local kid got killed. Hawk Canyon, an old stunt driver from the 40’s, bought the land and lived in an old travel trailer there until he passed away a while ago. Now the NIMBYs are after the New England Dragway ( where the Sanford guys ended up) because of the (awful noise). Hey Idiot, you bought a pricey house next to a Dragstrip who were there long before you. What is our world coming to?

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    • tom schweikert

      yup i like 64 s no 65 s no 66 s etc lol no 67 s….

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  4. Don Andreina

    My name is Don and I’m an autoholic. Sites like this are enablers. Nice Goats, stacked light for me.

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  5. BarzinI

    I think he should sell the 1966 GTO to me so he can focus on his other projects.

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  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    If he’s the hopeless car nut that I am, he should keep them all and tackle them one at a time, or maybe even two at a time. If he sells one he’s going to have Seller’s Remorse. I’ve worked on as many as three because I tend to get stalled on one and can keep going. I keep a shopping list on all my projects and when I attend the swap meets (or place orders), I generally pick up pieces for everything (if possible). I’ve sold two cars and hated myself ever since, especially when I found out what happened to them.

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  7. erikj

    Ya Love the 64 goat. I have mention the one I had back in the mid. 80,s .It was the 3rd one built and 389/tri with 421 heads and fac, headers and more. I always look for it but know idea where it wound up and if the guy I sold it to remembers what I told him about the history of the car

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  8. ConservativesDefeated

    I love the ’64 Goat Vert! Like to find one with a manual.

    Had a 64 Tempest Convertible and later a ’63 Tempest Convertible with the transaxle and and a rope drive, both with a slushbox….only drawback.

    The rope drive and transaxle in the ’63 made that one the most fun to drive suprisingly enough.

    Hope he gets his projects done!

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  9. Jack

    I love the 64 and would prioritize it above the rest for completion. It’s a rare early car and a convertible to boot.

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  10. Graham Lloyd

    In the next couple of years, I hope to slow down in the work department and spend more time in the garage. Right now I would love to keep them all, but 9 other older cars that want my attention. No hurry to decide what to do. I have worked on and off at restoration shops, so like Mr. geomechs suggested, 2 or 3 cars at once is doable. I have a 64 Galaxie that is ready for paint, so after it is refinished, I can at least get the 64 GTO back together and on the road as a fun driver.

    There were a couple of mentions about the earlier rope shaft Tempests. I have one of those too. 62 wagon with the slant 4/auto combination. Fun little car.

    Jesse, I’ll let you know about the A bone.

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    • Don Andreina

      Good luck on your plans, Graham. I wish I could turn a spanner, but I still can’t locate the left-handed one people keep sending me away to find. Thanks for sharing, Cheers.

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    • Jim-Bob

      I’ve actually always wanted to disassemble a rope drive Tempest just to see how it was designed and manufactured. I think it was a curved torque tube with the “rope” inside, but what I want to know is what was the rope made of and how well does it hold up over time? It was a brilliant design but I have to wonder why it seems to have been the only car ever made with this driveline arrangement. It seems like it would have offered better leg room and weight distribution in a traditional front engine/rear drive sedan.

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  11. dj

    I had a 64 GTO tripower, a/c, auto, remote mirror and all the options. I use to show the car in the late 80’s after a full off body resto. I had people all the time say I made that car because Pontiac didn’t make a GTO until 1965. As my mom says, you can’t fix stupid even with a 2×4.

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  12. sfallison

    Found this:
    The two halves of the drivetrain/powertrain combination were joined with the ‘rope drive’. This was a one piece, flexible shaft of 87.25″ (2216mm) in length on automatic cars, 82.3″ (2090mm) on manuals. The diameter was 0.65″ (16.5mm) on automatics, 0.75″ (19.0mm) on manuals. It was made out of SAE 8660 triple alloy steel. Before it made it onto the car, the shaft was magnafluxed, shot-peened, and protectant-coated. On the vehicle, it was installed through a hollow channel called a torque tube. There was an as-installed arch of 3 inches at the center of the shaft. It was held with two support bearings near the center. Because of the constant in-place curve, there was no need for universal joints.

    The shaft can be compared to a big speedometer cable. The idea behind it was to act as a torsion bar to help aleviate the Inline-4′s vibration issues.

    The rear suspension was fully independent with swing-arms. This setup was similar to a Chevy Corvair’s.

    There were advantages of this overall package. The front/back weight ratio was close to 50/50— Unheard of in most cars, even today. More interior room, due to the lack of the trans hump. Smoother ride, from the fully indepedent suspension.

    Some disadvantages were: The trunk room suffered due to the trans being directly adjacent. Excessive noise in neutral was common. This was due to the shaft turning at all times when the engine is running.

    ‘Rope Drive’ was only around until the 1963 model year. This goes hand in hand with the introduction of the new 1964 A-bodies…

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  13. Barry Thomas

    Hey Graham. You are famous or at least your collection is. I didn’t realize that you had so many. I like the Pontiacs, but that ’64 Ford is one of my favorites. Colour? Do you still have that ’63 or ’64 Grand Prix? Stop by for a coffee next time you are in Toronto.

    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

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  14. Jeff

    Jim Bob The 61-2-3 Tempests had a 9300 series spring steel driveshaft, acting somewhat like a torsion bar. There was no so called implication of a rope appearance nor design. The 4 cylinder cars had a 5/8 diameter shaft and the 8 cylinder cars, including the SD421s in 63, has a 3/4 diameter. the shafts were held in a catenary shape by the front and rear connections and had rubber mounted bearings at the nodal points to keep it from deflecting within the torque tube enclosure. very rugged. The only potential problem was if the shaft got nicked which would then ultimately break due to flexure at the nick (stress concentration) site.

    Like 1

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