IRIS MIST MASTERPIECE
A GTO Deserving of Its Concours Restoration
A GTO deserving of a concours restoration
The decision to restore a muscle car involves a variety of considerations, usually starting with the car’s end goal. Choosing to enter in the highest level of concours competition is an entirely different quest from wanting to drive the car on weekends or to a local show. Next, a budget must be set, allocating enough funds to realistically reach the intended goal. Though the amount of money spent will be affected by various factors, a restoration is doomed if proper funding is not honestly evaluated.
What do we mean by “proper funding”? Consider the two end goals mentioned above:
Because the intent is to make the car safe, functional, and enjoyable, as opposed to historically accurate and of artisanal workmanship, the driver restoration is usually the least expen-
sive. Complete disassembly is rarely required, reproduction parts are used extensively, and mechanicals will be rebuilt with more regard for durability and driveability than originality. The driver restoration might cost anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000, depending on owner skill and personal parts inventory.
Show-car restorations aren’t as easy to pigeonhole, as a “show car” can be anything from an occasional driver meant to draw crowds at a local cruise night to one refurbished to the exacting standards required to win awards at national-level shows judged by marque experts. That sort of “concours” restoration typically replicates factory assembly and paint processes (though paint quality is far higher), incorporates only N.O.S. or restored OE components, and relies heavily on knowledge of the owner and restorer to ensure that those components have the correct casting
“Its ultrarare color had been covered in a
coat of ‘resale red’”
numbers, date stamps, and assembly-line markings. The typical concours restoration is somewhere in the $100,000 to $200,000 range, possibly higher. A car restored to this level is driven only on and off the trailer. It is rolling artwork that will cease to be artwork when it commences road duty.
In some instances, though, a third factor comes into play when making the restoration decision: Rarity.
According to the national registry on the
“The car is a piece of art”
PY Online forum, this 1965 GTO convertible is one of 60 built with the 360hp Tri-Power V-8 and a four-speed transmission. Pontiac Historic Services (PHS) VIN document information confirms that this convertible was born with the rare P-code Iris Mist paint, and is one of just two Iris Mist/TriPower/four-speed/convertible 1965 GTOs.
The GTO’s owner, Paul Kilker, has been a judge at the GTOAA Nationals for at least 15 years. “A concours restoration makes sense when the car deserves it,” he believes. “I think it can be related to artwork. The car is a piece of art. It was the right car, it was rare, and it deserved a top-level, concours restoration.”
Not much is known about the car’s history. Paul found it through a Craigslist ad five years ago. The seller had purchased it from a man who bought it from a used car dealership in 1982. Somewhere along the way its ultrarare color had been covered in a coat of “resale red.” The body’s quarters, floor, and underhood structure needed work.
Jim Mott Restorations of Kimberly,
Idaho, performed the rejuvenation, which displays an obsessive commitment to perfection and originality. Impeccable paint, correct factory finishes, and a stockpile of N.O.S. parts created a rolling masterpiece that provides a Pontiac history lesson to all serious observers.
A Pontiac guy for most of his life, Paul already possessed an assortment of N.O.S. parts that were put into service during the two-year restoration. These N.O.S. parts included the driver-side rearview exterior mirror, antenna assembly, T3 headlights, parking lamp assemblies, backup-light lenses, backup-light switch (on the shifter linkage), Rally I wheel trim rings and center caps, wiper blade rubber refills and holders, emblems (except the trunk emblem), rubber gasket between the headlight bezel and fender, AC 45S spark plugs, and PF7 oil filter. When N.O.S. parts were not available, good used OE parts were sourced and restored to new condition.
Paul’s GTO earned the Muscle Car Review pick at the 31st annual Muscle
Car Classic show in Minnesota, where it debuted to his Land of Lakes GTO Club brethren and show attendees (musclecarclassicshow.com).
n The Tri-power-equipped 389 was rebuilt to factory specifications at Jim Mott Restorations. The three original two-barrel carburetors that came with the car were rebuilt and restored, and all factory finishes and markings were replicated.
A concours-level restoration excels in the details. Jim Mott Restorations put factory markings and heat-embossed the date code into the convertible top’s plastic window. The taillight panel was restored by The Finishing Touch in Chicago. Front and rear...
The Rally gauges include fuel, water temperature, and oil pressure instruments, plus a battery warning light and in-dash 8,000-rpm tachometer.
n The black GTO Strato bucket seat interior features the OE Hurst shifter and optional console. The Muncie M20 transmission was, in Paul’s words, “blueprinted and refurbished internally to concours condition.”
There are some mysteries in the GTO’s data plate. The 03C in the top line indicates a build date of the third week of March (the 1 next to it is still a mystery). ST and BODY at either end of the second line refer to the body style. 65 is the model...