IRIS MIST MAS­TER­PIECE

A GTO De­serv­ing of Its Con­cours Restora­tion

Muscle Car Review - - Contents - By Arvid Svend­sen

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...

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