Alamo Area Chapter
Pontiac-Oakland Club International

Car Show
Ralph Gaines
Pontiac(s)1971 GTO
Member Bio
I bought this car in August 99’ with the intention of “flipping” it. The buyer I had lined up backed out and so I just sat on the car for a while. In the mean time I had picked up a 72’ Grand Prix SJ that needed little restoring to bring it back to excellent condition. The Grand Prix got me involved with the club. From time to time I would do a little work on the GTO thinking it would increase my chances of selling the car for more money. The more I got into the car and the more I got involved with the club the more I started to realize this could be a really fun car. I had been working on a 71’ 442 convertible and when I sent it off to be painted I really started working on the GTO. Well the 442 spent 9 months in the paint shop so I got quite a bit of work done on the GTO. Things stopped once I got the 442 back from the paint shop as my attention went to finishing the 442. Finally one day I decided it was time to get this bad boy fired up for the first time. Now I’m not much on engines and thus a bunch of club members eagerly came over to help. David Pelzel, Chuck Duffin, and Alfred Flores along with Raul Pena on the phone all pitched in while I pretty much watched and turned the key. After owning this car 5 years it finally breathed fire. Now I was on fire to finish the car. Off for paint, back, now the interior and then all of those little things that need to be done to finish it. A quick history of this car. It was bought new in San Diego, CA, a low option 4 speed car as a toy for a rich kid. He drove it until April of 84’ (I think he blew the motor) and had logged just 60,000 miles on it. Never wrecked it, no rust. The second owner took the car apart with the intention of restoring it but never got on the job. The third owner started restoring the car and replaced the engine with a rebuilt 70’ motor. He worked on it for several years until his father died. At that point he moved back to Texas to care for his mother and brought the car with him. He wasn’t making enough money to spare any for the car so it sat in a field behind his mother’s house for 6 years. Left out in the weather with weeds growing all around it the car remained in good condition with the exception of the hood. 71’ hoods are bad about rotting out if they get water standing in the hood’s nose. I did have to find a replacement.

Back to my ownership of the car. I got the car back on the road in April of 2005, 21 years after it had last burned asphalt.

Had it not been for the help and support of our club’s other members, I likely would never have finished this car. Many thanks to all of those that gave of their time and talent.