- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 20, 2010

For 20 years Bruce Valley thoroughly enjoyed the Pontiac GTO convertible he bought before graduating from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.

After twice restoring the well-worn car and with a third restoration rapidly approaching, he sold it to a collector in 1986.

Two decades passed before Mr. Valley and his wife, Nancy, decided to, as he says, “Go back in time.”

The search for a replacement for his original GTO began in ernest and soon the trail led to St. Louis.

A broker of antique automobiles there had for sale a freshly restored 1967 Pontiac GTO convertible. “It was virtually a new car in every way,” Mr. Valley says.

The car had been driven only about 26,000 miles when the owner sent it to Ohio for a six-year restoration. Mr. Valley contacted the restorers and learned exactly what had been done before the completed car was shipped back to the owner in Fargo, N.D.

From there, the Pontiac was sent to St. Louis for adjustments to the doors and for installation of a three two-barrel carburetor setup.

It was February of 2007 when Mr. Valley purchased the twin of the convertible car of his youth. He returned to his home near Mt. Vernon to await delivery of the object of his affection.

Records that came with the car indicate it was built in October 1966 and left the factory equipped with:

- Antenna.

- 5 seatbelts.

- Positraction.

- AM/FM radio.

- Power steering.

- Rallye I wheels.

- Hood tachometer.

- Power disc brakes.

- 400 cid V-8 engine.

- Wide ratio gearbox.

- 4-speed manual transmission.

Upon arrival of the Montreaux blue convertible, Mr. Valley gave it an extensive examination. As he inspected every part of the car memories of 40 years ago kept him company.

A total of 9,517 GTO convertibles like his left the Pontiac factory during model year 1967. Each one weighed 3,515 pounds and had a base price of $3,165. If a couple of extra cost options were added the car would have sold for about a dollar a pound.

The white convertible top matches the dual pin stripes that extend the length of the car from the stacked dual headlights to the eight slotted taillights. Since it is a convertible, the rear seat courtesy light is built into the rear of the console on the floor. A Hurst four-speed shifter occupies the other end of the console.

The 6,000 rpm engine hood-mouthed tachometer has a redline of 5,000 rpm. Also on the engine hood is a non-functional snorkle air scoop.

What isn’t chrome-plated on the interior of the car is painted, carpeted or upholstered in signal blue. Peering through the three-spoke steering wheel, Mr. Valley can view the 120 mph speedometer.

Mr. Valley doesn’t mind the lack of head rests but he says he misses having no right side mirror when driving in heavy traffic.

The Rallye I wheels that support the Pontiac on a 115-inch wheelbase are dressed up with trim rings.

In contrast to many new cars with deep trunks, the low Pontiac trunk lid necessitates storing the spare tire horizontally on the right side of the trunk.

Below the twin backup lights positioned in the bumper are a pair of megaphone-shaped exhaust tips which broadcast with authority the sound of Pontiac excitement.

Mr. Valley says the odometer is now approaching 28,000 documented miles and he intends to add many more. His car delivers 18 miles per gallon.

When warm weather arrives the top will go down and the Valleys will get cruising in their GTO.

Mr. Valley says the two air vents under the dashboard function as his air conditioner.

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