Kindig-It Designs 1965 GTO
Really Lookin' Fine
This one is stacked
Do you feel that 1964-72 were the glory days for the American muscle car? Back when new cars had style for miles, more power than they could handle, engines you could see (and wanted to look at) and required serious effort from the driver. Am I right? Back when men were men and hot rods were hot.
We’ll all agree that you can’t beat the look of a classic American muscle car, that’s a gimmie. That being said, who is to say that even a classic body like this ’65 GTO couldn’t benefit from a little pick-me-up? Maybe start with something along the lines of flush-mount door handles, tucked bumpers and perfect panel gaps to set the stage. Throw in some billet badges sunk into the sheetmetal, and then drown the whole works in a custom-mixed PPG pigment.
The legendary powerplants from the ‘60s are above equal, right? Kind of, I guess, sorta. I mean really, you didn’t think engineers would learn anything about building engines in the last 50 years? Surely something cast in this century could offer more. Why not try a joyful LS3 crate motor straight from the General? It is lightweight, wears fuel injection and runs like a top. Sure, it’s a modern lump that looks more generator than hot rod engine, but hear me out on this one; I know the Pontiac faithful hold the 389 near and dear, but you can’t argue against 480hp. Ever. 480 horsepower in a street-driven car is plenty, I don’t care what your twin-turbo forum friends say. Think of it this way, the LS3 will make this GTO dance like the stock 326 never could, and you’ll never smell like raw fuel when you come back from a drive.
If there is a downside to the LS conversion, it is the outward appearance. Luckily there are a few enterprising folks that have taken matters into their own hands. With liberal use of a contrasting paint color and some custom valve covers from Cal Custom, the industrial LS3 is a whole lot more presentable.
If we play arm-chair car builder for a minute and imagine how an original 1965 anything stopped and steered, we’d be glad we’re in an arm chair instead of sliding across a bench seat hanging on for dear life. Cornering in anger would nearly pop the tires off the beads and drag the door handles on the ground, and where are your three-point seat belts? 10 years away, that’s where. So maybe the road holding prowess and interior accompaniments leave something to be desired, yes?
1965 couldn’t even dream of the structural enhancements afforded by a complete Art Morrison chassis sprung with coilovers and a four link. How about melting the F70-14s from a roll? That was fun and made for good fish-stories, but for this tiger, 335s are where it’s at. For the hook.
With the rest of the package coming together, there was no question that JS Custom Interiors was going to get the go-ahead for extreme office makeover, GTO edition. Leather wrapping nearly everything, actual bolsters in the seats, seat belts and a billet wheel let the driver know we’re not in tie-dye anymore. The stock dash was retained, but fleshed out with a VHX-64P-GTO instrument system. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but, beep beep; this gauge cluster is the ultimate new vs. old treaty.
It’s beginning to look like Kindig-It Designs has it all figured out. Apparently modern technology and classic styling can coexist and not step on the other one’s toes. Maybe it’s time for a round of spring cleaning for your own hot rod. Now is the perfect time to peel off those old Centerlines and pass them along to a young guy that thinks they’re ‘retro.’