1966 Pontiac GTO

Investing a lot of money on a barn find may seem a bad decision but its entire outcome depends on the condition of the car that you found. Michael Schaeffer found a 1966 GTO in Alexandra, Ohio. The car was disassembled, it has no drivetrain and all of its parts were scattered inside the barn. Although the car looks completely hopeless, he called his brother Steve and asked him if he was interested. Both of them decided to bring the GTO to their home and see what they can do. It took 3 trips before they could finally collect the car’s parts in the barn.

The Home Built 1966 GTO

Fully restored Built 1966 GTO

Their mechanic inspects the car and he said that, “the car will never be on streets again.” Practically speaking, the car was completely hopeless but Steve Schaeffer still gave it a second chance. Steve personally built a ’70 Pontiac 455 H.O four bolt main engine for it and he paired it with a M20 wide Ratio Muntie-four speed transmission that he also built. Further body works were somewhat complex that is why he went to ABC Drivetrain in Lancaster, Ohio for a custom 3:31 12 Bolt Posi rear end for his car. Later on, Steve added a South Side Machine lift bars and Air Lift air bags along with gas shocks to the car’s rear suspension.

The restoration of the 1966 GTO was done inside Steve Schaeffer’s garage, he’s proud to say that he personally built the car’s steering, suspension, electrical and fuel system. He also did an amazing work on the car’s brakes. Steve installed power disc brakes with vacuum canister. Although the car was already drivable, B&J Garage fixed some of its problems and did the necessary tune ups.

The interior of the car was made by R&J Upholstery and Young’s Auto Body removed the GTO’s faded orange paint. Steve’s friends also helped him in making better doors, deck lid and bumper for his car. Its rear wheel wells were also reshaped along with its trunk floors.

The 1966 GTO was done with its gray primer and Steve is using it as his daily driver. He also tried his luck in National Trail Highway in Hebron, Ohio. Racing was not much of his friend, his car was barely qualified and he was thrown out. They would only let him race again if he had a scatter shield, driveshaft loop and blow up-proof fly wheel on his car.

The car was repainted by Doug at River Valley Collision in Lancaster,Ohio. With its brand-new look, Steve drove the car on Detroit for the Dream Cruise.

1966 Pontiac  GTO engine

The car’s improvement didn’t stop there because only few years ago, Steve decided to put a new engine on his GTO. He wanted to mount a pure Pontiac engine with a modern touch, he built a four bolt Pontiac 421 engine and it has Pontiac Arma Steel Crank, reconditioned Pontiac forged steel connecting rods, Comp Cams camshaft, Edelbrock aluminum cylinder heads, Professional Products Crosswind intake and Edelbrock 750 carb.

The new engine can now produce 511hp at 5,000rpm and 558 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Michael Schaeffer

If he would go back in 1960s, his car is surely an absolute beauty! Currently, his car has won various awards in different car shows and it has also won numerous drag race trophies.

Who would think that a completely junked 1966 GTO would turn into this stunning restored classic?


Schaeffer, S. (2014, November) Homegrown Heroes Steve Schaeffer ’66 GTO. Muscle Car Review, 18

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