I married this lovely girl back in 1979 and we made a deal that she would have whatever family car she needed as long as I didn’t have to give up a console and bucket seats. As the years ran on and family matters took first priority, I edited that with the family cars that got passed down to me for work vehicles, adding buckets seats to station wagons that I grew to enjoy. Most of the time, I always had my personal daily driver, which was a ’70 GTO. As I upgraded the suspension and brakes and other mechanicals with resistance from the wife, my goal was to show her how much fun we could have touring with this car (and me having a car I could be proud of), and that it was cost effective.
After the first sorting out of the car, I have never heard another word about how much money I spent on the car (or any car) when we traveled from our then home in New Jersey to Florida with the GTO, and she didn’t have to drive. We would have the A/C on, didn’t suffer from breakdowns, and she saw how happy I was. So far, this car has been clocked cruising at 150 mph by a sheriff, corners, and rides comfortably. Believe me when I say I like to drive; we’ve already logged on 420,000 miles and had the original engine overhauled at 384,000 miles. Be it Pro Touring or a g-Machine, back then I don’t remember hearing anyone building cars to perform to this level, but what a way to go to have the whole family involved! During all of those years my last drag car was a 46,000-mile ’65 Malibu. I have been preserving it, looking forward to building similar to the Goat. Fortunately, with the huge aftermarket and the products available today, we can have the wonderful muscle car style we love, while gaining performance and the creature comforts we want. More often, this can come at a price that’s less than a new car that has no personality. This is especially true if you’re talented enough to do most of the work yourself.
I think the debate over what to call a style is only relevant to determine a build’s purpose and for my money the more venues you can enjoy your labors the better. I quit a car club because the guys only wanted to sit at local car shows and worried if their car would make it; then there were those guys who would say, “I don’t want to put too many miles on it.” I say build it to drive, and the more miles you put on it, the better! Keep up the good work, and I love everything you do in the mag!
Upstate New York, way above Albany
I have to say, before I started my build two years ago, I had no idea what a g-Machine, Pro Touring, and, let’s not forget, restomod, even were. All I knew was, ever since I bought my first car (’70 ’Cuda) back in the ’80s is that I wondered how cool it would be to have a piece of American muscle that was comfortable, functional, and had modern electronics. Not to mention, being able to corner, or better yet, be able to stop without having a near-death experience. I originally got my ideas, much like the great Carroll Shelby, after traveling to Europe, where they call them Supercars and Super Saloons.
Regarding the Pro Touring and g-Machine debate, I see both sides. Even so, as long as there are people out there like me who have an unyielding love for muscle cars that are comfortable, handle, and have all the modern-day amenities, there will always be place for old-school cool mixed with new-school tech.
Jason “The Mutleg” Whitlock