pontiacventura.com's NEW RIDES for January 2009
A Happy New Year to everyone out there!  The
site seems to be evolving into a quarterly e-magazine, huh!  Thankfully, I'm still able to pull it off, even with the new (almost 9 month old) baby.
Anyway, there are some good car deals all around, as people part with their projects or treasures due to the recent economic mayhem.  Have a look at our ad section for starters! -Ro

"I love your site, and the photos of these old Venturas are beautiful..." -Kevin Hall


(please click thumbnails to enlarge...and by the way, this is a BIG page that may take longer to load over dial-up.)

Driving the Wheels Off

"Greetings, In October of 07 I purchased a "73 Ventura 4 door (see photo) that I wanted to make into a super cheep bracket racer.  The owner came to me because it was going to be towed and impounded.  About two months later I was offered a "71 2 door that was disassembled and very rusty.  Well, sorry to say but the 4 door gave its life so the better looking, and lighter car could live again.  After a sand blasting of a very rusty interior, it became obvious that the only way to remove all of the sand from the copious amount of nooks and crannies was to have a small track hoe hold and shake the vehicle upside down!  Less than 1 year later the car was competing at Denver's Bandimere Speedway in the Division 5 Finals.

"It was a great thing finding your site, I have been a Chevelle guy for MANY years (I do some occasional Tech help for the A.C.E.S Chevelle Members) and did not want to "Hang" with the Nova crowd.  The engine follows the "Super Cheap" line of thinking, a salvaged 350 short block from a 3/4 ton van, a TH400 from a 3/4 ton truck, 8.5" S-10 10 bolt rear end with 4.56 Eaton posi.  A good friend had a set of World Products Aluminum Motown heads and manifold.  It also has a Comp Cams hydraulic cam.  I live at 9 thousand feet and compete at about 5000, (and) the air pressure conditions can change here by 2000 ft !   The best time so far is 13.91 @ 99.9 Mph.  The rear tires are 12 year old BFG Drag radials! 

   "Here are a few more pics... The garage story ran in the March 07 Car Craft.  I will be attending the March Meet 09 in Bakersfield CA.  I intend to enter with the Colorado Hill Climb Association this summer and run the Ventura in the "Stock Car" class.  I have experience in SCCA Pro Rally...but not with a car with LEAF SPRINGS !!! If the economy doesn't take a total dive...run it at Bonneville in August or October !!  The more places I can take this car and wear a helmet, the BETTER !!

"Thanks for the site...Scott Gillman, Crested Butte CO ( scott@cementcreek.net )"

When you hear about the 'true spirit of hot rodding', I think Scott has got it nailed!  And by the way, you might recognize that old 4-door, it was advertised for sale on this site quite a while back. -Ro


Special Appearance Group? You Bet!

"This is my 76 Pontiac, all original except the exhaust. I'm 15 and it's my first car.  I'm restoring it but as most of you on this site probably already know it's hard to find specific parts.  It has an original 260 (actually a 261) from factory. I'm getting all the dents fixed rite now and I'm repainting it but I can't find Special Appearance package decals...I was wondering if anyone knew where I could find a set?  And what everyone thought it was worth?  Dillon Roy ( d-m-a-i-l@hotmail.com )"

There are a lot of folks green with envy who wish they could have such a unique first car.  Way to go, Dillon!  

Running at Centerville

Mark Barger's ( mnrbarger@cox.net ) 72 Ventura is seen here taking on what looks like a steroid-enhanced Chevy Monza (when was the last time you saw one of those on the road?).  He was trying to show some air under the front tires, and looks like he succeeded both times.  Since Mark was probably driving, he can pass our compliments on to the person behind the camera.  

Dad Would Be Proud!

It's very rare to have anyone save one of the '71-'74 4-door x-bodies; we can probably count them on one hand.  There's often a sentimental reason behind it, and this blue beauty is no exception.

   "Here's my story.  My first car was a Regatta Blue 1974 Pontiac Ventura with a white vinyl top and a 350 V-8.  When I went to college I commuted about 60 miles a day and my dad, a Pontiac guy, decided I needed reliable transportation.  Naturally we went to the dealership where he'd bought all his Pontiacs and we got a "practical four-door sedan."  I got to pick out the color scheme but my dad was insistent that four doors were better than two.  I'm not sure I agreed but he was the boss.  I had her 23 years until she finally gave up the ghost.  Having a new family and limited resources, I got rid of her for something more practical.  I then spent the next 11 years regretting that I hadn't kept and restored her. 

    "Nostalgia being what it is, I would periodically google "1974 Ventura" to see what was out there.  In March of 2008, a car popped up on Craig's List.  It was in Tennessee, close enough to get to from where I live, reasonably priced ($2500), and in fairly good shape.  I knew I'd gotten myself a good car when I drove her over 500 miles in one weekend getting her home from Nashville.  When I got her, she was a sickly green, had some minor body issues, and needed a headliner.   

   "Spent the summer getting various badges and parts then took her to an upholstery guy who put on the vinyl roof and headliner.  A local body shop did the body and paintwork.  I had her back by the end of October.  She's since gone on a 300 mile road trip to visit my in-laws and cruised around town, getting looks and comments whenever we stop somewhere.  I had her painted a darker blue than my original because I wanted her to be different from my first, while still keeping the original's basic color scheme.  I think I've managed to recapture my youth and even improve on it.  Hope you enjoy the pictures...  Michael Santos ( LCHistory@comcast.net )" 


Pure Pontiac '74 GTO             

"Here are some photos of my 1974 Pontiac GTO. I bought the car in the Fall of 2005. I had it painted and running June 2006. When I bought the car the front and end and original engine were rebuilt. I added a set of #16 428HO heads and a Comp camshaft and Edelbrock performer intake to the original 350, and it ran great, unfortunately the rebuild wasn't too strong and I broke a crankshaft, destroying the original block. I have since built a 455 using the above top end with Long branch cast iron headers and I am back on the road.

"I have tried to limit my modifications to Pontiac-only performance pieces. I have the '68 hood tach, early lug nuts and PMD center caps, and plan to add 15 X 7 rally wheels. Inside I added the 1969 GTO deluxe Walnut steering wheel and shift knob, along with an aftermarket engine-turned aluminum dash applique. Suspension is basically stock with larger front and rear sway bars, and heavy duty springs. It's a nice combination that is fun to drive with 4 speed manual and operating hood scoop.   Thanks, Reggie Horning, Traverse City, MI  ( michelereggie@aol.com )"

I asked Reggie about the replacement rear quarter panels, since this is a common rust area:
"The panels I bought were out of Sherman's Body parts. They were Taiwan made. Not too awesome, and a lot of work went into them to make them straight. At the time it was all that was available. They were all I could find at the time, so what do you do.....I notice a few outfits are offering a full patch panel now."

It's an Outrage!   (and We Love It!)

"This is "The Beast."  My dad built it in the mid '80's.  The '75 Ventura is on a shortened 3/4 ton Chevy truck frame.  Has a 400 CI engine and 35" tires.  Used to have a snow plow attached to it.  Currently I am working on restoring the body and giving it a fresh Spray-on Line-X bedliner for the whole car in Silver with black stripe, hood to rear, emphasizing the raised arrow section of the hood.  I will send more pictures when I get it done. Monte Facer ( montefacer@yahoo.com )"

I joked with Monte that this is what could be done with some of those excess 4-door x-bodies.  Picture a 4x4x4, ha-ha!  A tip of the hat to Monte's dad for his creative work!

Prefers Yellow 

"This is my 1975 Pontiac Ventura 4 door, all my friends call her ol yeller, it has 67,000 miles and has been a New York state car all its life!  I paid 350.00 for it about 7 years ago and have upgraded it a bit with fresh paint and motor parts.  Its a daily driver in NY during the summer and I love it,  thought I'd share. Scott Grabowski ( scotty82g@yahoo.com )" 

Scott's in good company with his post-74 X-body, there are still quite a few of those remaining on our roads, at least in the states with car-friendly climates.  But certainly unusual for the East Coast, I'd say.

Likes His 77 with Red

"Here are some pictures of my ’77 Ventura (with the 75 front clip put on it by the prior owner). I picked it up last May at a car lot and have been working on it ever since. It had a clean body and new custom leather upholstery when I got it. I totally restored the underside and engine compartment, put the Cragars on, chromed up the engine which then promptly blew up, then replaced it with a 350 Chevy crate motor. New paint is next on the list when I can afford it.  I take to car shows here in Southwest Florida and it is still the only one I have seen in the area. Thanks, Bryan Trimble ( powerage1395@yahoo.com )" 
Check out the custom door panels and creative color application!  Glad I'm not the only one 'seeing red' as a cool highlight color. -Ro

The tireless Thomas Lord forwarded this sales ad image of a '77 Ventura, looks like an SJ with rocker trim still intact.

  Canadian Phoenix Rising

"Hey, Canadian Kyle here with the pro-street 1978 Pontiac Phoenix from Windsor, Ontario, Canada...thought I'd send some pictures of the car finally finished and have it moved outta the "Project" section haha!  2 years to the date of buying it, the car was plated and driven for the 1st time after its dramatic and over-due make over...still lovin' the site! Keep it up!  -Kyle Dagenais ( dumb_ass_dagenais@hotmail.com )" 

The aggressive yellow paint removes any of the 'grandpa' vibes, don't ya think?  The spoiler helps too.

His Phirst Car's a Phoenix
Ridin' to High School in Style in a Late-'70s Personal-Luxury Car

"Hey, my name's Nate and I've been a big fan of the site for a while now and thought I'd send some pictures of my 1977 Pontiac Phoenix.  I got the car this summer and plan on restoring it.  It's got a 305 with 24,000 original miles on it, got it from my grandpa, he just had it sitting outside... I enjoy the car alot,  I mean for being a 16 year old kid this car is great, and nobody at school has one.  The original color is Firethorn Red even though it may not look like it.  The car is bone stock as of now until I get the money to work on it. ( ostrob@charter.net )
Notice the extra chrome on this car, with the small bits to the outside of the taillights, the strip across the trunk lid, and the one down the center of the hood.  I believe Nate has since found a replacement hood ornament, which is missing in these photos.  Thought we'd highlight the taillights, which appear to be used on the Ventura SJ and Phoenix LJ trim levels.

Here's one from the old PC archive, the seller was asking $10K for it... big bucks for any X-body if you ask me.

"Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick?"


Remember that old ad jingle?
"This is my contribution to your image gallery of antique X-body GM's. It has a great running 231-V6, and was kept in a garage in rust free Atlanta. Just over 91,000 miles, it's put in storage for the winter.  The only change I made was removing the red vinyl top as it was not only in poor taste, but poor condition. The roof has great lines all by itself. In the spring I will have the entire car repainted the original white. Some of the interior PVC trim faded, so I removed all of it from the car and resurfaced it with a very close matching plastic paint. The results were fantastic. 

"The car did not run well when I bought it. The last time it was used was 1995. It sat in a mild dry garage for 13 years. It was shipped up by truck, and delivered to my house. I replaced all hoses, ignition wiring, plugs, oil change and chassis lubrication. I found the rubber to be very good in the suspension, especially the control arm bushings. The brake calipers work fine, and the pads show little wear. 5 new white wall tires mounted and balanced. Bearings repacked. I replaced the carburetor with a new R-twin jet, and put in a new distributor assembly.

"The first 500 miles were rough. It shook at idle while in gear like a dog passing a peach pit. So the best thing was to drive it on long highway trips, using detergents in the fuel and oil. The fresh oil darkened quickly. I changed it 5 times in 3,000 miles until it cleared up. Now the engine runs smooth again. It likes 93 octane, but will deliver 25 MPG at 60 MPH and a light foot.   I also have a growing gallery on Photo.net that includes black and white 4X5 Polapan prints from various car shows. Sincerely, Jason Wolffe ( Polacolor690@Verizon.net )"

Keys to Success        

Dave Meier has a new look for his beloved "Slomega"... when was the last time you saw a set of Keystone rims?  I think they strike a perfect balance, because a lot of 15" wheels don't look right on the x-body, but I think the key (no pun intended) is that the slots in the wheel are relatively small, allowing you to fill the wheel well without running an obviously oversized rim.  Well done!

Sometimes when contributions slow down, it gives me the opportunity to dig back into some of the hundreds (if not thousands) of x-body images I've saved over the years, but never posted on the site.  These fine vehicles caught my eye as I scrolled thru the files this time around.

Sweet '73s from the Archives...

... and Adore these 74s.  

The Real (Sprint) Deal...
This car appears to be wearing the fairly-rare Navajo Orange paint color.

...and an Alternative "Sprinterpretation"   Nice work!

 Other Super 77s      

A pristine vehicle like this might be in a garage in your neighborhood!

Mother Nature Takes Her Revenge!  
Jeremy sent another pic of himself shoveling more than a foot of snow off his carport, but he looked so much like Brett Favre that I didn't want him to be bombarded with thousands of emails from starry-eyed fans.

Following an ebay link mentioned on www.performanceyears.com led to uncovering these nice shots of a motorless Omega.  Great shots of the cool SX graphics.  Enjoy!


More Omegas!  

Kristine's '75 is unique in that it looks like the Landau roof has been removed and blended into the C-pillar.  This is pretty unusual, we've only seen it on a yellow car appearing on Page 1 of the 1977 Ventura section, far as we can recall.

A long time ago, Michael Black told us about his car being featured in a video on the Car Craft website, but we could never find it.  Mike was kind enough to touch base again and send the great link.  Check it out!  
< click for video or see link below

 "Haven't talked to you in quite a while and thought I'd touch base. Your website looks great. I can see you've been workin' to make it bigger and better. Lots of nice cars on this site.

    I have a new e-mail address ( mblack43@woh.rr.com )  I've gotten a number of e-mails from folks all over asking questions...and all of those came from folks on this site. The Ventura is still the same ...gettin' older and somewhat rustier. I saw that you've got a video section on here so I figured I'd send you this link http://www.carcraft.com/multimedia/01/videos/6200540/index.html . It's still the only ride I got.

"That vid was shot almost 8 yrs ago now. CarCraft has had it online for about 4 yrs now I think...This past August issue they even ran a promo for it on page 4 and compared it to a Michael Bay movie...I didn't know who Bay was, had to look him up on the net... But anyway, it sure is nice of them to put such a rustbucket on their site!  At the time of that shoot the motor was a '73 Olds 455 bored .060 over  to 468 cu. in. The long block was done by "the god of machine work", Dave Middleton, who owns Performance Clinic in Beavercreek Ohio. Shortly after that video shoot...I thought I was hearing bad noises from this motor and got a "good deal" on another Oldsmobile short block that was already punched to 496 cu. in. 

    "That's the motor described elsewhere on your website... machine work on that short block was done by another shop who will remain nameless because they suck. Morons who, I found out later, couldn't even read a micrometer. That motor experienced severe oil pan failure, taking out the left front rim, tire, damaging the lower control arm and oiling the rear tires at 80 mph in the fast lane of 75 southbound... Cutting doughnuts unintentionally in rush hour traffic on one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the US almost made me see God. At least the cops were nice to me.  And I REALLY wish I had that on video!

"So...I pulled the top end apart and had NO damage up top...I re-assembled the original 468 and that has been running with no problems ever since. It's got way over 200,000 miles now. It's been beaten to death. It's had enough Nitrous Oxide pumped through it to asphyxiate the entire Third World.  And it's basically the same as what's already on your site...except for the rotating assembly. Thanks to Dave Middleton for his precise machining...   Thanks again for your work on the website it's appreciated!  Michael Black   mblack43@woh.rr.com "


Where your old photos

come back to life

"Cool to see a website on the Pontiac Ventura!  I owned a 74 and a 76 as you see in the attached picture.  The 76 ended up with a heart transplant --- a 403 cid out of a 79 Trans Am.  I wish I still owned this one but sold it back in '91 or '92.  I recently found my quarter mile time slip from the racetrack and it put down a fairly impressive 14.57 at 96 MPH - not bad for pretty much a stock 403.  Torque was somewhere in the range of 350 lb-ft and about 220 HP.  What a fun ride it was!   Cheers, Steve Kilar   ( hkycoldrct@sbcglobal.net )" 
White with black accent, tied together with the chromed rims, is a super look for the ' 76!

1  2  3  4

"Hey Roland, finally figured out the scanner, hope you can use these!

1) 1988, when I first bought her.  2) Racing days.  3) New engine (notice the mini on the scoop)  4) Going back on the street.  Thanks, Kevin Hall" 
You can see more shots of Kevin's car in the Project section below.

And Further Reminiscing...

 "Hi, just found your website.  I owned a '72 Ventura bought new for me when I was 16 by my parents.  I found a pic of almost the exact car with same color and trim and I have been reminiscing ever since.  My dad put the "big" motor in it , and I took it to the racetrack a few times, without their knowledge.  I seem to still be more interested in cars than my husband now, and he's from Motor City!  HA!

"I've owned many, many cars since then, many top sports cars, but it's always that first car that pulls at your heart strings!  Thanks so much for the memories and maybe I'll get me a Ventura one day again!

Ventura Lady, Maryland ( planetmom123@aol.com )

Where there's a Will, there's a Way (to keep your X-body running)...
"I am Kees van de Wiel and just bought recently my first ´old American´ car.  It is a Buick Skylark S/R 1977. It was originally sold in 1977 in Holland (so everything is in KM and not Miles) and was dark red. When I bought it, it was already painted in 2 tones; matte black on top and light grey on the sides with a small red line between them. I also saw another Dutch Skylark on your site, which says to me that I am not alone :)

"I really like the car, and the paint job and rims under the car gives it an extra boost.  It looks great, but it is not perfect.  I will be spending some time and money, when I have it, to make it better...hope you enjoy the looks of my car.  Greetings, Kees van de Wiel
( kvdw27@live.nl )"

< Check out the other vintage US cars in the background, is that a Grand Am, or ? So odd, it really caught my attention! -Ro >


Somewhere Beyond...!

Definitely not in the USA is all we can say!  But the car itself looks way better than it could have come from the factory... check out the arrow-straight body side moulding... you can see this car is lovingly maintained.  Contributed by Barzin Alipanah ( barzin.alipanah@yahoo.com ), but other than saying hello, we didn't get any details about this great-looking car.  We're glad to have the photos to share anyway, so thank you!

Meanwhile, in the Philippines...

Bernie’s been making constant improvements to his '71 Ventura, and now he's got some great new rims installed.  The way the paint job on this car glows is amazing, and has got to be remarkable to see in real life.  Lots more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/21173688@N03/sets/72157610793877896/

Slowly but surely, Bob's GTO project moves forward! (
slickvillepanels@aol.com )

You saw Kevin's car in the Memory Lane section, these shots are more current.

"Here are just a few shots taken with my camera phone, she is my baby.
Kevin Hall ( hall1145@att.net )"

Sees More in a Four-Door

"My name is Chris and I am in Charleston SC. I have a 4 door 1974 Ventura. My older brother and I were working on it about 5 yrs ago and
stopped because of work and money. I recently brought it to my shop to do the rest of the work on it, and someone plowed into the rear end of it
while it was parked out front.

"I'd really hate to have to get rid of my car because it has a lot of  sentimental value, not to mention its 62,000 orig. miles. At 50,000 miles
the head gasket blew and we re-built the whole motor. The interior is  PERFECT, besides the floor. I have all the original parts including the
rims and baby moon hubcaps.  Chris Dix ( chris@portcitywraps.com )"

Chris says he's in the car-wrapping business, so it'll be kind of interesting to see how this one will eventually turn out. -Ro

Vinyl Roof Russian Roulette  

"Hi Ro, Well it looks like the green Omega is now a parts car (still upset because of the options it had but too far gone).  Looking at the rust  holes that were under the vinyl, the roof is real bad and most of the remaining metal is real weak.

"I picked up a 1974 Nova Custom Hatchback (wish it was an Olds Omega), I could not find an Omega though I had run an add locally all summer.  It has new quarter panels and tail light panel, and a 4.88 10-bolt rear. Thought about putting the Omega sub frame in it for the disk brake set up and cutting the tunnel for the floor shifter out and putting it in the Nova as the Nova is column shift but lots of decisions to make and who knows, might throw the Olds engine in the Nova, drop the gears down to 3.73 or 3.08!  But I think with a 4.88 rear the Olds engine would blow...?  I will stay in touch...  Craig Antonio ( cmantonio@sasktel.net )"

Unless you're driving your vinyl-top car regularly and getting it warm enough to evaporate the moisture in the top, your car's roof is doomed, that's the situation I'm facing with my un-garaged orange '76 Capri.  Stupid vinyl roofs!  -Ro





I originally did not plan to replace the body bushings, but having them so accessible was too tempting.  Not to mention that with the car jacked up, I could see lots of daylight between the body and the trailing end of the subframe!  After removing them and seeing how corroded the bolts were, (see pic) I'm sure glad I did.  This should be a must for anyone planning to drive their car hard.  The design of the bushings creates a pool of water inside that can combine with road or airborne salt and happily chows away at the bolt while you're pulling g's on the onramp or track.

It can be a little tricky to do. Never having done this before, I broke one of the tabs on one of the captive nut cages (for the bushing shown in the last pic), but that was because I tried to re-use one of the old bolts that had virtually no thread left (duh).  Do NOT use anything other than automotive or aerospace grade replacement bolts for these.

The trick I used for the rearmost bushing was to use an air chisel to cut away the paper-thin metal core of the bushing after removing the bolt, after which I could knock it out.  It takes some careful placement of blocks or stands to get a large enough gap to do this, but taking a little time to think it through paid off.  I did not unbolt more than one bushing at a time (except the ones supporting the radiator core, which don't matter) because I didn't want to run the risk of misaligning the subframe to the body.   I used the Competition Engineering kit shown above for the F-body (Camaro/Firebird).  I can't wait to see how the ride has tightened up, with a now-solid subframe and poly bushings all around!!!

Straight 6 Performance

Due to the unpredictable fuel-price situation, there are a lot of folks who are keeping their reliable 250 c.i. 6-banger in their cars, but performance parts aren't as plentiful.  Two sources cited in the Jan 2009 Car Craft mag are Clifford Research ( www.cliffordperformance.net ) and Sissel Automotive .  You can find one or two cars on the site that have Clifford intakes.

Bolt-In Roll Cages

As publicized in Hot Rod magazine, Jan 2009, complete bolt-in "Tigercage" roll cages are available for the 68-79 Nova from www.ridetech.com  . If it fits a Nova interior, it should be applicable to the other X-bodies as well.  Verify before you buy.  Also note that this new cage has not yet been certified for racing use.

Corvette-Based Chassis

Also in Hot Rod magazine, Dec 2008, a new outfit called Torque Industries is willing to build a Vette-based "Torque 3" chassis for almost anything, with the article dropping a hint about the Nova.  Not cheap, but good for all of us.

Got some cool non-Nova X-body photos?  Your pics are welcome, just email them to pontiacv@pontiacventura.com (jpg file format preferred) 

We DO accept pics of the '77-'79 Nova Rally and '74 Spirit of America, because they are cool and pretty rare, too.


99% of the time, you're free to use the photos you find on this site. The 'pontiacventura.com' name is added not as a copyright, but as a way to promote the site thru sharing the photos with fellow hobbyists, and to take a little credit for all the extra work that goes into processing the photos for internet publication.  Whenever I can, I credit the car owner, photographer, or website source and would ask the same favor in return if you use these photos on your own site. If you want to use a photo that has the photographer's own copyright, or is obviously from another publication, I'd recommend you seek the original source's permission.