Pontiac Ventura & X-Body Feature Articles    Updated:  1-3-07 


Don't Order the Bench Seat with Your 4-Speed Ventura Sprint!  contributed by Mike George  ( mikeg@watchtv.net )

"Hello, came across your site by accident while searching for a Ventura Sprint. I am looking for one close to what I bought new back in 1973. Yes, I know I should have kept it, but the rear frame was damaged in an accident.

"Any how, I bought a 1973 Pontiac Ventura Sprint new and cheap. Dealer said he couldn't move it because it was a bench seat four-speed. Bright red paint, black interior hatchback. Had the 4 speed shifter that was a pain to get in reverse. Lift up and forward left. Was always locking up. What was odd, other than a bench seat 4-speed, was it had E-78-14 white wall tires on it with Pontiac hub caps.

"Had a lot of fun with that car whether drag or road racing it ! At one time had Anson wheels with N-50's on the back for drags and then changed over to 15" Cragar s/t wheels with 60 series for road racing, not legal racing though. Lowered the suspension and added full length side pipes, looked pretty good....back then...LOL  If I ever get another scanner, I'll send you some pictures of it in all three configurations. If you hear of one for sale, I'd like to know about it.  Thanks, Mike George, Huntsville, Ohio"


'75 Sweet Memories   contributed by Thomas Lordtininjun@gmail.com )

"I discovered your website from a chain of links off the GrandAmregistry website. It is sure great to see someone has set up a website dedicated to the "forgotten" X body. I wish I would have found it earlier.

"Let me tell you my Ventura story. I bought a '75 Ventura Custom hatchback in late 1982. I had wanted a 75-77
two-door for a couple years. I was hoping for a manual transmission, but I wasn't sure they made any with a V-8 and a manual. To my surprise,  one showed up in the newspaper classifieds one day. You can bet I called them up without delay. I knew that as soon as I drove it to verify that ran OK, I would be buying it.

"When I first looked under the hood, I was a bit puzzled at what looked like an Oldsmobile engine. Sure enough that's what it was! My introduction to the Olds 260. I was not disappointed by the way. I could care less, as long as I had a factory V-8 stick-shift Ventura.

"It was a Saginaw 3-speed with a floor shift. There was unfaded carpet where a floor console had been. Oddly, this car was ordered with air conditioning. Either someone WANTED the stick-shift, or they were concerned about staying comfortable, or both. When I got the car, it had 102K miles on the odometer. It ran great and didn't show any signs of using oil, so my immediate goal was to drive it until the odometer rolled over again! After all, I loved the body-style and I knew I would be keeping this rare Ventura for a long time.

"One of the better qualities of this car I soon discovered was great fuel economy. I lived in Maine, and my parents lived in western Michigan. That car ended up making at least seven round trips. It would get 24-25 mpg on the highway. I even ended up using it to haul most of my belongings when I moved from Maine to Michigan in 1987. Thanks to the hatchback & fold down rear seat.

"The original pressure plate gave out in 1985, at 120K miles. Me and a buddy changed that and put in a new clutch. One day, on my daily commute, a Ford Escort blew a stop sign and T-boned me between the driver's door and left rear wheel. It tore an ugly hole in the quarter panel. By that time, the car was dog tracking a considerable amount, and it had about 170K miles on it so I decided not to worry about the body damage and just kept driving her.

"I finally reached the 200,000 mile plateau in September, 1989. With the car dog tracking worse and the rear wheel wells leaking exhaust fumes into the interior, I decided it was time to retire the old girl with 205K miles. The faithful Olds 260 still ran good, but I could tell the valve guides were worn by the smell of the exhaust, whenever I coasted down an exit ramp.

"I ended up selling my Ventura to some needy people whose engine had failed on the interstate. That was January 1990. I still have the original shift knob, and the Radial Tuned Suspension badge off the dashboard.  Sincerely, Thomas Lord"


Attention to Detail: Rebuild of a '72 Ventura contributed by Clay McIntyre ( clay62177@yahoo.com )

Hello all of you Ventura lovers!! I certainly hope that this "editorial" finds all that read this well, and I just want to share my personal experiences with you all on this long and hard road I've traveled with this car so far. Just one more note before I start.... I truly admire all of the pictures & notes you all have submitted on this website and thank you all for participating on Mr. Stibbe's outstanding website!

     My name is Clay McIntyre and I live in remote central North Carolina. I have an original 1972 Ventura II with a Pontiac 350 and 3-speed TH400. The car was purchased locally at Morgan Pontiac in Albemarle, N.C. and I am the third owner. It was originally Green Metallic with a White stripe down the sides. I particularly didn't care for the paint or the stripe, unlike some, but each to their own. In 1993, I decided to have the car painted "DuPont Cronar Corvette Red"...this was a '93 official paint chip that I decided to go with.
     Someone pry-ed both of my Ventura II scripts off the car while I was at a car show at the Charlotte Motor Speedway back in 1989...so my paint and body man hooked me up nicely and freehanded the scripts in black, straight off the cover of my owner's manual. He did a nice job and it helped to heal my script wound a little. In 2001 my clear coat started to peel so I did a total of $6,000.00 just on the front sub-frame, suspension, engine, and the engine compartment. Here is a breakdown of what happened here.....
SUB-FRAME : I disassembled the entire front clip and took out the engine and tranny. Everything that could possibly be sandblasted,  was (fender wells, engine pulleys, brackets, firewall, and front frame). I used VHT black chassis epoxy on all the parts. Very time consuming!!

SUSPENSION : After some research, I used PST parts. I bought the Super Polygraphite Kit (new upper and lower control arm bushings, inner and outer tie rod ends, stabilizer links and bushings, and a nice upgrade to the 1-1/8 front sway bar). KYB front gas shocks to finish the assembly. For those of you who haven't heard of Ames Performance Engineering....go to amesperf.com. They only deal with 71-74 X-Body and the 74 GTO. Their parts are awesome for what they have to offer. Mostly all my parts for the engine compartment came from Ames Performance such as: new original stamped front brake hoses w/brass ends, correctly GM marked power steering hoses with original friction sleeves, master cylinder, heater core, blower motor, wiper motor, washer motor, washer hoses and nozzles, original GM coolant recovery tank, original and correct emission stickers, and the correct 350 4-V air cleaner decal.

ENGINE : This was a pain in the neck, but a proud effort. The block was decked, line-honed, and bored .040 over, hot tanked and extensively cleaned with small pipe brushes. The crank is stock and was turned .010 under with just a little more so it would turn up quicker. New badger pistons, federal mogul rings and bearing kit, brass freeze plugs, cloyes true-roller timing set, 270 Magnum Comp Cams kit with matching lifters, the whole rotating assembly was balanced (harmonic balancer, crank, and flywheel), and the classic fel-pro gasket set.

HEADS : Shaved .005, extensive porting and matched to headers and intake, viton valve seals, screw-in studs, 3 angle valve job, new seats, bronze valve guides, hardened valve locks, 1 piece valves - 2.10 intake...wow! and 1.77 exhaust. My machinist recommended that he do some flow bench work on my heads so he could maximize my flow to determine the potential horsepower he could squeeze out of it, so we continued the porting of the heads VERY DEEP up into the venturis and intake runners. This head work only was $1,200.00, but he created incredible flow and calculated the flow potential up to 433 HP!!....to some, it may seem unachievable but the engine dyno'd at 393 HP at 4900 RPM, so he wasn't far off!!!!

AND MORE! :  After the final assembly of the engine, the TH400 was rebuilt with a new stock converter, over bored the valve body and heavier springs & clutches installed...now it's impossible NOT to bark the tires when it shifts into 2nd gear..gotta love it!! After the engine and tranny were installed, I finished everything off with a 4 row radiator (it's proven that copper dissipates heat faster than aluminum, FYI) , solid flex-a-lite fan (mortally wounded while installing), Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, 750 CFM Carter AFB Square-bore Carb, Summit Racing 14" Drop Base Air Cleaner (for hood clearance...only 1/4" clearance after install "whew") , Mickey Thompson Pontiac Valve Covers, MSD Billet Electronic Distributor, 8mm MSD wires, Blaster 2 coil, MSD 6A Module, New 14 amp GM alternator, Holley Flow Tech Headers, Flowmaster 2-Chamber Mufflers, and a Flowmaster "American Thunder" 2-1/2" complete exhaust system for a 1969 Pontiac Firebird...

"IMPORTANT NOTE" : For those unaware, the 69 Firebird is the ONLY fully interchangeable front sub-frame (especially the one-of-a-kind center link, idler arm, and the exhaust system.) Novas used the transverse muffler just before the gas tank -where the Firebird had dual mufflers. So, the 1969 Firebird Exhaust System is an EXACT fit for all 71-74 V-8's! As for the interior of this car, I was blessed in the fact that there were no cracks in the dash, no fading of the instrument cluster, a perfect headliner, and amazingly all original "Safe-T-Flo-Lite" glass with no cracks. All my interior needs is a driver side floor pan, a rear package tray, new 80/20 loop carpet, and I plan to redo the front and rear seats in black vinyl. Lately on ebay i bought a NOS electric dash clock, NEW OLD STOCK....WOW, L and R Taillight Assemblies, never before used in a vehicle!!!!!, and a set of Ventura II Scripts in very good condition that I will have re-chromed. After the interior is completely finished, I am going to have the car repainted professionally with either a pearl-burgundy, lucerne blue, or candy blue...I can't decide yet!

Well, to all of you that took the time to read up on my Ventura...Thank You, and if anyone has any questions about obtaining parts (there are at least 4 Venturas that I know of in salvage yards within 40 miles of my home), anyone is welcome to call me at home (910-572-3524), or e-mail me at clay62177@yahoo.com .  MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!!!!!....AND KEEP THOSE PONCHO'S ALIVE!!!!!


Wife Says "Mistress Must Go!", But They're Back Together Again   contributed by Patrick Murphy ( ipatmurphy@msn.com )

I just discovered your site today, I am still in "HAPPY" shock !!  I found it through the P.O.C.I. links.
I have owned my 1971 since 1988, and besides the 8 cars I used for parts over the years I have only seen a handful, thanks to the infamous Rust Belt. I bought mine with the intention of using it for parts and a winter beater, paying a whopping $110.00 for it from a friend's used car lot. I replaced just about everything on it over the years but the roof & trunk lid. I was  lucky when I worked at a Chevy dealer and bought the G.M. rear quarters and outer wheel wells for around $450.00. They were discontinued about 2 months later, I am sure you know what they now cost. My favorite find was an N.O.S. dash panel, so I have radio delete. It is the only one I have ever seen.

I removed the 307 and turbo 350 & power steering. It now has a 455 with #670 1967 GTO heads, Edelbrock Performer & Edelbrock carb, Muncie 4 speed and 3.08 10-bolt posi. Another lucky find was the 74 GTO hood & shaker for only $100.00, which is also installed. I have the factory D port Pontiac headers and oil filter kit so under the hood it looks like it is all factory.

I replaced the original fawn vinyl interior with a complete black cloth bench seat interior out of a junkyard-find 71 Ventura with 32000 miles on it. ( the 18 year old girl only had it 2 months after the old woman owner before hitting a pole); her loss was my gain.  I repainted it from the original bronze to the 1972 Monarch Yellow, steel 15 inch wheels with Pontiac  baby moons (4 NOS from 4 different states).
I was forced to sell my beloved Missy (wife said it was like I had a mistress so I named her Missy) after 8 years due to family responsibilities. The new young owner refused to sell her back for the past 8 years and I had given up hope. Especially after the garage he kept her in for all that time was torn down and I had no way to contact him. Until 2 months ago he called and said he was willing to sell her since he no longer had indoor storage and had promised to sell her only to me, a man of his word. So after all these years we are finally reunited, her and I both a little bit worse for wear over the years. He had not driven her since 1997.

Sorry for being so talkative, but after all these years of collecting what I have (anything to do with Venturas),
and to find your site, I hope you understand. 
Thank You,
Pat Murphy
( ipatmurphy@msn.com )

Three Venturas...And Still A Believer!      contributed by Keven Bye ( kbye@bellsouth.net )
I currently live in the Frankfort, KY area. I was born and raised in Southern Indiana, about 25 miles west of Louisville, KY. At one point, I owned 3 Pontiac Venturas. I still own #2.
My first car was a 1977 Pontiac Ventura, Hatchback, 2 door, with bucket seats and center automatic console. It had a Pontiac 301 V8 which I'm pretty sure was original. The rear side windows hinged out. It was NOT a Landau top.

I learned a lot about car repair from that car, because it was in such poor shape. My parents hated that car. At one point, I'd saved up a few hundred bucks and wanted to get it painted black. It was beige, and how light or dark the color was varied a lot on the car.
After several body shops showed me how bad the body was, I decided it wasn't worth it. I then found a 1975 model in a local junkyard. I bought it and transferred all the missing parts from #1 to #2. I did finally get it painted black, but a cheap paint job is just that- cheap.  #1 sat on the farm for many years, becoming less and less of a car, until it finally went to the crusher. I hauled it away in the bed of a truck. 

#3 I acquired from a shaky friendship. It was a 1975 Ventura SJ, 2 door, hatchback, 350 Buick & automatic. It did have a rear sway bar (factory?). I got it from my "friend" in order to settle a debt. I fixed it up a little, and sold it to another "friend", who proceeded to seriously abuse the car while not paying me for it. Once again, I repoed it. The last straw was when the engine blew up while idling in the garage. Bad memories caused me to sell the car to the same junkman, which I now regret, because the body was actually solid.

If you've actually read this far, I applaud you. Currently, the story ends like this: I still have #2, although it hasn't been road-worthy since 1991. It is garaged, though. An engine, transmission, and fixing damage it has acquired through years of sitting still and it WILL be back on the road.
P. S. I bought a hood and working shaker scoop (cowl) from a yard sale that I believe is from a 1974 GTO. It WILL be incorporated.  As soon as I find my high school picture of me with the car, I'll send it.
Keven Bye
Frankfort, KY


WHAT'S UP with "THE SEVEN-UPs"   researched and contributed by Darwin Morua

In November 2003, pontiacventura.com posted a request for information about a movie that was rumored to have some model of Ventura involved in a car chase.  We heard from Darwin, a 32 year old New Jersey resident who provided the wealth of information below.  Many thanks!

I've owned a VHS edition of "The Seven-Ups" (1973) movie since 1986.  I studied it extensively and had many findings on info for it.  I even had the chance to visit New York City many times to study the chase sequence and where it took place.  But now, the answer to the question you've been waiting for..."What kind of Pontiac did Roy Scheider drive in 'The Seven-Ups'?"

A friend of mine (Jay Williams) had info on the production notes of the cars used.  There were (2) documented 1973 Pontiac Venturas used for the movie.  One was the "dirty" stunt/camera car.  The other was the "beauty" car for close-up shots, which was never damaged.

Both cars had 350 blue-block engines with '350' badges on the front fenders.  Both were hatchbacks.  Both had 'moon' hubcaps with chrome rings.  Both were your basic stock late 1973 production Ventura with turn signals on the ends of the bumper and did NOT have the 4-slot grille (they were NOT the Sprint, GTO, nor Ventura II model).  Both had New York license plate number 4N-2702 and were quoted as having color code 64, 'Silver Metallic', with black interior and headliner.  The engine sound for the Ventura is an overdub taken from the Ford Mustang sound in the movie "Bullitt".  The only time the actual Ventura sound was heard was when it slowly parked near the car wash while idling.

Scenes of Interest and Bloopers:

(1) The Windshield.  The Ventura stakes out the car wash.  As the Ventura slowly idles near the car wash, notice that the windshield is ALREADY cracked from the upcoming chase scene.  The windshield isn't cracked until the chase scene, where the Ventura goes through a newspaper stand on the sidewalk.

(2) The Toll Booth.  The chase scene is filmed in upper Manhattan and near Central Park.  When the Ventura and the 1973 Pontiac Grandville (NY plate 4N-2645, driven by actor/stuntman Bill Hickman) go bouncing down a descending street of New York City, you'll see this scene copied many times over to give it that 'long street' look.  The same thing was done for the movie "Bullitt".  As the Ventura and the Grandville get ready to smash through the NYC Police roadblock, the Ventura passes this NYC sign:
(Interstate) 95 (Route) 1 Cr Bronx Expy
Geo Washington BR (arrow pointing right) 
178  51

The NYC Police roadblock (click link for photo) is set up on the side of the George Washington Bridge Bus Station, leaving the Ventura and the Grandville to head out on the George Washington Bridge.  As both cars head off the bridge, we see them heading towards the toll booths for New Jersey's Palisades Parkway.  Did they stop to pay, or run through the toll booth???  Because the next scene is out on Palisades Interstate Parkway at full speed.

(3) No Bridge Needed.  At this point, the car chase scenes between Bill Hickman and Roy Scheider take place on both the Palisades Interstate Parkway and the Taconic State Parkway.  These roads are on two DIFFERENT sides of the Hudson River, and getting from one road to the other requires crossing the river a second time via the Tappen Zee Bridge, which they failed to do.

(4) The Indestructible Bumper.  Taconic State Parkway is where the Ventura is looking for the Pontiac Grandville hiding in front of #3765 Greyhound MCI MC-7 bus driven by Bob "Tex" Marrs.  Note that the Grandville bumper AFTER smashing through the roadblock is clean and undamaged!  The rest of the front fenders and headlight housings are smashed.  This scene is filmed along F.D.R. State Park.

(5) Premonition.  The Ventura is forced off Taconic State Parkway onto an exit for Millwood and Briarcliff Manor.  As the Ventura heads to the parked truck and trailer, note the skid marks leading up to the trailer are ALREADY on the pavement (the crash scene was done once, but they did test runs).  As the Ventura goes under the trailer, there is a crash plate built between the trailer axles.

After the Ventura crashes, you'll see the damaged engine block leaking fluids/oil under the car.  The truck driver coming to help Roy Scheider out of the car is actually the stunt driver who just crashed the Ventura.  This is the end of the "dirty" stunt/camera car.

At this time, there is no information on what happened to the second Ventura used for the close-up beauty shots.

Steve Annells at busstation.net  (for Greyhound MCI MC-7 bus driven by Bob Marrs)
Steve Anderson at Taconic State Parkway Information (for F.D.R. State Park info)
IMDb (for Taconic State Parkway and Tappen Zee Bridge info)
Balance of information compiled by Darwin Morua ( dmourua671@yahoo.com ) and Jay Williams

...mild editing by pontiacventura.com

A "Wilder" Ventura  (contributed by Don Seributra,  seributra_d@netzero.net  ) Here's another film featuring a Ventura:

Stir Crazy (1980)  Vehicle used at the end of the film where Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder drive off into the sunset - '75 or '76 Ventura coupe.  A mid-60s Pontiac Bonneville coupe is briefly seen.


A Day at the Races, by Chuck Lenhart (April 2003, 1971 Ventura II)

Two weekends ago (April ’03) I trailered my car up to Dyersburg TN for opening day where they had a barbeque and fun runs and it was free, I figured what the heck my wife’s brothers race there so I'll go and meet some of the locals, ya know?   Well I don’t think they like me much ‘cause I made three passes and won all of them. 

First I ran a '69 Camaro, got him by a car length and I used the whole lane to do it, the back end was dancin’ the whole track and I came close to hittin’ the wall.  At the Grove (Great Lakes Dragway, Union Grove WI) you can go around the water box, here you can’t and the last thing I want on my STREET tires is water, lol, guess I didn’t get all the water off... 

Next was an S10 with a small block,  he got me outta the hole but I caught him mid track.  I was looking at his grill in my side mirror when we crossed the finish line....Whew that was close! 

Last came a '79 Monte Carlo gutted, full cage, slicks, and more gauges than Air Force One, well I figured this is it, these boys ain’t playin.......Yeah right what a joke, this car was pathetic to say the least.  I got him outta the hole and by mid track he was two car lengths behind, when we came back to the pits he put his car on the trailer, and never said a word to me.  He was pitted right next to me so I was gonna say "good race" but he wouldn’t even look my way....lol, Oh well...sore loser.


LONG-LOST GOAT RE-DISCOVERED!  (August 2003)  "Dan & Charles"

Some folks dream that someday they’ll find that beloved car they used to own, but how often does it really happen?  Well, it DID happen for one lucky ’74 GTO owner.  Check out the e-mail exchange below...(I’ve alternated text colors to make it easier to follow)

Hey Charles,
I just got your PHS invoices for your EIGHT GTO's!...I couldn't help but notice that one of the dealer invoices is from a nearby Pontiac dealer.  I was thinking... what are the chances this is my first GTO, purchased in 1984 from the original owner in St. Louis? I bought a red-on-red hatchback with 3-speed manual transmission from a guy named Bill (Hoehne?) who got the car as a high school graduation present from his parents in 1974.  The car was pretty well stripped.  No a/c, no gauges, no window chrome, etc. Your 2Z17B4L130118 car sounds just like this.   

I'm sure there were more than a few of the above-optioned GTOs sold in the St. Louis area, but I can't help wondering if this could be my old GTO.  I'm including a few pictures of mine from around 1986.  You will notice that the hood scoop was seriously molested, turned around to "ram" air instead of cowl induct it. If possible, could you take a picture or two of your car and send/email them to me? 

Thanks again for all the great PHS data on your cars and I'm looking forward to finding out if you have my old Goat.   Dan

Hi Dan!
I got the car out of Iowa. The previous title belonged to Cottey Thomas. Lancaster, MO  63548 The title is dated July 15, 1991. I'll try to check out the pictures tomorrow... the car is pretty rough. It had been sitting out on a farm for a few years and the shaker is missing. I think they had to tow it to the driveway with a tractor.  

Are there any other markings that you know of... any scuff marks or aftermarket items you might have put on the car when you owned it? Charles

To Charles:
Definitely, it has one other unique idiosyncrasy.  No emblems at all.  All "Pontiac", and "Hatchback" emblems were removed for an early 80's paint job and never reapplied.  I handed them over to the punk kid who bought it in '87(who proceeded to TRASH the car as quick as he could).  From the pictures, you'll notice it had tinted windows and yellow Lakewood traction bars. (these photos are on GTO page 7 –Ro) 

I know it's probably not the car, but it's fun to think it could be.  Thanks, Dan 

To: Dan
Oh, yeah - what about a dash mounted push-to-start button?  How does this sound...
 - Chrome lug nuts... but on steel wheels now
 - Turned Aluminum Dash instead of woodgrain
 - Aftermarket tinting applied to glass
 - Tilt Antenna (hinged where it will lay back)
 - No emblems
 - Last but not least... the clincher...alarm switch above driver’s running light!

 I think this is the one!    Charles

To: Charles
THAT IS MY OLD BABY!!!  TOO COOL!!!  Yes, I forgot to mention the fender mounted (and tilted to match the windshield) antenna, and vending machine-type alarm lock in the driver’s fender. Your other message mentioned attached pics, but I did not receive them. I would really like to see them! 

To: Dan
There was a pushbutton on the dash by the windshield wiper I believe!  Here are the pictures again, I hope you are not too disappointed Dan! These are the pictures that were given to me when I bought the car. Charles    (photos on GTO page 7 –Ro)

And there you have it...I thank these two gentlemen for sharing this great story with us!  -Ro 

Postscript, from another GTO owner on the distribution list: 

Hey all
 That is a trip finding the old Goat!!!! Maybe one day my old 74 GTO will show up. I picked it up in 1978, it was a Red coupe with a 4 speed, no a/c, no factory gauges, front discs. The only thing that kind of set it apart was the thicker, larger 73 Grand Prix black bucket seats I put in.  Oh, and if you pulled up the carpet you would find tons of pot seeds LOL. I sold the car outside of Chicago in 1981 (stupid me).   

It is just too hot to cruise the GTO lately here in Florida and the A/C is the last thing I need to do in this 4 year project.  Anyway we are building a new house with a 3 car garage!!!   No the GTO does not stay out now, my truck does. Take care, Jerry