We all remember ‘the one that got away’. The single car from our past that slipped through our fingers as the bills began to mount, enthusiasm for effecting endless repairs waned, and real life temporarily took precedence over a love of old cars.
But not so Gary Lord.
Against the odds, this Californian managed to hold on to his first car – a 1966 Oldsmobile 442 – before eventually committing to a restoration so meticulous that it would send a concours judge weak at the knees.
Oldsmobile had form when it came to the muscle-car revolution, having become an early pioneer of the segment by dropping its first postwar V8 – the Rocket – into the mid-sized 88 in 1949 to create the legendary, NASCAR-storming ‘Rocket 88’.
Yet it was its GM stablemate, Pontiac, that built on the theme in the 1960s.
Prompted by a management decree to withdraw from competitive motorsport in 1963, the firm switched its emphasis to street performance and shoehorned the Catalina and Bonneville’s thumping 389cu in V8 into the forthcoming second-series Tempest to create the GTO.