Car guys are all about more. They do things like buy a 505hp LS7 crate engine and immediately void the warranty by putting in a bigger cam. Why? Because you can always use more power. Seventeen-inch rims are replaced by 18s, so that even bigger rotors can fit inside them. Three-speed transmissions are swapped for four-speed units until there's enough cash in the account for a six-speed. It's the quest for "more" that led to the creation of Chuck Hamly's '70 Pontiac GTO.
Back in '85, he picked up the Goat as a daily driver, and until '92, it was still serving that purpose. Then, he was bitten by the "more" bug. "Being a hot rod guy, I always wanted more," says Chuck. "More power, more flash, a bigger stereo, nitrous, a four-speed, lower gears; more, more, more!" One of Chuck's roommates owned a body shop that specialized in custom cars and offered to teach him how to do paint and body work in his shop. The GTO was given a spot in the shop and Chuck began work on the car. "Things quickly spiraled out of control. At some point in the beginning, the shop's owner, Barney Squiers, said, 'You might as well pull the motor and paint the engine compartment.' That sounded like a good idea, so out it came. I figured I might as well rebuild it while it was out. Then someone said, 'You might as well shave the firewall while the engine is out.' That sounded like a good idea, too. Next thing you know, the fiberglass front end and rear quarters were done, the door handles were shaved, I ditched the chrome; more, more, more! My three-month paint job turned into four years of weekends and evenings in a body shop learning that I have no self-control."
Once Chuck had the body work just right, he decided on a color; something different that would stand out in a crowd. Barney pitched two colors to Chuck. One was a very intense PPG purple, and the other was the Aqua on the car today. At first, Chuck said, "No way!" to the color, but Barney eventually wore him down. "The color is PPG Aqua from the Hot Licks book. The paint is a single stage with no clearcoat. I don't think I could get away with this color on many cars, but it works on this body style." With the decision made, Chuck grabbed the spray gun and laid the vibrant hue onto the skin of the GTO.
Chuck has more than 20 years of experience installing high-end car stereos, so when it was time to wire the car and build the interior, he was really in his element. When we say he went all-out on the electronics, we're not even close to exaggerating. The interior has more tech than a BMW M6, and it's all seamlessly integrated into the GTO. The main attraction is the touch-screen display behind the shifter. "The Lexicon touch screen will operate all the functions in the car, including windows, heater, defroster, headlights, dash dimmer, trip reset, trunk release, door release, interior lights, nitrous control, line-lock control, stereo and video functions, power mirrors, and others. The signal from the remote is sent to the support electronics behind the rear seat," explains Chuck. Under the rear seats are two batteries to help drive the 1,200-watt audio system, complete with multiple LCD displays, and two CD changers. There are AM, FM, XM, CD, DVD, MP3, and even TV to choose from. The dash houses Dakota Digital gauges and parts of the massive audio system. Enough electronics are packed into the GTO to make a space shuttle look out of date. All the door and dash panels were hand-fabricated by Chuck, then covered in black vinyl. The trunk houses most of the audio gear, along with a nitrous bottle and a hidden 10-pound Halon fire system with spray nozzles in the engine compartment and under the dash. It took Chuck more than three years to wire the car, install the electronics, and make the interior. That's on top of the four years in the paint and body shop. But he still wanted more.
And "more" this time was in the form of a ProCharger. "No one made a ProCharger kit for a Pontiac, so I made it myself," says Chuck. "Then I needed more control for the fuel injection. No one at that time made a direct-port fuel injection for a Pontiac, so I made that, too. I then realized that the motor had too much compression for the ProCharger, so I built another one." The new motor is a 400ci, 0.40-over Pontiac, into which Chuck dropped 8.5:1-compression JE pistons and a forged rotating assembly. The heads are Pontiac 5Cs with 101cc combustion chambers. He had a mild port job done on them, and the exhaust crossovers were filled. The heads are topped with Harland Sharp rockers while COMP lifters ride on a custom-ground COMP bumpstick. The basis for Chuck's homemade fuel-injection system is a Holley Torker II intake manifold. To fit the P600B ProCharger, Chuck had to fabricate custom brackets from 6061 aluminum plate. "The crank pulley was custom-made by a machine shop to my specs to work with the MSD crank trigger and the March accessory drive system," says Chuck. It worked well enough to put 613 hp and 598 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. But again, Chuck wanted more. To satiate his desire, he added the NOS cheater system. Backing up the Poncho engine is a built TH400 trans with a 2,800-rpm B&M converter. Finishing off the driveline is a Pontiac housing with slightly narrowed Moser axles and Richmond 3.90 gears.
With such a killer drivetrain, the chassis and suspension seemed a bit lacking, so Chuck got down to business. Up front, he added modified Hotchkis upper control arms, Fatman lower arms, and Baer spindles. Out back, he installed Global West control arms. The front and rear springs are drop units from HO Racing, and Koni adjustable shocks are on all four corners. Bigger sway bars help keep the GTO level, and a factory fast-ratio steering box gives better response. Baer Trac disc brakes ride inside one-off Boyd wheels (18x8 inch, front; 20x10 inch, rear). "It's very smooth cruising," says Chuck. "The suspension works very well, even at the very low ride height."
In a sea of sameness, Chuck's GTO stands out, not just because of the color, but because of the hands-on approach he took to building it. Over the years, he's constantly improved his GTO. He's on his third gas tank and second exhaust system. "One of the reasons I've changed so many things is because I couldn't get something done the way I wanted. At one point, I got frustrated, and enrolled at Lincoln Electrics' Motorsports Welding School. Now, I can put things together myself and don't have to deal with someone doing it the wrong way," says Chuck. Future plans call for a 9-inch rear and he's in the process of building a sheetmetal intake, too. Why? Because nobody else makes one. He also wouldn't mind an overdrive transmission, and thoughts of more power are pushing him toward a 467-inch stroker Pontiac. After all, sometimes more isn't too much.
The Sony head unit is mounted...
The Sony head unit is mounted out of sight in the trunk and is controlled from the touch screen or the steering-wheel controls.
The fuel system uses a Weldon...
The fuel system uses a Weldon pump and regulator to pull fuel from a stock tank with baffles and a sump.
The front end is a one-piece...
The front end is a one-piece fiberglass part from VFN Fiberglass.