Naturally, the Goat boasts premium Global West suspension hardware. After all, it’s the car that Doug used to develop the company’s A-body prototype pieces. Up front, Global West’s Negative Roll system consists of tubular upper and lower control arms, a 1.125-inch sway bar, inner and outer tie rods and sleeves, a centerlink, an idler arm, and coil springs matched with QA1 shocks. Out back are Global West adjustable tubular control arms, frame supports, spherical bearings for the rearend housing, springs, and QA1 shocks. The suspension upgrades were matched with a Delphi fast-ratio steering box, and the steering column was shortened 3 inches for better arm extension from inside the cabin.
Doug had a 535hp Pontiac 400...
Doug had a 535hp Pontiac 400 laying around the shop that he planned on installing, but when Vortech rang him up he couldn’t turn them down. The head unit routes pressurized air behind the motor and into an air-to-water intercooler before being channeled into a carb enclosure box.
Although these components yield substantial improvements in handling, Doug took things several steps further. “In the handling department, the stock A-body platform doesn’t have much going for it. The frame flexes a lot in the middle, and you have to be very careful with the ride height because small changes in instant center can really hurt how effectively they hook up,” he says. “With an A-body, correct suspension geometry is far more conducive to handling than lowering the ride height. If you build a frame from scratch, you can put the suspension pickup points where you want them and lower the car as much as you want. With a stock frame you don’t have that luxury, so we had to correct the geometry as much as possible with our suspension hardware. Likewise, simply boxing the frame doesn’t add any rigidity, so we welded tabs inside the rails as well. Now we have diagonal tabs inside the rails that reinforce the frame in addition to custom inter-locking body mounts. The benefits of a stiff frame is that a car will transfer weight much faster, and therefore respond faster to steering, acceleration, and braking inputs. It’s much easier to diagnose a car that has a stiff chassis than one that’s flopping around everywhere.”
Doug’s GTO may be a rolling showcase of cutting-edge suspension hardware, but that doesn’t mean the motor has been neglected. He pulled the original 389 for a stock 400 out of a ’68 Firebird. When Vortech got word of the project, they decided to use Doug’s car to develop a new centrifugal supercharger kit for first-gen GTOs. Other than a rinky-dink 214/214-at-.050 hydraulic flat-tappet cam, the motor is bone stock. Nevertheless, it still manages to put down a respectable 410 rwhp at just 7 psi of boost. The horses are then channeled back to a GM 12-bolt rearend fortified with 31-spline axles.
Despite the Goat’s aversion to billet and chrome, people dig it wherever it goes. Perhaps they too are growing tired of the ostentatious flare of many modern Pro Touring machines. “Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to build a nice car but nothing that was over the top,” Doug says. “People walk up to the car, look it over, and say, ‘There’s a lot going on beneath the sheetmetal, but it’s still a GTO.’ That’s exactly the kind of car I wanted to build.”
Doug Norrdin • San Bernardino, CA
Type: Pontiac 400
Oiling: Melling oil pump, Milodon pan
Rotating assembly: stock
Cylinder heads: factory Pontiac iron castings
Camshaft: Lunati 214/214-at-.050 hydraulic flat-tappet, .450/.450-inch lift, 108-degree LSA
Induction: Vortech centrifugal supercharger and intercooler set at 7 psi, Holley 750-cfm carb, Edelbrock dual-plane intake manifold
Ignition: MSD Pro Billet distributor, coil, and 6-BTM ignition box
Fuel system: MagnaFuel pump, Aeromotive pressure regulator
Exhaust: Doug’s 1.75-inch long-tube headers, 3-inch collectors, dual MagnaFlow 3-inch mufflers
Cooling: Edelbrock water pump, Be Cool radiator, custom dual electric fans
Output: 410 rear-wheel horsepower
Transmission: Richmond six-speed manual trans, Lakewood bellhousing, McLeod clutch and flywheel, Long shifter
Rear axle: GM 12-bolt rearend with 31-spline axles, 3.42:1 gears, and limited-slip differential
Front suspension: Global West upper and lower control arms, springs, tie rods, steering linkage, and sway bar; QA1 shocks
Rear suspension: Global West upper and lower control arms, springs, and frame supports; QA1 shocks
Brakes: Wilwood six-piston calipers and Coleman 13-inch rotors, front; Wilwood four-piston calipers and 12-inch rotors, rear
Wheels: 17x9.5 American Racing Torq-Thrusts II
Tires: 275/40-17 Kumho MX
The intercooler reservoir...
The intercooler reservoir and pump are mounted behind the passenger headlamps. On track outings it can be packed with ice to keep the inlet air temps at bay.
Back in the mid ’80s when...
Back in the mid ’80s when the GTO was first being built, big brake kits weren’t readily available. Using his race car know-how, Doug built his own kit using Wilwood six-piston calipers, Coleman 13-inch rotors off of a stock car, and custom billet hubs. The kit is still available through Global West under PN C5-1300-6.