… Driving A Legend Into The 21st Century
Can a classic muscle car icon make the transition to modern performance car?
That was the challenge for Penfound Design and the team assembled to take a tired, just-barely-surviving 1964 Pontiac GTO and make it a fast, smooth and clean showcar. A primary goal for the project was to keep it a REAL GTO, and not a clone, or a rebodied car. If the soul of a GTO was in there, PD and the craftsmen working on the car would make sure it remained.
The car could actually, but barely, be driven before it was disassembled. One of the neatest elements of the car was that it had the original motor, so the team at Weber Racing got started in making it even more of a performance legend. A combination of Pontiac new and old school performance parts, like the Ram Air IV exhaust manifolds, new tri-power setup and internal components from companies like Eagle Specialty Products, Wiseco Pistons, Comp Performance and Federal Mogul Corporation helped in final dyno results of 507 HP and 528 lb.-ft of torque. Not bad for a ‘60s muscle car!
Extensive bodywork, including the replacement of floor, trunk floor, inner bracing, widened rear fender wells, the addition of functional fender and hood scoops, a single windshield wiper, engine-turned accents for the grill and rear panel, plus smoothed bumpers, ventless door glass and modified roof drip moldings, helped bring the Sabertooth to the present, while one-off 20-inch wheels, Air Ride Technologies suspension and Richmond Gear five speed OD transmission helped point the car toward the future of performance cars as well.
Perhaps no element is as representative of the new age/ heritage look as the interior. Designed to carry some of the flavor of ‘60s race cars with quilted pattern seats and the original style console, the Sabertooth interior also features color-keyed factory gauges, a one-piece headliner, and four individual bucket seats, the Penfound Design style was executed to perfection by Chuck’s Custom Design.
The Sabertooth GTO made its debut at the 2012 Detroit Autorama and was featured in many indoor and outdoor events through 2012 and beyond. It carries with it the history of a legendary performance car, making new friends as it tours the country.
So how does it make 507hp?
The Pontiac 389 bored 0.040-over & stroked to 449 ci.
An Eagle cast-steel, 4.25-inch-stroke crank works Eagle forged H-beam 6.800-inch-long rods and Wiseco forged pistons, each with a 16cc dish and Sealed Power rings. A Milodon pan and windage tray and a Sealed Power high-volume pump and pickup comprise the oiling system.
Round-port 72cc E-heads were ported by Ken’s Performance in Elyria, Ohio, to flow 300 cfm, and were assembled by Weber with 2.11/1.66 valves and Comp Cams valvesprings and High-Tech pushrods. Compression is 10.3:1. Comp’s XR288HR 236/242-degrees duration at 0.050 hydraulic roller cam has 0.520/0.540 lift with Crane 1.5:1 roller rockers and a 110-degree LSA.
The Barry Grant Six-Shooter induction system is a modern interpretation of the Tri-Power and features three 250-cfm carbs on a free-flowing aluminum intake. An MSD Pro-Billet distributor lights the spark with assistance from an MSD coil, Taylor Wires, and NGK plugs. Reproduction round-port manifolds from Ames send the fumes through a fabricated exhaust system with 2.5-inch pipes, crossover, tailpipes, and splitters, and Flowmaster 40 series mufflers.
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Tags: Sabertooth Pontiac GTO