YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN
I’m jealous of those people who have managed to hold on to their first car. I’m just as envious of those folks who’ve let a car go and found their way back to it. That is the story of Bob Bachman and his 1969 GTO.
Bob is both the 2nd and 5th owner of this car. He purchased it in 1973 as a high school student and drove it daily as an upperclassman. But the new 1974 models were calling to him, so he proudly traded the car on a brand-new GTO, on the x body platform.
When he showed up with the new car to pick up his then-girlfriend, she was not pleased. “This car’s ugly, she said, where’s the green GTO,” Bob described his now-wife’s first reaction to his first new car purchase. She really loved that ’69 and spent the first couple of decades of their marriage searching for the car. And as the story goes, she found it, sitting in a field, which is what probably saved it.
Turns out, the next owner of the car was a Penn State college student. During his tenure as owner, it spun a bearing and was left sitting in a service station parking lot in the mid-80s where the next owner happened upon it. Noticing that it was a true ‘242’ car, meaning that the VIN tag indicated factory GTO status, he bought it with the intent of restoring it. However, it languished in a field until the Bachmans found it.
From there it was a 13-year process to remake the GTO into Bob’s dream car. “Why restore a car with yesterday’s parts,” Bob remarked. He set out to make the car a modern driver, with UMI suspension components, a Legend 5-speed backing up the 406 ci V8 with FiTech EFI. It’s finished in the original Pontiac Limelight Green and a NOS vinyl top.
There are only two things that Bob didn’t update on the GTO. One was the T-handle he installed on the shifter back in 1973 when he first got the car. The other, were the scratches on the rear glass. “I thought about replacing the window, but I made those scratches.” Bob was late for school one cold morning in 1974 and didn’t have an ice scrapper. So, he used a puddy knife to get the frost off the rear window. Thus, the scratched remain as a reminder.