Readers Rides

Real Cars, Real People

Compiled by Eric Kaminsky - June 27, 2013 10:00 AM


Image 1 of 4

Got His Goat

1966 GTO

Owner: Tony Gray

“I have had a number of interesting cars over the years. Some fast, some not. A few were new and a lot were ‘seasoned’. But the car I speak of now was one that I always wanted, and a few years ago, I was able to find it.

“I’m 14 years younger than my oldest brother, but was taken along with him many times back in the ’60s as he competed against the fastest cars on the street scene in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. But there was one nemesis he could not beat: a similar era Pontiac GTO.

“Flash forward. I had my share of vehicles that spanned from a Cosworth Vega to a Lumina Z34. But I wanted a muscle car. I finally found and helped restore to factory specs a sweet ’69 Chevelle, which I later sold to purchase a ’66 Corvette 327 ragtop. But that GTO would not leave my mind.

 “Finally, while waiting out a weather delay at Detroit International, I purchased one of those auto sale books and there it was: An ad for a ’66 GTO, Marina Turquoise, a color I love. And it had what I longed for … a Tri-Power 389 with a four-speed and 3:55 rear end. But the photo was gorgeous … too gorgeous. I had been burned before by cars that looked good in print, and not so much in person. But this car was as advertised.

 “The car was never really given a total restoration, but rather had a series of caring owners. Only routine maintenance items had been replaced over the years; the carpet and driver’s seat cover were also changed. The PHS documentation verified its originality, and it came with the rare plastic inner fender liner option. It still had its original window sticker.

“The car was immortalized by automotive artist David Snyder when it was placed, front and center, in his 2011 painting Bobcats. While not a product of Royal Oak, David took numerous photographs of the car at a GM Carlisle event. And yes, I purchased an artist’s proof of that piece.”


Country Cruiser

1957 Chevy


Dr. Tim Ackley

The car was entirely designed by its owner, Dr. Tim Ackley of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Blue Ridge, Georgia, and was completely built in the one-stop shop of Sanford Fountain in Ellijay, Georgia. The car is painted in PPG basecoat/clearcoat Marinello Red.

The car has an oval-themed design. It features oval-shaped, polished billet A/C outlets by Jeff Phipps, who also supplied the oval courtesy lights, the oval dome light and the oval seat fobs. Brake and clutch pedals and polished billet door pulls came from Lokar. Vintage Air supplied the oval climate control panel in the center of the Pete’s billet dash insert. Finally, the car features oval, polished billet side view mirrors and an oval polished billet rear view mirror.

The engine bay houses a Chevrolet Performance LS2 engine (set up by Southern Performance Systems, Norcross, Georgia), with smoothed firewall, hydro-boost brake system, polished aluminum radiator, cross brace and A/C condenser, and a polished serpentine belt drive bracket set-up. The wheel wells are concealed by fabricated covers.

The interior features four bucket seats divided by a custom-built console, which houses a Pioneer DVD, stereo, navigation system, A/C outlets, cup holders, and power window controls. A Hurst shifter stirs the Tremec TKO 600 transmission, with a compartment concealing the Lokar emergency brake lever and many switches. The seats, steering wheel, console and trunk panels are covered in fawn and beige leather with billet aluminum seats fobs and exterior color-matching red inserts.

The steering wheel is a Billet Specialties piece and is mated to a chromed Ididit column to control the chromed Unisteer power rack and pinion steering system. Aftermarket gauges and clock are by Classic Instruments.


It’s your pride and joy and we want to help you show it off, right here in Auto Enthusiast. We want to see your car and your passion and hear the story that connects you. Send your high-resolution pictures and details to us via e-mail to and we’ll tell your story.

We don’t care about the color or the condition, but keep it American-made only, please.