Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Gastonia, NC - Born & raised in Connecticut - 31 years
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
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B&M Shift pack is probably the "kit" you can buy and install yourself. I've done these myself. There is usually different choices as to how fast/hard you want the transmission to shift. The factory tweaked the GTO TH-400's for a firmer shift and so you could manually shift through the gears on the "His&Hers" shifter option, but when in "Drive" it shifts automatically. Street/Strip is good, gives you a nice firm shift, but not the slam-bang of the "Strip" setting. I always go Street/Strip myself when using and automatic.
Undercoated underneath is not a deal breaker, just want to really inspect it. A car like that would have been owned by an "older" person, like me!, who could have afforded to care for it and maybe keep it in the garage. Undercoating it if it was in top shape is just a good way to preserve it if honest intentions were at work.
Just snoop around at the usual rust areas - bring a good bright powerful flashlight. Pop the hood and peer down behind & in front of the inner wheel well housings and look down towards the ground areas as far as you can. Check out the lower fender body attachment bolts and areas from underneath as this is a rust area. Open the trunk, use your flashlight to see down into the quarters and reach your hand down there to feel around for rust or patch work -if you can. Many Pontiacs will rust around the front & rear glass because dirt and debris can get under the window trim and when it rains, it will retain water and cause rust out or blistering of the paint which is another sign of rusting. Vinyl tops are worse. I like to put a neat bead of clear silicone all around the trim. Not factory, but it seals out the dust/dirt/water and minimizes any future problems. You can't take off the door panels to look into the doors, but try and shine your light down inside with the window rolled down. You may get a glimpse inside at the door skins. Check the bottoms of the doors. I missed this on a car I bought in a quick purchase and later found they were rotted away even though the outside skins and door jams were perfect. Rain had done its toll running down inside and collecting on the bottom -and I assumed. Check the front lip on the hood on the inside while it is up. Moisture can cause this area to rust out. When checking out the body, don't look at it straight on as this can hide things. Observe the car body panels by sighting down the side from differing angles. Do all the body lines and panel gaps look even and symmetrical? If a car has been hit or a hood/fender/door has been replaced, the gaps can be off or out of line. Pontiac seemed to be pretty good with getting this right. Turn on all lights, check turn signals, horn, brake lights, etc., just like you were going to bring it in for your inspection to get your plates.
In talking with the present owner you can usually get a feel about the car by what he says. Where did he get it, why did he fix it up, why does he want to sell it? Sometimes we fix and sell cars to get another project. Sometimes it is finances or a personal event where the car has to go. Ask questions. If the seller seems tight lipped, then for me its a red flag to consider. Does the car have a title in the sellers name? I don't know what your state requires. Of course, take it for a drive if its registered -a cautious spin around the block if not. If you have any issues, sometimes these can be used to negotiate a better price as long as they are not trivial, remember, its an older car that's been used - if they are trivial gripes, you just might insult the guy and cause him to hold firm on his price and not budge a cent.
If you like what you see, put a deposit on it so he does not sell it to the guy who will be there after you. Cars are lost this way even if you say, "I'll take it or I'll be right back, I have to go to my ATM." Give him a $100 retainer and get an agreement drawn up for your deposit and then be back with the payment in full. If you change your mind, you may lose $100 -but that is fair in my opinion because he did hold it for you and may have stalled off another buyer on your behalf. If he wants to sell it and wants you to have it, he'll work with you. Research some facts on the car as I personally would rather sell a car to a guy who seems to "know" or "have an understanding" about the car than a guy who just likes it. Lot of us car guys have an attachment to our cars and we want to place our car in a good foster home where it will be enjoyed as we did.
Only you can decide if you want it and its a fair price. Just be honest with yourself in looking at the car. Don't be afraid to walk away from it if you feel uneasy even though it looks good to you. Once you buy it you own it - buyer beware. I still say the pics look real good and with all that work, its a good deal and its turnkey and driveable. I am not quite at the age of buying "turnkey" because I like to disassemble and build my cars -even though it might actually cost more doing it piece by piece and provide a whole lot more grey hairs! HaHaHa