Big Al's Featured Car's
1969 Pontiac GTO ~ Big Red II
Owned by Jim Loveland
Photography by Buddy Scoville
It all began in March of 1968; a close friend of mine had a 1967 Pontiac GTO Convertible and was interested in drag racing it, so we did!!! It was fun, but just not fast enough, Soooooo we talked it over and decided to go to our local Pontiac Dealer here in Geneva and see what was available to us! My friend had all the money we needed and I had all the driving skills and ability to Fine Tune it plus, we could keep it at the service station that I ran. So off to the dealer we went and sat down to talk business. I had decided that the model that was most desirable for us was what they called a T-37 which was a stripped down Tempest 2 door with a Ram Air motor made strictly to be used on the Drag-strip! As we sat there with the salesman, I laid out everything I would want and my Buddy said "Hold On, Wait a minute, If I'm going to dish out the money, I want it to be a red convertible. What I wanted for power I could get, but it's got to be a red convertible to make him happy! I explained to him for all the reasons, that a convertible was not a good car for racing but he had the money and that's what he wanted and that's what we ended up ordering. Who would ever believe that almost 40 years later I would be sitting here writing this story for you and be able to share it with my Great Grand Children and all the car nuts out there. The first Red Pontiac GTO Convertible was called "Big Red", so we figured the 69 should be "Big Red II".
Getting back to the story, I ordered the car with the Big Ram Air 3 Engine with a heavy duty clutch set up and an M-22 4 Speed behind it sending the power to a positraction rear end with a 4:11 to 1 gear ratio. We didn't order anything else, it came with the standard AM radio and a console and that was it. We were told it would take six to eight weeks for delivery because all the Drivelines like we wanted were going into the GTO Judges and they were not really sure if we could get it as we wanted it. But sure enough, eight weeks to the day I was called and told it had arrived. But then they asked if they could hold it for a week to use as a display in their showroom. The GTO was a hot number and there was not that many out like the Special one that we had ordered. How Special was it? There were only 86 of these units manufactured. Yes, only 86. I was called again one and a half weeks later and told that they would release the car and to come and get it.
We raced it at Thompson Raceway Park for the 1969 season and we were kind of disappointed with the performance we were getting. So the next move was to go to Ron Hutter who was the Guru on Pontiac engines. With only 500 miles on the odometer I dropped it off at the old Taylor Pontiac Dealership in Chardon, Ohio where Ron did his Performance work at the time. He Balanced the Rotating Assemblies, Blueprinted all the parts and reworked the Heads. His fine work put Big Red II in the low twelve's and the rest is history.
We were happy now! I have had the car ever since the day that they released from the Taylor Pontiac Dealership which is only a mile from my home. This is NO Trailer Queen; I drive the car weekly during the summer to shows and cruises. It only has 49,000 miles on the odometer. I hope everyone enjoys this account of the Legend of Big Red II as much as I enjoyed telling it!