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2004 Pontiac GTO - The Little Engine That Could

Matt Reesor And His '04 GTO Show Us That Less Is More, And More Is Never Enough

Justin Cesler Sep 1, 2009
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Car Feature 2004 Pontiac GTOYou know a guy like Matt Reesor. Maybe you work with him, maybe you're friends with him, or maybe you see him at the grocery store. You pull up after two weeks of pouring rain and your car is filthy. Covered in road grime, old bird droppings, and brake dust, you tell yourself, it's OK, it's my daily driver and this is what all daily drivers look like. Then, he passes by. You hear it first, that low rumble only a cammed LS1 can make. Rounding the corner you see it, spotless. As if someone followed him, cleaning it at each traffic light, the car still looks brand new. All the gaps line up, the front bumper has no bugs embedded in it and the wheels look as if he has never even used the brakes. You think to yourself, how? How is it possible to keep something that clean? He must never drive it. He probably has no miles on it and never gets to enjoy it like I enjoy mine. "For the last three years this has been my only car, I drive it every day. I bought it used with just 1,900 miles on it. It's coming up on 45,000 now." You immediately loathe his seemingly perfect existence.

What you don't know about Matt Reesor is that he is a real, diehard car guy. His attention to detail is second to none and he is willing to put in the hours to keep it in perfect shape. As you are about to find out, the flawless exterior is just the beginning. What lies beneath is the result of countless hours of research, hard work, and sacrifice; a focus on building a car with the "less is more" approach. Hiding nothing in excess, Matt has spent years removing what was deemed unnecessary and only adding in key areas.

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The heart of Matt's '04 GTO proves that a perfect combination is certainly worth more than the sum of its parts. Starting with the star of the show, air enters through a custom cold-air intake, built by Carter Racing of Savannah, GA, into the ProCharger P-1SC supercharger. Spun by a Fluidampr balancer and Reichard Racing 3.40-inch pulley, air is compressed to 9.5 psi before passing through the ATI-supplied front-mount intercooler. Chilled and still screaming, air passes by a hand-ported stock LS1 throttle body and into the stock LS6 intake manifold. Below, a Futral FM7 camshaft (224/230-duration, 0.588/0.595-inch lift, 114 LSA) commands the stock valves, while a set of Patriot Gold Xtreme springs bring them back to the seats. Inside the combustion chamber, everything is just as it left the factory, with a stock rotating assembly responsible for keeping all of the horsepower in check. For extraction of the spent gasses, a pair of coated Kooks long-tube headers feed a set of 3-inch off-road pipes, which attach a set of 3-inch Spintech mufflers.

Of course, you can't have power without fuel. Out back, a Lingenfelter fuel pump sits in the stock tank and is responsible for getting fuel to the 60-pound Mototron fuel injectors. Under boost, a Kenne Bell Boost-a-Pump provides an extra kick of fuel, while an AlkyControl methanol injection system provides some extra safety. According to Jay Healy of Carter Racing, the tuner and builder of Matt's GTO, "We don't use the Methanol as a power adder, we really use it as a safety device. Timing is still very conservative, which has allowed this combo to stay together for over three years of daily driving." According to multiple dynos, Matt's GTO makes 640 rear-wheel horsepower and 547 lb-ft of torque, which is extremely impressive for a stock bottom end, stock heads, and a P-1SC ProCharger.

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Unlike the engine, almost everything post-crankshaft has been replaced with better, stronger aftermarket parts. Bolted to the backside of the crank is a 28-pound billet steel flywheel attached to a Monster Stage 4 clutch. The Monster, which is rated to 775 hp, turns the stock T56, which transfers power to the Hendrix Engineering one-piece driveshaft. Twisting on the end of the driveshaft, Matt has gone a different route than others and installed a Hendrix Engineering 8.8-inch independent rearend. Inside the rear, a 3.73 gear turns over a Detriot TrueTrac differential and sends power to the wheels via a set of "1000-hp stub-to-hub" axles. With all of this power turning the 18x9.5 Beyern 5 wheels, Matt quickly found out the value of a sticky tire. Out back, a pair of 285/35/18-inch Nitto 555R tires fight for traction, helped only by a set of BMR drag bags.

With the drivetrain complete, Matt turned his attention to the exterior. To start, he picked a very rare (less than 600 ever made) and beautiful color known as Barbados Blue. "I love the sleeper persona of this car, I didn't want to draw too much attention to it, but I didn't want it to look stock either." Ditching the stock wheels in favor of a set of 18-inch Beyern 5 wheels (18x8.5 fronts, 18x9.5 rears) was the first step. After installing the open-faced Beyerns, Matt decided to upgrade the smaller '04 GTO brakes to a set of '06 GTO rotors and calipers. Adding a JHP lip spoiler allowed Matt to clean up the decklid, while a set of '06 GTO taillights give the unsuspecting NSX or Corvette something to look at. Below the taillights rests a brand new '06 GTO rear bumper and JHP rear insert, which perfectly hugs the Spintech exhaust tips. The front end is as delivered from Pontiac, with the only upgrade being a set of HID high and low beams to illuminate the road ahead. Matt notes, "I tried adding a lip spoiler and other front end accessories, but none of them really worked with the overall theme of the car."

With the drivetrain and exterior finished, one would think that the journey was over. But, as fellow car guys, we all know this addiction never stops. Matt tells us that the next step is a forged rotating assembly and a new, larger D-1SC supercharger. "The car is really fun how it is, but I could always use some more power." Knowing Matt, we can rest assured that the future will be just as clean, functional, and impressive as the past.



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