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2005 Pontiac GTO - Street No More

Sole owner Gary Deak transforms his '05 GTO from a weekend cruiser to a dedicated 9-second drag car, one quarter-mile at a time

Andrew Nussbaum Apr 21, 2014
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For half a century, the annals of musclecar folklore have abound with tales of the legendary Pontiac GTO; perhaps no other moniker evokes such loyalty or ignites such passion from devoted owners – this is the story of yet another.

In May 2005, Gary Deak of Washington, NJ. was a young mechanic wrenching away at Flemington Pontiac, when he first experienced the last-generation Goat. While road testing the new muscle coupe, he instantly fell in lust with the Aussie-built Poncho. Utilizing his employee discount, he ordered his '05 Torrid Red 6-speed without delay.

Being no stranger to iconic American nameplates, Gary grew up around his father Steve's coveted '57 Chevy Bel Air. Now it was his turn, with the 400hp/400lb-ft., all aluminum, 6.0-liter LS2 under the twin-scooped hood that was ripe and ready for modification.

Gary's factory fresh GTO served as his weekend toy for barely a month before the mod bug's bite infected him. First came Stainless Works 1 3/4-inch stainless steel long-tube headers, flowing through 3-inch piping and bellowing from a Borla catback exhaust. With the corporate small-block exhaling like it should, Gary only needed one 1320-ft. pass and he was hooked. The 21st-Century Goat's rigid frame and powerful pushrod motor supplied impressive out-of-the-box performance and seat-of-the-pants excitement.

With his well-breathing GTO running mid-12's, Gary was enticed but wanted more. After a year of spirited cruising and time trials, he got serious and went to Cartek in Garwood, NJ. for a N/A, 3X head and cam package and stout 3.91 gears. This set-up shaved a second off of his previous best pass and kept Gary grinning for the time being.

By 2008, Gary was bored with his naturally-aspirated GTO's performance. Yearning for big power and lower E.T.'s, he sought the expertise of WM Motorworks in Bethlehem, PA., for the installation of a Magnuson roots-style 112HH supercharger and a more fitting bumpstick. With the blower in place, Gary's manual-shift Goat galloped to 11.0's all day long. There was no turning back now.

Fast forward to the next racing season, and Gary was ready to let the computer assist in shifting duties, having WM Motorworks swap out the stock T56 for a TH400 automatic with a manual valvebody for ultimate control. Frank Lupa at Pro-Formance Transmissions mated the new tranny with a 4500-stall Dynamic torque converter and TCI flexplate. Once in the car, a B&M cooler, a carbon fiber driveshaft, and a safety loop were installed. Now having only to mash the gas pedal, shift at the appropriate RPM's and hold her straight, he ran 10.47 at 128 mph.

With the high-stall speed set-up, street cruising was definitely a thing of the past. Now a true track car, Gary's GTO scorched the drag strip until 2011 when after a close pit inspection, a cracked block was discovered.

Seeking options, Gary took his wounded Goat to Doug Ring at East Coast Supercharging in Cream Ridge, NJ. where an LS3 mill from a C6 Corvette was sourced for replacement.

Aware of the GTO's track allocation and supercharged power, it was decided to bore the 376ci. LS3, to achieve a total displacement of 416 cubic inches. At this point it was "no more Mister Nice Guy," as Gary was intent on building a 9-second track wolf in Goats clothing.


The 416's rotating assembly consists of all forged components; including a Callies Compstar crankshaft, Manley flat-top pistons and R&R Racing Products connecting rods. Oiling the wild Goat is a Melling high volume pump with the stock pan.

Changing the camshaft for the third time, a Comp Cams ECS Big Blower hydraulic stick with a 230/236 duration at .050 .572/.578 lift and a 115 LSA was chosen for its supercharger compatibility.

The cylinder heads are Precision Race Components (PRC) Stage 2.5 CNC aluminum pieces; fitted with stainless steel 2.02 intake and 1.575 exhaust valves, pumping air into the 10.1 compression. Completing the top end are Comp Cams hardened pushrods and the stock LS2 1.7 ratio rocker arms.

Feeding fuel to the blown 416 are huge 1000cc (95lb.) Injector Dynamics squirters, drawing C16 race gas from a Lonnies in-tank double-pumper with an Aeromotive A1000 regulator operating at 60psi. Air is drawn through a Holley 90mm cable operated TB, and into the stock LS2 intake manifold. Gary relies on Hendrix Engineering wires, NGK plugs, and stock coils to provide spark.


With the new powerplant in place, Gary used the rest of 2012 to test and tune his Goat's track performance. With his larger displacement GTO still running mid-tens, he was left a little puzzled. After some Q&A with Doug at ECS, the small blower's 10-lbs. of boost proved inefficient for the new 416ci motor.

The moment of truth had come, as a Paxton Novi 2500-series centrifugal supercharger with 25lbs. of boost replaced the Magnuson unit. ECS installed the massive blower creating a custom one-off set-up with modified Corvette bracketry.

Accompanying the Paxton is a custom ECS intercooler, Tial-Q 50mm blow off valve, and a Haltech Platinum 2000 engine management system with a speed density tune mated to the stock VCM.

Once the massive turbo took it's place under the sloped GTO hood, the exhaust was modified, allowing the Stainless Works headers to flow through a single Borla XR-1 race muffler exiting from both sides under the drivers cabin with the guttural bark of a rabid dog.

Also added, is a double nozzle methanol spray unit keeping intake temps down during multiple full "blown" passes.

The stock suspension was transformed from street performance, to race duty, by adding Pedders 90/10 front drag struts and rear sway bar, Strange Engineering rear coil-overs with 250-lb. rate springs, and solid cradle mounts with adjustable toe rods.

The OEM PBR binders, front and rear, remain in service with an SLP line-lock keeping the Goat corralled at the tree. At the time this feature was written, Gary was waiting to install a G-Force 9-inch rearend, with 35-spline axles and 3.55 gears, to bulletproof the drivetrain.

The Torrid Red racer shed it's stylish factory 17-inch rollers for more strip savvy and light weight Holeshot Holestar wheels; measuring 15x4 in the front, and 15x8 out back. Hoosier race rubber sits at all four corners.

Along with the rolling stock and massive side exhaust, another exterior hint to the beast within is a peek of the huge blower under the ECS custom notched drivers side hood scoop.


Glancing at the cockpit leaves no question to the Goat's true purpose. Gary removed the beautiful, but heavy, red leather buckets (front and rear) to be replaced by a single Kirkey drag seat with a 5-point harness. With the heat and A/C gone, removable steering wheel, Hurst pistol-grip shifter, ProFab Chassis Works rollbar and Autometer fuel pressure, trans temp, and boost gauges, the transformation is complete.

The current set-up has produced a single 9.9-second pass at 141 mph from a 1.47 60-ft. time. After the aforementioned rearend install, Gary plans to dial-in the tune and suspension settings to achieve 8's from his dyno-estimated 1000 horsepower GTO.

Gary loves his rare and powerful Pontiac; adding "you don't see many GTOs at the track." When asked about the future, he says, "my goals are always changing; I've never dreamed [that] when I first bought the car, that this is where it would be [today]."


Almost as long as his list of mods, are those Gary would like to thank for their support and extensive contributions, including his loving parents, Steve and Kathy, Walt McGregor from WM Motorworks, Doug Ring at East Coast Supercharging, and everyone from Fiorello Motorsports, ProFab Chassis, and G-Force Engineering.

This is probably not the last you'll hear of Gary Deak and his Goat. In the coming year, he plans to frequent the facilities at English Town, NJ., making a run to claim the title of the fastest '04-06 GTO in the land.

It seems likely with his methodical approach to drag racing and 1000-supercharged horsepower on tap, Gary and his Torrid Red GTO are poised to accomplish greatness and take their place in the annals of GTO history.


Data File

Car: 2005 Pontiac GTO
Owner: Gary Deak
Block: LS3, 416cid
Compression ratio: 10.1
Heads: Precision Race Components (PRC) stage 2.5 CNC Aluminum with S/S 2.02 intake, 1.575 exhaust valves
Cam: Comp Cams ECS big blower Cam, hydraulic roller, 230/236 duration at .050, .572/.578 inch lift, 115 LSA
Pushrods: Comp Cams, hardened
Rocker arms: LS2, 1.7 ratio
Pistons: Manley flat-top, forged
Rings: Total Seal
Crankshaft: Callies Compstar, forged
Rods: R&R racing products, forged
Throttle body: Holley cable-operated 90mm
Fuel injectors: Injector Dynamics 1000cc-95lb/hr
Fuel pump: Lonnies in-tank double pumper
Ignition: Speed density tune, stock coils, Hendrix Engineering wires, NGK-T plugs
Engine management: Stock VCM, Haltech Platinum 2000 engine management, speed density tune
Power Adder: Paxton Novi 2500, centrifugal Supercharger
Boost: 25-psi.
Intercooler: ECS custom
Wastegate: ECS, Tial-Q 50mm blow-off valve
Exhaust system: Stainless Works 1 3/4-inch primary long tube S/S headers, 3-inch collectors, Borla XR1 race muffler, dual side exit
Transmission: TH400; built by Frank Lupa at Proformance Transmissions
Torque converter: Dynamic 4500 stall
Driveshaft: Carbon fiber
Front suspension: Stock springs, Pedders 90/10 drag struts
Rear suspension: Strange Engineering coil-overs with 250-lb. rate springs, Pedders sway bar, solid cradle mounts with adjustable toe rods
Rear end: G-Force 9-inch IRS, 3.55 gears, G-Force 35-spline axles
Brakes: Stock ‘05 GTO, SLP line-lock
Wheels: Holeshot Holestars; 15x4 front, 15x8 rear
Front tires: Hoosier 26/4.5/15
Rear tires: Hoosier 28/10.5/15
Fuel: C16
Best ET/mph: 9.9/141
Best 60-ft. time: 1.47
Current mileage: 10,800
Miles driven weekly: none



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