Car of the Month

For past car's of the month scroll down below this picture & text

This month's feature car is an EB7 colored, 440-4bbl powered, A/C optioned 1970 GTX owned by Mark Sillars.  Here is Mark's story about his highly optioned GTX:

In 1992 I had sold my FC7 AAR that looked good, but needed a lot of repair to the sheet metal under that nice paint.  Up to that point, I had two Cuda's and wanted a big block car.  I am into restoring cars the way they left the factory, and try to find out the history of the car.  In August of 1992, just a month after selling my AAR, trying not to regret my decision, a friend of mine had told me that a customer of his had a numbers matching 1970 GTX in Milwaukee and wondered if I wanted to go look at it.  I was eager to go and we left to go see this 1970 GTX that weekend.   Steve, Brian and I arrived in Milwaukee early on Saturday morning.  The guy was selling the GTX because he needed money to fund restoring his '71 Hemi Cuda, which was setting across the driveway from the GTX.  I was very happy to see the car, but upon further inspection, found the entire car disassembled.  We found the engine and transmission in his garage along with what was left of the A/C system.  The windshield and radiator were gone and there wasn't a matching set of tires (which were barely holding air) or rims on the car.  After further investigation we found the car to be very solid.  The car was rumored to have come from Georgia and therefore the sheet-metal was in good shape.  We identified that the car was a numbers matching car and a deal was made to buy it.  If I had only known the journey I was about to take, I'm not sure that the car would be here today.  Boy, I had a lot to learn!  Anyway, we started to load the GTX on Brian's rollback when half-way up the car came unhooked and began rolling toward the Hemi 'Cuda.  All of us took off putting ourselves between the 'Cuda and my runaway GTX.  Lucky for us, there wasn't much in the car at the time, so we were able to get it stopped.  So finally after getting the car  loaded we had to disassemble the 440 as we had no way of lifting it into the back of the truck.  The ride back home was uneventful.  We unloaded it in my Dad's driveway and started taking inventory of what we had.  Over the next couple of days we completely took every nut and bolt off the car.  I basically took over the garage and turned it into a sandblasting booth.  The one quarter on the GTX was full of dents and looked like the car at some time had side swiped something, and on the right quarter they must have backed into something, wrinkling it.  I wasn't too upset, considering its age and what this car must have seen.  The entire front clip was in great shape, and all of the interior was there.  The only things really missing were the correct carb, radiator and all of the A/C parts.

Now the fun begins! I spent about two weeks stripping the body and under the body.  Being a car from Georgia, it was rust free but had some dents.  After I sandblasted the underside, engine bay, trunk and door jams, I sprayed two gallons of Epoxy primer on the entire car, knowing it would be a long time until I could afford to fix and paint the car.  The dash and interior went to Steve's shop while the rest of the car stayed in my Dad's garage for the next 7 years.  My original plans were to restore the car with my sister helping out with the funds.  All those plans were lost when my sister died only 3 months later at age 32.  Unsure of the car's future, it sat collecting dust for another 7 years.  Many times I thought of selling it, but my friends had told me to be patient and we would eventually get it finished.  I spent the next five years driving a semi, which gave me the money to get things going but no time.  I began getting sub assemblies done.  First the new seat covers, then the console and dash.  Every piece was either cleaned, replaced or repaired.  What made things even more difficult was the fact that the car had A/C.  I contacted Year One and ordered as much as I could for the car, like headliner, door panels, body gaskets, etc.  The dash pieces were sent to Performance Car Graphics where they silk screened new faces on the gauges and re-wood grained the dash face.  The plastic pieces of the entire interior were stripped of their coating and sent away for plastic chroming.  Steve had developed a process of cadniuim plating , so all the nuts and bolts, door strikers, trunk and door latches and all the brackets for under dash and engine bay were finished.  I couldn't believe how many parts there were!.   I stripped the entire dash of all its parts and sandblasted that framework.  Remember, all these things a process of 7 years.  When the time was right, the 440 motor was sent to Edgar, Wisconsin, and the body was shipped to my friends shop in Rib Falls, Wisconsin for body work and paint.  I was able to locate a correct numbered radiator in Arizona, and I miraculously found the correct numbered carb at Iola.  When Brian and I were going through a salvage yard above Rhinelander, we came across a 1970 Satellite with a slant-six.  Would you believe it still had the original starter and alternator, I couldn't  believe my luck.  In the fall of 1999 I had all the sub-assemblies done and the engine was almost finished.  I assembled the car in a small one car garage with a single light and only one electrical outlet.  Most of my friends were there for getting it ready for its start up and first drive.  We got it running and took it for its first drive in, I bet almost 20 years.  As expected, the drive was short and as I pulled in the driveway, it began to snow.  We parked it in the garage and I found it hard to believe I had actually driven the car.  If only my sister could have been here to see it!  I finished up a lot of the details over winter.  My goal was to drive it to its 30th anniversary to the Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.  That same summer I made a point of going to my sister's gravesite and showing her the car.  It was a surreal feeling.  I hope I haven't bored you with this true story of this GTX and all that went into its resurrection.   I'm in awe every time I see it in the garage and realize what we've been through together.  I think of my sister every time I drive it.  I feel it brings me a little closer to her.

Mark's GTX is one of 22 in the 1970 GTX registry painted in EB7 (Jamaica Blue) paint and  one of 18 that was ordered with the automatic transmission.

(July 2004)


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Past Car's of the Month

Norm VerHage's EB7 4 speed GTX
Chris Akin's FC7 automatic GTX
Steve Lester's EV2 automatic GTX
Ed Aprile's EB5 w/white vinyl top & side stripe 4 speed GTX
Ron Simonar's FC7 4bbl auto GTX
Fred Gilmore's Ivy Green GTX w/ Hemi engine
Brian Moceri's black 440-4bbl 4 spd GTX
Dave Kruszewski's TX9 GTX w/ white interior
Mats & Eva's FK5 6bbl. 4 spd GTX
Doug Dufour's EW1 4bbl GTX w/AC
Frank Forest's FK5 6bbl. 4 speed GTX

Chris Lobascio's EB5 automatic 440-6bbl. GTX
Mike Doddo's 440+6bbl. 4 speed GTX
Russ Carpenter's EB7 4bbl. 4 speed GTX
Ivan Kron's FE5 6bbl. 4 speed GTX
Nick Pieramico's FK5 6bbl. 4 speed GTX
Chuck Brunell's FJ5 GTX
Steve Coe's EK2 4 speed GTX
Dave Drozdowski's FJ5 GTX