PONTIACS FROM THE PAST
There is a long history associated with Bill Mellott and Pontiacs. In 1970 Bill caught the Pontiac bug when he helped work on his brother-in-law's 1965 GTO. The car was a street/strip setup that had a 389 bored to 401 cu in. with tri power, hooker headers, a Mallory ignition and a 4 speed transmission with a 4:33 gear. The car was pretty fast, running in the mid 12’s.
Working on the 1965 GTO had such an impact on Bill, he decided he had to have a 65 of his own. Just after Bill turned 17, he purchased his first car, a 65 Lemans, which he kept for about a year before selling it. While the Lemans was a nice clean car, it wasn't a GTO.
Bill purchased a 65 GTO in 1972 and the car was going to be a car for the drag strip. Bill replaced the stock 389 with a Ram Air IV that was already built that he found through an advertisement. The engine was bored to 413 cu in and supposedly had a big cam and about 13:1 compression. It had 2–AFB 4 barrels on it and really nice round port heads. Bill was told that the engine made a little over 500 hp. (Who knows what it really made). Bill bought a set of Hooker Headers for a Ram Air IV to go into the 65 GTO. He swapped out the 10 bolt rear, in the GTO, for a 12 bolt taken out of a Chevelle, added ladder bars, installed a Lakewood bell housing, a Zoom clutch and backed it with a cast iron Borg-Warner super T-10 with a 2.64 low gear. Unfortunately, the excitement of the modified GTO was short lived…..the engine threw a rod through the side of the block, while idling in the driveway. The car then went into storage. Eventually the 65 was sold (almost given away).
A few years passed and Bill bought a 1975 Trans Am but once his son arrived he knew this car was not practical when the baby seat was needed.
Fast forward 20 years....With Bill's children now grown, he wanted another 65 GTO. This time Bill set his sights on more power for the new GTO. His ideal GTO would have a real Pontiac engine that made over 1,000 hp and have a big huffer sticking out of the hood.
In 1995, Bill found and bought his 65 GTO project car. The next 3 years were spent with him doing the body work. Bill then took the car to Floyd's Hot Rod Shop in Groveport Ohio for the modifications needed to handle a 1000 hp engine. Bill contacted a professional engine shop specializing in Pontiacs, to build a Blown 540 with top of the line parts inside, for durability.
This whole car build process took about 5 years to complete and at the end of that time there was a 1,097 hp blown Pontiac in a big tired chassis, ready to hit the street or strip. This all steel car, with a clutch, ran a 9.37 @ 147 mph in the quarter mile.
Although this was quite an accomplishment with the HP and 9.37 run for a totally steel car, Bill wanted more so the search began for something faster.Bill found an all carbon fiber TransAm bodied, double frame rail car which was set up for a Lenco. He took the engine out of the GTO, put it in the TransAm and ran 8.00 in the quarter mile. Bill wanted to put the engine back into his GTO so another project was started to build an engine, with more power, for the Firebird.Bill contacted a professional engine builder, once again, for a new engine combination. The final engine combination was a 522 on injected alcohol with a 1471 Mert-Littlefield supercharger. In 2003 Mellott ran a 7.10 @ 198 mph and won the JBP Frantic Four at the Ames Performance Pontiac Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.
After four seasons of running the Firebird, Bill was ready to start again on a new car/engine combination. This time the chosen car was a 2002 Top Alcohol funny car. This car was pro certified to run 5.99 and quicker. The funny car ran a newly developed billet aluminium block with a set of monster canted valve splayed port billet aluminum heads. Although fast with a lot of potential Bill decided the funny car wasn't the right car for him.
The 2010 season saw the first test runs for the new car. We were able to participate in the Pontiac Tri Power Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park, in Norwalk Ohio. We were not able to complete any full 1/4 mile passes, at the event, but a couple of early shut off passes yielded a 7.35 and a 6.84 which seemed respectable for our first shake down passes.
2011 proved to be another year for improvement for the Mellott Racing Team and the GTO. We were able to run a 6.66 which bettered our previous best pass. As were able to get a better handle on the tune and the clutch.
2012 proved to be a very good year. The team was able to run a 4.14 in the 1/8th mile pass at 180mph, a best for this driver and car.