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posted: 3/17/2014 5:45 AM

Pontiac Ventura's psychedelic days are done

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  • 1967 Pontiac Ventura

      1967 Pontiac Ventura
    Courtesy of Prestige MotorCar Photography

  • Jim Lindberg of Rolling Meadows spent seven months restoring his customized Pontiac back to original condition.

      Jim Lindberg of Rolling Meadows spent seven months restoring his customized Pontiac back to original condition.

  • The custom paint job was not the Ventura's only modification. The door handles were also shaved and a parquet floor added in the trunk.

      The custom paint job was not the Ventura's only modification. The door handles were also shaved and a parquet floor added in the trunk.
    Courtesy of Jim Lindberg

  • The factory 428-cubic-inch V-8 was given a cleaning and new paint.

      The factory 428-cubic-inch V-8 was given a cleaning and new paint.

  • Back in the 1960s, the Ventura was customized at Dave Puhl's House of Kustoms in Palatine.

      Back in the 1960s, the Ventura was customized at Dave Puhl's House of Kustoms in Palatine.

  • The interior has been restored, but the floor-mounted stick still shifts a three-speed manual transmission.

      The interior has been restored, but the floor-mounted stick still shifts a three-speed manual transmission.

  • This 1967 Pontiac had its wilder days, but a new coat of Linden Green paint is still reminiscent of the decade.

      This 1967 Pontiac had its wilder days, but a new coat of Linden Green paint is still reminiscent of the decade.

 
 

Jim Lindberg's 1967 Pontiac Ventura may look factory fresh now but much of its life has been drastically different.

After being assembled in Kansas City, the massive two-door was shipped to Welter Pontiac in South Bend, Ind., where a local buyer bought the Ventura with a specific vision: competing on the show circuit.

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"He ordered the 428 (cubic inch) V-8 with a three-speed manual transmission. It was so different and would stand out," Lindberg said.

The initial owner, knowing he'd need more than those factory options to win trophies, brought the Pontiac to suburban Palatine and custom car builder Dave Puhl for some one-of-a kind finessing and customizing. Trends and tastes were way different in the late '60s. When the Ventura emerged, it was one radical machine.

The most glaring element was the scalloped green paint that covered every inch of the nearly 18-foot car. Other custom touches included shaved door handles, a heavy dose of flocking in the interior and parquet flooring in the trunk. The vehicle cruised the Indiana area for decades before going to a second owner in Schererville, Ind.

Lindberg came across the car in 2010.

"There were many 'showy' touches -- lots of weird things going on," the Rolling Meadows resident said. Undeterred, he looked past the wild surface to what lied beneath: a solid foundation.

"The car had lots of potential and was completely rust free. Another huge bonus was the original owner had saved all the original parts that were swapped."

That was great news for Lindberg as he was dead set on getting the Pontiac back to like-new condition. The transformation occurred in the most unlikely of places.

"A friend owned an Indiana body shop not far from where the car was sold new. He offered to let me work on the project there," he said. Lindberg drove down many nights and weekends over the next seven months to get his Pontiac ready to hit the streets again.

The car wasn't driven much over its early years and, as such, the V-8 was pulled from the engine bay not to be rebuilt, but only repainted. Even the floor-mounted three-speed manual transmission was left alone.

Items that were addressed included new control arms, sway bar bushings and brake components. The body panels were removed and painted in a factory correct Linden Green paint.

The nearly 4,000-pound vehicle is equipped with common options such as fender skirts, power brakes and power steering. It also packs one unusual feature: a power trunk lid. "Many people are surprised a feature like that was offered in '67. It's quite handy when loading items," Lindberg said.

The ultralow and ultralong vehicle has come a long way since it's first custom transformation and Lindberg is proud of his overhaul. "I was amazed at how it all came together so reasonably. Those saved original parts were a huge plus. I had never restored a car as far as this one."

Although he's a stickler for stock, Lindberg allowed two personal liberties.

"The original wheels were too small for my taste," he said. "I added much larger and wider Pontiac Rally II wheels." The other addition is a much less noticeable deviation.

"I left the (Dave Puhl's) House of Kustom's sticker on the window from when it left the custom shop. It tells the colorful story of the once custom car."

As for the vehicle ever returning to that far-out condition? Lindberg is quick to exclaim: "Not while I own it!"

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