What's your name and where are you from?
Casey Stolberg. I grew up in California but moved to Arizona for college and ended up staying here.
What originally got you into Pontiac?
My dad got me into cars as a teenager with his 1972 Camaro Z28 that I learned how to drive in, but when I went off to ASU I met some of the guys involved with the Pontiac Heaven group in Phoenix and started learning more about Pontiacs. Their history is very interesting and as an engineering student I had a lot of love for the design of the Pontiac V8. Plus everyone and their mom at a car show has a Camaro or Chevelle or Mustang, and I like cars that are a little less common. If I wasn't a Pontiac guy I'd probably be into MOPARs, they have a similar successful racing history.
Which Pontiac cars have you owned?
My first car I ever bought with my own money was a 1963 Pontiac LeMans with a 326 up front and the TempesTorque 2-speed automatic transaxle and IRS in the back. I had no clue that the car was set up that way until it was in my parents' driveway and I got underneath it. Learning on and about the Pontiac Y-Bodies and the 60s period of Pontiac racing and engineering made me an even more hardcore Pontiac guy. I daily drove that car when I was 18 and 19 over the course of the summer between my Freshman and sophomore year at ASU. The car was all original when I got it, and I was still figuring cars out at the time.
One night I was driving home on the 101 in Phoenix when the throttle linkage broke off (because it was rusty and 50 years old) and ended up blowing the transaxle on the freeway at 120mph. After that I parked it for a few years. In the mean time I had a 72 firebird formula that I wrenched on for a short bit, but was a pretty lost cause. Then I purchased a 72 Luxury LeMans 4 door 350 car that had just about every option out there for $400 and had that for about a month. I ripped the motor and trans out and sold the shell for $500. I sold the transmission but I kept the 350 Pontiac and bored and stroked it out to just under 422" (can't do that with an SBC). Little ram air IV Cam and #16 heads ground down, it's a neato little motor. I planned on putting that into my 63 after I finished the solid rear axle swap. But I still needed a car so I picked up a 1970 C20 and drove that as a daily while working on the 63.
Then a few years later I got into a really bad car accident with a guy hopped out of his mind on painkillers and it wrecked my truck. A Chevy truck that I was getting ready to put a Pontiac 350 into just to piss off the Chevy guys. Then two years of lawsuit and medical issues relating to a fractured L5 among some other issue and I wasn't wrenching on my car anymore. I did have it shipped off to a Fabrication shop in San Diego to have a 9" installed, but before I went any further I wanted to get it titled. Turns out when I bought it in California I was given a temporary title since the car didn't have one. I tried to go through the process of obtaining a title for it but it turns out the car was stolen back in the late 70s and was somehow still in the system. I couldn't contact the original owner (my money is that he's dead by now), so Communist California made me surrender the car. I got to take my 9" back out, but I lost a lot of money on the suspension and back half Fabrication. Oh well, you win some you loose some.
Right now I'm trying to find the right Pontiac to pick up and drop a drivetrain into (I have a Kauffman 500" MR1 roller motor I got a good deal on, but there went the budget for the car right?). So between work and going back to school and life, I haven't really had the time or money lately to get another car, but I have my eyes on a few hopefuls right now.
What is your favorite car produced by Pontiac?
My favorite Pontiac is a three way tie. I'll always have a soft spot for the 63 LeMans/Tempest because it was my first car and they're so unique. But the other reason I love them is they were Pontiac's last big hoorah in the Super Duty racing program like the 1963 Catalina, my other favorite. Both cars were very successful in racing and both have a very Pontiac look to them. And when was the last time you saw either at a car show? Probably as often as you've seen a 1973 LeMans GTO, the last car in the tie. Few know that Pontiac only produced the GTO model from 1966-1971. 64-5 and 72-3 were LeMans sub-model options, and the 74 was the Ventura sub-model option. The mid-70s GM colonnades are such uncommon cars and they never get any love. A Colonnade GTO? Myself, I've only ever seen one in person, and I love it. Very unique. Total dog, but what wasn't at the time?
What is your favorite era during Pontiac's history?
As far as the Pontiac era goes I overlap. Knudsen started the Pontiac Performance image, but John Delorean saw it through and kept it up after GM killed the factory racing program. The 60s were the most angsty rebellious time in Pontiac history and that's what I love about them.
What is your favorite engine developed by Pontiac?
My favorite mass production Pontiac engine from the factory would be the 421 Super Duty. I mean it cost almost as much as the cars you were putting them in, even when you ordered the car engine delete, since you were going to stick the super duty down in it! That, and the fact that it defined the brightest parts of Pontiac racing. Pike's Peak 1962, Daytona 1963, NASCAR and NHRA/AHRA etc all through the early 60s. But my favorite Pontiac motor never got released. The aluminum 427" Fuel injected DOHC Hemi in 1971 that was meant to be the second generation Pontiac V8. It made the cover of Hot Rod Magazine, but it was another project that GM shut down. Think the LT or LS to the Small Block Chevy.
Tell us more about your current projects.
I don't have anything recent since I haven't had anything neat since 2015, just motors. I have a few Pontiac 350s because you can get them for like $30, but they're nothing special. Just wrapped up in a storage unit. I have a 421 stroker that was originally the 350 out of the 72 LeMans. That was going to be the cheapo motor for my 63.
I found a great deal on this 500 cubic inch motor and bought it from a guy parting out his 60 Ventura show car. I couldn't pass up the deal. The 500 block is iron, but the heads are aluminum. It made 600hp and 650lbft on the dyno with an Edelbrock Performer intake, a quadrajet carb, and an HEI distributor.
It had a lot left in it, especially with the new ported Kauffman Northwind intake on it (similar to a Victor), and the Fast EZ EFI 2.0 system that includes the ignition. It also has a roller cam in it for 455s, so it is actually a little bit small for how big that engine is. It can go bigger too, since it is basically a 455 stroke with a huge bore. The neat thing about Pontiacs is that they have massive strokes. The 500 is an afternarket block but uses a factory length forged 455 type crank.