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budget_bandit New Reader
3/3/24 9:19 p.m.

This weekend, I drove to Alabama and picked up a 1972 Pontiac Ventura and drug it home to TN. I've been dreaming of owning a ratty 70s muscle car since I was 15 (now 28) and it's finally time. The car is fairly solid and mostly complete. Some small floor patches are in order, and some rust in the trunk to be addressed. But the glass is all there, the doors and subframe/mounts are solid, and I can fix the rest.

The vision for this car is to build a daily driver in the spirit of the "General Mayhem" charger. Ratty, but mechanically sound. Plans are, in no order:

5.3 junkyard LS with cheap camshaft

5/6 speed manual of some flavor

Brake refresh including new lines

new fuel system

all new body bushings

subframe connectors

all new suspension bushings, maybe new springs

15" bassett wheels and radials

drive the piss out of it

thank you for your time

Good to see you scored what you wanted.   

GTwannaB GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/3/24 10:30 p.m.

I vote for Trans Am/GTO hood scoop. Love it. 

rattfink81 Reader
3/4/24 7:11 a.m.

I drove a 72 ventura in high school(late 90's).  was a 6 cylinder power glide 4 wheel drum brake car but I thought it was cool. 

Wanted to do a Gto clone and had just about finished a caddy 472 swap into it before I left for boot camp. I forgot what my parents did with it while I was gone.

Indy - Guy
Indy - Guy UltimaDork
3/4/24 7:15 a.m.

In reply to budget_bandit :

Nice score.  It definitely has a multi - color theme that the Roadkill guys would approve of.  I'll be following along. 

anger_enginering New Reader
3/4/24 8:56 a.m.

Really glad you found the body style you wanted. If you had compromised or settled you never would have been truly happy. Remember the conflicting words of Reverend Freiberger from the Church of bad decisions.. "dont get it right, just get it running" & "get it running and drive it BEFORE you get too deep". That way you make sure it is exactly what you imagined it would be. Verify it will meet your expectations, then build your dream. 

And obviously take lots of pics along the way!

budget_bandit New Reader
3/4/24 12:45 p.m.

i didn't say it in the other thread, but I appreciate all of the feedback. It did help me to realize that I should start with the best and most attractive option I could find, so I did.

I'm convinced that a car like this needs a vanity plate, so I'd appreciate any suggestions for such a thing. Possibly "PONCHO" or "BANDIT" or something? Help me here....

Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself
Russian Warship, Go Berkeley Yourself PowerDork
3/4/24 12:50 p.m.


anger_enginering New Reader
3/4/24 1:10 p.m.

Sounds like you have a name already

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/4/24 2:43 p.m.

berkeley yeah. Glad you pulled the trigger on something. 

SEADave Dork
3/4/24 4:43 p.m.

Looks like a great start to your project.   Really looking forward to seeing this one come together!

budget_bandit New Reader
3/5/24 9:14 a.m.

Last night, I spent some time in the garage with the car, taking my time to get a comprehensive look at it. I was worried that I had overlooked some rust issues while the sellers were looking over my shoulder at their home, before i bought the car. Thankfully, it seems the car is in generally good shape. The floors are in better shape than i thought, should be very easy to weld in a patch panel. I caught a glimpse of some fiberglass in the trunk, which made it difficult to see what was metal and what was a hole so i was a little wary of that, but upon closer inspection it's not anything major. I believe all of the area i'll need to repair is within a partial trunk pan that's available for ~$100.

There is some more rust than I originally noted around the rear window channel. Nothing awful but there are some holes hiding under the trim up there. I'll probably wait to address that after the car is on the road as it isn't structural.

I've been shopping for suspension/brakes, and i've found a front disk brake conversion kit with entirely new parts including spindles for only $400...seems like a no brainer to get all new, known good parts there AND get rid of the drums. 

staffma None
3/5/24 1:10 p.m.

Thats great start!  I just completed a very similar project last year on a 1970 Buick Skylark , originally a 350 Buick/350Trans , but now a 4.3L v6 and Nv3500 out of a ~2002 Blazer/S10 and 8'' of lift on 30x9.5r15s. 

I bought the car as a "running driving car that only needs a fuel pump"  which spiraled into me literally changing every major component other than the body itself, which also required significant rust repair. 

  A little advice if you're interested based on my build. 

1. If the gas tank is even the least bit rusty spring for a new Holley ( or similar repro) as well as the " OE retrofit module " from Holley that puts the pump in the tank with a piece of hydramat - a little spendy but a good deal with how easy installation is- I did not do this at first and things went poorly with an external fuel pump and a cheap aftermarket tank . 

Holley Sniper EFI 12-300 Holley EFI Fuel Tank Modules - 255 LPH - Camaro, Firebird & Nova 

2. As you mentioned going to disc brakes in the front is an excellent idea - I have 70s style disc brakes front and stock drums rear and it stops almost like a modern car  Note that you might have to do some fiddling with the brake lines depending on what kit you get and what proportioning valve they use. I had to cut up my prebent kit because of how things were mounted on my car. 

3. Electrical system - make sure to check the wiring, cable control in this era of cars can be bad  - the wiring harness in my car was a fire hazard as it had rubbed through in several spots. Eventually I redid all the wiring with a universal kit, wish I had done a modern OE replacement harness as my EFI harness was separate anyway . 

4. (5 Speed swap hydraulics )  I don't know how it is in the X bodies  but in my case the GM A body has almost 0 space for a hydraulic clutch under the dash. I fought with it for a while and finally broke down an ordered a malwood underdash kit which installed in about 30 minutes - and you don't have to mess with the pedals too much.  I used a brand new throwout bearing kit as well just have to punch out a rollpin and change the fitting from a quick connect to a -3 AN line to mesh with the master cylinder as the stock lines are too short. 

68-72 NOVA – Under-Dash Hydraulics Master Cylinder Clutch Pedal Kit (Billet Reservoir) - MalWood USA

5. Manual transmission choice- I used an NV3500 out of a 200-2002 s10 or blazer. this is the perfect length of shifter for an A body so its probably pretty close ( maybe 2-3 inches  ) for the X body . If you are running less than 350 ish horsepower it should be ok , OD gearing isnt great at 0.78 but not terrible either . The stock shifter can be bad but there is a hurst shifter availble which is great ( I have one on my car).  Best part is the NV3500s are cheap mine was ~150$ + aftermarket shifter.  I would like a 6 speed but its hard to even find something for less than 1500-2000$ . 

6. LS Swap - I basically did 3/4 of an LS swap- the 4.3 has a lot more in common with the old SBC than the LS motors mounting and exhaust wise. I only had to drill  4 more holes onto the back of the chevy pattern on the crossmember and then bolt on S10 4.3 frame mounts. You'll probably need a specific kit and exhaust for an X body. The only bit of adaptation i did was to cut and reflare the modern o ring style power steering line to accept an old school flare type fitting to mate the new power steering line to the old steering box. 

Sorry for the wall of text , let me know if you have any questions !  This era of cars are special and deserve to be used and enjoyed. 




staffma New Reader
3/5/24 1:15 p.m.

staffma New Reader
3/5/24 1:20 p.m.

My own vanity plate

Heres a shot of it in its natural habitat at the Gambler 500 - wearing my own vanity plate 

Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
3/5/24 1:40 p.m.
staffma said:

I've burned many foreheads on those trouble lights.  I also learned to buy a rough service bulb for them too. 

staffma New Reader
3/5/24 2:01 p.m.

In reply to Datsun240ZGuy :

I've had a lot of these trouble lights over the years and this one just wont die, Its got a good cage on it so I've never burned myself . I switched to an LED replacement bulb a few years ago and its still going strong.  

wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/5/24 3:21 p.m.
anger_enginering said:

Sounds like you have a name already

Mary.  As in 7 Mary 4.  As in ponch!

Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/5/24 6:12 p.m.

In because I used to have a 1972 Ventura Sprint.  350 Pontiac engine with a 350 trans.  I had wanted to drop in a 455 and tell everyone it was still the 350 but never did.  

But rust took it's toll and then a careless driver hit it while it was parked.  The end.

LukeGT GRM+ Memberand New Reader
3/5/24 6:53 p.m.

This is awesome! Great buy, these can be pretty hard to find but luckily Nova parts should fit for 90% of the car if needed. I had a 73 Nova SS that was me and my dad's father/son project car, I miss that thing every day. 

anger_enginering New Reader
3/6/24 12:16 p.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

7 Mary 4

That is the answer to the vanity plate question

budget_bandit New Reader
3/6/24 9:48 p.m.

Glamour shot of the Ventura in it's temporary home:

I started taking the car apart. Took the hood off, and removed the seats to get a good look at the floors. Rear floors are mint!

And at some point, there was a snake living in here...

According to the build plate in the engine bay, this car was originally "Brittney Beige". Someone has repainted part of it purple, including the door jambs and under the sill plate wiring. 

Next I moved to the trunk. The previously mentioned fiberglass will have to go, so I started ripping that out. Will probably replace the mid-part of the trunk all at once and get rid of all of this.

I think the next order of business will be pulling the front clip so i can unbolt the subframe as a unit, roll it outside, and wire wheel/paint it. That will open up more room to patch the front floor pans. Progress!

anger_enginering New Reader
3/7/24 10:04 a.m.

Which version of General Mayhem are you looking to replicate? V1 Joe Dirt style, or the latest (I think its v3) still rough but painted engine compartment/lots of bracing etc. ?

budget_bandit New Reader
3/7/24 10:32 a.m.
anger_enginering said:

Which version of General Mayhem are you looking to replicate? V1 Joe Dirt style, or the latest (I think its v3) still rough but painted engine compartment/lots of bracing etc. ?

Perhaps a hybrid of the two...I'm trying to get the car roadworthy for minimal cash outlay, and I really like the ratty look and stripped build of the General Mayhem. But, i'm willing to spend some money on some things that I feel give me good bang for the buck (disc brakes, EFI, overdrive). I'm also going to do some things that I feel would be silly not to do when the car is in this state of dissasembly in order to preserve it or dramatically improve the driving experience (painting subframe, replacing body bushings, etc)

budget_bandit New Reader
3/9/24 8:29 p.m.

Starting the cancer repair!

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