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Pontiac Ventura Projects, Adventures, & Tall Tales...
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How can I tell a true 1974 GTO from a clone Ventura? Is there any quick way? Thanks, Gary. ( gmichales@yahoo.com )

Bill Dunne of www.74gto.com responds:
Gary, there sure is.  Run the numbers.  You can pay Pontiac Historical Society $30.00 and  they will run the numbers for you and send you the results (fax 248-583-0596) . Check out this web site,  www.74gto.com , it breaks down the VIN number on the VIN plate (found on drivers side corner on the dash by the windshield).  I actually found the original build sheet on top of the gas tank when I was tearing down my car and you can barely see the GTO option line item.

For example, my car VIN # is 2Z27B4L111531 and my engine number is 23 L 111 531.  By having the  L 111 531 - I know this is the correct engine for the car.

Go to  www.74gto.com and click on “Resources”.  Some things to look for as I am a stickler for numbers matching cars.

The obvious ones:  shaker hood and scoop; parking lights in the front grills;  GTO decals on header panel, drivers side and trunk lid, passenger side.  If the engine is original, the heads should have a raised outline of the number 46 in the center.  This is unique for the 74 GTO and you will be able to see what I mean if you look under "Project 74 GTO", again at the web site.

Final recommendation:  and I am sure you heard it before.  Unless you have the time and $$$ and resources, it is better to buy a car already done.  I will never be able to recoup what I put into the car so far and it is still a primered shell at this stage.  Good luck! 

And many thanks to Bill for shedding light on this important question!

Which sheet metal parts interchange on the Ventura?

Dimensionally, the front fenders, header (nose), hood, and cowl are the same for model years 1971-1974.  Logo mounting holes in fenders may differ as the logos changed over the years, while 74GTO fenders should have none.  Header panels have been swapped many times among these model years, though it's more a matter of taste.  Fenders from a '73-'74 Olds Omega can fit, as well as those from a '73-'74 Apollo, but in that case you'd have to cover the large Buick 'venti-ports' somehow. 

Unfortunately, the Nova is of no help in terms of front clip sheet metal, although patch panels for the lower fenders can fit.  Nova doors and rear quarter panels (71-72 and 73-74) can fit the respective Ventura body styles.  The taillight panel is unique to the Ventura but Nova trunk and hatchback lids (as well as those from the Apollo and Omega) can work, logos notwithstanding.

Hollander publishes interchange manuals which cover sheet metal as well as mechanical parts and should be accurate.


3. Where can I get parts for my Ventura?
In general, the only new reproduction parts you will find specifically for the Ventura are front end/ suspension components, some seals and some glass (not addressing wear items like brake pads, etc). 

local wrecking yard or cheap parts car from towing company (lots of Novas)
ebay, or craigslist for your area
get a hold of every free/cheap Nova catalog you can: the Paddock, Classic Industries (available on line),  PST Energy Suspension Ram Air Restoration Enterprises Metro Mold seals  windshieldstogo.com any  shermanparts.com patch panels

post an ad on pontiacventura.com by sending me an email
Where can I get fiberglass parts for my Ventura?
At this writing, there are (2) companies that make fiberglass cowl hoods, and might make other parts as a special order.

VFN (Canada)
Glasstek (USA)

Be cautious in dealing with an unknown company, as these fiberglass outfits have a tendency to go under.  you might have better luck approaching a local boat builder, since many of them deal with fiberglass all the time.

Which parts can be interchanged with other X-bodies, especially the Nova?

sheet metal

steering suspension

interior parts

Before you buy or sink money into your project!
A word of caution: Unless you get a non-Nova X-body for free or virtually free, it is almost impossible to make money on them.  Therefore, I always advise folks to put money into these cars only if they intend to keep them, not to make a quick buck. 
Sometimes you can get lucky, but the reality is that automobiledom-at-large doesn't know what a Ventura is, and only the car's fans will know its true worth.