Drag Illustrated Issue 175, March / April 2022 - Page 106




Factory hood , no sewer pipes draining exhaust fumes out the fenders . You have to squint to see the roll cage , camouflage red with the interior . On the street , it wears rally wheels with chrome trim rings . It ’ s not too loud either , blending in with the everyday boulevard cruisers . I ’ d hesitate to call it a sleeper .
Everyone thinks a GTO is supposed to be fast no matter how peaceful it looks , though Rich Guido ’ s 1965 GTO has become the bar by which all stick-shift , drag-n-drive cars are judged , a long-time veteran of Drag Week , gleefully cruising down from Canada every year before brutalizing tracks across the United States . And while it hasn ’ t always been a sterling example of how to build a tuxedo-wearing , bar-fightin ’ street machine , the GTO has evolved over the past two decades as a once-unloved parts car as Guido restored , built , and began racing it .
Eighteen years ago , Guido and his brother , Bob , were out hunting for project cars when they came across a pair of GTOs .
“ It was actually in an orchard . There was a ‘ 67 and a ’ 65 ,” Rich recalls . “ The story is that the guy bought the ‘ 65 for some seats in a ‘ 67 that he was restoring , so he said you can buy the car but you can ’ t have the seats . In the end , though , my brother and I bought both of them .”
He ended up buying that ‘ 67 off his brother to restore and flip , which funneled cash into the ‘ 65 featured here . And by all means , it needed the budget .
“ This thing was beat to shit ,” Guido says . “ The story goes that it came up from the U . S ., whoever bought it lost control and caved in the passenger rear-quarter . And then the dad kept telling the boys to move the car but they didn ’ t , so he used a front-end loader to shove it around and smashed the front of it . Then the kid came home and kicked the passenger door .”
But it was an original black GTO , not a clone , no dolled-up Tempest – and it was a factory stick shift car .
“ I just wanted see how techy I can get and how fast I can make the car go , but make it drive everywhere . My deal is it can ’ t be a race car , it has to be a street car , but I want to make it go fast . The goal with the car originally was an 11.50 E . T . and 20 mpg ,” Guido outlines .
He had been digging around looking at events , and the only thing that stood out was HOT ROD ’ s Drag Week , which was still pioneering this style of racing at the time .
“ And that ’ s what I enjoy as a challenge , and for me the hook is that I can drive my car all the way to the event , and all the way back .”
With 2021 ’ s Drag Week and Race Week 2.0 , Guido had to practically smuggle himself and the GTO across the border due to pandemic travel restrictions . He managed to find someone to transport the GTO into the U . S . on a trailer while he flew in separately .
That dedication only thickened for 2022 ’ s inaugural Sick Week . Guido cut across the Great North through the thick of winter with little change in prep other than snow tires . His father joined as his co-driver , along with Canadian YouTuber Kyle Williams ( infamous for his 8-turbo Mustang ) in the longest journey yet for Guido at just over 7,500 miles for Sick Week , round trip from British Columbia , Canada .
Even though he had a safe margin of victory throughout Sick Week in the Stick Shift class , Guido isn ’ t all that competitive against his fellow racer , instead carrying an alternative mindset to what draws him into


106 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 175