Goatzila: Chris Nichols’ 2005 GTO

Two years ago, Chris Nichols decided it was time to retire his 2005 Pontiac GTO from the constant new product testing that came with being the shop car at G-Force Engineering, a company Nichols founded that makes independent rear suspension drivetrain components.

“I decided it was time to build something obnoxious and over the top, and just go have fun with the car,” Nichols said. He added previous configurations included a naturally aspirated 479 ci LS engine that was capable of 9.90-second passes, and it spent time as a nitrous car so that G-Force could really shock the drivetrain parts off the line for testing.

2005 GTO | Photography by Charles Siritho

When he started building the car for his own enjoyment, Nichols went big with twin 76/85 Precision Turbo’s, 441 ci LSx GM tall deck block, Trick Flow 260cc LS7 heads, Jesel shaft mounts, Wiseco pistons Callies rods and crank.

“For cam choice I had my local engine builder Mike Schill of Big Mikes Automachine do a custom solid roller grind for use in Drag week and other street oriented events,” Nichols said.

The GTO has been fitted with a Holley LS7 Hi-Ram

He added the top of the engine received a Holley LS7 Hi-Ram that was powder coated by Extreme Sports Powdercoating. The build also features Jesel shaft mount rockers from Mast Motorsports.

“I built this car for Street Shootout races and street driving,” Nichols said. He added the intercooler is a custom PT3000 from Precision Turbo. “I didn’t want an intercooler inside the car. This one goes directly into the intake,” Nichols said.

He noted ice water is fed by an Ice tank/fuel cell combination from Chiseled performance and the fuel system is a mix of Holley VR2 Brushless pump, filters and regulator with Precision Turbo 225 injectors.

“ECU duties are handled by a Holley Dominator,” Nichols said.

Mated to the engine is an FTI TH400 transmission with a custom torque converter. The driveline is complete with a Gforce 9” IRS with a Strange Pro-HD pumpkin and carbon fiber driveshaft.

According to Nichols, the interior is mostly in stock form except for the Kirkey seats and the 25.5 Funny car cage. He shared the wheels are from Bogart with more custom powder coating from Extreme Sports Powdercoating and bead locks from Champion Wheel.

Nichols added the most significant challenges he faced was finding a way to make everything fit under the hood. “I ended up putting the radiator down low to allow room for the turbos and intercooler to keep it all visible. Now that it’s running my biggest challenge is getting all this power down the track without spinning and making full passes. It’s getting there, and it’s a huge learning curve.”

Since Nicols began taking the car out he has been named the winner of the Street Racer Heads-Up class during a Street Car Take Over event.

“I bought the car in 2005 with only 3,500 miles on it. Currently, it has around 15,000 miles,” he said, adding “the car is close to finished, but I would like to give it some more street comforts, no pin-on trunk lid.”

Nichols shared the car has been in its current configuration since May and wants to keep traveling around the country racing it.

Specifications:

  • Engine: 441ci LSx
  • Power Adder (If present): 76/85 Precision turbos
  • Transmission: FTI TH400
  • Rear End: Gforce Engineering 9” IRS
  • Horsepower/Torque Numbers: 1500+
  • Chassis/Suspension: Gforce Engineering suspension & Coilover kit with AFCO shocks
  • Brakes: Gforce Engineering
  • Tires/Wheels: Bogart W/Champion Beadlocks
  • Exterior (Paint, wrap, aero, custom bodywork, etc.): OEM Pearl Black Metallic
  • Interior: OEM
  • Driveline parts (rear end, clutch, drive shaft, etc.):

Photography by Charles Siritho

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About the author

Nicole Ellan James

As an automotive journalist and avid car enthusiast, Nicole Ellan James has a passion for automotive that is reflected in every aspect of her lifestyle. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @nicoleeellan
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