*Photos by: Kevin DiOssi
Whenever we go in search of a car feature, one of the first things we look for is the story behind it. As you know, it’s one thing to build a car or have one built to your liking, but it’s something else entirely when you have emotional ties to the vehicle. Whether it’s because you’re the original owner, it belonged to a family member or you’ve grown up wanting to own an example of it, it’s the passion, love and admiration the owner has for the car that makes writing these stories so much more enjoyable for you to read and for us to publish.
A perfect example would be Robert Algoo and his Spice Red 2006 GTO. You see, Robert’s story goes far beyond simply wanting a fast car, it runs quite a bit deeper than that. As it turns out, Robert’s final year GTO serves as a rolling tribute to his late, oldest brother, Renold.
Rewinding the clocks back to 2005, Robert was first introduced to the Aussie-built, Holden-based GTO through not only the Gran Turismo video games he played as a preteen, but by his brother; who picked up his own Quicksilver Metallic example, brand new, during that year. Renold purchased an automatic version as a result of not being keen on a manual transmission at the time, but Robert was hooked, anyway.
The Algoo siblings would eventually learn how to drive stick on a boosted import; namely, a Subaru WRX STi that belonged to their middle brother, Richard. With Renold now feeling much more comfortable driving a car with six, manually-selected forward gears, he went in search of a 6-speed equipped vehicle.
Not interested in performing a gearbox swap on his GTO, and not wanting to add a second GTO to his garage, he decided he wanted something different. In which case he ended up with a new Mitsubishi EVO IX MR as a daily, with the Goat being parked, and destined, as Robert’s first car when he would become old enough to drive it. At the end of the day, however, Robert tells us that Renold still preferred the GTO.
Then on a nice day in November (remember, these guys are from Florida), Renold decided he wanted to drive the LS2-powered GTO to class, with work following immediately thereafter. Tragically, Renold never made it to work that afternoon, as he was was involved in a fatal car accident leaving the university. The family was besides themselves, including Robert, who shared that this was the most difficult time of his life.
However, he remained strong and made a promise to himself that he would make his departed brother proud and follow through his intended plan of GTO ownership. Looking for a quick pick-me-up, Robert immediately began the search for a replacement GTO. Initially on the lookout for a Midnight Blue Metallic (MBM) version, as this hue was a favorite with both GTO-loving Algoo brothers, the 2005-only color was difficult to find. This already being the end of the 2006 model year, and with GTOs already out of production at this point, the pickings were slim.
Broadening his reach a little bit, Robert took to the GM Inventory website to see what his options were in terms of remaining brand new GTOs on the lots across America. The very first car Algoo ran across was a 2006 Spice Red Metallic (SRM) example, stationed in Minnesota, with the standard 17s and an automatic transmission. Knowing that this was the final year the GTO would be available, the dealer was asking quite a bit over the MSRP, so Robert passed on it.
Spending months calling dealerships all across the nation, Robert was determined to locate a brand new GTO – but most of the dealers he spoke to either wanted a ridiculous markup for the vehicles or simply didn’t have the right combination that captured his heart. This ultimately went on for almost three years, and by the Summer of 2009, there were a whopping two GTOs left in the country that were still technically brand new, never titled examples that were acknowledged in the entire GM inventory.
The first, a Phantom Black Metallic (PBM) example located in Tennessee, and the second, believe it or not, was the very same Spice Red GTO that Robert had passed on some thirty months earlier. With the GM “bailout” under full swing, Pontiac dealerships closing daily and looking to move inventory yesterday, the black GTO was already scheduled to be sold at auction.
In a weird twist of fate, this left the SRM car as his only remaining option in terms of a brand new example that hadn’t been turned into a dealership runabout, included the full factory warranty and wasn’t owned by a collector who never bothered to title their vehicle. Robert, seeing this as a form of destiny, quickly made the trip to the North Star State and closed the deal. What’s even stranger, is that the guy he dealt with at the dealership was the same salesman who he spoke with on the phone back in 2006 – and the salesman actually remembered speaking with him! Destiny, indeed.
Now with his brand new GTO finally in his possession, Robert created a game plan for the car. Ultimately having his eye on a turbo kit, he started off small with bolt-ons; such as a Volant cold-air kit and a DiabloSport Predator tune. Between 2009 and 2011, he kept the modifications simple, subtle and minimal, and just changed tiny cosmetic items such as badging and trim – including a memorial badge on the dash dedicated to his late brother.
Next up, he installed BC Racing coli-overs, replaced the OEM rubber bushings with polyurethane units, a JHP lip spoiler went on the front and a Maverick Man Carbon diffuser was hung from the rear. The following year, a few more minor bolt-ons went in place, while keeping the future plans for a turbo kit in mind. A pair of LS3 heads, milled 0.030-inch by Hood’s Machine Shop. Out went the OEM LS2 intake, in went a Stage 2 ported L76 piece in addition to a ported and polished LS2 throttle body.
By mid-2012, a small company called Underpressure Power & Performance (UPP) launched a twin-turbo kit for the LS2 GTO. Being the first in line to acquire the newly-released kit and running through a few tuning speed bumps along the way, Robert ended up with 544 rwhp on a conservative 8-psi. tune and switching from the standard MAF arrangement to speed density. Unfortunately, the tune apparently wasn’t conservative enough, as Cylinder 7’s piston ringland broke and cracked the sleeve, causing a rod knock in the bottom end of the LS2.
Devastated by this, Robert quickly ordered up a forged-replacement LS2 engine from Thompson Motorsports. Starting with a polished/chamfered LS2 crank, Wiseco -3.2cc pistons and Eagle 6.125-inch H-beam rods for a foundation.
Robert reused the LS3 heads from the previous engine, now milled an additional 0.010” to clean off any damage cause by the broken piston. The valvetrain was also upgraded using a Lunati dual-valvespring kit and LS9 valves.
The heads were then equipped with LS7 lifters and COMP Cams Hi-Tec pushrods. An LS9 bumpstick now acts as the current camshaft. A stock oil pump and pan remain in place, with the only change in the lubrication department being an Improved Racing oil pan baffle modification.
Robert performed a few “free mods,”as well, including a rear coolant crossover, while the ignition system has been upgraded with Supercharger Connection spark plug wires and NGK TR7 plugs. The stock coil packs remain in place, of course.
Naturally incorporating boost once again, the UPP turbo kit went back in, this time, with upgraded Garrett GT35R turbos cranking out 12-psi. of boost and dual HKS SSQV blow-off valves aided with an AIS methanol-injection system; utilizing Boost Juice.
Fuel is fed to the engine through a set of 60-lb. injectors, two fuel pumps (one in-tank Lingenfelter, the other an external Walbro) and an Aeromotive adjustable regulator (68-psi.); all of which was supplied by UPP as part of their fuel system kit. The spent fumes exit through a set of truck-style manifolds placed in a reversed position, obviously, while dual 3-inch tubing flowing through a pair of Magnaflow mufflers and 5-inch diameter Borla tips provide the soundtrack.
Robert sends all 700rwhp/680 lb-ft to the pavement through a Tick Performance “Level 2” T-56, McLeod RXT Twin-Disc and billet flywheel, a Driveshaft Shop 2-piece carbon fiber driveshaft, and a completely reworked rearend featuring Gforce1320 Level 2 anti-wheelhop axles, one-piece stubs, a WaveTrac LSD REM, treated differential internals, Harrop differential cover, ARP hardware and magnets, and a 3.46 rear gear set. Whew!
In addition of the earlier-mentioned suspension components, the car sticks to the pavement with a quadrant of VMR VB3 19-inch wheels, wrapped in Nitto NT05 rubber. Amazingly, even with all of this laundry list of performance and cosmetic modifications, the stock PBR binders remain in place behind the wheels – at least it did at the time of our photo-shoot.
Since then, the car has evolved slightly. Algoo has made several changes to the GTO; including an AP Racing Big Brake Kit, mini-tubs (with relocated shock mounts) and OEM HSV VZ R8 wheels (rears widened 3-inches to 19×11 by Weldcraft), with 245/35/19 Nitto NT05 shoes up front, and 325/30/19 Toyo Proxses R888 tires stretched over the rear wheels. As you can see in the interior shot, the GTO was still equipped with the modified 4L65E at the time of our shoot as well, using all OE harnesses and hardware for the T-56 swap – this thing continuously evolves.
Interestingly enough, Robert actually picked up a 2014 Chevy SS sedan as a daily-driver while his GTO was under the knife. With two Holden-based musclecars in his garage, Algoo took them both back to their respective Aussie roots; installing Holden badges, emblems and assorted trim pieces throughout each car. In fact, adding to his impressive list of firsts (and lasts), Robert’s SS was actually the very first example completely converted back over to a Holden.
Through a labor of love, years of perseverance and enough blood, sweat and tears (literally) going into this build, with the help of his brother Richard, the Algoo siblings can rest assured that their brother Renold is proudly looking down at them smiling. It looks like he accomplished his goal.
In Memory of Renold Algoo (1986-2006)
- CAR: 2006 GTO (Monaro clone)
- OWNER: Robert Algoo
- ENGINE BLOCK: LS2
- CRANKSHAFT: stock, polished LS2
- PISTONS: Wiseco, -3.2cc
- CAMSHAFT: GM LS9; 211/230 duration, .558/.532 lift, 122.5 LSA
- CYLINDER HEADS: LS3, milled 0.040-inch by Hood’s Machine Shop
- COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.93:1
- INDUCTION: Ported L76 intake manifold, ported LS2 throttle body, K&N filter, GM 2-bar MAP sensor
- POWER ADDER: UPP Twin-Turbo Kit; 6182R turbos, dual HKS SSQV, dual 38mm wastegate
- INTERCOOLER: UPP front-mount
- BOOST: 12-psi.
- IGNITION: stock coil packs, Supercharger Connection wires, NGK TR7 plugs
- EXHAUST: Magnaflow mufflers, OEM LS truck manifolds (reversed), 3-inch tubing and 5-inch Borla tips
- FUEL DELIVERY: 60-lb. injectors, twin in-tank Walbro 255 pumps, Aeromotive adjustable regulator (68-psi.)
- OILING: Stock pump and pan, Improved Racing oil pan baffle
- TUNING: Fasterproms; Jeremy Formato
- TRANSMISSION: Tick Performance “Level 2” T-56
- CLUTCH: McLeod RXT Twin-Disc (ARP hardware)
- FLYWHEEL: McLeod Billet Aluminum Flywheel (ARP hardware)
- DRIVESHAFT: Driveshaft Shop two-piece chromoly driveshaft
- REAREND: Gforce1320 Level 2 anti-wheelhop axles, one-piece stubs, Wavetrac LSD REM, treated differential internals, Harrop differential cover, ARP hardware and magnets, 3.46
- SUSPENSION: BC coil-overs, Kollar Racing install kit, BMR strut tower brace, Lovell’s rear differential insert, rear radius rod bushings, Pedders steering rack bushing, Energy Suspension master bushing kit
- BRAKES: stock
- WHEELS: VMR VB3 19×8.5 (front), 19×9.5 (rear)
- TIRES: Nitto NT05; 245/35/19 (front), 275/30/19 (rear)
- HP/TQ.: 700/680
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.