Chevy Beretta Owners Community

November 2021 COTM

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Viktor Jakab's white 1989 GTU 2.8L Auto

Viktor Jakab’s 1989 GTU 2.8L Auto

November’s Beretta of the Month is owned by Viktor, one of our overseas members keeping the obsession alive. You’ve seen him in previous iterations of Beretta of the Month, and for good reason! The restoration work he’s done on his Berettas is always stunning (see our November 2020 Beretta of the Month post). Here’s the backstory on this beautiful 1989 GTU:

What could I tell about my car? Oh boy there are so many stories and memories that this exact car has brought with herself. Most of you already know me and the car(s) we have, but let me sum up the story for those who haven’t heard it, but are interested.

We’ve only had the car for 5 years (gosh that’s been 5 already) and we’re the 3rd owner of her. I’m in contact with both previous owners and I hope they’re also proud this car is running strong and maybe looking better than ever. The very first owner bought the car in a GM saloon in 1989 in Vienna, Austria, right after the fall of the Iron Curtain and it was a very special car among the post-soviet vehicles at the time. Time went by and she felt every bit of that 200K miles that went into her before entering our family.

Fortunately the previous owner started addressing the main issues of the car, but we still had to fight body rust and several other issues associated with mileage and simply age. It was missing several bits and pieces, but I managed to get every one of them and as the years went by she got better and better.

Last year I got a call from a guy in Germany and he offered me his GTU, that was the same exact car but with an immaculate red interior, so I bought that car and swapped the whole interior into mine. It made such a huge difference, but I also didn’t let the other car down, put the original grey interior in it and sold it to a friend who’s about to register the car with a classic car tag.

Ever since we got our other Beretta restored I’ve been dreaming about doing the same thing to the GTU and especially the engine bay. It was full of scratches, grease and oil, leaks and rust in some spots so didn’t match the rest of the car condition wise. I knew from experience that letting a shop do the work costs far too much, so I thought I’d give it a try myself to carry out the project at home, but simply hadn’t got to it prior this year.

This year things didn’t go as planned due to Covid and the lack of car shows and meets, so I convinced my mum to get this done in the summer. I thought it would take 4-6 weeks to get everything sorted and done, but boy was I wrong. I jumped into the project and spent 5-6 days a week in the garage, so got most of the engine bay and suspension restored in 3-4 weeks. Then came the disassembly of the engine where we saw the all used up crankshaft bearings and the non-visible honing on the cylinder walls, so we knew it needed machining. But finding someone for the job was much harder than I ever imagined. Long story short the summer went by and the car was in several pieces during that time.

Finally at the end of August I got the crankshaft back and we could finally reassemble the engine, but this time the university had already started, so I came home every weekend to get everything back together. I could fire her up at the beginning of October, so after 4 months of waiting, 3 straight weekends of reassembling and around 200 man hours into this project I finally got the car back to running condition and looking like it’s just left the factory.

Was it the way I planned it? No. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Can’t wait to get back on the road and make up for the cruises I missed this summer.

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