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My Story about the cars I've owned over the last 65 years.

New Driver

My Story about the cars I've owned over the last 65 years.

When I was twelve my introduction to mechanics and cars started with helping my dad work on the family car, a 1940 Cadillac Lasalle 4 door sedan. My dad was a professional mechanic who, during WWII in 1943-44, had worked on the Mustang fighter planes that were brought back to the US for engine replacements at the Newark New Jersey airport. He was rebuilding the engine in the LaSalle. A problem was encountered in removing the connecting rod caps which required using a thin-walled 7/16 socket to remove the nuts which were in a counterbore on the cap. Several sockets ended up being broken before finally removing them all. The job was finally completed and the car was back on the road for another 5 years. When I turned 17 I obtained my driver's license, having learned to drive in that old LaSalle. Big steering wheel, no power steering, no power brakes and "3 on the tree." Parallel parking was a requirement and it was a chore, to say the least. Passed the driving test with flying colors. My first car was then secured - a 1940 LaSalle - black 4 door sedan just like the blue family car. My love affair with cars began. There's more to the story of the LaSalle, but for another time. Over the next 65 years (I was 17 in 1954) I went on to own quite a few cars up to the present day. However, I want to go back to 1962 when my real love affair began with my first Pontiac. My wife and I owned a 1955 T-Bird (another story) which I traded in on a black 1961 Pontiac Ventura 2 door hardtop with tri-color blue interior, tri-power, 348hp 425A engine and Borg Warner 4 speed stick and limited-slip differential, power steering and power brakes. I was hooked on Pontiacs from then on. Oh, I had other makes from time to time, but the Pontiacs were the favorites. I will list them in order of ownership: the '61, then a 1958 Catallina convertible, new 1967 GTO hardtop with 4 speed, power disc brakes (front only then), posi rear; new 1971 GTO, 455HO, 4 speed, PWR brakes and steering, honeycomb wheels. Kept both those cars about 4 years each. A considerable interim ensued before I owned more Pontiacs for various reasons. No Pontiacs between 1975 and 1996. Just about ready to retire and in 1996 I came across a 1967 Firebird 400 coupe with 3 speed stick that I just had to have. Shortly after that purchase I acquired a '66 tri-power setup that I rebuilt and installed on the 'Bird to make it fly a little faster. Over the successive years I rebuilt a lot of carbs for myself and other people who came to know me as 'the Pontiac man'. After the 'Bird I acquired the following in order of listing: 1961 Bonneville, for which I built a 455 engine from a 400 GTO engine. This was done by using a modified 455 crankshaft that had the mains modified to work in the 400 block. This reduced the weight by about 7 pounds. So I had a stock dimensioned 455 out of a 400 since a .030 over bore brought the 400 to exactly 455 specs. Installed an Offenhauser single plane intake with 2 Carter AFBs and a built 200-4R trans with lockup convertor. More to that story, but, moving on. Next I acquired a 1962 Grand Prix with 4 speed and found an SD 542991 dual quad intake and set of SD Carter AFB carbs, the real deals that used the Buick bowls and the Chevy 409 tops. This car was a runner. I also had a tripower setup for this car. Next came a 1964 Grand Prix with tripower and all the trimmings that I actually traded in on a new 2005 GTO w/6 speed stick, etc., kept it almost 3 years then traded for a 2007 Solstice GXP w/5 speed stick. Traded the Solstice on a 2009 Pontiac G8GT, then bought a 1965 GTO tripower hardtop which was an original survivor with 67k miles - 4 years later sold it back to the gentleman I purchased it from. I next bought a 2009 Solstice GXP, and finally a 2008 Pontiac G8GT- this one is the most documented car I've ever owned with all the available paperwork from the time it was special ordered up through the time I purchased it from the original owner. This car was ordered with every option available along with other GM accessories in Ignition Orange Metallic which was used only in 2008 on 927 total cars of which a little over half that number were GTs. This car looks and drives like brand new. It is my favorite of all the Pontiacs I've ever owned. Sadly, GM saw fit to shut down the Holden subsidiary, where the G8s were built, which they had owned since 1937.
In 2000-2001 my son and I built a 1970 GTO hardtop to 'correct' specifications, frame-off (not numbers matching), with a 455HO engine, 4 speed, PWR disc brakes, PWR steering, and A/C. I only still own the last three Pontiacs - the 2 G8GTs and the Solstice GXP. No other purchases are comtemplated, but who knows?

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Re: My Story about the cars I've owned over the last 65 years.

Community Manager

What a fantastic story, thank you Frank!  Your passion for Pontiac is admirable, and we sincerely thank you for sharing your story here on the Hagerty Community!