“Actually Pontiac Historic Services had not quite materialized yet. A gentleman named Fred Simmonds had unearthed old files at Pontiac Motor Division (PMD) of General Motors Corporation (GMC or GM), and shortly thereafter, those files would be turned over to Jim Mattison who would launch the business Pontiac Historic Services. At one point during the fall of 1989, Merle had occasion to talk with Fred Simmonds, and, in the course of the conversation, mentioned that he wished he could see the original build sheets for his cars, so he would know what options they were assembled with and where (to what dealership) they were first delivered. Simmonds offered to do a bit of research, so Merle sent him the vehicle identification numbers (VIN’s). Soon the information arrived in the form of photocopies of the original build sheets. Basically, a build sheet is a dated purchase order that gives instructions to the factory about how to build a car and where it is to be delivered afterward. The instructions are in code, and the translation of the numbers into words is not always immediately obvious without research. The build sheet for the green car was vibrant with blue marker. Anticipating Merle’s excitement, Fred Simmonds had parenthetically listed several of the build sheet codes and identified them: “Safe-T-Track Performance Ratio (733), 4.33 axle (74 S), 4-speed close ratio (778), HD Metallic brakes (484)”; and finally “(08-197)” the codes designating zone (section of the country) and delivery dealership were followed by big, bold, believe-it-or-not, capital letters: “KNAFEL PONTIAC, AKRON, OH.” Continue reading 1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 3
“About a year earlier and a week before the birth of our third child and only daughter, a white, though less than pristine, 1966 GTO convertible had wandered into our yard. Frankly, I remember feeling overwhelming joy at the arrival of only one of these two priceless blessings acquired almost simultaneously. In honest fact, I had to be recently reminded that the two blessed events occurred in such proximity. But that was 1978; this was 1979, and this car was even worse than the white one. Yet my husband, ever the optimist, could see only its potential. This facility, this ability to foresee the image of a restored old car I see as absolutely amazing, since he is totally incapable of picturing the finished effect of new flooring, new wall covering, or even new matching bedspread and curtains. In a way, I suppose I do understand this inclination but from the opposite end of the spectrum, since even the vision of a well restored old car does not fill me with carefree thoughts of happy, trouble free excursions off the beaten path. In this case anxiety quickly clenched the pit of my stomach. I knew what was going to happen. Merle assumed that the car had been raced, but he was unable to trace its origin back farther than 1972, so he simply shrugged and, while happily contemplating the sale of my lovely little Luxury Lemans station wagon, restored it for me to drive. Continue reading 1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 2
Around 5 years ago, we had a very “early” edition of the 1A Auto Blog. It wasn’t nearly as fancy as the work of art that you are reading today (wink-wink), but it did have some really great content on it. Unfortunately during the update from the old “Nutts and Bolts Car Blog” to the amazingly awesome “1A Auto Blog”, some content didn’t quite make it all the way over. Luckily, I saved it all! Over time, I have posted a few things from these archives, but today I am sharing quite possibly my favorite post that has ever been on the 1A Auto Blog. It isn’t just a post though. It is a 4 part story written by Janice Green, about a very special 1966 Pontiac GTO. So, I will roll out 1 part per day for the next 4 days. You’ll want to grab a coffee and a comfy chair for this one, it’s quite an incredible true story.
“I should have known what to expect when Merle told me that he had been reading General Motors (GM)/Pontiac literature since he was sixteen years old. I should have known when parting with the 1940 Chevy, which he had tinkered with and driven around the field behind his childhood home throughout adolescence, all but drew tears. I should have known when I was closing out my savings account during the second half of my senior year in college in order to help my then fiancé make a down payment on a bright Montero Red, 1966 GTO convertible. Later, I should have known every time I belted kids into my station wagon in order to trek out into the country to follow some derelict Pontiac home. I should have known when we sold my station wagon, and I began driving my kids around in a 1966 GTO hardtop. I should have known. Continue reading 1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 1
As it turns out, I know a few guys that do hill climbs in really fast cars. Actually… I’m not sure if the cars are really fast… or they are just driven really fast? In any case, I can assure you that this whole hill climbing thing is pure madness. Back when I was young and fearless, I used to ride down metal slides on freshly waxed cookie sheets (I don’t want to brag…). To this date, it was probably the fastest that I have ever traveled, so needless to say I have a very healthy fear of speed. Driving on a narrow road at ridiculous speeds with nothing but gigantic trees and mysterious creatures on both sides? Hmm. I’m guess I am probably not meant for that. I’ll be honest, when I walk by trees, I feel slightly uncomfortable knowing that if I bump into one of them it will probably scrape my arm. So speeding by them in a car at 100 miles per hour on wet pavement sounds absolutely horrifying to me. Maybe my cookie sheet sliding endeavors as a youth taught me all that I needed to know about going fast. I’m not sure, but I know that I would never do it again. I’ll let the more fearless friends of mine enjoy these fruits of life, and I’ll stick to spinning wrenches while the cars stay still.
For those of you that are far too impatient to watch the whole video above, feel free to skip ahead to about 2:05 mark. As soon as Matt (the driver) cuts the steering wheel hard left, you will probably want to pick up your feet, and shout “wwwweeeeaaaaOOOOHHHH!!” out loud. Watch it twice or thrice if necessary. Heck, share it with a friend. It’s a fact, hill climb drivers are totally fearless.
Just when you thought that the automotive world had nothing left to offer this week, I bring you this. It’s a 2002 Subaru WRX with what I would call “tank tracks”, instead of wheels. Now, I know what you might be saying “I already saw one of these in the Ken Block video, so it’s not cool anymore…“. Yea, I know, but Ken Block’s wasn’t able to be bought either. This one most certainly is. Just imagine if you added an external roll cage and some spot lights to the roof. Not only would you be ready to take on a pack of rabid wolverines, but this car would instantly be a force to be reckoned with in our Zombie Apocalypse vehicle collection. No doubt!
The seller says:
“This WRX literally floats through the deepest of snow as its ground pressure is only about 1.25 lbs per square inch. It handles great and turns very well. Its also amazingly quick! The car includes decent tires and wheels. When you don’t need the tracks, you can put the tires back on and use the car as a daily driver. It takes about 30 minutes to remove the tracks and put the wheels back on.”
So if the vampires, zombies, and cyborgs don’t end up attacking, you can swap the summer tires back on in less than an hour, and take a leisurely ride through the country roads to get an ice cream with your family. Is buying this car your destiny in life? Does 196,000 miles in a turbo Subaru make you nervous? Is $17,500 cheap for an AWD turbo snowmobile? Well, those are questions that you are going to need to sleep on tonight. Until then, this Subaru WRX Tank will be waiting for you on eBay.
Last weekend was beautiful outside, so after a much needed yard clean up, I wrapped up my day by washing some cars of their wintery mud & salt. As I was washing the bugs, dirt, and mysterious goo off I began pondering, how often do other people wash their cars? Do I wash them more or less often than my peers? So I’m throwing the question out there for you guys to enlighten me.