1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 4

This is a continuation from yesterday’s Part 3

Part 4:

“Most of my understanding of drag racing has come from limited observation, from a husband who is interested but does not claim it as one of his areas of expertise, and from conversations with Pete McCarthy, well known both in the annals of Pontiac drag racing and as an author of Pontiac performance literature, and with Greg Sharp, noted hotrodding historian and curator of the NHRA Motorsports Museum. Both national and local drag racing  have evolved from the hot rodders of the ‘40’s and ‘50’s. Those guys were, however, frowned upon, even stigmatized as the bad boys of the open road. It was to provide them an alternative, not actually to initiate a national drag racing organization, that Wally Parks established the NHRA in the early ‘50’s. Additionally, Robert E. Peterson’s creation of Hot Rod magazine in 1948 was, at that time, considered a very daring move. By the ‘60’s, however, the evolutuion was well under way, and the quarter mile track was a popular spot for a weekend’s recreation and/or entertainment. For a while factory or individually backed teams that could afford to hire fast reacting drivers to race expensively optioned stock cars dominated the scene. Now, with the integration of bracket racing at he local level, anyone with a good reaction time who can put together a consistently running car has a good chance of winning. The races that Tin Indian V participated in were probably very similar, though not exactly the same as bracket races are today, since even drag racing at the national level had not evolved to the levels of sophistication and expense that it has today. » Continue reading more of this post…

1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 3

This is a continuation from yesterday’s Part 2

Part 3

“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 more of this post…

1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 2

This is a continuation from yesterday’s Part 1

Part 2

“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 more of this post…

1966 Pontiac GTO Tin Indian Part 1

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.

Part 1:

“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 more of this post…