It's summertime, and the showing is easy. From the Memorial Day to the Labor Day weekends, six national events invite you to join them in celebrating Pontiac history, style, performance, and passion. Let's get right to it:
14th Annual Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge
June 6-8, 2014 • Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Tennessee's most popular Pontiac-only show has celebrated 13 successful years and brought together some of the best stock and modified Pontiacs in the world. The show is so popular that many of its participants register a year ahead of time to guarantee their spot in all the fun.
The three-day soiree is held at the Music Road Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on the banks of the picturesque Pigeon River. It features 150-plus show cars every year. It has a unique drive-through judging method, in which Pontiacs drive-up to the judging lanes instead of the judges going car by car through the show field. This allows participants to clean their cars as long as they want, get lunch, and for some, start up their cars and let others hear what's under the hood.
On Friday night, the registered car owners make their way to the convention center for a Memphis-style BBQ buffet hosted by the show. Saturday evening after the judging ends, the engines start, gearing up for the scenic 40-mile Pontiac-only cruise from Pigeon Forge to Newfound Gap and back through the Gatlinburg strip.
The show features 26-plus classes divided into stock and modified groups with the top three awarded, as well as Best of Show-Stock, Best of Show-Modified, and People's Choice awards.
The event is non-profit and donates all proceeds to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Pontiac-Oakland Club International (POCI) Convention
June 17-21, 2014 • Wichita, Kansas
From its rather modest 1973 beginnings in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, the annual POCI convention has become one of the top destinations for Pontiac fans worldwide. Convention-goers from as far away as Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have made the trip to attend, and the Canadian presence is always significant. It truly is an international event.
In the 41 years since the start, POCI conventions have been held from coast to coast, bringing the hobby together with amazing Pontiacs, fantastic presentations, and legendary personalities. Luminaries who have presented seminars include John Z. DeLorean, Smokey Yunick, Hal Needham, Bill Collins, and John Sawruk.
This year, the POCI Convention is mostly indoors at the Century II Convention Center, which provides enough air-conditioned space to house all the Pontiac show cars under one roof. Drag racing will be held at nearby Kansas International Dragway on Friday.
Guest speakers include Jim Wangers, Roger Berry (a Pontiac Motor Division dealership designer), and Darryl Starbird (the King of Bubbletops). Don't miss the action in Wichita.
June 20-22, 2014 • Carlisle, Pennsylvania
This year the Carlisle GM Nationals celebrates 50 years of the iconic GTO. The show will dedicate an entire building (known as The Goat Pen) to the GTO, as well as offering GTO-themed seminars and guests.
Scheduled to appear are three very special GTOs. First, the '64 Cheater car used in Car and Driver's GTO vs. GTO article will attend all weekend. This 421-equipped GTO will be displayed alongside other beautifully restored GTOs from all years. The second display is the original Monkeemobile that went on tour with the group. The third and final car, an experimental '69 Ram Air V GTO built by Milt Schornack, highlights Pontiac's dedication to performance.
In conjunction with the celebration, Pontiac luminaries Milt Schornack, Bill Collins, Russ Gee, and Ben Harrison, plus Pontiac historian Tim Dye, will present seminars and meet with fans all weekend.
The event will also be (for the first time) the official launch point for the 2014 Bandit Run. There will be tons of Bandit Trans Ams onsite, along with a plethora of other Pontiac vehicles, and even a reproduction of the Snowman's rig. There will be a special screening of Smokey and the Bandit Saturday evening.
When you count the display cars, 1,000-car show field [open to all GM makes], swap meet, special guests, seminars, burnout contest, beauty contest, and tons of other activities, the GM Nationals weekend will be a great time for everybody.
Visit the website to learn how to register your Pontiac for the show.
GTOAA International Meet
July 2-5, 2014 • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Help the GTO Association of America (GTOAA) celebrate the 50th birthday of Pontiac's The Great One in Pittsburgh this July, where the Little GTOs are still looking fine!
The indoor portion of the show takes place at the Monroeville Convention Center, immediately adjacent to host hotel, Monroeville Doubletree. This includes all the concours-judged cars, and a display of original-owner GTOs whose owners receive special recognition for keeping their vehicles for many years. The parking lots around the convention center can accommodate 500 popular-vote entries. Concours judging is for GTOs and GT-37s only; all Pontiacs are welcome to enter the popular-vote show. Registration is available online.
As always, drag racing will be a part of the GTOAA International Meet. Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick will share the track at Pittsburgh Raceway Park with Pontiac racers from across the country. At the convention center, vendor and swap-meet spaces are available indoors and outdoors. An all-Pontiac model-car contest is one of the featured activities for scale-auto fans of all ages. Among the many planned tours and trips is an excursion to the [9-11 attack] United Airlines Flight 93 Memorial Chapel in nearby Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Guest speakers this year include the Godfather of the GTO, Jim Wangers; Jim Mattison of PHS Historic Services; Dennis Kirban on Hurst history; Pontiac-Oakland Museum curator Tim Dye; Royal Pontiac's Milt Schornack; author [and HPP Senior contributor] Don Keefe; and plenty of other seminars on restoration, maintenance, and topics related to the Pontiac hobby. Displays will include the famous GTOs: the Monkeemobile, the Tin Indian, and the Tameless Tiger.
Ames Performance Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals
August 1-3, 2014 • Norwalk, Ohio
Held at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, about an hour and a half's drive east of Cleveland, the Pontiac Nationals boasts the largest gathering of Pontiac drag racers and swap meet vendors of any Pontiac event all year.
This year, the event celebrates its 23rd event, and over 10,000 spectators are expected to attend. High Performance Pontiac sponsors Pontiac on Parade for driver-quality Pontiacs, a judged car show offers awards in dozens of classes, and the drag racing program pays out the biggest purse in the Pontiac hobby.
Bring your sneakers, your sunglasses, and your Pontiac excitement. This is an all-outdoor event.
Trans Am Nationals
August 22-24, 2014 • Fairborn, Ohio
The inaugural Trans Am Nationals was held 30 years ago at the Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, Ohio. It has since grown to become one of the country's greatest annual Pontiac events.
Hundreds of Firebirds, from stock drivers to six-figure customs and concours restorations, come to the Dayton area each August to celebrate the proud history and heritage of the Pontiac Firebird and all of the models built upon it. The 400, H.O., Sprint, Formula, Esprit, Trans Am, S/E, GTA, Fire-Am, Macho T/A, and Firehawk have all been represented and are always welcome.
In addition to hundreds of Firebirds glistening on the show field, there is a manufacturers' area with new products, a swap meet, a DJ, a Tipp City cruise-in, and seminars featuring Pontiac designers and engineers. Registration is available online.
This year promises to be a landmark event in celebration of the T/A Nationals' 30th Anniversary. All anniversary-edition Trans Ams are specially invited, with an anniversary cruise planned for Friday night. The new location in Fairborn, Ohio, offers plenty of hotel and parking space for show activities, and nearby shopping, dining, and the U.S. Air Force Museum to keep the family entertained.