A total of 355 Pontiacs, Oaklands,...
A total of 355 Pontiacs, Oaklands, and GMC trucks converged upon downtown Tulsa for the 2007 POCI Convention. It was one of the best-planned conventions in recent memory. Problems that could have popped up in an urban setting such as this were accounted for and solved right from the start.
This Grand Am Safari pickup...
This Grand Am Safari pickup prototype was built in '78 by Pontiac as a possible production candidate. It was updated with '80 sheetmetal and was later restored under the direction of John Sawruk. It is now part of the GM Heritage Collection.
Late Second-Gen Firebirds...
Late Second-Gen Firebirds are really coming into their own with collectors. Gary Ruffin's Carousel Red '76 Trans Am and Rick Maybury's Lime '76 Formula are two beautiful examples of this breed in fairly unusual colors. Both cars have white interiors and Honeycomb wheels.
Several project cars were...
Several project cars were also available in the swap meet area, including a '66 Tempest sedan, this '70 Formula and a '74 Trans Am.
The first production Pontiac...
The first production Pontiac ever; 1926 Pontiac serial number 1, fresh from a cosmetic restoration, was on display in the Crown Plaza Hotel lobby.
The success of an event as large as a national car convention is rooted in preparation. If you've built in contingency plans to cover every possible situation that could pop up, your staff will be calm and confident on opening day, and for the duration of the event. If not, you'll see them running frantically from problem to problem and the "solutions" are usually not satisfactory. The problem at hand really should have been anticipated and solved six months before, not in a panic before a crowd of angry guests.
Fortunately for everyone who attended the 2007 POCI Convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma, chairpersons Tracy Ritz and Larry Crider were all about the details and it certainly showed. This was especially true due to the location of the convention-right in the middle of downtown Tulsa, which was under construction. As it turned out, the host hotel, the Crown Plaza Tulsa, was a perfect setting for the event, offering a central location and luxurious accommodations for convention participants.
I walked around the entire show area and-truth be told-at first I was concerned. The construction crews were everywhere and I just couldn't imagine how this wasn't going to turn into complete chaos. Visions of hundreds of show cars being towed away by indifferent flatbed drivers danced frightfully through my head.
Fortunately, my worst-case-scenario concerns had been covered long before we arrived. The event was as efficient and well-planned a convention as I have ever seen, much like the proverbial duck swimming across the pond-no one saw what was going on below the surface.
The planning went far beyond setting up show fields and swap meet areas. There were plenty of activities for everyone, including tech seminars, tours, Native American cultural performances, and an ice cream social-the perfect end for a hot day. Like the rest of the convention, the programs featured a laid-back, friendly atmosphere and interesting topics. The event was also the focus of a large amount of media attention and was frequently featured on local TV news casts.
As with all POCI Conventions, the cars are what everyone comes to see. A total of 335 Pontiacs, Oaklands, and GMCs were registered in Points Judged and Popular Vote categories. Tulsa also saw the largest assemblage of Oaklands ever at a POCI convention. A total of 12 of these rare ancestors to the Pontiac were on display, and one of them, the 1911 touring car, owned by Jim Cohen, took the Pre War Best of Show Award. The Post War Best of Show was "Surfari," a customized 1957 Trancontinental Safari wagon built and owned by Lou Callasibetta of Stillwater, New Jersey.
The only significant problem that occurred during the event was overspray from some painting a few blocks away that settled on some of the show cars on Saturday. This was a situation that the Convention Committee could not have reasonably anticipated, as the main source of the paint was not near the event and didn't happen during normal business hours. The paint was carried by the wind and landed all over downtown Tulsa. Though insurance covered most of the problems, it was still a troubling situation for many, some of whom did not notice it until they returned home. Many owners were able to remove the paint with products like Clay Bar Magic and other surface treatments. Others needed to color sand or repaint.