Bob Jones lights up the slicks...
Bob Jones lights up the slicks in his Stray Cat Catalina two-door-post time machine. Looks like 1962 all over again.
Having survived torrential rainfall of 2-plus inches the previous day, October 25, 2009, started out as a crisp and sunny fall morning in the Tri-State area. The temperature climbed into the low 60s, making for perfect weather to show and race at HPP Day at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey.
Typically, this event falls on a Saturday and the track is restricted to muffled vehicles only. Rescheduled from June 21 due to a rainout, this new date fell on a Sunday, which allowed the unmuffled heavy-hitters to compete in the drag-racing portion.
Turnout was excellent, and as the time approached for the gates to open, there was already a long line of Pontiacs waiting to get in and set up. Registration for the show gave us an idea of what was coming and their diversity did not disappoint.
HPP alumni Don Stellhorn and...
HPP alumni Don Stellhorn and his 440ci-powered '64 GTO road racer continued their winning ways, taking Best of Show Modified. You can spend hours poring over this Pontiac and drinking in all the details. If you want to learn more, go to highperformancepontiac.com and read the full feature.
Firebirds, Formulas, and Trans Ams arrived in force, each representing their respective generations. Black S/Es, Pace Cars, and Ram Airs were among them, and the F-bodies showed a wide variety of tastes, ranging from concours stock to wild modifications and everything in between. GTOs also made a strong showing and almost every model year was represented, with '64s through '74s on display, along with a huge contingent of '04 through '06 GTOs, the latter due to the GTOs of the Northeast (G.O.N.E.) event, which was also scheduled.
Don't get the impression this was just a Firebird and GTO show-it was a show for all Pontiacs. A beautiful '31 Pontiac, an '86 Parisienne, and a stealth built '80s LeMans station wagon with an early '70s 455 H.O. motor and finished in a sleeper-type poverty-cap wheel dress were also lined up in all their glory. A lone Fiero made a representative showing, as well.
In addition, Big Cars, Grand Prixs, and a Grand Safari station wagon took up a lot of real estate on the show field, and an unusual and rarely seen '63 green-on-green Catalina convertible, Grand Ams, and Can Ams could be found, too. Not to be outdone, the newest-and sadly, the last in Pontiac's history-also made a showing. G5s, G6s, and the now collectible G8s were well represented.
Brent Lehman's gorgeous Limelight...
Brent Lehman's gorgeous Limelight Green R/A-III '69 Judge won Best of Show Stock. It was a rust-free, four-speed, disc-brake Arizona car, which received a body-off resto that spanned just over a year. You can read more about Brent's Judge on UltimateGTO.com.
Not all the Pontiacs in the show corral were just for display. It was not uncommon to walk through the show area and watch various Pontiacs disappear, only to return a short time later smelling of burnt rubber and wearing the melted remains of slicks on the rear quarters as a badge of honor. Even the judges seemed to appreciate the double duty some of the show cars were performing; they were not deducting for the added "decoration." After all, burnt rubber is not uncommon to see in the rear wheelwells of many Pontiacs!
Judging progressed throughout the day and was completed around 2 p.m.; trophies were awarded about 3:30 p.m. It must be difficult to decide who gets a trophy with so many beautiful Pontiacs in one setting!
A smoke show! Thanks to Melissa...
A smoke show! Thanks to Melissa Fiorello's '04 GTO.
HPP Day gives every Pontiac owner a chance to show off his or her prized vehicle to other Pontiac aficionados. It does not matter if it has a rare set of options, a low production motor option, or an unusual color scheme. What does matter is that each and every Pontiac in attendance represents an emotional tie to its owner, a particular reason why he or she purchased the vehicle, and what that purchase or history with the vehicle means to him or her.
This event not only offers the opportunity to view Pontiacs from the past to the present, but also the chance to talk to these owners, who love to tell you what drove them to this particular Pontiac and how it has impacted their lives and family. You will see a totally new facet of the show experience. While looking at beautiful Pontiacs is great, getting the full picture as seen through the owners' eyes makes one understand what their passion is all about.
The 2009 High Performance Pontiac Show and Go did all that and more. The Division may be gone, but the cars it built and the memories that have been made live on.