The 2010 GTOAA International Meet featured myriad opportunities for GTO hobbyists to have
Despite its Italian name, there's nothing more all-American than the Pontiac GTO, which made the 2010 GTOAA International Meet-held July 1-4 in Wichita, Kansas-the perfect place for GTO hobbyists on the July Fourth holiday weekend.
Hosted by the GTOAA Wichita Chapter for the third time (the first two were 1988 and 1998), the convention allows members from 43 affiliated GTOAA chapters in the U.S. and individual members from around the world to come together once a year to show off their concours and popular-vote GTOs (and other Pontiacs); enjoy seminars, tech sessions, and workshops; graze through the swap meet for used, rare, or reproduction parts; and enjoy meeting, bonding, and sharing GTO stories with fellow members from across the U.S. and Canada.
Thanks to great negotiations and planning by the host chapter, this year's convention was held inside Wichita's Century II Convention Center, which was utilized as a 128,000-square-foot climate-controlled environment for the concours and popular-vote category GTOs (and other Pontiacs on display). It allowed GTOAA members (and the public on Sunday only) to enjoy the majority of the convention's activities-including the car show and swap meet-without the nasty intrusion of too-hot or too-wet weather, both of which plagued Wichita during the four-day event.
One of the two original Monkeemobiles, now owned by Mel Gutherie III of Livonia, Michigan,
"Those in attendance could completely relax knowing their cars were indoors and secure, and the Wichita Hyatt host hotel and the Century II Convention Center staff attended to their every need," says Gary Gibbs, the event's co-chairman. "Need a display table? Done! Need a chair by your car? Done! Need a temperature of 72 degrees? Done! Need an indoor 'parking lot party' with the cars at the convention center when it was raining? Done!"
The GTOAA Pontiac Nationals/Jim Wangers Invitational Drag Race scheduled for Saturday, July 3, 2010, at Kansas International Dragway was not as fortunate. Though Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick and his Tameless Tiger, Jess Tyree and his nostalgia '63 LeMans, and the Jim Wangers GeeTO Tiger were scheduled for exhibition runs, and over 50 racers had signed up to compete for cash, prizes, and trophies, the event was delayed by rain, and then officially cancelled at 8 p.m. before anybody could take the track.
"That was the biggest disappointment," Gibbs continues. "Luckily, the rain date for the convention took place at the Pontiac Uprising on October 1 and 2 at Kansas International Dragway in Wichita."
Some of the finest concours GTOs in the United States filled the main arena of Wichita's C
In addition to all the GTO and other Pontiac eye candy on display (over 200 vehicles total), there was plenty of alternate indoor action each of the convention's four fun-filled days.
Thursday featured three informative seminars: "How to Keep Your Car Showroom New!" with Steve Knipp, the president and founder of Knipp Corporation, who has over 30 years experience in the automotive appearance industry; "Pontiac Memorabilia: The Extreme Collector," with Tim Dye, who recently published his first book on the topic, The Extreme Collector; and "Building a 10-Second Race Car to Last," with Tom Wilhite, a 39-year Pontiac racing expert.
Friday led off with inside and outside planned activities. An autocross sponsored by Pedders Suspension and the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Wichita Chapter allowed all-year Pontiacs to twist around the cones in a 20-second course.