Editor’s note: The massive winners list from this event can be found at www.highperformancepontiac.com, along with many more photos.

The POCI’s Cruisin’ Tigers Chapter really rolled out its A-game with the hosting of the 2012 POCI Convention in St. Charles, Illinois, this past July 17-21. Over two years of planning went into the event, which is remarkable considering the chapter also put on its 2011 Indian Uprising event during that timeframe.

“To me, the sign of a successful convention is the smiles on the members faces,” said POCI’s new president, Alan Mayes. “The Cruisin’ Tigers and POCI’s convention coordinators did an exemplary job of executing a convention that people enjoyed.” He added: “Members were happy enough that they were already making plans for the 2013 Co-Vention. That is a job well done.”

The results were impressive, both from an attendance standpoint and from an activities perspective. A total of 1,092 member registrations yielded 901 vehicles. Of those, 177 were Points-Judged, 455 were Popular Vote, 179 were Road Warrior participants, and 90 took part in the Cruisin’ Tigers Saturday Car Show. Additionally, 160 swap meet spaces were sold. By POCI standards, this was the largest convention ever. Though the 2009 Co-Vention was larger overall with the strong GTOAA presence, there were more POCI cars on the show field than at Dayton—a very impressive feat, to say the least.

The event was held in the prestigious Pheasant Run Resort, which has been home to such automotive events as the Mecum St. Charles Auction and the Bloomington Gold Corvette Show, so the facility is no stranger to large automotive events. The Mega Center, also located on the property, held all 177 Points Judged vehicles indoors, as well as a few other display vehicles.

The 2012 POCI Convention was also the 50th Anniversary of the ’62 Pontiac full-line release. Dozens of both full-sized and Tempest models were dispersed among all categories, from Points Judged, to Popular Vote, to Road Warriors. The 75th anniversary of the 1937 Pontiac was also recognized, and several examples were in attendance, both in stock and modified configurations. There were also some Oaklands on site and a variety of GMC trucks, as well.

Those members searching for information had a huge array of tech seminars to choose from. In addition to the Joe Bortz Dream Car panel discussion, Rachel McCoy from Rally Insurance gave an excellent primer on collector-car insurance. Randy Pribyl held a seminar on show-car detailing, and then doubled back for another one with Jay Graham on buying and selling collector Pontiacs. Mike Wasson held an informative seminar on Tri-Power induction systems, while Jim Mattison showed you how to decode your PHS documentation. Jim Wangers conducted a seminar on Pontiac marketing, while Brad Duerst showed members how to rebuild their ’57-’64 Pontiac rearends. John Gunnell gave a great historical seminar on Indianhead Pontiacs, and your faithful author gave a Department X seminar on late-model Pontiac concept cars.

All were well attended and received, particularly the Joe Bortz Dream Car panel discussion, which featured Motorama author David Temple, retired GM designer Ray Koenig, former Pontiac engineer Bill Collins, and former Ghia and Ford designer Virgil M. Exner Jr.

Your author was honored to serve as moderator, and it was an amazing experience that anyone who attended will no doubt attest to. It was a rare glimpse into what was really going on at the time from those who were there, both inside GM, as was the case with Mr. Koenig and Mr. Collins, and from the competition, with the viewpoint provided by Mr. Exner, who worked for Ghia and Ford. Many may not know this, but Exner’s father, Virgil Exner Sr., who went on to lead Chrysler’s design department, was actually the head of design for Pontiac in the late ’30s, and is credited with the design of the ’38 Pontiac.

Speaking of dream cars, Joe Bortz brought his four Pontiac Dream Cars—a ’53 Parisienne, ’54 Bonneville Special, ’60 X-400, and ’64 XP-833 Banshee—to St. Charles, where they were displayed indoors in the registration area, which then became the banquet area. Joe was on hand to answer questions, and many members were given the opportunity to sit in these amazing machines.

The drag-racing portion of the event was held at Bryon Dragway in Byron, Illinois, and was limited to a test-and-tune format on Friday, due to reduced demand for racing at this convention. Nevertheless, an intrepid group made it out and enjoyed a sunny afternoon while running their Pontiacs down the dragstrip.

How do you top this year’s event? Well, it won’t be easy, but next year the POCI and GTOAA once again join forces to bring you the 2013 POCI/GTOAA Co-Vention, held in Dayton, Ohio, the site of the 2009 Co-Vention. This time around promises to be even larger, and there are a number of surprises in store. Get ready for a huge outpouring of Pontiacs, Oaklands, and GMCs, with a strong showing of GTOs.

Log onto www.gtoaa.org for details. We hope to see you there!