Once again, the Full Size Pontiac Club (FSPC) and the boys at TriPower Automotive held their annual start of the season dust-off bash in Libertyville, Illinois, and it was another one for the ages!
Cinco de Mayo was a footnote on a day filled with amazing Pontiacs, delicious food, and good friendsboth old and new. The weather threatened but the rain stayed away, and the overcast skies kept it nice and comfortable. Mike Ardito (co-owner of Tripower Automotive) and I (John Piotrowski, founder of the FSPC and president of Arrowhead Components) have been bringing this show to the Pontiac faithful for seven years.
Each year some of the coolest cats in the musclecar world make it a point to be here. Among the bunch this year were Jon and Mike Markese, Arnie Beswick, Rob Lozins, Dave and Amy Dayton of ARS Promotions, Mike Lippeth of Lipgnosis (photographer extraordinaire), Mike Guarise, Bob Lundwall of Retromotive (15-inch rims for your 8-Lug drums), Matt Planning (Redi-Rad creator and all-around groovy dude), Dru Diesner, Stefano Bimbi of Nickey Chevrolet, and hundreds of other smooth-movers in the high-performance world.
Each year a theme has emerged. In the past, weve featured wagons, four-speeds, Super-Duty Pontiacs, and many more. We didnt have a theme this year, but rather took the opportunity to throw a little bash for Arnie The Farmer Beswick in celebration of his 82nd birthday. In my opinion, Beswick has done as much for our love of everything Pontiac as anyone, and we wanted to give him special thanks for always coming out to play with us at our annual shindig.
Mike Ardito busted out the colored frosting and did some confectionary Von-Dutching, laying down a frosted rendition of the Tameless Tiger lifting the front wheels in the air. The couple-hundred folks in attendance belted out the best version of “Happy Birthday” this high-performance choir could muster, and cake was enjoyed by all. I don’t think it was possible for Arnie to pose for any more pictures or sign more autographs than he did that day. It was quite a sight!
And yes, we had a couple neat cars there, too62s and 65s seemed to be the Poncho de jour. There were a few freshly minted 2+2s making their inaugural appearance as well, including Steve Brodys 66 that was just driven back from California, but my hands-down favorite had to be the 69 428 triple-black Ventura. Packing a mighty 428, wood wheel, tilt, buckets, AC, and no console, it was the bees knees, to say the least. It was difficult to even get close, as she clearly was the peoples choicethough we dont do any awards at this hoedown.
Todd Zimmerman rolled in from Wisconsin in his ’61 bubble-top, and Bob Lundwall shifted his nasty six-speed ’64 GP all the way down from Brew City. Stu Norman showed with his baby blue ’64 Bonnie. (Actually, it’s his wife’s—she made that clear!)
As the day wound down, the hungry cylinders of the remaining land yachts pulled out of the lot. Standing with Mike Ardito and his son, I realized yet again how lucky I am to have an army of great friends to share this hobby.
Every year at the beginning of May, the Full Size Pontiac Club and TriPower Automotive hold this free show to rouse these behemoths for a running start to the cruising season. The quality of Ponchos that attend is off-the-charts. Be sure to visit www.fullsizepontiacs.com
often for photo galleries, updates, stories, and all things Pontiacto scratch your Arrowhead itch and learn more about our past and future gatherings!
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In My Words
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From left, John Piotrowski,...
From left, John Piotrowski, Mike Markese, Mike Ardito, Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick, and Jon Markese, with Mike Ardito’s son Dominic front and center!