Little GTO gets awards all around

Published 8:35 am Thursday, February 2, 2012


We’d like to share the story of our Pontiac GTO travels over the last several years.

It all started when the Detroit Lions quit playing pro football at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. We heard someone put up drive-in movie screens in the parking lot. How cool would it be to go to a drive-in movie, in Pontiac at the Silverdome, with a ’64 GTO, in 2004, the 40th anniversary of the GTO? We had to do it.

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We hauled the car on our camper and stayed at campgrounds usually. We stayed at a Michigan state park that was beautiful and quiet except for the rumble of our car as we tried to sneak in and out making as little noise as possible. We saw a lot of things and met lots of cool people. One car guy told us of a cruise-in with 1,200 to 1,500 cars usually there. We went and were quite shocked to get the Best of Show award. It was totally unexpected.

Then in 2005 we went to the National GTO Club show in St. Louis. Once again we were shocked when our little farm-built GTO got second in a class of high dollar cars. We did some cool stuff and met some cool people again. While there we made friends with some people from Kansas with a ’65 GTO. That led to the next two trips.

We took a year off, then went to Salina, Kan., in 2007 on their recommendation. That was a blast, with a cruise on one night and the next day a show, and the GTO got another award. There were so many good people to meet and fun things to see and do.

Then our friends told of their hometown show in Ellinwood, Kan., in 2008, so we had to go. One more time doing the tourist thing, seeing local attractions and meeting more good people, and we did the best burnout ever on a lonely country two-lane blacktop in front of the Wichita GTO Club members at a cookout, and did I mention another award?

Then in 2009 we found a show in Ralston, Neb., a small town that got surrounded by Omaha. We located that one with the help of members in the Pontiac club that I have been in since 1978. We stayed at a KOA and camped out there. We became members of the Pharoahs Car Club from “American Graffiti.” They do still exist! And we got one more award. We are still shocked when that happens.

In 2010 we used Pontiac club members again to find a show in northwest Illinois. Savanna was the town, and it had a lot of history and tourist stuff to see and do. The car got another award, and we were really set back when our camper/car hauler got an award, too. It’s way cool and got noticed by lots of people.

We have found it is nice to have our house close to the show. This time it wound up too close and those people know cool when they see it. That makes seven states including local Iowa and Minnesota shows that our little GTO has gotten awards in. Every time about a week before we leave we ask ourselves “what are we doing” and the whole trip down are saying “never again.” But then after all the fun and people we find, we’re usually planning the next year’s trip on the way home.

We still have the Dakotas and Wisconsin to conquer without too long of a trip. What a sense of accomplishment when we are home again. I have health issues (multiple sclerosis) that requires some accommodation and planning, but, like I said, what a feeling of accomplishment when the challenge is completed. Hope you enjoyed our story.


Julie Bronson