Our first monthly meeting for 2016 was very well attended with almost 70 members and friends enjoying the chance to catch up with other after the summer break. There was also an impressive line-up of our members’ sporting and classic cars in front of the Club House to welcome people as they arrived, and some equally impressive vehicles in the carpark.
Despite there having been several months and quite a number of club events since our last meeting, Mark managed to deal with the meeting business side of things very efficiently between main and dessert courses, then after dessert introduced our guest, John McKenzie from Moe, who had managed to fit his deceptively large 1970 Pontiac GTO into the dining room.
The GTO shares many design features with our HQ Monaro and it’s easy to see where local stylists found inspiration for both the HQ’s front and rear quarter panels and especially the C-pillar shape. The Monaro’s dashboard and instrumentation have also borrowed heavily from the American cousin.
John told us that he traveled to Miami to collect the GTO, with intentions of driving it across the States to LA where it was to be shipped home to Australia, but he was persuaded against that idea owing to the likelihood of this immaculate car being stripped of its sought-after components en-route.
This 1970 GTO was originally delivered to Arizona. It has a 455 cubic inch V8 developing 500bhp at the wheels and prior to John fitting a 5-speed manual gearbox, it drove through a 3-speed automatic transmission. The manual box has a 30% overdrive top gear which makes the car much quieter and also more enjoyable to drive. Despite its size and big-block V8, the car weighs in at a surprisingly svelte 1650kg. A previous owner had fully restored the vehicle prior to John’s purchase, but once it was landed here John stripped off the vinyl roof, and to meet Australian standards, fitted retractable seat belts and RHD headlights. Thanks to Ray Youlden for persuading John to attend our meeting this month and special thanks to John for bring the GTO along and telling us something of its story.