Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summer Fun in Our GTO !

Our 1969 Pontiac GTO convertible is now 40 years old!

We bought the car new, and would never have believed that we would still have it 40 years later!

To celebrate the occasion I bought a new jacket to wear to the many car cruises we attend all summer (and have attended since 1980!). I knew I was going to embellish the jacket, but I didn’t have anything specific planned. Recently, however, my mind got in ‘gear’ (pardon the pun!) and I came up with some ideas!

GTO Jacket, with Tatted Embellishment (so far)

When I saw the sequined alphabet letters at the craft store, I HAD to buy them!

After I sewed the glittery letters on, I wanted to add even more ‘pizzazz’, so I naturally thought of tatting, and this little piece that I had in my ‘stash’ works well. I believe it was done in size 30

After sewing the tatting on, I carefully put silver glitter glue over the tatting, which sparkles in the sun. I also added more ‘bling’ by gluing on some gems

This is basically a ‘work in progress’ as I have other ideas in mind – such as adding tatting to the sleeves and cuffs. We’ll see how it evolves!

I love the front of the jacket! (I forgot to button up the other pocket for the photo).
You can see there are lots of possibilities here, too!

So now I have a special jacket to wear when we go to the car cruises.

And when I do some tatting while sitting by the car, I’ll be able to show how tatting can be used today as a fashion ‘statement.’

1969 Pontiac GTO convertible

And here’s the car, as it looked in 1977 at 8 years young (and me 33 years young – and still 12 years away from learning to tat!). I’m standing in the driveway of our then 4-year-old house.

The flag decal on the front fender was for the US Bicentennial in 1976.

This is how the GTO looks today, 40 years and 120,000 miles from the day we left the dealership

As for me, I guess I have to admit that I’m now 65! (*sigh*)

The GTO is associated with tigers and goats – that’s why we have the stuffed animals on the roof. Plus we sometimes display a food tray, reminiscent of the ‘eat in your car’ drive-in restaurants, which were common back then

Here’s another view.

This photo was taken from Mt. Washington, which has amazing views of the city of Pittsburgh

Here’s some more trivia about the car, if you’re interested in old cars:

- It has a 4-speed manual shift, and has an ‘AM-only’ radio. Back then, FM stations did not play rock ‘n roll! That was for ‘square’ adults!

- Everything is still original – vinyl top, paint (‘Mayfair Maize’), and interior (bucket seats). It has not been restored

- The engine has had some work done (including a new carburetor and radiator), but has authentic parts.

- We had to be towed once (in 1972) when the timing chain broke, 30 miles from home!

Car ‘Connection’ to Moon Landingalso 40th Anniversary this year
In researching info about the car, we discovered that it was rolling off the assembly line at GM’s plant in Baltimore, MD the same week that the first Moon Landing mission was taking place (July 16 launch - July 20 landing on Moon - July 24 return to earth).

Other events of 1969
The spectacular moon landing was a welcome reprieve from other unsettling events of the time – there was a lot of unrest in America about many social issues, especially Vietnam. (I was a very confused, mini-skirt-wearing, 25-year-old secretary, married four years, and having grown up in a happier time with poodle skirts, bobby socks and Elvis! My husband was in the Army Reserves, and was in his third year of a six-year commitment, so it was tricky for us to take on a car payment, as we didn’t know what the future held for us. We still lived in an apartment, and building a house wasn’t even on the agenda!

Therefore, the car represents our youth, the uncertainties of the ‘60s, and with the moon landing, hope for a fabulous future - and I remember all of it very well. It’s also been a great car to ride in, and we’ve met many people through the car cruises. Also at the cruise we get to see other cars that we’ve owned over the years, plus the cars of our parents. It’s amazing how many people have restored or saved old cars, especially here in Pennsylvania

Car Songs of the Era
We especially enjoy listening to the music of our era (‘50s and ‘60s), which they always play at the cruises, especially the car songs (“Little Old Lady from Pasadena”, “Til Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away”, “She’s Real Fine, My 409”, “Mustang Sally”, and, of course our favorite:

Little GTO” by Ronnie and the Daytonas. My husband INSISTED that I include the link below (for car enthusiasts) so that you can hear the song and see a slide show of the various GTO models from 1964-1972 (although they don’t label them). The slide show begins about 25 seconds into the song.)

Hope you enjoyed my little 'Cruise' down Memory Lane!

One of our nieces will be graduating from high school tomorrow. Here's to the Class of 2009 as they begin a new journey of their own!


TattingChic said...

What a cute post, Kathy! I'm not much for cars (I like them to work, LOL!). It looks like you have a lot of fabulous memories with this one! :)

Lace-lovin' Librarian - Diane said...

What a fun cruise! My first car was a forest green, 4 cylinder, 4 door Chevy Nova. I loved that car! My payments were an astronomical $54 a month. My ex sold it to his brother when we had kids... it was a little too small for car seats and the windshield always leaked on the passenger side when it rained. I understand that little car is still tooling around Appleton, WI.

Thanks for bringing back memories!

LadyShuttleMaker aka MadMadPotter said...

Oh I absolutely LOVE this post! The jacket is going to be awesome and HELLO that is one COOL car! I love classic cars and it is so cool that you are the original owner of this one. BTW you look awesome at 65 years of age. How fun!

tattrldy said...

Love the post! It's great that you still have the car and all those memories of going places in it. I haven't checked out the link for the GTO yet, I'm going to wait until my husband has time and we'll watch it together. The jacket looks great! When you add stuff we wanna see!

Kathy Niklewicz said...

Thanks everyone for the nice comments! It is amazing to look back and realize that our GTO has been with us for 40 of our 45 years of marriage! I certainly give my husband credit for taking such good care of it, although for the first four years it wasn’t garaged, and we almost traded it in during the gas crisis of 1973, when gas approached $1 a gallon. (Long story there!) Also at the shows and cruises I especially look for 1958 Oldsmobiles - my parents' car that I learned to drive at age 16 (1960). There are very few around but I was fortunate to see two recently, and the owners let me sit in the driver’s seat. What a flood of memories THAT brought back! I met my husband a few months after I got my license, and he drove the Olds, too! We dated in his '55 Chevy, and our first car was a '63 Corvair - also rare to see. Love old cars! Great memories!

Carol Lawecki said...

HI Kathy, great post on your GTO. Very interesting. Did you go to the Happy Days Car Cruize in Beaver Falls this past Sunday? My Mom and I stopped down and walked around in the later eveing.

I also wanted to tell you I loved your red, white and blue motif. It inspired me to tat a red, white and blue heart (B. Heisler pattern) it is on my blog.

Have a great day!

Gina said...

Guess I missed this post! I think everyone of a certain age has memories about their "goat". It always ends with...sure wish I had that car today....

Lucky you - you do!

Barbara Gordon said...

I love all your Victorisan things. As far as you and they car, your both still looking pretty good!!!