The February 2020 issue of The Legend features Tim Guggisberg’s 1966 GTO hardtop, acquired in 2017, some 30 years after Tim, as a teenager, had first encountered Pontiac’s iconic performance car at an auction, with his father. “I wasn’t even born when my GTO was built,” he says. “That’s not meant to make anyone feel old, but just to say I cannot claim any nostalgic reason for owning one.”
Tim’s GTO is mostly original, and a bit unusual because it’s equipped with a column-shift automatic. The original owners were an immigrant couple from the Phillipines who came to the United States in 1963. “Among the paperwork was the GMAC installment loan contract, stamped PAID.’” Tim notes. “I imagined it must have been a source of pride for them. The car was part of their American Dream.”
After 65 years of marriage, the husband died. His daughter and son-in-law sold the car through a dealership. Tim discovered the backstory behind the car through an internet search, but there was more to discover. Also with the GTO’s paperwork was the the son-in-law’s business card. Tim wrote him, and got this beautiful response:
“This was my father-in-law’s dream car. He came from the Philippines in 1963. He saved for a new car and the GTO in 1966. He was the single owner until he passed. My wife had a hard time parting with it, but we knew we could not give it the same level of care as her dad. My wife and I hope you enjoy the car and take good care of it. It is a sentimental treasure to her. She learned to drive in it.”
“I believe the best way to pay tribute to such a wonderful piece of automotive history is to drive it and share it,” Tim says. “I feel less like an owner of a car and more like a caretaker. I feel a responsibility what the original owner was doing, keeping the car original to the way Pontiac engineers designed it for as long as possible, and of couse, to drive it! I know I have the GTO I was meant to have.”
The story behind Tim’s GTO is indeed representative of the American Dream. It starts with being welcomed into this country with open arms, finding opportunity and doing the best you can to live a good, productive and happy life, and passing your values and legacy on to your descendants. In this writer’s opinion, it is people like Tim Guggisberg who truly represent the best of what America truly can be, and who are carrying our nation’s legacy of inclusion and diversity forward.
Also in the February issue: “Convention Corner” with Jean Nance, and “Quarter-Mike With The Judge” with Frank Fregiato. All this and more—classified ads, the GTOAA Club Store, etc.—in the February 2020 issue of The Legend, the only national automotive magazine devoted exclusively to Pontiac’s Great One!