By Vern Parker
for automobiles that Doug Mar nurtured as a child growing up in Indianapolis
has never faded. Into his life many cars have come – and gone. He is skilled at
automotive restoration so when one of his cars has been renewed he often sells
it to make room for the next project.
years ago he was at his computer when he saw a notice offering for sale a 1973
Pontiac. Since the car was located in Boonesboro, Md., not far from his McLean,
Va., home he went to investigate. What he found was a 1973 Pontiac LeMans with
the GTO option. All four wheel wells were riddled with rust and, Mar recalls,
the entire vehicle was covered with a coat of primer. He suspects the primer
was an attempt to camouflage any and all imperfections.
sport coupe had a certain appeal to him so in January 2010 he purchased the
car. The 17-foot, 3.4-inch-long Pontiac was loaded onto Mar's trailer along
with assorted parts and hauled off to his home. There he discovered the car had
originally been sold at King Pontiac in Gaithersburg, Md. That made the vehicle
a local car. When new it wore a coat of Ascot Silver paint.
his car down to bare metal in order to remedy any cosmetic problems. A new
metal lip above each wheel well was fabricated to match the curvature of the
original metal. Additionally, he had to weld in place new, healthy, steel near
the driver's seat where the seat belt anchor was located. "I welded a new
retractor in place,” he says.
were showing signs of wear so Mar sent them off to be replated with chrome.
Next he shifted his attention to the all black interior. A new headliner was
ordered and installed. Parts of the side panels, seats, carpet and dashboard
were replaced as well. Between the front bucket seats is a floor-mounted
console housing the shift lever controlling the automatic transmission. From
front to rear the gears are:
dashboard, beside the 120 mph speedometer, is the 8,000 rpm tachometer with a
cautionary red line of 6,500 rpm.
aftermarket incorrect steering wheel was replaced with a correct three-spoke
sport steering wheel that Mar located in Hawaii. In the dashboard is an AM/FM
that his 3,402-pound car, riding on a 112-inch wheelbase handles nicely. The
optional honeycomb wheels are shod with 15-inch tires.
engine hood with NACA ducts was sprung and did not fit properly. Fortunately,
Mar found a replacement hood near Annapolis, Md., to fit over the Turbo 400 V-8
more important than going and Mar is pleased with the power front disc brakes
on his car. He says the steering is also power assisted. Although the
windshield is tinted, the car is not equipped with air conditioning.
Mar says, a new splash guard between the bumper and the body was difficult to
A total of
seven vertical vanes cover each rear side window. Mar points out that the vanes
don't quite touch the glass which would inhibit cleaning the glass.
now wears a coat of Navaho Orange Iridescent paint.
In May 2012
Mar declared the restoration of his car complete. When he bought the Pontiac
the odometer had recorded about 82,000 miles. Since then he has added only an
additional 300 miles.
completion of the restoration he says, "I like to think I'm saving the car.”