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Classic Used Oil Generators: 1973 Pontiac
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By Vern Parker

The passion 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.

Almost three 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.

Still, the 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.

Mar stripped 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.

Both bumpers 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:

  • Park.
  • Reverse.
  • Neutral.
  • Drive.
  • Second.
  • Low.

On the dashboard, beside the 120 mph speedometer, is the 8,000 rpm tachometer with a cautionary red line of 6,500 rpm.

The 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 pushbutton radio.

Mar reports that his 3,402-pound car, riding on a 112-inch wheelbase handles nicely. The optional honeycomb wheels are shod with 15-inch tires.

The original 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 engine.

Stopping is 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.

Surprisingly, Mar says, a new splash guard between the bumper and the body was difficult to find.

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.

The Pontiac 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.

Upon completion of the restoration he says, "I like to think I'm saving the car.”

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