In 1974 we drove a 1953 Pontiac to the second annual convention of the Pontiac Club (www.poci.org), that was held in Wichita, Kansas. In 2014, we drove a different 1953 Pontiac to the 42nd annual POCI convention. A lot of things have changed in 40 years—but maybe not everything.
Back in 1974, Byron “Joe” Stout III, who was a Pontiac-AMC dealer in Wichita at the time, hosted the meet. “Joe” planned many events for the 22 cars and 40 or so people that showed up. We even went to Smokey Balou’s car museum, which later became the genius of McPherson College’s Auto Restoration Program.
During the 1974, the attending Pontiacs went on a little driving tour through downtown Wichita, which was much smaller at that time. As we were slowly cruising through a park, a 1951 Pontiac two-door sedan came driving by in the opposite direction. The owner of that slightly modified car seemed very surprised to see the line of old Pontiacs passing him by.
At this year’s convention, a locally owned 1951 Pontiac coupe showed up for the indoor car show. It had non-stock wheels and a “swamp cooler” that was attached to the passenger window. We immediately wondered if this was the same car we passed 40 years ago.
We spoke to the car’s owner and he said that he had purchased his Pontiac about six years ago from another man who ran an auto repair business in Wichita. But he had no way of knowing if the previous owner had encountered our tour through a park four decades ago.
So we’re wondering if it could be the same car and if anyone in Wichita knows for sure. Any input would be appreciated.