S: John DeLorean's GTO
FC: John DeLorean's 1965 Pontiac GTO
2: Yellow: The Color for GTO in 1965 | Many of the GTO ads that Pontiac ran in 1965 featured a Mayfair Maze (Yellow) Convertible. While the tiger was a focus, it seemed to blend well with the yellow convertible. In 1965 Motor Trend awarded the entire Pontiac product line the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award. The award was represented by a rather large trophy that was shown on decals and placed on a number of cars sold that year. Motor Trend also used a yellow convertible in the article.
3: A Treasured Asset
4: Factory VIP Car Driven by John Z DeLorean in 1965 | This car was ordered and used by John Z Delorean to tour the Southern California dealerships in June of 1965. John had become the General Manager of Pontiac when Pete Estes moved over to Chevrolet as its General Manager. John apparently made the trip following his promotion to see friends, talk with owners and gain an understanding of current issues. He met with several dealerships. Ending the trip at the dealership of a close friend; Bob Longpre. Below is a copy of the original window sticker, sometimes called the Monroney Label, from the day the car was sold. Note that there is no dealer name on the sticker, only a Phoenix delivery address (the Pontiac Test Facility in Phoenix, AZ) and a stamp across the sticker indicating the car had been used by the manufacturer. The car is unusual since it is a California equipped car, manufactured to meet California emissions laws, but was built in Pontiac Michigan. Most “A” body Pontiacs that were built for the California market were built in the Fremont ,CA facility. The car was equipped with every option available for 1965, with the exception of tri-power carburetion and the new electronic ignition. It was first sold at Bob Longpre Pontiac in Monrovia, CA to Leo Morgan with 2,800 miles on it (2500 was the usual limit).
5: A Documented Vehicle | Documentation includes the Pontiac Historical Society official build sheet indicating the numerous options on the car. It also includes the owner’s manual, the Protection Plan, with the dealer stamp and salesman’s signature, and the protecto plate for maintenance. The car has seen 4 registered owners. Each owner has been interviewed and recalled interesting facts about the car which have been captured for history. The owners were: Leo Morgan: July 8 1965 to August 11, 1983 Jess Wilson: August 11, 1983 to May 13, 1988 Harvey Gaertner: May 13, 1988 to May 14 1994 Alan Meyer: May 14, 1994 to Present Leo held the car for 18 years and was responsible for putting the majority of the miles on the car. Jess had the motor rebuilt by an unqualified mechanic and traded the car to Harvey who put less than 5 miles on it. When Alan acquired the car, the odometer showed 59,400 miles. The odometer was not reset during restoration and it is believed to reflect the exact miles on the car.
6: Bob Longpre Pontiac | Bob Longpre had been a long and good friend of John Delorean, and so what better place to drop off a demonstrator/Factory used car and get a ride back to the airport. Bob Longpre Jr, stated that the salesman who sold the car to Leo Morgan was Ross Smith, a long-time salesman of the dealership. It was common for executives to have cars delivered wherever they were traveling, and with the Pontiac zone office in Los Angeles it was a natural place to be dropped off.
7: Leo Morgan Gets a Goat | It was July 8th and Leo Morgan was feeling rather low. He had just completed a divorce and felt like he needed a whole new outlook on life. He drove past Bob Longpre Pontiac in Monrovia and decided to stop in for a quick look. As he surveyed the lot, the salesman, Ross Smith, asked if he was looking for anything in particular. Leo responded that he was looking for something sporty. Ross responded “How sporty?” Leo said “What do you have?” and off they went to the back where a warm yellow GTO convertible sat. The car was dirty and had around 2800 miles on the odometer, but it had everything on it; AC, power seat, AM/FM, power antenna, power windows, etc., it had it all. Ross explained that John Delorean had just driven the car in and the lot team had not had an opportunity to clean it up. John had finished with the car and Bob Longpre was taking John to the airport for his return trip to Detroit According to Jim Wangers the target for a “demo” or VIP car was 2500 miles, but John had apparently needed the car longer than anticipated. John had been the Chief Engineer at Pontiac and the GTO had been one of his pet projects. In June of 1965 John was promoted to General Manager, replacing Pete Estes. John had apparently planned the trip to coincide with his promotion, to gain insights from each of the Southern California dealers. For Leo everything just seemed right. He had fallen in love with the car and Ross offered him a deal that was to good to pass up. The car was heavily equipped with an MSRP of $4,739.16 with a base price of $2,500. One of the people interviewed during the restoration was Linda Morgan, Leo's second wife who he married in 1986. It was a rocky courtship with Leo being frequently late. She recalled how Leo would drive the car until the last drop of gas was used. This behavior would mean that Leo frequently found himself walking to the next gas station. She lived in San Diego and Leo in West Covina and it seemed there were never enough gas stations in between. A significant mistake was when he ran out of gas on their honeymoon. By 1978 the car had begun to show its age, so Leo decided to have the car painted and have a new white top installed. Unfortunately, in 1979 Leo had purchased a 7-11 and was robed one evening. After taking the money from the register, the robber shot Leo leaving him a quadriplegic and unable to drive again. He convinced himself that he was going to walk and drive again, but it just didn't work out that way. Finally on August 11th 1983 Leo sold the car to a friend, Jess Wilson of Glendora. Jess really enjoyed the car, taking it to car shows and parades, but eventually the car’s engine needed attention. Unfortunately, Jess trusted an incompetent mechanic and the car had a bad knock and ran poorly. Jess finally gave up fighting and traded the car to Harvey Gaertner of Temecula. Harvey stored the car in a barn on his avocado farm until May 14, 1994 when he sold it to Alan Meyer, the present owner.
8: Each owner quickly recognized the collectability of the car and expressed a desire to document its history. Every owner saved registrations and other materials to document its past. One interesting note is that since its first sale, the car has never been out of the state of California. Starting with Leo after the shooting, unfortunately, much of the life of the car has been spent sitting parked. First from 1979 when Leo was shot to 1983 when he finally sold it to Jess and then with Jess trying to get the engine rebuilt, and finally with Harvey waiting to do a restoration that he was never able to start, the car was destined to be stationary much of its life. | Registrations From Every Owner
9: From Out of a Barn in Temecula By the time Harvey acquired the car the red paint and white top that Leo had done, were beginning to age. Harvey, who had several restorations in progress recognized that the car would require a very special restoration, so he placed it into a remote barn on his property to wait for time and resources to complete the task. Over the years numerous items were placed around and on the car, virtually burying the car within the barn. By the time it was shown to Alan, the only portion of the car that was visible was the rear Pontiac panel. These pictures were taken days later after the car was extracted from the barn.
10: The Restoration Begins | In October 1994 the restoration began. Over the next two and a half years the car was completely disassembled, documented, blasted, painted, assembled and reassembled. All of the sheet metal on the car is original and date coded with the exception of the trunk floor. All the glass is also original with the exception of a new windshield and passenger side window. Both replacements were appropriately date coded.
11: Blasting and Bodywork | The car was completely stripped to bare metal with walnut shell blasting. The only evidence of past body work was on the passenger side of the car. There was a little bondo in the door and in the rear quarter panel. There was little rust overall with the exception of the trunk floor which resulted in 2/3 of the floor being replaced.
12: Frame and Body are Separated | The car was parked in the garage where the body would sit while the chassis was being restored. Each of the body bolts was removed and a board was used to support the body while it was jacked off the frame. When the body was high enough 2 4X6 s were placed under the body and supported on each end by 4 30 gallon oil drums. With the body off the frame, the frame was easily rolled away, freeing the frame for restoration and providing access to the bottom of the body.
13: Frame Disassembly | The frame was placed into its new resting spot and disassembled. The blasting had removed almost all the surface rust and paint on the frame and its components, but it still needed minor cleanup prior to powder coating.
14: Frame Reassembly | Everything was cleaned and powder coated and reassembly was begun. The puzzle was laid out on the floor and each component was reinstalled to factory specifications.
15: Completed Frame | Engine and transmission installed, brake lines and fuel lines run, differential, driveshaft, brakes and suspension; and finally the wheels and exhaust all completed. Rolling out onto the driveway the restoration marks a major milestone in the completion of the project.
16: Coming Together | Body is back on, the doors are hung and the new wiring is installed. It is finally starting to look like the car it once was. Doors and fenders being hung marked the next major milestone. While there is still a great deal to be completed, one can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Wiring was much easier than anticipated. The wiring looms just laid into place and plugged into their respective spots. However, getting the looms secured into their original locations ended up being another story.
17: Reaching the Goal | Hood, trunk, grill, and bumpers go on with the rest of the detail pieces. The trunk floor is detailed with spatter paint, wiring is completed and the dash is installed and the project is gaining momentum. The electric windows are next. Getting them installed and aligned requires multiple installations, but finally they are in and operating. The refurbished steering wheel was next, followed by the A/C ducting, and air control lines for the heater controls; each routed to their appropriate locations.
18: The Finished Car | The car was finally complete. Although restoration projects are never really finished, they just become ready enough to be taken to a show, and then worked on some more. There were times in the project that it looked like this day would never come. While the project seemed overwhelming at times it was very satisfying to see the culmination of all the work transform the parts back into a running, beautiful car.
19: Letters Documenting the Car | Letter from Linda Morgan, Leo's second wife. While Linda was able to set up a call between Alan and Leo, this was the last correspondence from Linda. It was great that the car brought back fond memories of their relationship. | Letter from Bob Longpre II covering some of the history of the Bob Longpre dealership in Monrovia, California and the salesman, Ross Smith who sold the car.
20: The Car is Recognized | In November of 2001 the car made the cover of the GTOAA magazine; The Legend. Then in 2008 the car was chosen to be one of two cars highlighted to represent the 4 day Route 66 show. Both cars were featured on the show T-shirts, participant badges, and newspaper inserts. The weekend started with a thank you dinner, for hall of fame inductees, car owners and local dignitaries.
21: Preserved for Another Generation | From the day the car left Bob Longpre Pontiac it has been a cherished possession of each of its owners. It has gain numerous trophies over the years, starting with the Pontiac brand trophy from Motor Trend to its first Best in Show in 1998. The car has strutted into many shows and been appreciated everywhere it goes. The car has lived up to every goal that John DeLorean set for it and has been causing people to take a second look ever since.