Big Al's Featured Car's
1974 Pontiac GTO
Owned by Dennis "Diz" Dean
Pictures by Dennis "Diz" Dean & Friends

It was February of 1974, I was 18 years old, single, living at home, working at US Steel, had money, and wanted a new car. Dad and I went to Wilt Pontiac in Warren and ordered a GTO from Rich Maykowski for $4,800 ( I thought dad was gonna faint ). I had a girlfriend, and was replacing a '68 Camaro with a 4-speed, so she talked me into a bench seat/automatic car. It arrived in May. I was a "proud papa" that summer. The next summer I blew the transmission. Next year the motor. I put in a 428 with tri-power and a turbo 400 and did a little drag racing at Meander Dragstrip. Very little. The engine only lasted for three weekends. In 1977 I put it in the neighbor's garage, covered it up, and that's where it sat for the next 13 years while I went stock car racing. 

In 1990, my wife, Brenda (six girlfriends later), and I decided to restore the GTO. It didn't need much body work. Auto Magic in Hubbard took care of the paint, Guy Shively did the pin-striping, and Dale Fuller recovered the seats. While this was going on Crank-n-Sleeve in Girard was rebuilding a 445 for me. It would be .30 over and a few goodies added. Jack Battafrano and I did the top end, and Carl Rossler refreshed the tranny and installed the shift kit. My friends at Broadway Service in Girard installed the Eaton rear-end and 3:42 gears. DCI Automotive in Tallmadge fixed up the carb and did a super-tune and it was ready to go! My best time was at the High Performance Pontiac Magazine Shootout at Norwalk in 20004. It ran a 13.82 @ 100 mph. Not bad for a 3,900 pound car on street tires! 

It has won many trophies at the local car shows, but we're especially proud of the three first place trophies from the GTOAA Nationals at Niagara Falls in 1995, Columbus in 2000, and Detroit in 2004. We went to Indy in 1993, but the engine compartment wasn't done yet. I just wanted to drive around the track anyhow. It was also featured on two videos, was on the cover of two Pontiac magazines, “The Legend” and “High Performance Pontiac” plus a Featured Car of the Month in “Chrome” and in the Snap-On Tools calendar in 2000.

It is a very rare car too. There were only 2,848 automatic coupes built in 1974, and most had bucket seats. Rich told me it was the only GTO ordered that year in Gulfmist Aqua with a white interior, stripes, bench seat, and A/C. It almost got turned into a stock car back in the 80s, but I'm glad now I didn't. If this car had a full frame, it probably wouldn't be here today. It has 50,000 miles on the odometer, and will go to one of my sons some day, but for now, I'm gonna drive it everywhere!! 

I also have a few other cars, a 1955 Chieftain, 1964 GTO, 1981 El Camino, 1987 Fiero GT, and a 2001 Grand Prix GT SE.