- - Thursday, July 19, 2012

Although Dawn Painter and Terry Wortman both attended Falls Church High School in the 1970s, they didn’t meet until after they had graduated.

When they began dating in 1976 she had a red 1972 Pontiac GTO. Soon after they wed, the GTO became history.

In the spring of 2004 Mr. Wortman took a car to sell at the annual gathering of antique car afficianados in Carlisle, Pa. After his car was sold, he strolled about the field to see what he could see.

He came face to grille with a red 1972 Pontiac GTO. He whipped out his cell phone and called his wife to say, ‘I’m looking at a red 1972 Pontiac GTO like the one you used to have.’

‘Why haven’t you bought it,’ was her response.

A Canadian was selling the car, which had been restored in 1995. When Mr. Wortman got the GTO home to Fairfax, his wife took one look at the car and was transported back to the ‘good old days.’

After a thorough inspection Mr. Wortman found no big surprises and only a few little things that needed his attention.

The single four-barrel carburetor was rebuilt, an exhaust leak was corrected and a faulty power seat-back release was fixed.

Research indicates that the Sundance Orange Pontiac rolled out of the factory Sept. 16, 1971, on a set of white-letter B.F. Goodrich Radial T/A tires wrapped around 15-inch honeyRecords show that the Pontiac was never sent to a dealer. Instead, it was delivered to the AC Spark Plug Division of General Motors in Flint, Mich. Mr. Wortman surmises that the well-optioned GTO was ordered by a company executive.

The window sticker price was $5,590.60, which included the following optional extras:

• 455 H.O. V-8……$1,012.13.

• Air conditioner……407.59.

• GTO option……….353.88.

• Custom trim………168.51.

• AM & FM radio……139.02.

• Power windows…..115.85.

• Power locks……….68.46.

• Rear defogger……..63.19.

• Cruise control……..63.19.

• Front console………61.09.

• Softray glass……….43.18.

• Rear speaker………18.96.

• Wheel-well molding..15.80.

• Dome/map light……13.69.

• Front floor mats……..7.37.

*Rear floor mats……..6.32.

• Door-edge guards……6.32.

The powerful Pontiac also is equipped with a Turbo 400 automatic transmission, a Positraction 12-bolt rear end, power disc brakes, power steering, tilt steering column, Formula three-spoke steering wheel, power trunk release, power seat-back release and a handling package including a 1.25-inch rear sway bar.

Mr. Wortman has seen pictures of his car before the restoration and says, ‘It was in bad shape.’

During restoration, the decision was made to paint the car Cadinal red. Mr. Wortman concurs with that decision.

The dashboard and carpeting are black with the seats, door panels and headliner white.

Mr. Wortman reminds us that in 1972 a GTO package had to be ordered added onto a Pontiac LeMans.

He says 5,600 GTOs were built in the 1972 model year and of them only 325 were equipped with a 455-cubic-inch V-8 engine.

‘It drives straight,’ he says, ‘even with a heavy-duty suspension.’

The twin air scoops on the engine hood are functional, Mr. Wortman says. They help the engine breathe so it can deliver 300 horsepower. The Ram Air vents on the sides of the front fenders are also functional in that they allow engine heat to escape.

At the other end of the car, the dual exhausts exit to the side behind the rear wheels through ‘splitters,’ which makes each exhaust pipe appear as if it were two.

Mr. Wortman usually drives the pristine Pontiac to cruise nights or car shows, but he plans to make an exception next month when he will haul the car to Norwalk, Ohio, for the all Pontiac Tri-Power Nationals.

‘I just want to make sure that it gets there clean,’ he says. ‘I don’t want to worry about the other drivers on the road.’

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