- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2002

When Fausto Falcone and his bride, Carlene, drove off in 1963 on their honeymoon, they did so in his nearly new 1960 Pontiac Ventura.
He had purchased the two-door hardtop Pontiac three years previously, his first major purchase after graduating from high school two years earlier. The transaction took place at 14th and Irving streets NW at Jack Blank Pontiac. The monthly payment was $78.
Just a few years earlier Pontiac had begun to make a move toward performance and became a presence in NASCAR. That action by Pontiac attracted Mr. Falcone's high-octane attention. He purchased the Coronado red sports hardtop coupe with a standard 389-cubic-inch V-8 developing 283 horsepower.
A couple of years into the marriage the honeymoon car was traded for another car. "You traded cars every few years back then," Mr. Falcone said.
Three decades passed before Mr. Falcone realized how much he missed his first new car. Witnessing the enjoyment friends with old cars were having prompted him to get one of his own. "Man, I wished that I had kept that '60," Mr. Falcone said.
Just any old car wouldn't do. Onlyhis 1960 Pontiac Ventura would be acceptable.
In 1998 he began searching for the car of his youth. "I wanted to go back to my childhood," he said. It wasn't until then that Mr. Falcone discovered the rarity of any 1960 Pontiac.
Forget about ragged-out 1960 Pontiacs. Mr. Falcone couldn't find any 1960 Pontiac for sale regardless of condition.
In the autumn of 2001 the seemingly impossible occurred. On the Internet he came across a Pontiac identical to the car he had owned 40 years previously.
Every time you see a car like that, Mr. Falcone said, by the time you get there it's gone.
Nevertheless, he called the seller in Chicago and was surprised to learn the car was still available.
He had seen pictures of the car on the computer and was insistent with the seller that the car was as advertised. "Tell me what is wrong with the car," he told the seller. "I'll probably still buy it. I don't want any surprises."
Mr. Falcone took a chance and bought the car sight unseen. He had been told the Pontiac had undergone a frame-off restoration in the early 1990s.
Research indicates that the extra-cost accessories on the car include:
AM radio.
Rear speaker.
E-Z-Eye glass.
Electric clock.
Backup lights.
Power brakes.
Dual exhausts.
Power steering.
Courtesy lights.
Spare-tire cover.
Visor vanity mirror.
Disposable oil filter.
Heavy duty air cleaner.
Dual door-edge guards.
Electric two-speed wipers.
Electric windshield washer.
Circ-L-Air heater/defroster.
Of course, the interior is covered in tri-color red and beige vinyl.
The semi-trailer truck delivering the car could only get to within a few houses of Mr. Falcone's address. When the truck driver got as close as he would and unloaded the Pontiac, Mr. Falcone says he was covered with goose bumps. "It was very exciting for me," he said.
The big red Pontiac was better than advertised. Mr. Falcone anxiously got in the 3,865-pound wide-track car and was relieved to hear the big V-8 respond at the twist of the ignition key.
He didn't have to think once let alone twice about where the various controls were. It all came back to him in an instant, even the two under-dashboard air vents. "They're almost like an air conditioner," he said.
The four-speed Hydromatic has a shift pattern from the left: Park, Neutral, Drive One, Drive Two, Low, Reverse.
"You have to think a little bit," Mr. Falcone said.
The driver is treated to a two-tone, two-spoke steering wheel. The Pontiac rides on a 122-inch wheelbase.
A total of 70,200 miles had been rolled up on the odometer before Mr. Falcone purchased the car. Since then, he has come close but has yet to add another 1,000 miles. Like the original tires that come on the car the Pontiac rolls on 8.00x14-inch white-sidewall tires.
Mr. Falcone has discovered a sympathetic group by the name of "Sixty Owners Society," dedicated to the 1960 Pontiac.
He is happy to have the support and knowledge of the group.
"It's different from most cars," Mr. Falcone said.

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