- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Some people have all the luck. In case you don’t know anyone who has won a car, meet Michael Gallahan.

The Canton Classic Car Museum in Ohio was raising money last year by raffling an Arctic Blue 1975 Pontiac Grand Ville Brougham convertible. Mr. Gallahan purchased three raffle tickets for $100.

The winning ticket was drawn Dec. 18, 2002. At 3:30 p.m. that day, one week before Christmas, as Mr. Gallahan was wondering who would win the car, he received a telephone call informing him of his good fortune.

Transportation was arranged and as the Gallahan family sat down to their evening meal on New Year’s Eve, the telephone rang. It was the driver of the truck transporting their car and he was lost in the maze of streets in metropolitan Washington.

Mr. Gallahan’s wife, Millie, had the driver give the landmarks he was passing, and once she determined his location, she stayed on the telephone, giving him directions to their Alexandria address.

At 8 p.m. she heard the driver say, “I’ll talk to you in a minute,” as he turned his big rig into their street.

Mr. and Mrs. Gallahan stepped out their front door to greet it. The Pontiac was unloaded and carefully tucked away in the garage to await closer inspection during daylight.

The first day of 2003 found Mr. Gallahan inspecting his prize. Besides the blue exterior, the dashboard and door panels are blue. The white convertible top (with a glass rear window) is matched by the white upholstered seats.

Black dual pin stripes accentuate the curves on both front and rear fenders. A white rub rail runs down the length of both sides of the car to protect against dings from inconsiderate motorists who can’t control their doors in parking lots.

The two exterior mirrors are housed in body-colored pods. Running down the center of the long engine hood is a chrome strip that ends at the front of the car under a breakaway hood ornament.

Rubber strips protect both the front and rear chrome bumpers and bumper guards.

Pontiac stylists weren’t bashful about using chrome in 1975.

Each taillight is overlaid with a chrome-plated egg-crate design dividing each taillight into two horizontal rows of 10.

Both rows of the outboard eight squares are tail and brake lights while both rows of the inboard two squares are backup lights.

Mr. Gallahan was pleased to discover his Pontiac is well equipped with power steering, power brakes, an antenna embedded in the windshield for the AM/FM radio.

Additional features originally on the car include:

• Power seat.

• Tinted glass.

• Safe-T-Track.

• Digital clock.

• Deck release.

• Cluster gauge.

• 60/40 split seat.

• Rally II wheels.

• Bumper guards.

• Air conditioning.

• Cornering lights.

• Door edge guard.

• Power door locks.

• Body side molding.

• Body color mirrors.

• Tilt steering wheel.

• Front fender guards.

• Four-barrel carburetor.

• Cycle windshield wipers.

• Front and rear floor mats.

• JR78x15-inch white wall tires.

Mr. Gallahan learned that his Pontiac was sold new at the John Edwards Pontiac dealership in Canton, Ohio, to a local ophthalmologist who 27 years later donated the car with only 57,000 miles on the odometer for the fund-raising raffle.

Records indicate that only 4,519 such models were manufactured. Each one weighed 4,520 pounds, rode on a 126-inch wheelbase and carried a base price of $5,858. The standard engine was an enormous 455-cubic-inch V-8 that developed 185 horsepower.

Radial tires were becoming popular in the United States a quarter century ago and Pontiac was happy to boast on a dashboard plaque that the car had a “Radial Tuned Suspension.”

This was also the era when mag wheels were becoming very popular. They were also very expensive so Pontiac stylists devised a wheel painted black with silver paint on the five raised spokes. To this wheel was added a wide chrome trim ring that gives the illusion of a mag wheel.

Peering through the three-spoke steering wheel the driver can see a vertical display that shows what gear the automatic transmission is in.

From the top down the display reads: Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, Second, Low. The 100-mph speedometer is adjacent to the display.

Mr. Gallahan noticed that his Pontiac is so wide that even the face of the clock in the dashboard is set at an angle so that it is visible to the driver.

To date the Pontiac has mostly languished in the confines of Mr. Gallahan’s garage, while he is still recovering from the shock of winning such a desirable car.

The status of the 1975 Pontiac Grand Ville Brougham convertible is about to change because Mr. Gallahan has attached vanity license plates to his big Pontiac that read: “LUCKY 75.”

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