As winter approaches, we’d like to take a look back at one of our favorite car shows of the warmer months…
Every year So Cal hot rodders look forward to July and Original Parts Group Inc.’s (OPGI) Spring Summer series of car shows. It all goes down in Seal Beach, California where the OPGI headquarters is. This year was no different, except for the fact that the folks at OPGI decided to combine a few of the brand-specific shows into one big hoopla – the 2019 Spring Summer Series Buick, Olds, Pontiac, and Cadillac Show.
As the name implies, the show was open to pre-’88 Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Cadillac owners. It’s not necessarily just the choice of vehicle or brand that differentiates the attendees at OPGI’s shows, it’s their own personal flavor. As you can see in the video above, people from all walks of life come out to show off their rides.
Each one has a personality all its own – just like the owners. There’s something for everyone in the video, whether you’re a fan of the venerable Buick GSX, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Pontiac GTO, or Classic ’50s Caddy.
Every car in attendance had a story, and so did their owners. Below are some of the vehicles and owners that stood out to us.
Norman Ash, Owner: 1953 Cadillac
When you hear the name Cadillac you might think of class, luxury, and decadence. Well, what could be more decadent than a bright pink 1953 Cadillac Coupe DeVille?
Norman Ash, the owner of the rich set of wheels pictured above explained just how much OPGI helped him with regard to assembling a hardtop version of famed boxer, Sugar-Ray Robinson’s car. From the steering wheel, parts for the seats, the clock on the dashboard, and everything in between, Norman lovingly assembled his Caddy over a four-year period with the help of OPGI.
Norman is all about his Cadillac, right down the matching polo shirt. These are the stories we love.
Mark Mulvey, Owner: 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Another stunning car we spotted while strolling the show was Mike Mulvey’s ’73 Oldsmobile Cutlass. The 1973 model year Cutlass is not one we see very often, especially in this condition, so it caught our eyes right away.
Mike went on to explain the reason for his ownership and passion is precisely the fact that the ’73 is a rare sight. To take his Cutlass a step further, he had the Hurst stripes permanently added into the paint and set the car on some 17X9 and 17×8 US Mag wheels to match. Under the hood, Mike transplanted an LS engine in place of the original just to add to the mystique. The increased horsepower number doesn’t hurt either.
Mike Miller’s Skylark blew us away in its original Stratomist Blue. The bright Buick was pushing some serious power via the original 455 cubic inch lump. Mike reached out to the folks at Aldan American to dial in the stance and ride quality with a set of their bolt-on coilovers. Of course, OPGI supplied him with all the other necessary accouterments to finish off the build in typical day-2 fashion. Down to the hood-tach, OPGI had everything he needed and now his Skylark is all business.
Mike Montanari, Owner: 1969 Pontiac GTO
Mike Montanari was another enthusiastic owner who brought one helluva ride. His ’69 GTO was dripping in a metallic green so dark it could easily have been mistaken for black. Mike jokingly calls it “2 am-Green” instead of the conventional “Midnight.” He did the paint work himself, along with the rest of the restoration.
Mike’s green goat started out as his father’s. His old man bought it new in ’69 while he was in the Navy, and passed it down to Mike. Since then, he has been hard at work as the caretaker, restoring it to a condition we can only imagine is even better than its former glory.
The ’69 GTO is actually the car Mike learned how to drive in, and it happens to be a four-speed. In front of that four-speed gearbox lies the original 400 cubic-inch Poncho motor, although it appears to be wearing some gorgeous brightwork that definitely isn’t factory.
We were ecstatic when Mike told us his father was at the show with him, walking around and checking out the cars. Now, that is cool!
Rick Mihm, Owner: 1971 Pontiac LeMans
Rick Mihm is the proud owner of the 1971 Pontiac LeMans pictured above. Rick also happens to be the President of the San Diego Pontiac Club. So, it should come as no surprise that Rick’s LeMans is one of the cleanest around.
Rick started with somewhat of a basket-case and worked tirelessly to complete the frame-off restoration. He elected to go with a modern Pontiac color when it came time to spray. The LeMans now wears the same Brazen Orange paint found on 2006 Pontiac GTOs. Rick then added a wicked set of wheels and countless parts from Orignal Parts Group Inc., taking a LeMans destined for the crusher and transforming it into a ride worthy of a Pontiac Club President.
Dave Steffen, Owner: 1968 Pontiac GTO
Dave Steffen’s GTO is a great example of how a fantastic preservation or restoration can be taken a step further by the little things. Dave is the second owner of the ’68 GTO convertible pictured above. When he purchased the Goat it was already in stellar condition because it lived most of its life in the high-desert, away from the oxidizing moisture, salt, and frigid temperatures that have claimed so many classics.
What Dave has done is replace some of the components a classic car, especially a convertible needs even if it has been cared for its entire life. Dave sought out OPGI for the convertible top replacement, the boot/cover, and hard to find interior pieces. The result is a gorgeous example of classic engineering from the height of the muscle car era.
That’s the great thing about a show like OPGI’s, it puts enthusiasts in contact with a company that shares the same dream as everyone in attendance – keeping the classics on the road and around for the next generation.
The cars and owners pictured above just happen to be some of our favorites from the show, but trust us when we say there were more cars there than we could count. So, see for yourself, check out the gallery below, and let us know which was your favorite.
We’ll see you there next year.