Trish and Graham Beattie of Beenleigh are in town with their 1978 Trans Am. The classic US muscle cars are here for their club’s Nationals this long weekend.
Trish and Graham Beattie of Beenleigh are in town with their 1978 Trans Am. The classic US muscle cars are here for their club’s Nationals this long weekend.

Pontiac fever hits in Rose City

MORE than 115 Pontiacs have covered a distance of 70,000 kilometres to meet at Warwick for their Nationals this Easter weekend.

The meet will be a Queensland first for the national “muscle car” club, having never held one in the state since its initiation in 1988.

The method of travel differs with each Pontiac owner, with some preferring to drive here in their beloved wheels – wind-in-the-hair style – while others say it’s too much of a risk for a true collector’s item.

“I’ve brought mine down on a trailer,” Cairns member Kelvin Moore told the Daily News.

“It’s cheaper on fuel consumption and it’s safer that way too. Some of the roads between here and Cairns are shocking (since the floods).”

Pontiac Car Club of Australia president Chris Mahone said it was an easy decision to choose Warwick.

“It was particularly Morgan Park and its drags facility that led us to choosing here for our Queensland meet,” he said.

“That and the support we got from Warwick Tourism and Events, who really helped us pull it all together and also by linking our show to the Easter Fair (in Leslie Park today).”

The feature car show-and-shine will be held in Albert St opposite Leslie between 10am and 2pm today, with the street closed to traffic between Palmerin and Guy Sts between those times.

On display will be endless Pontiacs, including models from its first and last years of production.

The 1926 model was the first to be made by General Motors and Mr Mahone said to have it on display was “a coup” for the club.

The 2010 model – the last to be manufactured – will also be on display.

Pontiacs are no longer made as GM was forced to give up production due to the global financial crisis.

Mr Mahone said he had grown up with a love for Pontiacs.

“I grew up watching Knight Rider – and loved the car in that – and when I was older I somehow ended up with a 1971 model,” he said.

For Beenleigh couple Graham and Trish Beattie, it’s the Burt Reynolds classic film series Smokey and the Bandit that fuels their obsession.

“We’ve indoctrinated our grandkids as well, who love to watch it,” Mrs Beattie joked.

“We even found the hats on eBay.”

She said they’d brought their 1978 Trans Am to Warwick and were currently restoring a ’77 model.

Later this afternoon a procession of Pontiac cars will drive around Warwick from 2pm. They will go along Victoria, Dragon, Fitzroy and Palmerin Sts to name a few.

From 1pm tomorrow, a trial-time event will be held at Morgan Park Raceway, where all the cars will be on display and 40 will compete against one another. Admission for spectators is $10 for adults.

Pontiac club members and Morgan Park equestrian competitors heading to Warwick yesterday were among scores of motorists who experienced delays of well over an hour travelling over Cunningham’s Gap.

A spokesman for Main Roads minister said massive amounts of “extra Easter traffic” were to blame for the woes which he said were caused by the pinch-points of two single-lane sections under stop-go conditions, while a $40 million rain-damage repair job is completed.

There were reports yesterday of road rage incidents and it is believed a number of physical altercations may have taken place.

More Pontiac coverage and photos in Monday’s Daily News.



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