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posted: 8/18/2014 5:45 AM

Pontiac GTO has the power to unite

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  • 1965 Pontiac GTO

      1965 Pontiac GTO
    Photos Courtesy of Prestige MotorCar Photography

  • Marvin and Kim Minarich of Morris say their GTO helped bring them together.

      Marvin and Kim Minarich of Morris say their GTO helped bring them together.

  • A mutual love of muscle cars brought Marvin and Kim Minarich together.

      A mutual love of muscle cars brought Marvin and Kim Minarich together.

  • Marvin Minarich purchased his GTO when he was just 16.

      Marvin Minarich purchased his GTO when he was just 16.

  • Minarich's GTO is painted in Bluemist Slate paint. It was originally delivered to a dealership in Ohio.

      Minarich's GTO is painted in Bluemist Slate paint. It was originally delivered to a dealership in Ohio.

  • Pontiac "represented the peak of styling and innovation during the heyday of the 1950s, '60s and '70s," said Randy Ray, president of Cruising Tigers car club.

      Pontiac "represented the peak of styling and innovation during the heyday of the 1950s, '60s and '70s," said Randy Ray, president of Cruising Tigers car club.

  • The 24th annual Indian Uprising brought Pontiac owners together both inside and outside of the DuPage Expo Center in St. Charles.

      The 24th annual Indian Uprising brought Pontiac owners together both inside and outside of the DuPage Expo Center in St. Charles.

  • The annual All Pontiac Weekend is organized by the Cruising Tigers car club.

      The annual All Pontiac Weekend is organized by the Cruising Tigers car club.

  • Minarich's 1965 GTO features a triple carburetor setup.

      Minarich's 1965 GTO features a triple carburetor setup.

 
 

The Pontiac brand has been defunct for a number of years now. However, the passion for Pontiac vehicles is as active as ever.

Evidence could readily be seen at the 2014 Indian Uprising All Pontiac Weekend car show Aug. 9-10. The Cruising Tigers car club hosts the event, which is now in its 24th year.

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Multitudes of Bonnevilles, GTOs, Firebirds, Gran Prix's and many other Pontiac models could be found on the grounds of the DuPage Expo Center in St. Charles.

"The brand represented the peak of styling and innovation during the heyday of the 1950s, '60s and '70s," said Randy Ray, president of the club. "Even today, people continue to fall in love with them."

The cars do have a special way of sparking romance. Marvin Minarich Jr. and his wife Kim were brought together by their lustrous 1965 GTO, which was on display.

Marvin purchased the vehicle in 2001 as a 16-year-old high school sophomore. He worked hard to accumulate the needed funds, buying and selling several other vehicles and working on a friend's car in his dad's garage. Minarich inherited his intense Pontiac passion from his father.

"I was brought home from the hospital in my dad's '66 Goat (GTO)," the Morris resident said.

Minarich's vehicle was sold new in Dayton, Ohio, but spent the next several decades in California. In 1992 the vehicle was relocated to an Illinois garage, where it sat until the purchase.

"It was rust-free but sun baked, with faded paint and dry-rotted seats."

Undeterred, the youngster bought the car and tackled the restoration himself. The immaculate Bluemist Slate paint was sprayed on in a friend's garage. By the time he started college in 2003, the muscle machine was on the road.

The GTO soaked up Minarich's full affections unrivaled until it pulled up next to some stiff competition on the first day of choir class.

"The professor had us go around and state one thing we enjoy doing. Kim shared she liked cruising in her parent's '68 Mustang," Minarich said. Likewise, Kim's interest piqued when Marvin revealed his enjoyment of the GTO.

"He came right up after class and we started talking," Kim Minarich said. "I thought he was kinda cute and we immediately hit it off."

Their love blossomed and the pair married several years later. Naturally, their cobalt cruiser was incorporated into the ceremony, with the newlyweds driving off in the iconic classic.

Their wedding day only began a life of making motoring memories together, as the couple cruises and attends car shows quite often. This summer alone they've accumulated 1,500 miles.

This passion for vintage cars and culture bleeds over into both of their occupations. In 2004, Marvin opened his own restoration shop, Marvin's Motor City. One important overhaul was on his father-in-law's '68 Mustang.

Kim, an elementary school music teacher, enjoys using the 1950s and '60s tunes to instruct her students.

"Cars bring people together who normally wouldn't come together," Kim said, "just like me and Marvin."

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