A special generation
Several of you have posted stories about discoveries of your car's history. Thought I would share something I came across. As you will find, this short story is not so much about my car as it is about an aging generation that lived this stuff. I'm in my mid 50's, so while I grew up with these cars, I most certainly was a pup when these cars were new.
My GTO is a 68. I have known since getting the PHS documents this car was delivered to Paddock Pontiac in Dayton, OH. I have also known the dealership closed in 1972. That was as much digging as I had done. The other day I got an idea to call the Chevrolet dealership beside where Paddock Pontiac was located on North Main. They claimed 75 years of business. You know, simply taking a chance that I could find someone that knew a little about Paddock. The owner's secretary listened to me and said she would check with her boss to see if he would talk to me - he is in his mid 60's and the son of the original Chevrolet dealership. Gail was the secretaries name. I thought at the time there was little chance I would hear back from anyone.
Well, not so fast. Gail called me back. Her husband was a retired service manager from the Chevrolet dealership and he understood what I was trying to do. Gail told me that I needed to find... get this, Chuck Berry. She thought he lived in the Tipp City area (north of Dayton). She did not have a number. OK, so after a short search, I found Charles Russell Berry, 86 living in Tipp City. Called his number and left a message that if he knew anything about Paddock Pontiac to please call me back. He, in fact, called me today.
Here's what I know about Paddock... Chuck Berry was the service manager at Paddock in 1968. Jack Paddock was the owner and is no longer living. Opened in 67 and closed in 72. Chuck told me drove every GTO they sold... really hard. They were not a very big dealership, so he was confident he would have beat my car pretty good. We laughed.
Here's the important part. Chuck is a WWII veteran. Very patriotic. He and his now 92 year old brother (also WWII vet) married sisters. He drives Cadillacs but has a 65 and 68 Corvette sitting in his garage. The 68 has AC, so the misses likes that one better, but he still likes to get out and "blows the cobs" out of the 65. He's still pissed off about GM shutting down PMD. He worked at dealerships, owned dealerships, owned a body shop and had a 20 truck wrecker service. Nothing he did gave him more satisfaction and excitement than driving those new GTOs really hard. He paused and said: "that includes yours." He went on talking about stuff unrelated to Paddock for an hour and a half - and I listened and laughed with him. He told me he sometimes can't remember what happened 10 minutes ago, but his memories of days gone by was crystal clear. He was very thankful for the chance to talk. I agree - what a great generation of Americans. Matt