liberty-cruise (800x333)


The Grand Prix Chapter’s fall “Excitement Event” is waiting for you! The Liberty Cruise is a one week of action paced adventure.  Or if you prefer a shorter trip join us for the first three days or the last three. Fun and excitement either way!  Best of all you’ll meet new members, go places that you may not have known, see cool Pontiac’s and a portion of your entry fee will be donated to help fight childhood cancer.  Here’s an over view of times, places and what to see.

It all starts on Sept. 17th in Hershey. PA with an evening meet and greet. Wednesday we’re off for some early chocolate tasting in Hershey as we learn the history of chocolate. Then it’s an afternoon of beer making and maybe a little tasting
too!  A short two and a half hour drive is where we’ll spend the night. The city of Port Jervis, NY is on the Delaware River were NY, NJ and PA come together. Friday morning starts early with a three and a half hour drive to the beautiful
and historical seaport of Mystic, CT. . . . shipbuilding as it was done in the settler’s days.  An hours’ drive will take us to our weekend destination to participate in “A 2014 Pontiac Celebration”. The Crown Plaza hotel in Warwick, RI will be the stage for an evening of fun as cars arrive from all over to participate in a bi-yearly fund raiser car show to help support childhood cancer.  Saturday is the car show itself, followed with a barbeque dinner and awards. This is not your typical or local car event!  Very well organized and impressive!  I strongly recommend if not this year you put it on your calendar for 2016.  Sunday we’re off for a short drive to see how the rich and famous lived in “the Gilded Ages”. . . the mansions of Newport, RI.  You may recognize some of these from movies like the Great Gatsby filmed in ‘74, True Lies in ‘94, and Amistad in ‘97. You can visit mansions like the Breakers,  Rosecliff,  Marble House and the Chinese Tea House.  A great day to spend on a Sunday,  however we must be off for a three and a half hour drive to East Rutherford, NJ  where we will park our rides for the next two days and three nights.  For those that could not make the first part of the trip, here’s a good place to join us for the New York experience.  By bus and water taxi, we will head in to New York
and see the USS Intrepid Aircraft carrier, a space shuttle and go inside the Growler Submarine.  The British Airways Concord jet is there too.  We will go to the financial district and walk the grounds were the twin  towers stood and see
the 911 Memorial.  Tuesday visit The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  A fare-well dinner will wrap it up, and Wednesday  morning,  Sept 24th we depart for home. For those that can make it, I hope The Liberty Cruise will be a fun
and enlightening event.  Approx. miles driven- 600. Budget expenses for the full event $1,000. plus your gas, food and travel to and from your home. I know this is an expensive trip and with short notice but if you can…  come join us.  You
don’t have to drive your old Pontiac, come anyway you can. It’s more about people however,  you MUST Register by August 1st, 2014.   2014 Liberty Cruise Reg Form
Any questions call Kay 219-363-9393 or email her at Please address it as “Liberty Cruise” or need to register.

Download Printable Flier and post it for us. GP 2014 Fall Event Flier

Link to the   “2014 Pontiac Celebration”  show we will be attending in Warwick,RI.  Check it out. Registration form for that show there also.

Ron Panzer Memorial

By now you all have heard Ron Panzer has passed away. I think many of the long time POCI members have talked to Ron for Pontiac advice at one time or another or have read his Fix It tech articles in Smoke Signals over the years.
I didn’t know Ron very well myself and myself being a mechanic I didn’t need to ask for advice but I did learn to respect what Ron did for the Pontiac hobby. It takes a lot of time to write the articles he did and think to take photos when he had the right job he was working on. It takes time to take phone calls and help other Pontiac guys with their problems. You think that’s no big deal until it adds up to a few hours each day helping others that he could have been earning a living.
He has been very active with the Grand Prix Chapter in past years. The Grand Prix Chapter board of directors known as the “Pit Crew” discussed what we could do as a memorial for Ron. As a chapter we have no extra funds to donate. One of the guys said, how about soliciting donations. and offered to put $20 in the pot. As Ron has helped many Pontiac people over the years we thought this would be a great way to show respect for Ron and all he has done. Knowing that Ron has been a great promoter of the Pontiac museum we think it would be a great place for a memorial. I know the museum would like to expand. I know one of Ron’s hobby’s was collecting Pontiac toy models and he had quite a collection of them. I would like to see enough donations that the museum could open up a new room upstairs and call it Ron Panzer’s Toy Box.
The Grand Prix Chapter treasurer has volunteered to collect all donations so a lump sum could be presented to the museum. Her name is Kay Pataluch and address is PO Box 505 Rolling Prairie, IN 46371 Make your check to the Grand Prix Chapter and note Ron Panzer memorial. Or send it directly to the Pontiac Museum 205 N. Mill Street Pontiac, Illinois 61764 and note Ron Panzer memorial. Thanks for your consideration.

Ron Maurer Grand Prix Chapter

GP Chapter Pit Crew Member passes

A letter from one of Charlie Speaks friends about his passing.    
I knew Charlie Speaks for many years . He came to the Alabama Chapter POCI’s Pontiac show for years and usually brought his 1986 Grand Prix 2+2, which was optioned with a driver side power seat.
He also had a 1971 Grand Prix and a couple of other newer Pontiacs.
He was always fun to be around and interesting to talk to.
I saw Charlie at the last POCI Convention that i attended,which was Bowling Green KY. He was always up for fun and talking about Pontiacs. We had lunch a couple times during the convention with a few other POCI members .
He always made me feel like Family. He even picked up a set of heads and a intake for me in South Carolina and brought them back to his home in Georgia a little over a year ago.   
He was always glad to see you and I know he made many friends . He will be missed.
I think the obit from the Tim Stewart Funeral Home-Lawrenceville GA website would be good as it states he enjoyed traveling and showing his Pontiacs.
 Preston Grant IV

Remembering Ron Panzer

Remembering Ron Panzer
by Chuck Cochren

I am dedicating my column for this issue to my best friend of 35 years, Ron Panzer. We visited each others homes many times and traveled the country together in search of great roller coasters, with stops at car museums and hobby shops.

When Jim and Dee Shaudek took the reigns of the Grand Prix Chapter,  they recruited Ron. He started working on a plan to boost membership numbers and at one point got it to over 400 members,
Gail even jumped in and handled the membership program. Ron was responsible for me coming on board to help host the 2004 Freedom Cruise, driving from Pontiac, Illinois to Las Vegas. Ron knew that my favorite Pontiac is the Grand Prix, so it didn’t take much arm twisting.

Ron’s knowledge of and skills to fix cars was amazing and unsurpassed. Many times he told me that when he was at conventions and car shows, he got a lot of satisfaction from helping someone who was having a mechanical issue with their Pontiac. However, whenever I drove my ’77 Grand Prix (affectionately known as “Connie”) to his house, we would put it up on his hoist to change the oil and he would get frustrated when he looked at the bottom of her and would reply “Not fair…NO rust.

Ron wrote many articles for Smoke Signals and PrixViews concerning mechanical problems. He would write them with a keen sense of humor and in laymans terms so any do-it-yourselfer could work on their Pontiac.

Ron was a big supporter and lifetime member of the Pontiac Oakland Museum in Pontiac, Illinois. He contributed a good amount of Pontiac memorabilia from his vast collection. When Ron visited the museum, he would spend much of his time in the garage display area talking with visitors about engines, brakes and other mechanical components of the Pontiacs on display. He was in his “element” when talking Pontiac.

Talking Pontiac and fixing Pontiacs will certainly be a large portion of Ron Panzers legacy.

For me, I remember the time I drove Connie  to his house and just before I got there, the right power door lock actuator stopped working. He said he had one in his parts bin and quickly installed it. It is still working today. I now feel like I have a small part of Ron with me whenever I take her out for a drive.


The photo was taken in 1979 at their home in Des Plaines, Illinois the morning we were headed to the POCI convention in Michigan. Photo shows Ron, Gail, Karen and Gary.

Ron and family



Thanks to Mark Henderson the Grand Prix Chapter calendars for 2014 are now available at  Don’t be swayed by the address as he does a calendar for the  1969-1972 Grand Prix Yahoo Group too. They will both be there so pick the one you want. Mark was held up by GM making sure no one was using their Trade Marks for profit. He was able to convince them this was just a club thing. They can be ordered in 2 sizes 8 1/2″ X 11″  or 11″ X 17″.  If you order more the freight is not much more so order for your friends too.   Merry Christmas to all. GP Calendar


All-Pontiac Show, Pontiac, IL 9/21-22, 2013

Been moved to tab”Cruises & Shows


Congrats to Paul Bergstrom, our Grand Prix Chapter Editor. He has done it again, gotten the Old Cars Weekly  Golden Quill award for 2013.

Golden Quill award 2013


This is a list of the Grand Prix Chapter member 2013 POCI convention award winners.
Modified Silver Award Winners
Ray Stoeck 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix 2DrHdtp Silver Evans GA
Stock Gold Award Winners
Dave Shega 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix 2DrHdtp Gold Cleveland OH
Stock Gold Award Junior Status, score of 390+
Mike Spizziri 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix 2DrHdtp Junior Lansdale PA
Champions, Stock Gold Award Senior Status, score of 390+
Wayne Beran 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix 2DrHdtp  Oak Lawn IL
Repeat Champion, Stock Gold Award Senior Status, score of 390+
David Risner 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix 2DrHdtp  Mansfield OH
A. J. Koszi Bethlehem PA, MOST OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Prix 1962 Class 27: 1962 GP
Robert Jacobe Cheektowaga, NY, OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Prix 1963 Class 28: 1963‐64 GP
Arnold Krause Columbus IN,  MOST  OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Prix 1963 Class 28: 1963‐64 GP
John Walton Hamilton, OH, OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Prix 1965 Class 29: 1965‐66 GP
Steve Fleury Centerville, OH MOST OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Prix 1966 Class 29: 1965‐66 GP
Ronald Maurer Cherokee, IA  OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Prix 1969 Class 31: 1969 GP
Mark Henderson Kokonmo, IN  OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Prix1969 Class 31: 1969 GP
Robert Wolf Lees Summit, MO MOST OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Prix 1969 Class 31: 1969 GP
Mike Gilbert Westville, IN  MOST OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Prix 1970 Class 32: 1970‐71‐72 GP, Hurst, SJ, SSJ
Tim Dye Pontiac,IL OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Safari 1976 Class 47: 1949‐10 SW, Limo, Ambu, Comm
Seymour Bradley III Broad Brook, CT OUTSTANDING Pontiac Grand Ville 1974 Class 13: 1971‐05 full size
Bob Powell Millville, DE  MOST OUTSTANDING Pontiac Bonneville 1966 Class 11: 1965‐66 full‐size
I hope I didn’t miss anyone.   Ron


Host Hotel is Hyatt Regency 888-421-1442 if you want to make reservations. Ask for POCI block rate of $109.00.  More info to be on    The date is not a misprint.


The Grand Prix Chapter turns 25 years old this year. We will be celebrating at the POCI convention in Dayton, OH July  9-13, 2013. We will be having a “Hospitality Tent” in the parking lot at the convention with cold drinks available and maybe birthday cake or cookies (Depends on the GP Gals)   Stop by.

We got a bit of history from GP Chapter founder, Doug Klein in a letter to the chapter.

The birth of the Grand Prix Chapter, Douglas Klein
Somewhere during my junior year of college, 1976 to be exact.  I signed up with POCI through a small ad. in one of the car magazines.  Back then, POCI was dedicated to Oakland’s and Pontiacs up to the late fifties. After a few issues of the “Silver Streak News” ( the original name of the national magazine), I was let down because there was nothing about my car, a “70 GTO.   It took some time for  coverage of “newer” vehicles to begin, but too long for my liking!
As time went on, I became involved with the Long Island Chapter.   After attending few National Conventions, I made a handful of contacts within the organization and was asked to serve on the POCI Board.  My everyday driver was a special order ( Hertz executives car) ʼ78 Grand Prix SJ.   The car was very sharp for it’s day and there was nooo way, there would be any coverage of this car or most other Grand Prix’s in Smoke Signals.  Car magazines, or books also contained nothing about the Grand Prix line.  I actually felt left out .   It was time to do something about that!
During the ʼ87 POCI Convention at Sturbridge, Ma.  I asked the POCI Vice President
( the VP was in charge of all the chapters) if a chapter dedicated to Grand Prix could be formed.  The answer was “No!”  “We don’t want “Specialty Chapters” because we had a GTO Chapter and it failed.”   Great logic?  Stupid thinking at best, but at that time, that was the mentality of who was in charge. After asking the President, the answer given was, “try it!”  That was all I needed.
The trip home from the Convention is where the foundation started to take place. Fellow Long Island Chapter member and friend for life, Greg Kersul ( ʼ63 Grand Prix) agreed to help get the 10 signatures needed for the paperwork.   Greg and I found people, my wife Lisa, did all the required forms and our petition to the board was filed.
The POCI Board of Directors were not entirely behind the “specialty chapter” concept, but I had a good relationship with President Debbi Arend, and Debbie helped get approval. A few well placed letters within Smoke Signals gathered the needed support to get the Chapter up and running. Among those offering assistance was MIke Schaudek, Jim’s dad.  Mike and I hit it off from the beginning and Mike became our first treasurer.   Mike was very helpful in finding the money for newsletters/postage and promo. items.  He also provided much needed mental support as there were many times when we both dug deep into our pockets to keep the newsletter going.
Within a few months, we jumped to about 40 members and held our first Chapter meeting in ʻ88. In ʼ90 we had iconic Pontiac Historian John Sawruk  talk about GPʼs at our Annual meet at the Convention.  When POCI members heard that John was speaking at the Grand Prix Chapter meeting, we finally arrived!
Many thanks to Greg,and Mike, and a long list of dedicated members that would  buy our membership, purchase our promo. items. contribute to the newsletters and continue through some mighty “dry spells”.  Also, many heartfelt thanks to all of  those listening, that have lifted and carried this organization to become the finest group of Pontiac enthusiasts within POCI and of course the world! Also, thank you for remembering me on this wonderful occasion.!  Happy 25th. Anniversary!  Douglas Klein