Tom and Sharon Wilhite's collection of Pontiacs isn't limited to race cars, as seen by this lineup of four of their favorite street cars. Left to right, they include a 1965 GTO convertible, a 1965 GTO hardtop, a 1964 GTO convertible and a 1957 Star Chief hardtop.
The Wilhites have owned the white convertible for nearly 25 years. They redid the interior and the engine, but otherwise the car, which has 120,000 miles on it, is pretty much the same as when they bought it.
The Wilhites agree the white '65 convertible is their favorite road trip car, due to its refined manners. The chrome push-button ball shifter in the console controls a 2-speed Super Turbine 300 automatic transmission.
The `00' paint code on the '65 hardtop indicates it was a special order car -- in this case, it was repainted in Omaha Orange, as per the original owner's instructions. Note the nifty warrior's head logo that finishes off the beltline pinstriping, a custom touch.
One reason the Wilhites have kept the orange GTO hardtop for more than 20 years is that it was an original factory-equipped Tri-Power car. Tom worked his magic on the 389, strocking it to 450 cubic inches and producing an estimated 525 horsepower in the process.
Sharon Wilhite decided that with the '64 finished in bright red paint, with a red vinyl interior, they should go all the way and add a new red top to the GTO. The first year `Goat' makes a striking statement in the all-red scheme.
The factory-looking shifter actually is mated to a 5-speed Tremec transmission in the orange '65 GTO hardtop. A wood grained instrument panel insert and wood-rimmed 3-spoke sport steering wheel round out the all-black interior.
Sharon Wilhite loves the 4-speed manual transmission in the red '65 convertible. `There's nothing like banging 'em through the gears,' she says. The red bucket seats and the rare 4-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel make for a sporty interior look.
The '57 Star Chief is a survivor, in mostly original paint. The top was in need of attention, so the Wilhite's chose to extend the rose color of the side spear onto the roof, which was originally white, but had faded badly.
Ornate dashboards were also in vogue in the later 1950s, with the instrument pod on the Star Chief stretching more than halfway across the dash. The owners believe the car's factory upholstery remains intact beneath the heavy gauge vinly seat covers.
Fins were beginning to sprout on all kinds of cars in 1957 and the Pontiac Star Chief was no exception. Massive bumpers marked the front and rear end and the tail lights were artfully blended in to the wide side spears sweeping down the flanks of the car.
The unrestored engine compartment on the '57 Star Chief shows that the car has been well-used over its lifetime. Tom Wilhite says the 347 cubic inch V-8 is original equipment and has provided well over 100,000 miles of service without need of an overhaul.