Pontiac Collection Has GTO With Bullet Hole And LeMans Station Wagon

THOMASTON, CT – In “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade,” it was a humble cup and not a bejeweled gold chalice that Harrison Ford’s character reasoned was the Holy Grail that Jesus used at the Last Supper to serve wine. That’s why Indy selected it to drink from in the movie’s climax. 

In much the same manner, favoring the common over the more dazzling, Jimmy Bothroyd of Thomaston prefers his bright but more nondescript six-passenger 1972 Pontiac LeMans station wagon over the 11 other classic models in his Pontiac collection. 

Part of Jimmy Bothroyd’s Pontiac collection

Yes, 11 other Pontiacs. He owns an even dozen.

The collection includes a 1964 Bonneville convertible, a 1970 Tempest, a 1971 GTO, a recently acquired 1975 Grand Am, a 1977 Can Am, and six Firebird/Trans Am models from between 1977 and 2002.

Each has a story. The yellow LeMans with three rows of seating was found in Texas in 2018. Bothroyd bought it to replace one that he’d sold a decade earlier. “It’s just different. It’s something you don’t see every day anymore,” he said, explaining why it’s his favorite.

1972 Pontiac LeMans station wagon
The rear-facing third row seat in the 1972 Pontiac LeMans

Bothroyd finished restoring the LeMans a year or so ago. “I didn’t want to hot rod it or make it into something it’s not. I just kept it as a station wagon and I get a lot of looks in it,” he said. “I get a lot of comments on it and a lot of people talk about the back seat, the third row, because you face out the tail gate.”

The dark green 1971 GTO that he found in New Haven also has an unusual feature; one that didn’t come with the car when delivered from the factory. “When I purchased it had bullet holes in the door and the quarter panel, and I left one bullet hole in the panel in the back seat just because it’s the history of the car,” he said.

The 1971 Pontiac GTO

Bothroyd traces his obsession with Pontiacs to childhood. “I became a Pontiac person because my mother had a 1970 Catalina two-door and I liked the car, and there was a Pontiac dealer in Thomaston that I used to go look at all the new cars when they’d come in,” he said.

While his first car as a teenager was a 1977 Chevrolet Malibu Classic, he quickly shifted to Pontiacs and obtained a 1977 Trans Am for his senior year at Thomaston High School. It lasted until he graduated.

“I got in trouble at the high school on my graduation day and my father took the car and sold it on me,” Bothroyd said. His offense was doing donuts in the parking lot. “I got picked up by the police and they took us up town and my father got the car back to the garage and that was last time I drove the car. He sold it.”

Nonetheless, he was hooked on Trans Ams. But some of his other models are just as stunning as his Firebirds/Trans Ams.

The 1977 Pontiac Can Am

The white 1977 Can Am was one of only 1,100 made that year. “It’s got a drive train from Trans Am and an interior from a Grand Prix,” he said, reporting that it previously belonged to a friend who passed away. 

“I jumped on it because he was such a good friend and it’s a little part of him,” Bothroyd continued, explaining that the “MOUGE” on the Can Am’s license plate was his friend’s nickname.

The 1964 Pontiac Bonneville

The two-tone black over silver 1964 Bonneville features eight-lug wheels and custom paint. Its interior has a matching color scheme.

Bothroyd locates Pontiacs in various ways. Some owners call him after hearing of his affection for the brand and he sometimes spots candidates when out and about. “If I can work a deal, I’ll work a deal, plus I got a couple of good friends that are into Pontiacs and we swap stuff back and forth sometimes,” he said.

That he owns six Firebird/Trans Am models, including a yellow 1978 Firebird Formula and a red 2002 Trans Am, can be easily explained. 

Jimmy Bothroyd and his 1964 Pontiac Bonneville

“I was drawn to Firebirds from Jim Rockford. ‘Rockford Files’ on TV. My father used to watch it all the time and that’s what got me hooked on it,” he said. “I’m looking for a car I can make into a clone of Jim Rockford’s car.”

Sealing his Trans Am desires was a movie. “‘Smokey and the Bandit’ came out and it just snowballed from there and I had my first Trans Am in high school. I just love that body style. Second generation Firebirds are what I like.”

Bothroyd graduated from high school in 1985. It took him two more years to find another Trans Am to replace the one that his father sold because of his indiscretion. “I’ve always had a Pontiac since,” he said. 

But, nearly 40 years after escaping high school, Bothroyd said he still hasn’t learned his lesson. “Not really,” he said. “I still spin my tires when I get a chance.”

See Jimmy Bothroyd’s Pontiacs in action in this YouTube video...

(A version of this column previously ran in the “Republican-American” newspaper.)

About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. A graduate of Vermont Academy prep school, he holds a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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