Jump to content
Forums Gone... but not forgotten!
Pontiac of the Month

Debbie Harris's 1969 Grand Prix

2022 September
of the Month

  • Welcome!

    Welcome to Forever Pontiac, where we keep the memory of Pontiac alive with great discussion, maintenance tips, restoration/modification progression "blogs" and help from professional & DIY mechanics. Also, wonderful competitions that occur regularly. Please register for an absolutely free account to join in!

Pontiac-Oakland Museum - Pontiac, Illinois

Recommended Posts

The Pontiac-Oakland Museum is located in Pontiac, Illinois, just a few miles off I-55 near historic Route 66. It is owned and managed by Tim and Penny Dye.


Picture of the front of the museum - from the Internet


I was fortunate to have to go to Chicago over Mother's Day weekend this year and my hotel was right off I-55. A quick 75 mile (one way) trip from SW Chicago to Pontiac and I was there. I was last in this part of the country in 2005 for the Rockin' Rods on Route 66 car show in Bloomington, Illinois.

Here is the one of the oldest known Pontiac vehicle still known to exist, an actual Pontiac horse drawn buggy - one of two that still exist.



Upon entering, you realize this is not a huge museum. They don't have the luxury of being able to occupy the entire building or ground floor of an entire city block. So the collection on display is small, compact, and it changes on a regular basis. So what you see in these photographs may change by the time you visit.

The first Silver Streak - a 1935 model. The Sliver Streaks ran continuously until in 1956, except for World War II production.


Fiero display - including a good look at its (then) modern space frame and detachable/replaceable body panels.




Some very rare - one of a kind Pontiacs

A 1986 Grand Prix 2+2 - one of 1,225 built. This one only has 5,500 miles on it. This car was built to homologate it for use in NASCAR.


The actual original Grand Prix 2+2 prototype. Pontiac gave it to Richard Petty and it is now part of his collection.


The only Grand Am station wagon every built. In 1973, Pontiac converted a Lemans wagon into a Grand Am as a feasibility study and loaded it up with nearly every imaginable option. A 455, a functional twin-NACA Ram Air scoops, honeycomb wheels, bucket seats, dual exhaust, radial tires, a moon roof, power everything, and more. The NACA Ram Air scoops did not pass federal noise standards and were dropped (however you could buy the parts over the counter) and were non-functional on all production cars.



A one of 319 built - 1976 Trans Am Special Edition w/ a 455 and a 4-speed manual transmission.


Here is a neat garage scene with a '62 Lemans. On the engine stand is a freshly rebuilt Pontiac Indy straight 4 or Trophy 4 engine. It is literally half of a 389 Pontiac V8. There are close to 2000 oil cans along the walls, plus a lot of old NOS AC and Delco service parts on the work bench.



The GTO display area.

Starting with a '65 GTO with a 389 tri-power with the all proper Hurst equipment.


The Judge display


Every Pontiac hood ornament known to man.


1929 Oakland Roadster


1926 Pontiac - the first year Pontiac automobiles were made by GM and Oakland Motor Car Company as part of the Companion Car Program.


A Pontiac Bonneville station wagon used for camping



I had the good pleasure to talk with both Penny and Tim Dye. We sat and talked in the Pontiac Oakland Library. I talked to Tim regarding the 1908 The Pontiac High Wheel Runabout built by the Pontiac Spring and Wagon Work (not Oakland Motor Car Company), which I have written about here and for the Michigan Widetrackers. Tim was aware of the car but he was not aware that one of the four remaining cars was at the Sloan Museum's Buick Gallery in Flint, Michigan (my hometown). I gave Tim electronic copies off all my photos and documents. He made me aware of yet another article printed by AACA about restoring one of the four Pontiacs. He also informed me that another of the four remaining The Pontiacs was purchased by a private car collector and also resides now in SE Michigan. Tim has since sent me a copy of the missing restoration article and I am waiting for some time from my son's perennial baseball season to sit down and read it.

As a souvenir of my visit, I picked up an autographed copy of Jim Wanger's book, Glory Days.


As I have stated in another post, I know the owner of the car on the cover. It belongs to fellow Michigan Widetracker Eric White. Eric runs White House Graphics and he is author in his own right. Famous GTO writer/restored Paul Zazaraine photographed Eric's car over 20+ years ago and somehow it was picked for the cover of Jim's book. So I will get Eric to autograph it too. Eric is also a member of the museum's board of directors and a frequent contributor to POCI's Smoke Signals magazine and Wild About Cars.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Founders

Great post, Frosty! Always love reading (and seeing!) about your adventures!

The museum, although very small, definitely looks like a place to be for any Pontiac enthusiast. Have to say, I haven't see (or don't remember) that Grand Am Wagon, that thing is pretty nice. I am always a fan of a wagon done right.

How does that work out for Eric or the photographer? Does he get royalties or was it a one time payment to use the photo?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the compliment Ringo !!!

I have no idea how the royalties work. Unfortunately, Paul died in 2011, so if there are any commercial royalties, I would expect it to go to his widow and/or estate. Eric has never told me that he has gotten anything for the book. I might ask him some day though. Although I rather doubt he gets a dime of it.

I agree with you that it is a must see place. Every Pontiac enthusiast should put it on their bucket list and go visit. Nearby Route 66 is a must do and a lot of fun too.

Tim showed me a first edition 1927 Oakland service manual while we were in the library. He gets copies of all the POCI chapter newsletters/magazines, including the Widetrackers "Tracker". He had an issue of the Tracker that I can't recall reading before.

Tim and Penny will be speaking at the Motor City POCI Chapter's car show/event in July at Baker's in Milford (in Indymanjoe's backyard) this summer too. If I have that day off from baseball, I will try to get down to see them again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good work Frosty! I would love to go there someday.

btw, there is a grand prix 2+2 near me that has been sitting outside for years... pretty sad. I might try to get some pics, just afraid of getting shot. :unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks stratman.

Its worth rescuing because so few were built. As long as the back glass and rear unique sheet metal is intact, a donor Grand Prix could be used to restore the rest of it.

Oh, and be sure to duck....a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

Great write-up! I love stopping at that museum when we pass that way. Tim and Penny are extremely nice and the displays are always cool and changing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I swore I posted on this.  Nice story bro.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great write-up! I love stopping at that museum when we pass that way. Tim and Penny are extremely nice and the displays are always cool and changing. 


I agree with you FlyGTO. Tim and Penny are suppose to be here in Michigan in July. I hope I have time to catch up with them. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Tired of these Ads? Purchase Enhanced Membership today to remove them!
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.