PONTIAC — Pontiac Tourism Director Ellie Alexander stopped to make an observation as she walked past Tim Dye on Thursday morning in downtown Pontiac.
“You look like an expectant father on the morning of the delivery,” she said. “You look so proud. And a little bit nervous.”
Dye, director of the Resource Center, didn’t argue. Just 30 feet in front of him was the first load of cars for Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum, 205 N. Mill St., which is scheduled to open July 23.
“It’s a visible sign of progress,” Dye said. “We have a lot work done inside and a lot more work is left to be done, but the fact that some cars are now here, it just makes it seem more real.”
Dye, an author, collector and historian of Pontiacs and Oaklands — a General Motors make that preceded the Pontiac — says the museum will feature showroom brochures, advertising posters, model cars, matchbooks, books, toys, plates, glasses and various promotional items.
“To have the cars here is really a big step,” Mayor Bob Russell said. “This is something that is literally putting us on the map. We have the National Pontiac Club giving us a lot of publicity about the museum and what we’re doing here. And there are a dozen other similar clubs and organizations that are anxious for the museum to get up and running. This is a big day for Pontiac because it just shows we’re moving forward.”
Dye is moving his entire collection from his home in Broken Arrow, Okla., to Pontiac. He began his collection when he was 16, after purchasing a wrecked 1968 GTO.
“I’ve been living and breathing Pontiacs and collecting anything related to Pontiacs ever since,” he said.
There is little he doesn’t know or remember. As a red 2001 Ram Air Trans Am convertible rolled off the transport truck, Dye started recalling every detail.
“There were only 796 convertibles produced that year,” he said.
Dye said it’s one he doesn’t drive much, but visited Pontiac with it last summer.
“That’s a beautiful car,” said City Administrator Bob Karls. “Unfortunately, I think I blew my chance at ever driving it because on Wednesday, Tim was riding with me and we came a little too close to another car at an intersection. That was bad timing on my part because these vehicles are really unbelievable.”
Among the 16 vehicles delivered Thursday were a 1964 Pontiac Parisienne Safari Wagon, a 1931 Oakland Sport Coupe, a 1980 Grand Prix Sterling Edition and a 1977 Pontiac Can Am.
“We’re going to be ready to go on July 23,” Dye said. “We knew it would take a lot of work to get ready by then, but this is a labor of love and we’re going to be ready.”