Awhile back I had this itch to try and find my build sheet.
Well no luck so far but what I did find was a small gift certificate(a little bigger than a business card) to be used at the Minnesota Tribune for a free prize!
Well on the back of the card was the kids name, address, phone number, and his age (10 at the time)
Anyway, I had this idea that maybe I could do a search on the guys name and maybe locate him. Well that didn't work out so well as I ended up with three pages of people with the same name all over the country. So then I figured maybe I would have better luck doing a search with the phone number. And as luck would have it I came up with two addresses with that phone number. The last name was still the same so I thought I send a letter to one of the addresses stating who I was and how I ended up with my 2+2 ect...Just a few short days after mailing out my letter I received an email and it is as follows!
"Dear Mr. Wanichek,
This is Gale Erdmann. I am the wife of the Thomas Erdmann whom you reached with your letter about the gold Pontiac 2+2. And were we ever delighted to hear from you! You sound as though you are a real enthusiast and someone with the know-how and facilities to get it restored.
Tom is a self-described computer illiterate, and I am his alter-ego in this regard. I do the communicating; he will make sure I include everything that needs to go into the story of the great golden car.
We do in fact know the history of the vehicle. It was first bought in 1967 by our then-good friend Mr. R. (for Rudolph) Jack Bernhardt, who lived in the Chicago area. He was our contemporary, which made him at that time about 27 years old.
He was a hotshot stockbroker in the Chicago area, with big hitters for clients, among them Alex Drier, newscaster (we think) and commentator with even-then Megastation WGN in Chicago. In the late 1960’s Jack was pulling down about a quarter of a million dollars a year in commissions.
He was married to Lorraine Smith from Ottumwa, Iowa. My husband and Jack were fraternity brothers at Northwestern University in Evanston, and Lorrie and I were sorority sisters there. We spent countless hours happily together during college and for several years afterwards, as the two married couples lived in the Chicago area.
Jack bought the car specifically to provide luxury transportation for his well-to-do clients and discovered soon afterwards that as a two-door it was not suitable for his well-heeled and presumably well-padded passengers to maneuver in and out of the back seat.
Though he also had a successful career as a stockbroker, my husband Tom decided that was not the field for him, and he graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1968.
We were in need of a car, and Jack was in need of disposing of the Pontiac, so he sold it to us for $2400. We paid him $100 a month for quite a while. A family joke is that we tried to tow it behind an average-size vehicle to move to Minnesota, where Tom went into practice, and the Pontiac was so heavy that we COULD NOT steer around corners with it attached to the other car!
But here the plot thickens. Jack got himself, his father, and his clients, mysteriously, too heavily invested in Olympia Breweries. Barron’s Stock Report had some skullduggery going on there, and a false article was published stating that Olympia was on the skids. The authors of the article were legally punished, but…….Jack tried singlehandedly to boost Olympia’s stock through unauthorized discretionary purchases, and, to cut to the chase, Jack brought down the brokerage house he worked for and landed in Sandstone Prison in Sandstone, Minnesota.
Tom just walked into the room where I am typing, with an exploded diagram of the car and all the particulars about the parts. I will mail it to you shortly. It is a "crash estimating guide with all parts listed." He just this evening stumbled across it cleaning a file cabinet. Serendipity.
I assume the guy who bought the car from us told you, as we told him, that all the part numbers are original. It cannot have escaped your attention that the carburetor was completely overhauled just last year.
We used to joke that gas dripped out of the tailpipe as we roared down the road. In its prime, that car could jerk your head back when you floored it at 60. Of course the speed limit at that time on a lot of the highways was 70, and our best-ever (strictly legal, mind you) time to Milwaukee was 4 hours and 20 minutes.
We drove the car for many years and finally stored it for a long time. As you can tell, Tom treated the vinyl top very carefully, and it is in quite remarkable shape for its age (at least it was when we sold it last summer.) The original plan was for Tom and our adult son, James, to have a father-son project and refurbish it, but as it turned out, they would rather play golf together. James left a career in law to return to school for 18 months to become a Porsche technician, a job at which he has been working very happily for a number of years now at Maplewood Imports in Maplewood, near St. Paul.
It was his gift certificate which you found in the car. I am surprised that the man who sold you the car didn’t supply you with more information about us, as we had a pleasant business contact with him. I certainly hope he gave you the two books that we had about the car, the Owner’s Manual and one other, which escapes me now.
A couple addenda. When Jack bought the car, he said to the salesman that he wanted "all the options Pontiac makes." The salesman was so excited and flabbergasted that he forgot to order a power front passenger seat. At the time, Jacks wife’s brother, Mr. Leighton Smith, was an engineer with GM, and Leighton walked this particular car down through the assembly line to be sure that the odd nut or bolt wasn’t simply tossed under a floor mat instead of being inserted into its proper position.
Whatever Leighton did, it sure turned out right, because the car was a dandy. Of course, gas was about a quarter a gallon too. I hope you own a gas station!!
The eight-track music system was hot stuff in those days, and we felt grand sailing down the highway enjoying the music. If you find a conductor’s wand in there, that’s because Jack used to "direct" the orchestra as he cruised the highways and byways, and he passed the baton on to Tom, who did the same. Good times.
As has become obvious to you, we loved that car. We are also tickled that it seems to have been purchased by a man who really appreciates it. I will probably think of more details from our long association with the 2+2, in which case I will send them on to you. Watch the mail for the exploded diagram.
Where is Plover? Tom grew up in Manitowoc. His dad was a buddy of Vince Lombardi.
I hope we will hear from you again, and please send some pics as work progresses. I will try to find some old pictures of the car, but give me some time for this. I won’t bore you with our life lately, but suffice it to say that though we are both well-retired, "leisure moments" are few and far between.
We would love to see (and pat) the Pontiac again.
Gale and Tom Erdmann"
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoy sharing it!