- Saturday 03 August, 2013
At the Pontiac Nationals, a blue GTO gleams with sentiment.
NORWALK, Ohio – A show car field holds beauty not only of lines and style, but of depth of friendship that delivers legacies.
For it's first show after restoration, a Honda blue 1969 Pontiac GTO owned by Cindy McClain, Pittsburgh, journeyed to the 22nd Annual Ames Performance Tri Power Pontiac Nationals August 2-4, 2013 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
“My husband owned it at least 30 years,” Cindy McClain said. “Him and his buddies and John Beatty started restoring it from the frame up in 2008.”
But a 2009 cancer diagnosis shook the world of Cindy, her husband, Larry, a welder, and their son, Ted.
“So they stopped working on it,” Cindy McClain said. “He went through his treatments, and nine months later lost the battle. In 2010 John started working on the car again in his memory.”
Like the car, friendship between John and Larry spanned decades.
“We grew up together as high school buddies and we've been friends for years,” said John Beatty, who owns Beatty Welding Co. in Pittsburgh with his wife, Carol Beatty.
For 18 years John raced stock cars on dirt circle tracks, Carol Beatty said. “Larry was on the original pit crew.”
“He worked for me for awhile,” John Beatty said. “I had to persuade him a little bit to get going on the restoration and not let it sit there and rot. We put new quarter panels on it, he got sick, and we lost him.”
While sorting through grief and memories, John Beatty recalled shared unfinished business.
“We were friends; Cindy was our friend; we lost Larry,” John Beatty said. “And the car was sitting. So I took the job on, and that's what we've got.”
The effort won a first place trophy in the Split Street GTO 1968-1970 class on Sunday, August 3, 2013 in the Ames Performance Car Show.
“This was supposed to be for her son, Ted,” John Beatty said. “He's here. He has shown more interest than we thought he would.”
Surprised at the trophy win, Cindy and Ted grinned and posed for cell phone photographs outside the show tent at Summit Motorsports Park.
“This makes it all worth it,” Cindy said.
A pre-veterinary medicine student at Washington Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., Ted said studies for an organic chemistry test must wait for uploading photos from the Pontiac Nationals to Facebook.com.
So healing and hope arrived as a blue muscle car from a father to a teenage son, with lots of help of a friend.
With tears in her eyes, Cindy McClain summed it up: “This is his legacy from his dad.”