8. Royal Bobcat Pontiac
How dealerships and major manufacturers combined their efforts of promoting, building and racing muscle cars is in the story of Ace Wilson’s Royal Pontiac dealership in Royal Oak, Michigan. They established the dealership in the late 50’s. But it landed on the map by sponsoring and preparing local drag racing Pontiacs with the help of Pontiac’s marketing guru, Jim Wangers. When Pontiac started racing and building performance machines on a bigger scale in the early 60’s, Royal Pontiac helped prepare and test the cars.
However, the popularity of Royal Pontiac exploded with the GTO. In fact, Ace Wilson was the guy who prepared all GTOs before the cars were sent to magazine testers. Jim Wangers knew they had to blow the magazine testers away with the performance of the new GTO. So, he instructed Ace Wilson to install the mighty 421 V8 and disguise it as 389 V8. The trick worked, and the legend of GTO was born.
Royal Pontiac also prepared and converted many GTOs and even sold mail-order performance kits. Ace Wilson was also responsible for many drag racing cars. The dealership also sponsored many local and national racers.