My Classic Car: Glen’s 1964 Pontiac Parisienne convertible

A work in progress since 1979 | Glen Kohlmeier photos
A work in progress since 1979 | Glen Kohlmeier photos

There is a reason I am supposed to own this car. Spring, 1979, friends are talking about a friend of a friend, etc. who is looking at buying a car in St. James. It is a ’64 Pontiac ragtop. My brother had one and I always liked it.

They gave the location during this conversation and for some reason it stuck in my head. A few days later, I find myself in the St. James area and remembering the conversation and location, I go for a drive by. Here’s what I found:

A 1964 Pontiac poking thru a well-weathered nylon tarp, once the winter was finished with it. From what I could see it was painted Chevy orange or a similar shade, apparently with a roller. The top was in rags, the interior was blue but with the wrong front seat.

A week or so later the same conversation came up and the “friend” apparently had talked to the owner and decided not to buy it; it was too much money but the amount wasn’t mentioned.

Third time -- of ownership -- seems to be the charm
Third time — of ownership — seems to be the charm

Hmmmm… I’m still thinking about this car. It’s now June. I wonder if it is still there and if it runs? I drive by and it’s still there. I knock on the door. It’s around 2:30 in the afternoon, so no one will likely be home. But a woman answers the door. I enquire about the car. It is for sale. It hasn’t run for years but it did run when it was parked there five or six years ago.

How much? She says $75. Okay, I’ll take. She’s thrilled. I write a bill of sale on a pocket pad I had and she signed it, I paid her and said I’d be back after dinner to pick it up.

At 7:30 that night, I have four rolling tires on it, my brother-in-law who has finally been convinced I am, in fact, nuts, is towing me and this wreck home, down Portage Avenue, on a chain. Certifiably nuts.

I kinda agreed with him a few weeks later. I was busy and hadn’t had time to even look at the car. As it turned out it was the following summer before I had a chance to look at it.

On a nice day in May, I open the hood and a very tired but mostly there 283 Powerglide is looking back at me. A few hours later, it’s running. Hot damn!

A week later I register it and take it for a ride. Cool. I really didn’t have the time, money or place to take on such a project so I ended up putting in a garage I was renting and had a Lincoln stored in. I had bought the Lincoln at a wedding social in the winter off some guy who apparently needed a fix badly and sold me his car, a 1963 Lincoln fully loaded with suicide doors for a hundred dollars.

What the hell, it was risking but it ran and my date followed me home in my car, which could and may be another story here someday. I put the Lincoln in this two car garage I rented off a friend who was in the real estate business. I never heard another word about the deal. About two years later I get a call from my friend telling me the garage burned. When I got there the Lincoln is toast but the Pontiac appeared not bad. I dragged it home once again.

Turns out my nephew turning 16 wants a car. I give it to him with the stipulation if he ever wants to sell the car, I get first dibbs. About three years later, he calls. He has gotten it road worthy, stripped it, had it painted and replaced the top and few other things. It was his driver. But on high school graduation day, something happened to the motor. He was so disappointed he couldn’t take his date in his car to the prom and he was now thinking about selling it. I bought it a second time for $1000; this time with a pouched motor.

The power train
The powertrain

I put a new nicely modified 350 and 350 turbo with a lock up converter transmission in it and some other work and drove it that summer. A friend I was working with had started a long-distance love affair with a woman in Calgary and as it progressed they started meeting in Swift Current, Saskatchewan for week-end rendezvous. He needed a good and fast cruiser. He bought the Pontiac for $6000 dollars with a similar stipulation, should he decided to ever sell it.

He marries her, move to Calgary. She lives in an apartment; no where to park the car. I get a phone call, do I want to buy it? For the third time, I buy the car, now for $4000.

OK, I’m thinking there’s a reason I’m supposed to own this car. I am now married with a place to work. I decide to do a frame off restoration. Took me eight years of evenings and weekends but I did it; a new top and the exhaust was all I farmed out. The rest I did myself and here it is.

Two years ago, I survived a stroke. I guess the the devil didn’t want me and God didn’t need me yet. I survived, mostly in tact. I suspect it may have something to do with I still don’t know why this car and its purpose has yet come to light.

I have since retired and started doing a frame off on that same car my date followed me home in when I bought the Lincoln. I bought it December 12, 1971 in high school and thru all my time, marriage, a child and life, managed to hang on to it. So that’s I’m what doing these days while waiting to find out the “rest of the story” with my 1964 Pontiac Parisienne convertible.

— Glen Kohlmeier, Winnipeg, Manitoba

One thought on “My Classic Car: Glen’s 1964 Pontiac Parisienne convertible”

  1. An amazing tale. Any one can buy a car , but to keep building one takes character. You have to love and respect gear heads.😀😀😀

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