Jim Wangers, the Godfather of the GTO, will attend the 2014 Milwaukee Masterpiece, Aug. 23- 24, at Veterans Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Wangers created the mystique that surrounds America’s original musclecar, the Pontiac GTO. He will be the centerpiece of The Milwaukee Masterpiece’s 2014 celebration of the 50th anniversary of the GTO. All GTO owners, current and former, as well as admirers and musclecar fans are invited to attend to meet Wangers.
Jim Wangers was the innovative marketing force behind high-performance 1960s Pontiacs such as the legendary GTO, which kicked off the U.S. muscle car market. A former champion Pontiac drag racer, Wangers worked for Chevrolet and Chrysler before joining Pontiac’s advertising agency in 1958. He then conveyed the passion of performance car fans to Pontiac’s managers and engineers, an effort that resulted in popular, now-collectible Pontiacs. Wangers later opened a Chevrolet dealership in Milwaukee and then returned to Detroit to become a consultant to GM, Ford and Chrysler.
John DeLorean, Russ Gee and Bill Collins developed the GTO for General Motors’ Pontiac Division. Wangers was an integral part of the team as he helped to establish the “musclecar” of the ‘60s to its rightful niche in the history of American car marketing. He is indeed the Godfather of the GTO.
He was closely connected to the writing, production and promotion of some of the musclecar-world’s best-known songs, including “GTO” by Ronnie and the Daytonas. Wangers also was instrumental in getting the then-popular rock group “Paul Revere and the Raiders” involved in the 1969 advertising launch of the famous GTO Judge.
Perhaps the single car Wangers was closest to, and still his personal favorite is the 1969 GTO Judge, the wildest GTO ever created. He is the author of the highly successful book Glory Days which has proven to be one of the most authoritative books on Pontiac performance history ever printed and the former owner/publisher of Pontiac Enthusiast magazine.
Wangers will attend Club Saturday At The M, Aug. 23, the Style & Speed Social presented by Lake Forest Sportscars on Saturday evening, Aug. 23, and The Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance, Sunday, Aug. 24.
Buy tickets before Aug. 1 and save. Purchased by Aug. 1, a two-day pass includes a Commemorative Program.