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Bobcat GTOs

explored
Royal cars featured * Royal Pontiac dealership background * List of Royal literature

UPDATE 10/00 I found a picture of the 1968 gold and white Royal Bobcat car!
Most people have already seen the 1969 Royal Bobcat car like this one...
click -> 69 Royal Not this blue car . Or this blue car . Nor this one .

But here is the 1968 Royal Bobcat car which was white with gold stripes. It had the same paint scheme as the later 1969 car above, but in white and gold instead of blue and white. The car had unique gold-colored Hurst wheels on it too.
1968 Royal Bobcat
Howard Anderson provided the picture above. He says it was photographed at the Detroit Auto Show. More about Howard, below.
When I questioned him about this fabled car, Pontiac guru Jim Wangers has told me the following: (quoting)

 "Yes, there was a White '68 Royal Bobcat trimmed with Gold 
 Stripes very similar to the '69 Crystal Turquoise and White 
 car that got so much press.  I used it as a "personal 
 driver," until a sharp Royal Pontiac salesman Dick Jesse 
 sold it out from under me.  The new owner lived in 
 Massachusetts, and the car left Royal Oak, MI, never 
 again to be seen or heard about.  One ugly rumor that 
 did draft back to us was that the car was involved 
 in a fatal accident and was destroyed.  Of course, that 
 was never confirmed.  One other interesting fact about 
 this car was that it was a favorite of George Hurst
 (who supplied the gold anodized wheels) and was used 
 somewhat as a prototype paint scheme for the very 
 popular '69 Hurst Olds.  The car was never duplicated 
 by Royal in those same colors, after it was sold to an 
 out-of-state customer.  As I also mentioned earlier, we 
 received rumors that the car was "totaled" in a fatal 
 accident shortly after it left Royal."


I'm searching for more info or pictures of the white and gold 1968 GTO.
UPDATE 5/00 Howard Anderson (rmcconst@hotmail.com) now in South Carolina wrote to say that he was the original purchaser of this car and has the bill of sale to prove it.
CLICK -> 1968 bill of sale Take a look at the receipt from July, 1968.
It did have the Ram-Air IV engine, and was sold as a 1968 1/2 GTO. Howard paid $4,200.00 for it in July of 1968. The Royal dealership was asking $5,200.00 but he went to Royal Pontiac with $4,200 cash and they took it, though that was a substantial sum in 1968. Howard was 21 years old.
Howard says: "When M.J. McHugh handed me the keys he also gave me (the picture above). Mr McHugh told me it was taken at the Detroit Auto Show. You have one of a kind." Howard still has an original photo and negative of that GTO which was given to him at the dealership that day.
Howard also points out that the salesman was not Mr. Jessie as Jim Wangers stated. It was Mr. Mike McHugh. The car was not in a fatal accident in the 3 years that Howard owned it. He says he kept that car in mint condition until the day he sold it. The man he sold it to blew the engine and put in a 326 cubic inch engine from a Pontiac Tempest. Howard was in the process of buying the car back when the man let a friend drive it one night, and it was totaled, at least that's what Howard was told. He never again saw the car. He plans to search in New Hampshire for the car.

UPDATE 2/06 Howard Anderson (rmcconst@hotmail.com) sent some paperwork that he received when he purchased the car at Royal.  He had bought the car in Michigan when he was living in New Hampshire.  Today he lives in South Carolina.
CLICK -> 1968 bill of sale  This is the bill of sale from Royal listing the options the car had.  It lists it as a 1968 1/2 GTO.
CLICK -> 1968 statement of sale  Howard also found the original temporary 30-day plate paperwork.  This was issued so he could drive it from the Michigan dealership to his home in New Hampshire.

Can anyone recall seeing this car at the Royal dealership?
Seen it on the road? ...in an east coast junkyard?
Any magazine articles on this car?
Surely, someone saw the car at the crowded dealership and snapped a photo of it!

Howard Anderson says the dealership gave him a magazine that the car was featured in.  It may have been Hot Rod Magazine, or one of those publications, and it was the centerfold of the magazine. Howard says he raced the car at New England Dragway to see what et. 1/4 mile it would turn and it came through the traps with the following times:  12.67 seconds at 122mph, 12.78 seconds at 115mph and 12.90 seconds at 108mph. There was "NOT" another GTO, 442, Chevelle SS396 or 427, Corvettes with those engines, Mustangs 428's or 429's, 440 six packs that could keep up. He raced 3 different ones. He raced 3 or 4 426 Hemi Cudas. Only one other Ram Air GTO came close to beating him, and the Royal car won by several car lengths. That GTO would hookup like no other, coming off the line.
Royal Pontiac mechanics told Howard that the car was what they called "BobCatted" and that included cc'd heads, thinner head gaskets, Isky springs and retainers so in reality solid lifters, cam was standard Ram Air 4 which had a nice rumble but didn't shake the car and sounded good. As he was told by Royal, the Ram Air IV engine it came with was a prototype and only 500 were made.
Also the carb was rejetted and a Sun Distributor was on it. When he picked it up from Royal Pontiac they took out the 4.33:1  gears it came with and put in 3.90:1 at his request. There were 3,400 miles on the car when he bought it, and he was told that it was driven by Jim Wangers as his personal car. At the time, the name Wangers meant nothing to Howard and his feeling was "I have the title and bill of sale so it's mine now". Howard brought the car to DeLongchamp Pontiac in Fitchburg MA. when he needed a fine tune or work done, as their mechanic was awesome and knew how to tune and adjust everything when it needed work. There was no warranty on the car. Howard bought the car sight unseen, as he made a deal over the phone. That car was his second choice because Baldwin Chevrolet in Long Island NY didn't have any Baldwin 427 Camaros left. He was ultimately happy with the GTO. If a person could only have the foresight to know the future, he says he'd still own the car.

Looks like a similar car was featured in an issue of Motor Trend. Here is what the cover of the magazine looks like. It wasn't the cover car that month...

There is a small black-and-white picture of a Royal car which appears in the magazine ...

Here is a scan of the article.  Although there were no color photos, the article says the car they tested was red with flat black textured stripes on it.

For some more interesting reading on 1969 Royal Bobcat cars, go to the UltimateGTO.com Advanced Picture Searcher.  Or just click right here to see a search I've already performed using "1969" plus keywords "royal bobcat".

Background on the Royal Pontiac dealership: Royal Pontiac was located in Royal Oak Michigan about 11 blocks away from the famous Woodward Avenue. Royal Oak Michigan is located about 15 miles north of the city of Detroit. The dealership was located about 6 miles away from the General Motors Technical Center in Warren Michigan.
CLICK -> Royal map  Here is a map to the former dealership which is now gone.
The old Royal Pontiac building has since been demolished and there is a new Pontiac dealer located there now. Royal Pontiac did all the "dealer prepped" cars for the magazines. They would also "Royal Tune" your GTO by adding a distributor curve, different head gaskets, carb kits, etc. There were various stages that you could do to your GTO. They would even do an engine swap for you. Pontiac filtered their performance parts through the Royal dealership. You could mail order parts or go to their parts counter. Milt Schornack was a mechanic back then for them. He still attends the yearly Woodward Dream Cruises. He is a very fascinating man with ongoing enthusiasm for Pontiac performance.

Look for this printed literature which features Royal:

 Motor Trend, May 1962 -
    Royal Bobcat 421 Catalina, Jim Wangers driving, Dick Jesse, 
    Frank Rediker and Jack Kay wrenching. 
 The Royal Story, published by Royal itself, 1962, 1963 and 1969 -
    Containing a compilation of magazine reprints, performance 
    recommendations, parts list, performance packages, services, and 
    membership applications for the Royal Racing Team.  Royal handed 
    these three issues out to the people who attended their open 
    houses over the years.
 Speed and Custom Magazine, August 1963 -
    Containing a "how to" article on building a Royal Bobcat with 
    Jim Wangers and Dick Jesse.
 Popular Hot Rodding, March, 1964 - 
    A test of a 1964 GTO tri-pwer and how to make it a Royal 
    Bobcat with test results. 
 Car and Driver, March 1965 -
    Pontiac 2+2 vs Ferrari 2+2 
 Car Craft, December 1965 -
    Preparing the Royal '66 Race car 
 High Performance Your Guide to Speed, March 1966 -
    Test of Royal prepared GTO tri-power and Tempest Sprint 
 Super Stock and Drag Illustrated, March 1966 -
    Royal builds a B/S GTO. 
 Drag Racing, August 1966 -
    The Royal Pontiac Story 
 Super Stock and Drag Illustrated, May 1966 -
    On page 49 is a picture of a 1966 Royal GTO at AHRA meet, 
    Milt Schornack misses shift and loses to Jules Meyers Pontiac 
    GTO. 
 Super Stock and Drag Illustrated, August 1966 -
    On page 50 is a picture of Geetotiger, with Dennis Frazho 
    (left) John "the Cheater" Politzer dressed as the Tiger 
    and John Kosmala (right). 
 Motor Trend, January 1967 -
    Test of 2 Royal Bobcats, one stick and one auto, the 
    twins with a story which was later written up in Jim Wangers'
    1999 book called Glory Days; When Horsepower and Passion 
    Ruled Detroit 
 Super Stock and Drag Illustrated, February 1967 -
    Royal '67 Super Stock drag test 
 Hot Rod, May 1967 -
    How to install a Bobcat on a '67 GTO 
 Motor Trend, August 1967 -
    Testing two '67 Royal Ram Air Firebirds 
 Super Stock & Drag Illustrated, October 1967 -
    The cover shows new GTO's with Jim Wangers' gold '67 2+2 
    and street racing '67 Firebird in background while parked 
    at the Big Boy restaurant at Woodward and 10 Mile Road 
 High Performance Cars, October 1967 -
    Royal's 1967 GTO 
 Super Stock & Drag Illustrated, November 1967 -
    Royal '68 GTO drag test, Royal's John Kosmala driving. 
 Car Craft, December 1967 -
    Royal prepared '68 B/S GTO test 
 Royal Pontiac Story / Accessory catalog, 1968 - 1969 -
    Containing pictures and info on Royal cars in general.
 Car and Driver, February 1968 -
    1968 Royal 428 GTO test  
 Hot Rod, February 1968 -
    1968 Royal prepared '68 GTO Ram Air I 
 Super Stock and Drag Illustrated, May 1968 -
    Containing a red Royal Firebird on the cover.
 Cars Illustrated, April/May 1968 -
    Royal Bobcat '68 GTO Ram Air I test 
 Car Life, May 1968 -
    1968 Royal RA I test 
 High Performance Cars, June 1968 -
    Royal Bobcat '68 Firebird 400 test 
 High Performance Cars, November 1968 -
    Royal Bobcat '68 GTO Ram Air II test  
 Motor Trend, December 1968 -
    Containing a one-page black-and-white article about a red and 
    black '68 car.  Incidentally, inside the cover of this issue 
    is an early foldout ad for a 1969 Judge showing some prototype 
    stripes which never made it onto the production version of the
    car.
 Super Stock and Drag Illustrated, March 1969 -
    Containing Royal '69 Firebird on the cover.  The '69 White 
    and Blue car was/is owned by Jerry Wills.
 Popular Hot Rodding, March 1969 -
    Containing an article on both the '65 and '69 Royal GTO's.
 Popular Hot Rodding, March, April, June, August and December 1969 -
    The last Bobcat magazine project car that Royal prepared which had 
    to be finished by George Delorean's Leader Automotive since Royal 
    had been sold midway through the project. 
 Hi-Performance Cars Magazine (issue date unknown) -
 Super Stock & Drag Illustrated, April 1969 -
    Royal Bobcats RA III vs RA IV  
 Glory Days; When Horsepower and Passion Ruled Detroit, 1999 -
    Contains a whole section on Royal Pontiac according to first-hand 
    accounts as told by Jim Wangers.  Available here in 
    in paperback.
Do you know of more literature on the subject? Please send me an email about it.

Here is an email I received in November 2000 from an anonymous insider. He expresses his own strong opinions on the Royal subject here...
Sean, I just read your website story about Royal. It's a good start. As for info about Bobcat paint jobs there were several customer cars painted with the Bobcat striping. I personally know of two other striped GTO's in '68 and another '69 RA IV, sister to the blue and white. One of the '68's was a 428 Crystal Turquoise car with a white landau top. Owner was Les Goodman. The other '68 was a red car with flat black striping. This car was a Royal Test car, 68 1/2 RA car, and can be seen in the 1968 - 1969 Royal Pontiac Story / Accessory catalog. There were also Royal Firebirds in '68 and '69. You can see the red Royal Firebird on the cover of Super Stock and Drag Ill, May, 1968 and the Royal '69 Firebird on the cover of Super Stock and Drag Ill, March, 1969. The '69 White and Blue car was/is owned by Jerry Wills who at one time worked for George Delorean. George bought the Royal Racing Team in 1969 when Ace Sr. sold Jr's dealership. The new owners of Royal, and Packer Pontiac were no longer interested in high performance street cars. The Warren brothers (Sid and Dave), Merel Whitacker and Joe Voytish, and the service managers were the guys who worked the cars. The Inventor of the Bobcat package was Frank Rediker. You will find names like Win Brown, Chuck Broomfield, Clarence Walters, Dick Jesse and Jim Wangers. Sometimes even Pete Seaton (his father was a GM VP). Pete ran a Royal sponsored Pontiac in the early years. There are a few close friends of Jim Wangers who have been trying to persuade him to publish a second book on all of the "factual" behind the scenes goings on at Royal and at the factory. Jim has at least started, albeit a couple of years ago, with a slide presentation about Royal. There were many one off projects and fun things.

UPDATE 5/01
Frequently asked Bobcat questions:
QUESTION: Im trying to figure out, since the Bobcat cars get all the xtra goodies like heads and stuff at the dealer, would it void the warranty from Pontiac? And could you get the paint scheme on a STOCK GTO from the dealer?
ANSWER:
Here, Geetotig66@aol.com from the Royal Bobcat Club provides the answer...
"First, like any modification, the factory voids the warranty. However, depending on the problem, Royal would give a limited warranty on their work. Secondly, as far as the paint scheme that you are probably referring to is the one everyone has seen on the 1969 Crystal Turquoise GTO Ram Air IV car. (Now, I hope you really don't beleive that was a 400 car, do you?) That stripe package first appeared on 1968 cars with any color you wanted. It was offered on Tempests, Custom S's, Firebirds and Full size Pontiacs. Basically on the full line of Pontiacs. Yes, you could get it on the base GTO without modifications. For that matter, you could just walk into Royal and buy the aluminum Royal Bobcat emblems for $1.00 each and never have put any modifications on your car, bought your car from Royal, or even have owned a Pontiac. But you had better get some horse power under your hood or take the emblems off your car. (Most real Bobcats never had the emblems put on the car) Why advertise? But you have to remember Royal was in Detroit were the factories all had engineers, executives, their kids and yes marketing men out on the streets in their company's hottest offerings and more. Testing next year's potential components, and no one wanted to draw attention to themselves with splashy paint. Most Detroit cars where under dressed. 1968 Darts non GTS or GT's with 440's. The COPO Camaro's, Chevelles and Novas. Monte Carlos with 430 cid aluminum Can Am engines. Needless to say, the Royal stripe offerings of 1968 and 1969 was not a big seller. After Royal was sold in 1969 and the Royal Racing Team went to Leader Automotive/George DeLorean, who never did much with paint schemes. There were Bobcat paint schemes for 1961, 1962, 1963 Full size and Tempests also. You can see some of them in the extensive magazine article list above."
Wanna see some COOL books that match the keyword:
In Association withAmazon.comYou can change the word in the search box to be whatever you want.

 
 
 

Join a Royal club at the Royal Pontiac Club Of America website at http://clubs.hemmings.com/royalpont/ They meet monthly at Denny's in Novi, Michigan.

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