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My Favorite Car: 1968 Pontiac GTO, Robert S. Mantler, Tampa

'68 Pontiac GTO

The 1968 Pontiac GTO is my favorite car and almost my first. My story starts in 1968 in St. Louis, where I grew up and was heading into my senior year of high school. My father bought himself the 1968 GTO, below, Mayfair Maze in color with a darker vinyl top. If I did all my chores all week, homework and took care of my little brother, I got to drive it — and I've never had a ticket or accident to this day! I knew that car inside and out, taking the chrome frame guards off to wax and clean each inch weekly. My girlfriend called it "the other woman" endearingly — she loved it as well. Unfortunately, my father passed away two weeks after graduation in June of 1969. Everything in my world changed. We had to sell the GTO and I got a Volkswagen convertible, but I promised myself, some day, I would find another before I turned old: 60. So my life, career, marriage, kids happened and then I found "her" — red as red can get — in Brooksville three years ago. The ONE! I am the third owner and the car's original color was the same as my dad's. I took that as a sign and it is "the other woman" in my life. P.S. The license plate is GO GOAT (a term used in the day for GTO).

Driving classes: The AARP offers refresher courses for drivers older than 50. This course must be completed before submitting a certificate to your insurance company for a possible rate reduction. $14, or $12 for AARP members. Bring your driver's license, AARP membership card and fee. An interactive online course that teaches the same information and strategies is also available. To register or get more information about when classes are available in your area, visit aarp.org/drive or call toll-free 1-888-227-7669.

Tell us your love story

What's your story behind your favorite car? We're highlighting some of your beloved wheels. Here's what we need:

• Your name.

• City where you live.

• Age (with your date of birth).

• Year, make and model of the car.

• A description of the car and why you love it.

• A high-resolution photo or a scanned image. (The photo must be of the actual car.)

• Send these to drive@

tampabay.com.

We're still accepting submissions for My First Car. So keep them coming!

My Favorite Car: 1968 Pontiac GTO, Robert S. Mantler, Tampa 09/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:43am]
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