How I Got the Car

In June 1981 I attended the Pontiac Oakland Club International (POCI) national conv. in Springfield IL.  At this meeting I was showing my 1962 Pontiac Bonneville convertible, having just finished 2 years of a frame off restoration. On Saturday we had a car show. I drove the car to the show and set it up. Later in the afternoon as I was taking down the display, I noticed two men looking over the car. We discussed the work involved in the restoration. One of the men did body work and restoration as a profes­sion. As we talked, one asked me if I would be interested in an unusual Pontiac. They showed me several photos of a car known as the X400. I had not heard of the car. From the photos the car appeared to be in very bad shape.


Photos shown to me of car in garage

They mentioned that it was some 15 miles from where we were. I decided that if possible we would stop by on the way back to Tucson. I had brought my 62 Pontiac to Springfield by trailer since it was fresh out of restoration.

The next day we went to the nearby town, met the men and they took us to see the X400. The scene was unusual. The car was in an old garage which looked as if it would fall over when we opened the doors. The building was in an old coal field with weeds nearly as tall as the building. When we opened the doors there it was, or what was left of it. The car was up on blocks since all four tires were flat. The windshield was broken and all the rest of the glass was broken out with only the frames in place. The entire inside of the car was covered with glass. The carpet was water-soaked and mice had built nests in the car. Water had been running under the car, as well as through it, for years. The body was badly rusted and the trunk lid torn up. Apparently someone had wanted to get into the trunk and pried it open. Despite the damage, nearly all the heavy chrome and trim was in place and salvageable.

I took a number of notes on the car and the tag numbers from the firewall. Since I was not familiar with the car I did not want to commit myself at that time, so we left and returned to Tucson. The next week in OLD CARS WEEKLY there appeared an article on Pontiac dream cars and there was the 1963 X400, the same car I had examined in Illinois. Now I decided to see if I could get it and bring it to Arizona. as soon as possible. I did not want it to go through another Midwest winter. I phoned the owners and we reached an agreement. In October I returned to Illinois to pick up the car. We managed to pull it from the garage and get 4 tires on the car. Before beginning the trip back, we stopped at a friend's house nearby to get it ready. I removed the carpet to dry out the interior and get some of the glass out of it so we would not be spreading glass on the highways. It was a long trip back to Arizona; however it was interesting to hear the comments from people when we stopped for gas or overnight.