Photography by Steven Stoiber
by John Stapleton
It was 1986, the year of Top Gun and Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love. Steve Stoiber had just returned home to Wisconsin from an overseas tour, where he had been serving in the Army.
Needing a car, Stoiber and a buddy spotted a 1970 Pontiac GTO for sale.
“Once I saw this GTO, it had my attention. The body curves, the look of the front end, the wing on the back, it had more of a muscle car look to it than a Chevelle did. It looked good and ran good, so I bought it.”
Stoiber drove it daily stateside, but it sat for long periods of time when he was overseas. Once retired, he and his wife Rosario moved to Maricopa. In 2008, he decided to bring the GTO back to life.
“I welded in new floor and trunk pans. I did all the bodywork, primed and blocked to get ready for paint. I restored every component of that car. The engine, transmission, rear differentia, and even the steering column were all like new again.
“Now, I didn’t restore it to original — I like power and I like a custom look. The Pontiac 400 engine was bored and stroked to a 461 cubic inch. It has modified Edelbrock heads, a competition cam and Holley 850 double pump carburetor. The engine was put on a dyno and puts out 500 horsepower.”
“I just wanted a cool car to periodically cruise around in,” Stoiber says. “One day, around September 2013, shortly after getting the car completed, I noticed an advertisement for a car show in Ahwatukee. I was bored and had nothing better to do. So, I cruised over there and parked it.
“At the end of the show when they announced the awards, I not only won first place for my class, but I also won the best of show award.”
Since, he’s won 60 first place and
best of show awards, including the Central Arizona Car and Bike Show held at Ak-Chin Circle Entertainment Center in March.
When he and Rosario ride together “I even open the car door for her — mainly because I don’t want her long fingernails to end up scratching the paint if she were to go for the door handle.”
Stoiber has no plans to sell. He’d like to be buried with it.