Car owner receives surprise of a lifetime — his first car, restored

Time-traveling cars are not limited to the “Back to The Future” movies.

After slipping into the driver’s seat of a fully restored, burgundy 1970 Pontiac GTO during a recent car show, Dave Apple’s mind shifted into reverse to a time nearly 50 years earlier when these models were new and the 73-year-old was a young man.

That day at The Suds drive-in restaurant in Greenwood, where the car show was being held, the Columbus man was reminded of the burgundy-colored muscle car he had purchased for $3,800 just days after his late 1969 military discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he said.

But Apple’s GTO had deteriorated into little more than a pile of junk after sitting inside a outbuilding on his rural property for nearly a quarter century, family members said.

While at the show, Apple was given the wooden gearshift knob from his first car — and discovered it fit the restored Pontiac perfectly.

As about 50 well-wishers began to cheer and applaud, Apple finally realized the beautiful restoration he was sitting in actually was his first car.

“It was just fantastic,” Apple said. “I got emotional. In fact, I’m getting emotional right now just thinking about it.”

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.