Waterford resident Bruce Annett, right, and his wife, Amy, center, receive the Best in Class award from an official during the EyesOn Design car show in June.

Waterford resident Bruce Annett, right, and his wife, Amy, center, receive the Best in Class award from an official during the EyesOn Design car show in June.

Photo by Emily Annett


Behind the Wheel: 1969 Pontiac LeMans still going strong after 50 years

By: Jennifer Sigouin | C&G Newspapers | Published July 25, 2019

 Bruce  Annett’s 1969 Pontiac  LeMans was his first car. He’s owned it for 50 years.

Bruce Annett’s 1969 Pontiac LeMans was his first car. He’s owned it for 50 years.

Photo by Emily Annett

Photo by Emily Annett

Photo by Emily Annett

Photo by Emily Annett

How much do you remember about your first car? 

For Bruce Annett, of Waterford, it’s easy to recall every last detail, because his first set of wheels, a 1969 Pontiac LeMans, isn’t just a distant memory — he still owns the car, half a century later.  

“I purchased it new in December 1968 as a high school student, with lots of help from my parents,” Annett said in an email interview. 

At the time, he needed the car for two reasons: work and school. 

“I installed signs and did maintenance for my parents’ real estate company, so it pulled a trailer of tools, mowers and building materials,” he explained, adding that his high school was on a split shift that also caused some scheduling complications for his family when it came to driving. 

“My parents were having to drive me to high school basketball practice at 5 a.m., pick me back up at 7 a.m., then back for classes from about noon to 6 p.m.,” he said. “That driving schedule was crazy for my parents.”

Annett said he drove the car for about seven years — through college and to his first job in Indiana — and then transferred it to his brother in the late 1970s. Once his brother graduated from college, he transferred the LeMans back to Annett, and Annett has had it ever since. 

Annett admits that the LeMans wasn’t his first choice, but it has served him well over the last five decades. 

“When I originally purchased the car, there was also a beautiful red GTO available at the dealership. I’d have bought it except the insurance on the GTO was several hundred dollars more per year than for the LeMans. I couldn’t swing the added insurance cost,” he said. “Had I known I would keep the car for more than half a century, the GTO would have been a better investment. Nonetheless, I love my LeMans.”

The LeMans also reflects Annett’s passion for cars — especially Pontiacs. 

“As a boy in the 1960s, I could identify nearly every make and model of automobile,” he said. “Growing up in the city of Pontiac, and knowing so many kids whose parents worked for the Pontiac division of GM, with their corporate headquarters and factories there, I developed a lifelong love for Pontiacs — they were the ‘hometown team.’ I continued to drive Pontiacs until GM eliminated the brand.” 

Annett, who is currently the vice president of marketing and public affairs at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, noted that the LeMans was completely restored and repainted in its original blue in 2012. Otherwise, he said, it’s in original condition with 86,000 miles on it. 

“Acceleration is great and I’m partial to the color,” he said. “The LeMans models are rarer now because many car buffs are converting them to pricier GTO ‘tribute’ cars.”

Annett added that he drives the LeMans in the Woodward Dream Cruise every summer and takes it to many local car shows. Most recently, the car was awarded Best in Class in the EyesOn Design show at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, which took place on a rainy weekend in mid-June. 

“It rained nearly all weekend, and getting my LeMans wet for the first time in years was very distressing to me!” he recalled.


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Do you own a vehicle that has an interesting history? Contact Staff Writer Jennifer Sigouin at jsigouin@candgnews.com, and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of Behind the Wheel.