Once the 1970 Pontiac GTO was restored, Randy and Mary Jane Pasko, of Rochester Hills, began cruising it around town.

Once the 1970 Pontiac GTO was restored, Randy and Mary Jane Pasko, of Rochester Hills, began cruising it around town.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Family transforms Pontiac GTO into a winner

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published October 21, 2020

 The Paskos’ GTO sat in the garage for several years until Randy and his son John restored it.

The Paskos’ GTO sat in the garage for several years until Randy and his son John restored it.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Mary Jane Pasko won the classic car in a contest.

Mary Jane Pasko won the classic car in a contest.

Photo by Deb Jacques

ROCHESTER HILLS — In 2003, Rochester Hills resident Mary Jane Pasko entered a contest at the local Farmer Jack grocery store.

Edy’s Ice Cream was holding a contest in which you mailed in your name for a chance to win a 1970 Pontiac GTO.

The contest was held two weeks before her husband Randy’s 50th birthday. Mary Jane told him that if she won the classic car, it would be his. But he wasn’t sure he wanted it, as he preferred the ’66 Chevrolet Nova.

“Fine. You’re not getting it when I win it,” she joked.

But when Mary Jane, 59, was the lucky winner of the automobile, Randy had a change of heart and they kept the car. Unfortunately, there were some problems with the red GTO from the start.

“We took it around the block and three of five lugnuts fell off one of the tires,” Mary Jane recalled. The Paskos noticed other issues, and the car was basically undriveable. Randy, 67, doesn’t think anyone conducted a road test before the couple picked up their grand prize. So for six years, the Pontiac just sat in the family garage untouched.

When their son, John, now 28, was in the 11th grade, he suggested that he and his dad fix up the GTO. The family also includes daughters Jacquelene, 32, and Christine, 30. Randy, who had taken auto shop in high school, accepted John’s suggestion and the two began restoring the GTO.

“We rebuilt the motor. We rebuilt the rear end. We replaced the front end,” Randy said. The pair also worked on the shocks, brakes, ball joints and more. “It’s been an unexpected fun car. There was some work involved to get it mechanically ready. It will be an heirloom.”

“Spending time together ... it was a good father-son project,” Mary Jane said. “If it (was) in good shape, you wouldn’t have worked on it together. All these cars now are mostly computerized. The classic cars, there’s no computers.”

Through the process, John learned a great deal about engines, cars and brakes, which helped him land a college internship and career in mechanical engineering. The Paskos’ ’70 GTO is a stick shift, has a 375-horsepower engine and features a red interior.

Once the car was resurrected, the family began taking it out on the town for cruises. The Paskos like to frequent the Culver’s car show in Orion Township and the Golling car show on Lapeer Road in Lake Orion. They also became regulars at the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

“People give you the thumbs-up. They honk,” Randy said. “A bunch of guys want to talk to you about it. You always talk to each other. There’s all kinds of unique cars.”

“It’s fun when the whole family can cruise in it,” Mary Jane said. Riding around in the GTO brings feelings of nostalgia for Mary Jane, who attended Bishop Gallagher High School, in Harper Woods, which is now closed.

“I grew up on the east side,” she said. “I did cruise Gratiot. We kind of used to meet up with our friends.”

Randy, who grew up in Clinton Township, also cruised Gratiot Avenue back in the day.

“You’d go out on a Friday night, drive around, stop at the local McDonald’s,” Randy said. “It was fun. There was nothing else to do. It was better than sitting at home.”


Do you own a vehicle WITH an interesting history? Contact Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586) 498-1045, and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of our Behind the Wheel feature.