Every day’s a sunny one for Michael Cronin, who drives a rubber duck-colored 1940 Pontiac. (For car aficionados, that’s 77 Corvette Yellow.)
You’ve probably seen the seasonal Seaplace resident coasting down Gulf of Mexico Drive.
“It’s not a car that goes unnoticed,” Cronin said, both of the color and its make. “There weren’t many like this one made, because materials were going to defense production for World War II,” he explained.
Cronin, who worked at a gas station as a teenager, always wanted to refurbish a classic car. When a friend found the Pontiac on a hunting trip in Maine, it was just a “carcass,” he said, a rusty frame with no wheels.
Still, he was smitten.
For seven years, Cronin tinkered with the frame, replacing its flat-head V6 engine with a V8, installing a lift system so its trunks and doors open with the click of a button, rewiring its instrument panel and custom building an air conditioning system, among other things. All the mechanical work he did himself, although he outsourced the paint job to a man who does antique car restoration.
While others may keep their treasured vehicles in a garage, tucked safe away from lousy drivers, Cronin insists his Pontiac is meant for the road. “That’s how I get to enjoy it,” he said, adding that he loves when strangers stop him to say they remember seeing that model in the 1940s.