“This is all I’ve ever done,” Jonathan Ponulak says when we asked how he came about fixing, restoring, selling, and collecting vintage cars over the last 40-odd years. Through their automotive careers, Jonathan and his partner (and brother) Stan have ended up with an inventory of over 200 mostly vintage vehicles, scattered between several garages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. “My brother and I owned Main Street Motors in Somerville, New Jersey. We started buying cars right out of high school and selling them to clients across America and the world,” Jonathan says. Their favorite hobby quickly turned into their perpetual passion, as the guys searched out and stored slumbering vintage cars all over the East Coast. The twosome were defining the term “barn find” back in the 1980s, way before it became a popular catchphrase in the world of classic cars today.
The Ponulak brothers certainly did well with their garage over the years. “One year we sold over 300 cars. Business was good—very good—and it’s been a great run,” Jonathan says. These cars you see here are the ones at their main garage located just outside of Jersey in Bangor, Pennsylvania. “These were some of the ones we held onto. The first car I restored is here. It’s a six-cylinder Falcon I did for my then girlfriend [now wife] back in high school. I also have my first car, a LeMans, and the GTOs that replaced it,” Jonathan says. Those are some favorites, but he also has a few others that are near and dear to his heart, such as a 1966 Emberglo Mustang GT convertible, and his parents’ 1969 Firebird 350 drop-top with 70,000 miles. There are plenty more here, and also 6,000 square feet of assorted auto parts in the basement that will be sold off in the future. “We are getting ready to retire and will definitely unload the majority of cars and all the parts stash at a major auction or in individual sales, so stay tuned,” Jonathan says. (You can reach the guys at Ih8rain2@hotmail.com for more info.)
1966 FORD MUSTANG GT CONVERTIBLE
This Mustang is a rare one indeed. “It’s a factory A-code, four-speed car with air, and it’s never been restored,” Jonathan says. To boot, it’s basted in the one-year-only “Emberglo” paint scheme with a matching-color Pony interior. It also has some interesting options with rocker moldings and stripes all listed on the build sheet. The car looks basically brand new without a spec of rust or issue with the paint; a rarity on the East Coast. “I bought it from a 93-year-old man who had the Mustang and nine other vintage cars he was selling. I had to buy them all to get this one. It’s a favorite of mine and it’s a fun car that drives perfectly. I love taking it out on the road,” Jonathan says.
The rare ride is the last hurrah for the GTO lineage. “It’s basically a souped-up Ventura. This one is the trunk version, as some came with a hatch,” Jonathan says. This particular example is decked-out with a 350 small-block, four-speed, and factory sway bars. It shows only 22,000 miles on the odometer and is another very original car, basically untouched since new and still wearing its original tires. “It’s one of 2,100 made and I bought it from the original owner in 1982. We held onto it,” Jonathan says.
1963 FORD FALCON CONVERTIBLE
The 1963 Ford Falcon convertible is near and dear to Jonathan’s heart. “It’s the first car I ever restored, and I did it for my then girlfriend who is now my wife,” he says. It’s nothing special, with no power anything and a six-cylinder basted in Wimbledon White with a red gut. It’s a neat little cruiser whose value is all sentimental.”
1966 AMC MARLIN HARDTOP
This immaculate original car is a favorite. “It’s an AMC 327-powered ride with 27,000 miles on the odometer. It’s another car that hasn’t been touched over the years, still wearing its original paint. It has power steering and brakes and was always garaged. The interior of this 1966 AMC Marlin hardtop looks brand new as well.
1966 PONTIAC GTO CONVERTIBLE
This sweet 1966 GTO convertible was one of Jonathan’s cars over the years. The automatic ride features power steering and power brakes and is skinned in Candlelight Cream. “This was one of my high school cars. It has its original paint, drivetrain, and interior. The only things that were changed on the car are the Cragars,” Jonathan says.
1964 PONTIAC BONNEVILLE CONVERTIBLE
This full-size Poncho is a 389/four-barrel car with power steering, power windows, and power brakes. Upgraded add-ons include heavy-duty suspension, posi rear, and cool eight-lug wheels. But it’s the paint that’s the kicker: it says “Special” on the data plate, which shows it is not a stock Pontiac hue. This particular 1964 Pontiac Bonneville convertible went down the Cadillac assembly line, which is denoted in the paperwork. This is how Pontiacs were sprayed custom colors,” Jonathan says.
1961 CADILLAC SERIES 62
This beautiful bubbletop 1961 Cadillac Series 62 shows the early 1960s styling and the reduced fin size prevalent on these rides. It’s motivated by a 390 and has the typical power steering and power brakes. It’s a very original car with just 42,000 miles on the odometer.
1978 CADILLAC COUPE DE VILLE CONVERTIBLE
Though this 1978 Cadillac Coupe De Ville convertible was wedged in tight and hard to get a good shot of, it is worth noting. This is 1 of 100 convertible conversions made by Hess & Eisenhardt for Cadillac back in the 1970s. This particular one cost about $25,000 new—more than twice the asking price for a stock version. These custom beauties were sold through Cadillac. This particular one was used in a Charlie perfume commercial featuring Shelley Hack of Charlie’s Angels fame. It’s a neat and rare ride that the guys bought from the original owner.
1967 DODGE CORONET 500 CONVERTIBLE
There are very few Mopars in the Ponulak collection, but this 1967 Dodge Coronet 500 convertible is a good one. This drop-top is blessed with a 383/four-barrel big-block Wedge and is rowed by a 727 automatic transmission. It has power steering and brakes and a nice set of Magnums at the corners. Story is that the parents wanted to hand it down to their son, who was not interested. He opted for a station wagon instead. Crazy?!