August 15, 2012 at 8:37 am

Wedded bliss includes taking husband's GTO for a spin

1972 Pontiac GTO
1972 Pontiac GTO: Ken and Kim Stahovec own a 1972 GTO with a rare 455 HO engine. Only 325 were made.

Chesterfield Township — Kim Stahovec likes to say she "married into" a Dream Cruise car.

In 1984, her husband, Ken, 49, bought a 1972 Pontiac GTO 455 H.O. — one of 325 ever built.

And when the two started dating in 1988, she slowly gained Ken's trust to take it for a spin.

"I kind of had to work my way up," said Kim Stahovec, 50. "I got to drive it into the driveway, then I got to drive it while he was in it and now we race home to see who can take it out first."

The couple joined the Woodward GTO Tigers car club in 1997. The club has a cruise called the Classic Weekend, which coincides with the Woodward Dream Cruise every year. The Stahovecs have been part of the Dream Cruise since it began in 1995.

The club was selected by the GTO Association of America to host the 2004 GTO convention for the 40th anniversary of the GTO, which brought 330 GTOs from across the country to the Dream Cruise that year.

"It was really neat to see all these cars dispersed over Woodward," Kim Stahovec said.

As Kim's interest in GTOs rose, so did her rank in the Tigers car club. After serving as vice president for two years, Kim put her name in the hat for president last year.

"Well, I wanted to be president for a couple years, but I was just too timid because of (being) a woman in that position. This year, I had the backing of the board of directors, and so I went for it."

When Kim drives the iconic piece of American muscle, she said she becomes captivated by the roar of the engine and the attention from onlookers.

"It gets a lot looks, and it's fast and runs strong. I like the exhaust because I like a deeper throaty exhaust. It turns a lot of heads, and we get a lot of thumbs up when we drive it."

When Ken sits in the driver's seat, he shows a devilish grin amid the rumble from under the hood. He surveys the road, looking for an open lane so he can shift to second gear.

"It's a good all-around motor," he said of the 350 hp GTO engine that has been revamped a couple of times.

"You can go out and have fun with it, or you can take it up north for the weekend the way it's set up. It's the best of both worlds for us."

But the engine noise also prompts many to question the car's gas mileage.

"I hear that all the time," Ken Stahovec said. "'Don't those get really bad gas mileage?' Yep, they sure do. We didn't buy it for gas mileage."

In this year's Classic Weekend, the Stahovecs will have their GTO in the parking lot of the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac Hotel at Centerpoint (3600 Centerpoint Parkway) along with other Woodward GTO Tiger members.

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Kim Stahovec and her husband, Ken, own a 1972 Pontiac GTO 455 H.O., one of 325 ever made. “It turns a lot of heads, and we get a lot of thumbs up when we drive it,” Kim says. Watch video of the Stahovecs and their Pontiac GTO at detroitnews.com/dreamcruise. / Ankur Dholakia / The Detroit News