1972 Pontiac Ventura, A Thing of Beauty from Tragedy

Published May 30, 2016

If one is fortunate enough to live through cancer, it has a way of changing a person.

One such person that has been changed by cancer is Anthony Pittari. As a result of his experience, he has a new appreciation and passion for what matters most. In his case, it is his art.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 1

In 1998 at the age of 21, Anthony had managed to survive a nasty battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He celebrated his hard won victory by building his first hot rod, a 1968 Chevy Chevelle. His build was so successful that it was sufficient to propel into a career with a home auto shop focusing on general repairs and maintenance.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 2

Anthony fought cancer for two years. In the midst of his battle, his doctors told him to focus on a reason to beat cancer. In Anthony’s case, a reason was to complete his Chevelle. He focused on what was needed to complete the project and what it was going to look like when he finished. It was his inspiration to get better.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 3

Anthony says, “in retrospect, cancer was the worst and best, thing to happen to me. If you can beat it, you have this zest for life you might never have had, a feeling for what it is truly about, a need to go out and live.” He continues, “I don’t think I would have been the man I am, have the passion I have, without getting sick.”

1972 Pontiac Ventura 4

Anthony’s next car was a 1977 Buick Century, a car that is not necessarily very big in enthusiast circles. The build was so successful that it sold at Barrett Jackson. Anthony, not only walked away with a nice chunk of change in his pocket but also a reputation for quality builds and most importantly, a niche to enable him to stand out from the competition.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 6


For his next build, Anthony wanted to focus on a car that was not receiving any attention from other customizers or within the enthusiast community. He found the 1972 Pontiac Ventura you see here in Detroit Michigan and bought it with the proceeds from his sale of the Buick Century.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 5

Anthony wanted to build the Ventura around a theme. First he chose vintage Trans Am racing. As time passed, his theme evolved to that of a street car with a Trans Am influence. A sort of mix of the classic with the modern.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 7

Speed and power was important with this build. Anthony installed a Pontiac 400 stroked to 455 cubic inches. A mild cam upgrade is added in addition to compression bumped to 10:1. Power is put into motion through a Legend LG700 five-speed transmission.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 9

Tubular upper/lower control arms and a 1-1/8 inch sway bar is used to manage the vehicle. AA1 coilovers are located on all four corners with stopping power coming from CPP four-wheel disc brakes, 12-inches in front and 11-inches in back. A GM 10-bolt axle housing 3.23:1 gears on an Eaton Posi differential is modulated by a Detroit Speed Quadralink rear suspension.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 8

Rather than choosing a color he likes, Anthony did his research to find what color combination would look best on the printed page. Since the vehicle was his marketing piece, he wanted to be sure it presented well. The shade he ultimately chose is 2006 Toyota Voodoo Blue.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 10

The front splitter and rear spoiler were made by hand of aluminum. Trim and marker lights to were removed to give the vehicle a cleaner look. Vent windows were replaced with one-piece glass from a Nova and the taillights came off of a 1968 Firebird.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 13

For the wheels, Anthony selected Centerline Telstar 17×9 wheels that he had powder coated in a flat poly-gold. The resulting wheels were wrapped in 245/45/17 BF Goodrich G-Force Comp 2 rubber shaved sidewalls.

1972 Pontiac Ventura 14

The end result is nothing short of stunning. Even more remarkable than the build itself was Anthony’s determination to overcome something so bad with so much zest as to make it good. That in and of itself makes this build even more amazing.




Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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