ST.?CLAIRSVILLE -- "A quarter mile with the Judge."
That is the title of a column that local attorney Frank Fregiato will be writing for an internationally published magazine, The Legend.
Winner of the prestigious Golden Quill Award, The Legend is the monthly magazine of the GTO association of America (GTOAA).
Fregiato, who owns a 1966 Convertible and a 1968 Hardtop GTO, subsequently joined the GTOAA, an organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the Pontiac GTO and offer enthusiasts opportunities to share their common interest.
A lifelong car enthusiast, Fregiato is very proud to own two of the legendary Pontiac GTOs. The judge explained that the GTO was the original muscle car. Developed under its flamboyant engineer John Z. DeLorean, it was originally produced from 1964-'74. The GTOAA publication his column is to appear in is dedicated to these denizens of the drag strip and contains articles on restoration and technical information, as well as feature articles on members' GTOs, performance tips, and GTO history along with feature columns by knowledgeable Pontiac enthusiasts.
Fregiato is active as member of the GTO association, attending conferences and having the honor of his two cars being featured in issues of the magazine. Eventually he became an attorney for the GTOAA, and penned a column for the magazine titled, "Do We Finally Have a Lobbyist?"
"It is all about how misguided government regulation that should not be applied to seldom-driven classic cars could cripple the hobby," said Fregiato, quickly adding that the column would not be a cut-and-dried droning of legal jargon. "I have my own writing style and they (The Legend) had to tone it down a bit for their magazine."
"I received a lot of response to the first article," said Fregiato. "The magazine goes to Canada and overseas and I had positive feedback from all over."
Invited to write a monthly column for the publication, Fregiato said his son came up with a title that works on many levels, "A quarter mile with the Judge." The quarter mile referencing drag racing and the "Judge" was an ostentatious model of the GTO. Fregiato, known for his personal flair and distinctive style, agreed that it seemed an appropriate moniker for his column.
Fregiato appears in his photo below the article in the magazine in a black sleeveless t-shirt flexing his physique between his two prized "Goats". The term "Goat" is an affectionate nickname given the car, as much for its defiant, stripped-to-the-basics personality as for the letters in its name and the owners take pride in that aspect of the vehicle's lore. "I am really just a regular sort of guy, I was raised right here on the river," said Fregiato with a chuckle. "I think maybe I fit in with the muscle car crowd a little better than I do with the country club crowd."
Legend has it that Pontiac stole the GTO name from the equally legendary Ferrari 250 GTO, a car whose name was an acronym for "Gran Turismo Omologato" but that subject probably will not be debated in his column, which will not focus solely on legal issues.
"I pretty much have free reign on the subject matter," said the Judge adding that next month's issue will feature an article covering the possible damaging consequences to pre-unleaded gasoline engines from the ethanol content of gas at the pumps rising to 15 percent.
The judge added that he is not as talented in the mechanical areas, "You would not want me rebuilding a carburetor," he quipped. His recent article on differing state regulations regarding historical vehicles displays both his love for the American Muscle car and his passion to keep these vehicles on the open highway where they once roamed free, "While these cars are pre-emission control, they do not make any significant impact on the environment," the judge said lobbying for his cause. "They are driven occasionally by their owners, they are not driven over long distances and as such any air pollution is minimal."
While Fregiato remains humble about his writing for the publication, it is clear from talking with the judge that it is a labor of love and his passion and enthusiasm should provide readers with many interesting articles in the years to come.
Pontiac enthusiasts who want more information on the GTO Association of America can contact them at PO Box 213, Timnath, CO 80547 or visit their web site at www.gtoaa.org. where copies of the magazine can be purchased on their club store page.
Palmer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org