As the 1962 drag season drew to a close, it was obvious that Pontiac’s position at the top of the Super Stock hierarchy was weakening. Ford, Chrysler and Chevrolet were gaining on Pontiac with bigger engines and an ever-increasing supply of special parts, including weight-saving aluminum components and body panels. Pontiac engineers knew they had to have a lighter, more powerful car for 1963 in order to be competitive. The changes required to be competitive in the 1963 Super Stock racing season became a special Catalina bearing some serious modifications.
First the Catalina chassis was altered. Then approximately 120 holes were drilled in the sides of the frame rails, removing as much material as possible while maintaining a semblance of structural integrity, resulting in the “Swiss Cheese” frame moniker that remains today. Further modifications involved removing the front sway bar, insulation, and sound deadener. Aluminum body panels were also used wherever possible. Plexiglas windows replaced glass windows, even the cast iron exhaust manifolds were replaced with special high-flow aluminum units. The 421 V8 also got some attention with upgrades to increase horsepower. In total, the modifications to the body and chassis dropped 417 lbs bringing the car’s shipping weight to 3,308 lbs.
Pontiac produced 14 of these 1963 Super Duty 421 Catalina’s before General Motors ended factory sponsored racing in January 1963. I can only imagine the conversations that occurred in the engineer meetings as they discussed how to return to the top of Super Stock racing. Like the Pontiac engineers gathered to assess their situation in Super Stock racing, I realized, as a believer in Christ, I needed to make similar assessments. I came to the same conclusion that Pontiac did, changes needed to happen.
God has convicted me about several things in my life over the last several years, indicating changes were required. One area that needed a tune up was my time in God’s Word. Instead of an undisciplined, random approach to God’s Word it needed to become a daily meeting with the Almighty.
In Matthew a Pharisee asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment in the Law. Jesus replied: “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
This Commandment was going to be very difficult obey while not being in God’s Word on a daily basis. The big change I needed to make was to be in God’s Word every day. I needed to take time out of the busyness of each day to be influenced by God’s Word and to pray. It is one thing to be convicted, it is another thing to be convicted and employ changes. I didn’t want to just be convicted! The change to be consistent and daily with God’s Word has occurred. Meeting daily with God in the last 2 years has had a cumulative effect on my life. It has impacted my overall attitude, I follow and care about sports much less than I used to. I watch much less TV than I used to. I serve much more than I used to. I have been in the Theology Program for the last year, which has really been interesting to step towards the words of Jesus and love Him with my mind.
Similar to Pontiac that needed to make major changes in order to stay competitive in racing, so I realized my own need for an overhaul in order to be able to obey the words of Jesus in the greatest commandment.