Cousins: Camaros, Firebirds seize spotlight at AACA museum

AACA Museum celebrates 50th birthday of GM's F-body cousins -- Camaro and Firebird | Photos by Nick Kurczewski
AACA Museum celebrates 50th birthday of GM’s F-body cousins — Camaro and Firebird | Photos by Nick Kurczewski

With the introduction of the Chevrolet Camaro in 1966, followed one year later by its mechanical twin cousin, the Pontiac Firebird, an all-out performance battle was officially launched between General Motors and the Ford Motor Company. Targeted squarely at the Mustang, Ford’s runaway sales hero that had been launched for the 1964½ model year, the GM duo had a tremendously difficult task ahead of them: unseat the very vehicle that inspired the term “pony car.” Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint convertible

1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint carried inline 6-cylinder engine that packed 215 horsepower
1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint carried inline 6-cylinder engine that packed 215 horsepower

It’s no surprise that John Z. DeLorean, who gave us the Pontiac GTO, wanted to do something different with the new Firebird being offered by his Pontiac Division of General Motors. That something different was the Firebird Sprint.

For an additional and mere $116, the Sprint was equipped with Pontiac’s overhead-cam, inline six-cylinder engine, three-speed floor-shifted transmission, high-performance tires and special badging. Continue reading

Mecum heads to Southern California for collector car auction

A lavishly customized 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille is an Anaheim feature | Mecum Auction photos
A lavishly customized 1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille is an Anaheim feature | Mecum Auction photos

Mecum Auctions rolls into Southern California on Thursday for its annual three-day sale at the Anaheim Convention Center, with about 750 muscle cars, customs and classics offered for bidding. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

The 1979 Pontiac Trans Am is emblazoned with the famous golden eagle, aka screamin' chicken, on its hood
The 1979 Pontiac Trans Am is emblazoned with the famous golden eagle, aka screamin’ chicken, on its hood

Still steamed that you missed out on that 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, the Smokey and the Bandit promo car that sold at Barrett-Jackson for a whopping $550,000 while actor Burt Reynolds looked on from the podium?

Fret not because the Pick of the Day is an essentially similar 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am in the same black paint and gold trim. And while this one might not have the celebrity provenance of the Barrett-Jackson car, it doesn’t have the outlandish price tag, either. Continue reading

My Classic Car: Dan’s 1987 Pontiac Formula Firebird

Top down | Dan Groppenbecker photos
Top down | Dan Groppenbecker photos

I had a 1988 Pontiac Formula Firebird when was a young man, but we live in a city where there are many hills and rear-wheel drive is not ideal. It was my everyday driver and I had to sell to get a front wheel-drive car. Continue reading

Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas: 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 455 Super Duty

day6_74PontiacFirebirdtransam_5daysleftEditors note: This is the sixth in a 10-day series featuring cars to be sold September 24-26 during Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas auction.

The 1974 Pontiac Firebird and Trans Am Super Duties were the last of the high-performance cars from the ’70s. A total of 943 were produced for the 1974 model year. Of that number, only 212 were equipped with the Pontiac 455 Super Duty engine and 4-speed transmission, and this is one of them, with less than 9,500 actual miles.

Continue reading

My Classic Car: Fox family’s 1969 Pontiac Trans Am

The 1969 Trans Am | Fox Family photo
The 1969 Trans Am | Fox Family photo

This story started in 1994. I had heard that dealership that was close by was selling out and closing the doors. Someone had told me that they had some old Pontiac dealer signs that they were going to sell. I have been a sign collector for a long time and had a soft spot in my heart for Pontiac.

So I called one of the brothers that owned the dealership, it was in Valdese, North Carolina, and he gave me a date and time to meet with him and look at the signs. My wife and son went with me on that day.

When we got there, my wife and myself went with the owner to look at the signs downstairs. My son stayed upstairs and said he would look around and wait on us. What he had came across was some old cars that were in another room next to the old showroom of the business. One car had a car cover on it.

My wife and myself had no idea what my son had found upstairs. We bought the signs and were working on a time to come back and pick them up.

When we got back upstairs my son came to us and said you are going to believe what I found. He said follow me and we went to the room that had the cars in it. There was a 1965 GTO convertible, a 1962 Corvair pickup, 1962 356 Porsche, but the one that had the cover on it was best of all — a 1969 Trans Am.

We looked at all of the cars over and asked if these cars were for sale. The brother told us that all the cars belonged to his brother, the other owner of the dealership, but he would ask and let us know.

A period of time went by. Finally one morning I got a phone call and it was the owner of the cars. He told me that they were all for sale and we agreed on a time to meet. There were many people asking about the cars, but we were the first.

We got to the dealership, my wife and son and myself. He asked what we were interested. The Trans Am was the pick for all of us. We would have liked to have all of them, but money, you know.

My son and myself took the Trans Am for a drive. When we got back were talking with the owner about the price for the ar I noticed my wife was talking to a man and a woman in the showroom. The man looked upset and he stormed out after saying something to the woman he was with him. My wife told us later that the man told her that he was there to talk with the owner about buying the Trans Am and had been asked to be there the previous day but couldn’t make it.

I asked my wife why the guy left so mad. She told us that she told him that the Trans Am was already sold, that we had just bought it.

And that was when the blamed the woman that was with him for missing out on the deal because he could not come the day before.

But it all worked out good for all of us. We got all of the dealership signs and the Trans Am and to this day we still have them.

— Tommy Fox, Mooresville NC

My Classic Car: Merv’s ‘wrong number’ 1969 Pontiac Firebird

The wrong number brought the right car | Merv Smith photo
The wrong number brought the right car | Merv Smith photo

In mid-August 2014, I was shopping online for a 1969 Pontiac Firebird and called a local British Columbia classic car dealer about a ’67 Firebird.

The person I talked to was Mike, the owner of the dealership. He informed me that he had an offer on the car and he would know by 10 a.m. the next morning if it was sold.

The next morning at 10 a.m. I called Mike to see if the car was sold. Someone other than Mike answered the phone ,so I asked to speak to Mike. When Mike came on the line I asked if the Firebird was available. To my surprise he said that it was, so I asked him to forward pictures of the car.

When I received the pictures I realized that it was not a ’67 but a ’69. At that point I also realized that this was not the car dealer I thought that I had called. I discovered that I had mistakenly dialed the number of a classic car dealer in Rockville, Maryland, in the U.S.A. instead of the one in Vancouver, Canada, and was talking to another sales person named Mike.

After we agreed on a price and I bought the car over the phone, I explained to Mike how I had mistakenly dialed the wrong number. Mike replied that he and the sales manager wondered how I knew about the car as they had just gotten the car in and had not advertised it yet.

It even had some very rare options for that year that I really wanted, including a special order color for that year.

I am still amazed how this happened, but makes me believe that there are such things as miracles.

— Merv Smith, Coldstream BC Canada

’73 Trans Am drives off with ‘best of’ honors at AutoFair

1973 Pontiac Trans Am declared Best of Show at Charlotte AutoFair | Charlotte Motor Speedway photo
1973 Pontiac Trans Am declared Best of Show at Charlotte AutoFair | Charlotte Motor Speedway photo

A 1973 Pontiac Trans Am was declared best of show at the AutoFair at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. The car is owned by Charlotte resident Mark Brantley, who noted that his first car also was a Trans Am.

Cars from nearly 50 car clubs were eligible for honors at the AutoFair. Brantley is a member of the Carolina Classic Pontiac Club.

His winning Trans Am was originally sold in Maryland, but Brantley found it in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area and spent four years on its restoration.

Fox Sports commentator Mike Joy noted that Brantley’s car looked like a 40-year-old time capsule that just rolled out of a Pontiac showroom.

Brantley rebuilt the engine and transmission, but tried to keep as much of the car as original as he could. For example, the only new components in the interior were the carpet and dash. He retained the original 8-Track and AM/FM stereo.

“It’s unbelievable,” Brantley said of having the car judged the best at AutoFair. “I didn’t think I would even come close.”

Brantley works as a mechanic and is on the staff at his church.

“I’m really proud of it,” he said of the Buccaneer Red car. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it.”

First runner-up honors went to a 1972 Opel GT owned by Keith Ludham of Cookeville, Tennessee, who also won the best restoration by an owner trophy. Second-runnerup was a 1967 Ford Fairlane GT owned by Chris and Rachel King of Minneapolis, North Carolina.