Thanks to the new members that have joined recently. Thanks to Sherloyn Kennel, Ben Kenion, Stephen Martin, Bob Schneider and the other contributors to this issue!
Also many thanks to Todd Stahr, Eric Vicker and the others on their continuing technical help to our members on our message board and Facebook Group at www.facebook.com/groups/firebirdclub.
All of the issues of the Eagle have been processed and mailed on time. Problems with the post office due to weather and absences due to the pandemic have caused some issues to be received late or not at all. Contact us and we send replacement copies as long as supplies last.
Special thanks to Mark Neumann who is now helping us with copy editing and proof reading the EAGLE. Look for another of his "Birds in Flight" columns which is now a regular item in the Eagle.
There may be delays in fulfilling store orders as the volunteer staff is consolidating trips to the post office and mailing items less often.
We once again have all sizes of polo/golf shirts (L, XL & XXL) back in stock. Available from the club store in this issue or online at the clubís website.
I am pleased to announce that we have now published NFTAC Technical Sections Volume I in CD format. This means that all 3 Tech Section volumes are now available in print, CD or emailed formats.
We have now have published Volume III of the tech sections and it contains topics, questions and answers published in the Eagle from 2008 to current. It is available in printed and CD formats and can also be emailed. Various tech section combos are also available in the club store. All of the tech sections are indexed by category such as electrical, suspension, etc. for easy reference and accessibility.
We have now issued plastic membership cards to all members. All current members should have received the plastic membership card. As the new membership card is plastic it is meant to be permanent and will no longer include your membership expiration date. Your membership expiration date and your number can always be found on the label on each issue of the printed EAGLE and other club mailings. You can always call, email or text us if you ever need a replacement card, your membership number or your expiration date.
We have expanded our list of free items that members can receive with 3 year membership or renewal. You can now receive either a free t-shirt, a tech CD (or emailed) or past issues of the Eagle in pdf format on CD (or emailed). We offer a 3 year membership or renewal rate for $95 or $125 for members outside the USA. We also have a 3 year eMembership for $65 which also includes the free items. Save money and get a t-shirt or tech sections on CD (or emailed) or Eagles on CD (emailed)!
We have a club message board. You can access it through the club website at www.firebirdtaclub.com or directly at http://board.firebirdtaclub.com . We have a members only section of the message board. The club has a blog located at http://blog.firebirdtaclub.com . The Club photo gallery is located at http://photos.firebirdtaclub.com .
A result of the full color Eagle magazine is that we are now able to offer free classified ads to members that now include one color photo and contain 50 words. This is because we no longer have a restriction on the pages where color ad photos can be placed.
The club website has a "Members Only" section on the website. This section contains technical staff contact information, recommended repair shops, spare parts lists that members have sent in as well as complete current and past issues of the member magazine.. You can use the user id and password on page 3 of each Eagle or you can get a personal id and password. To do so, register and then login to the message board and send a message to us with a reply in this section or via email. This allows you to access the Members Only section of the website and allows you to post items in the For Sale and Wanted sections of the Message Board as well as post photos in the Club Photo Gallery.
You can now find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/firebirdclub and twitter in the groups/clubs section. Our Facebook group now has over 11,000 members. We now have an Instagram page at firebirdandtransmclub.
Classified ads are FREE to members and now include up to 50 words and one photograph of your car or item. Classified ads will now appear in the Eagle, the eEagle, on our website, on our message board and on Facebook and Twitter.
Remember we will send out the eEagle, our email newsletter in addition to the regular Eagle for members that have given us their email address. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe and start preparing for the show and driving season!!
(top photo: Ď98 Formula WS6 of Thomas Rusch from Casa Grande, Arizona)
Rick McLaughlin / McLaughlin Trans Am Museum / McLaughlin Motor Cars Scam update
There is a lot happening with the Rick McLaughlin Scam and I am asking for some more final bits of information.
A new investigation has gotten underway which is chronicling years of title fraud between Ohio and other states. I am asking anyone who has a car purchased from scamming Rick McLaughlin to send me their info and I will forward to the Ohio Attorney General. As we know Ricks’ s Trans Am Museum is a shell company with all money being funneled through McLaughlin Motor Cars. That has ended but the state wants a list of any cars purchased from Rick. most likely you will find that there is still an active title under McLaughlin Motors… and guess what … illegal!
We are coming to the end so anyone, even those who have civil suits against Rick please contact Detective Hart and Tracey Chapman. There is a little time left for those who where scammed to be made whole.
Recap for those joining the conversation late: 1 year ago, I purchased a 1989 Trans Am Turbo from Rick McLaughlin, after a lengthy battle my car arrived minus ownership papers and keys. I waited and begged Rick McLaughlin for the items and finally an envelop arrived with a forged MSO and other documents… During that time the West Virginia police and owner had contacted me, informing me Rick McLaughlin had stolen the car and my 50K dollars! Since then thanks to the online community we have located many other victims of Ricks scams including suspected insurance fraud, title fraud and grand theft auto and a host of other federal crimes.
Recently 3 people have been able to retrieve their cars from his chop shop in West VA, Jeff, Dennis and Jay are now reunited with their cars and one long term lawsuit was finally settled retuning a restored truck to Mark in Canada!
The federal case against Rick McLaughlin is coming to a close and with a plea bargain and or jail time likely. Hopefully all of the victims (including myself) will eventually be paid or Mr. McLaughlin will have a new address, some new friends and time to reflect on his crimes. We are still searching for some Trans Ams that Rick has sold illegally which are listed below.
Also below is a list of VIN numbers which have duplicate titles in McLaughlin Motor Cars name. Several of these owners have already been notified. If you have one of these cars you MUST contact the OHIO DMV investigative division to insure your car is correctly titled. If you know anyone who has been scammed or owed money by Rick McLaughlin please reach out and I will put you in touch with the authorities.
I want to again thank everyone for the continued support and prayers that this career criminal will no long be able to hurt those simply wanting to enjoy an amazing hobby.
Editor’s Note: Ben Kenion can be contacted on our Facebook group (www.facebook.com/groups/firebirdclub) by searching for his posts.
Member Won Bandit Dream Giveaway
In April of 2016 we found out we were the winners of the 2015 Bandit Dream Giveaway Sweepstakes. Ironically, one of the previous owners who had restored the car was actually from Chicago not far from where my wife who is a native of Norridge, IL was born and raised. Since receiving the car, we have joined the National and Southern California chapter of POCI and Karen is now serving as Chapter secretary and we regularly attend car shows. A side note is the impact the original Smokey and the Bandit movie had on me as well as the car as a kid who saw the movie in the theater when it first came out at the impressionable age of 16! Not to mention the texts I get from family and friends to give me a hard time every time that movie is on.
Editor’s Note: The Bandit Dream Giveaway Sweepstakes has been promoted by the Club.
‘79 Trans Am SE Bandit of Michael and Karen Bianchino from Anaheim Hills, California (winner of Bandit Dream Giveaway Sweepstakes)
2021 Pontiac Trans Am, Release Date and Price!
The iconic muscle beast has always been a synonym for an American sports car for decades, and the legend is still alive.
As a brand Pontiac may have been discontinued 9 years ago, but some enthusiasts keep the famous name still alive, a company called Trans Am Depot builds extraordinary custom, brand-new Trans Am models, which unmistakable bring the flavor of the famous Firebird.
The company is now preparing something completely new, a model that will compete with the beastly Dodge Challenger Hellcat.
This new version will come out as the 2021 Pontiac Trans Am, sometime in the next year most likely.
Being a custom car we all are curious to know on what model is this legend based on, the answer is clear and it comes from GM, 2021 Pontiac Trans Am will come based heavily on another iconic legend, Chevy Camaro.
The Trans Am is a reworked, brand new Camaro SS, but of course there are a lot of modifications . Most of them are in styling terms, since you can see a lot of details that bring the iconic model flavor.
Knowing the Camaroís pretty angular approach, itís no surprise that the 2021 Pontiac Trans Am most resembles versions from the late 70s, such as the legendary Bandit.
The modifications include various tweaks to the exterior, particularly in a completely new body kit, beside bumpers and the similar things you can also see a beak-like front fascia, as well as taillights that feature those legendary horizontal stripes.
Obviously it has a unique set of wheels, as well as the famous firebird print on the hood.
The mechanical part has a lot of upgrades as well, starting from a new rear differential, Eibach springs, roll cage and five-point harness, carbon fiber body panels, all these upgrades will have a high impact on overall performances without a doubt.
The interior of this car for sure will be pretty familiar, the Trans Am Depot didnít take a lot of time for a cabin since it would make the vehicle more expensive, thatís why the dashboard is pretty much the same as in the Camaro, including the instrument cluster. There are a lot of customization on it of course, mostly in badges, color schemes and things like that. Inside the car there are also new seats with exclusive stitching and similar details.
When we talk about the standard equipment remember that this model is built based on the Camaro SS, so you can count on things like power adjustable seats, an 8-inch infotainment system, and all other features that characterize this trim level.
The vehicle is based on a familiar 6.2-liter V8 unit of course, but there are a lot of upgrades too. The standard models come with typical engine tweaks, a completely new version will come for the 2021 Pontiac Trans Am, which will be 455 Super Duty.
Apart from having numerous modifications that are typical for engine upgrades, this unit has actually been stroked to huge 7.5-liters, or 455 cubic inches, in accordance with the modelís name. So you can imagine how powerful the engine will be, as latest reports show, max output will go between 1,000 and 1,100 horsepower, which seems more than enough to be able to compete with already monstrous Dodge Challenger Demon, which is good for about magnificent 840 horsepower.
We can easily conclude that this will be a real drag beast, according to some reports we can expect to do a quarter-mile in less than 9 seconds.
This beast will probably come sometime in the next year and for sure it wonít be cheap. Latest news are suggesting a price tag of around 190.000 dollars, which is twice higher if compared to the "standard" model.
There were also reports that GM plans to revive Trans Am, as well as Pontiac as a brand, but it seems that wonít happen in the near future.
Bandits Rumbled through
If you had been looking for your fix of classic cars, The Bandits brought it straight to you on June 28, 2019. Camdenton, Missouri was the host to a parade of Pontiac Trans Ams as they rumbled through town. The parade was in honor of Smokey and the Bandit.
The event began in Texas and went all the way to Kansas City, Missouri. With over 110 cars in attendance, it was hard to miss. John Kelsey, owner of Kelsey Tires in Camdenton, is one of the main reasons the group decided to make a stop in town. Kelsey’s museum is home to a number of rare and vintage automobiles.
The event is not only in honor of Smokey and the Bandit, but also to Burt Reynolds himself. Kelsey Tires supplied the tires on one of the vehicles Reynolds drove in the movie, and is one of the many claims to fame Kelsey enjoys.
The Bandits enjoyed this while in town, with buses shuttling drivers to and from Kelsey’s location on US-54. The drivers made their way to Camdenton Middle School and park at the building. Lunch was held for the group inside the building, with Kelsey and his wife hosting a number of memorabilia pieces inside the cafeteria. The public was welcomed to take pictures and see the cars as they came through, but it was not considered a public event.
Kelsey says that this group is important as they recognize a significant era in this vehicles history. He says that the era of Reynolds and Smokey and the Bandit was important to tire salesman and classic car lovers. Being a salesman at the time of its release, he says it’s a tribute to an era that is loved by many.
"For those of us who were active in that era and in the tire business, it set the tone for that car and was very important," Kelsey said.
The Real Story Behind Pontiac's Black and Gold Trans Am
by Jeffrey N Ross, Yahoo
This instantly recognizable package is more than just a movie car.
The 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit may have immortalized the black-and-gold Pontiac Trans Am, but this special edition model was actually created by GM design boss Bill Mitchell to celebrate Pontiac’s 50-year anniversary in 1976. These cars were designated with the Y82 RPO code, and they featured the iconic black paint job with gold accents including gold pin striping, gold grille, gold wheels and, of course, the gold Screaming Chicken decal on the hood. The Y82 Trans Ams were built in low volume from 1976 through 1978, but this "Bandit" paint job carried on (under various other RPO codes) through the second-gen Firebird’s final year in 1981.
In 1977, the Y82 code represented only the examples with t-tops, while the hardtops showed Y81 on the build sheet. Compared to the more than 15,000 Y82/Y81 Trans Ams built in ‘77, the 1978 model year saw this number drop down to just 3,643, and t-tops were also added as standard equipment with this package. With the Firebird’s 1979 redesign, the RPO code was changed to Y84 for the car’s final three years of production.
Here are two excellent examples of the Y82 Trans Am, and both are available through Carolina Muscle Cars for $75,000 each.
1976 Pontiac Trans Am Y82 Limited Edition
Only 2,590 examples of the 1976 Pontiac Trans Am Y82 50th Anniversary Limited Edition were ever built, and only 319 were built with the 455 H.O. engine and without the available Hurst t-tops. The 1976 model year was the last year for the 455 CID V8, and it was paired to a four-speed manual. This particular ‘76 Y82 is a numbers-matching car with a factory-original interior and a restored exterior including new paint and graphics. This Y82 Limited Edition is spotless and ready to show, and it comes with documentation from Pontiac Historical Services, original build sheet, ownership history and more.
1977 Pontiac Trans Am Y82 Special Edition
The popularity of Smokey and the Bandit led Pontiac to increase production of the Trans Am Special Edition to more than 15,000 units offered with a 400 CID or Oldsmobile 403 CID V8, and this Y82 is just one of 3,760 equipped with the W72 high-performance 400 CID V8 engine and an automatic transmission. This, too, is a numbers-matching Trans Am that was fully restored including all-new body panels and an all-new interior, and it also comes with the factory build sheets.
Black and gold Trans Ams are everywhere these days, but if you want a true Y82 Trans Am, contact Carolina Muscle Cars for more information on either of these rare and immaculate Pontiacs.
Visit to Pontiac Museum
I had an opportunity to visit both the Pontiac Museum and the Route 66 Museum which are both in Pontiac, Illinois Here are the photos from the visit.
The history of the Pontiac-Oakland Museum & Resource Center in Pontiac, Illinois began August 1st, 2010 when Tim Dye was on his way back to his home in Oklahoma from a Pontiac show near Chicago. As he drove south on I-55, he noticed signs for the city of Pontiac. As Tim is curious about anything having to do with the Pontiac name, he pulled into town. As he explored the city, he visited the International Walldog Mural & Sign Art Museum which led to conversations with the mayor of Pontiac.
These conversations led to a long series of emails, phone calls, and personal visits to begin the process of creating a new museum were worked out.
The Pontiac City Council approved the museum’s creation on January 3, 2011, and work began immediately on the remodeling of the museum’s new space. The creation of the museum was aided by the hard work of many people. Special thanks to Tim and Penny Dye, Mayor Robert Russell, City of Pontiac Administrator, Bob Karls, Tourism Director, Ellie Alexander, Pontiac Building Supervisor, Milt Hanson, his crew and many more. Grand opening day took place on July 23, 2011, less than one year from the time Tim first visited Pontiac.
Johnson Press Visit
Also while in Pontiac, Illinois I visited out printer, Johnson Press.
This was my first opportunity to meet with the people I have been communicating by phone and email with and to see where our magazine has been printed since 2012.
Bruce Magers and I were led on an informative tour of the plant with our Customer Service Rep, Teresa Masching. It was interesting to see the care that they take in printing each magazine. It was amazing how technology has improved the printing process since the last time I took a tour of a printing plant. The reduced size of the machines is the first thing you notice.
The visit concluded with a light lunch with Teresa and plant manager, Steve "Buzz" Zeller.
Thanks again to everyone at Johnson Press of American for the welcome and the continued fine job done with our magazines!
The Definitive Firebird & Trans Am Guide 1967-1969 by Rocky Rotella
In the mid-1960s, Ford Motor Company took the automotive world by storm with the release of its new "pony car," the Ford Mustang. It was the right car for the right time, and it caught General Motors by surprise. One year later, after seeing the Mustang’s enormous sales success, General Motors announced the development of its own pony-car platform, code-named "Panther," to compete with the tremendously popular Mustang. And what a competition it became. Chevrolet Camaros and Pontiac Firebirds hit the market as 1967 models, and the world clamored for more of these new Mustang killers. These F-Body cars became some of the most popular enthusiast cars of all time.
In The Definitive Firebird & Trans Am Guide 1967-1969, Pontiac expert and historian Rocky Rotella examines each production year of the first generation of Firebirds. Production figures, option codes, running changes, model year changes and variances, rarity, collectability, interviews with engineers, and more are thoroughly covered in what is sure to become the ultimate Firebird reference book. Complementing the detail and year-by-year analysis is a combination of archival photography from the launch of these cars and beautiful color photos of original and restored examples.
Whether you are into the first generation of F-Body convertibles, Formula 400 performance models, the special overhead cam Sprint 6s, or even the first Trans Ams of 1969, this book tells the entire story of these immensely popular cars. It is an excellent addition to any pony car, muscle car, or any enthusiast’s library.
The fresh-off-the-press hardbound book, priced at $39.95, is available through Car Tech Books at 1-800-551-4754 or at www.cartechbooks.com . It is also available on Amazon.
THE ICONIC FIREBIRD ON THE HOODS OF TRANS AMS
The hood graphics that branded the Pontiac Trans Ams of the 1970s were almost predestined, with the link of Native American mythos with this General Motors division dating back to its 1926 inception as Oakland's lower- priced six-cylinder companion car. Named after the Michigan city and the legendary Native American chief, the first Pontiac cars would wear Chief Pontiac's likeness, and the arrowhead symbol that followed it was subtle in comparison to the intimidating power of the firebird to come.
Pontiac's quickly engineered version of the late-to-market Chevrolet Camaro adopted an appropriate name previously used on General Motors' three Motorama gas turbine experimental cars of the 1950s. The design of the red and black firebird badges fitted to the fenders and tail panels of first generation Firebird coupes and convertibles were traditional and featured tucked-in wings.
The firebird emblem would receive a restyling along with the cars it appeared on in 1970, most dramatically as an 8.5-inch decal on the top of the Trans Am's body color Endura front bumper. For the first time, the Firebird's firebird would spread its wings and spit flame from its beak, and the relatively subtle 1970-1972 Trans Am would get a shot of attitude in 1973 that would define it for the rest of its days.
David Newhardt's book, Firebird Trans Am, discusses how the soon-to-be-famous big firebird came to be:
Bill Porter remembers, 'Norm James, the designer of the 1957 Firebird III show car, had been in the airport at Phoenix and had seen this stylized firebird, with its wings spread and sort of feathered. He did a decal firebird on the hood of the Firebird III. It was much more stylized and much more angular than what ended up on the hood of the modern Trans Am. I remembered it, and it gave me an idea of a device to get the hood scoop to look like it belonged on the car, by wrapping these wings around it- it kind of sucked [the scoop] into the surface of the vehicle, integrated it. I laid one out, and a graphic designer named Norm Inouye helped refine it.'
Bill went on to explain that GM styling director Bill Mitchell was furious to find this design being applied to one of the prototype cars, and ordered it removed. John Schinella, head of the Pontiac Design studio and a fan of the concept, took the controversial hood emblem, and with help from 3M, made it more production friendly, creating three for three red, white and blue Trans Ams for presentation to management. Bill Mitchell was finally swayed by seeing a black Trans Am accented with a gold bird, done in the same mold as his black and gold cafe racer motorcycle; he relented to offer it as an option for 1973.
Regular Production Order WW7, costing $55, was available on Trans Ams in three colors: a blue-flamed bird on Cameo White cars, an orange-flamed bird on Buccaneer Red cars and a pale green-flamed bird on Brewster Green cars. These hood-hugging firebirds were a generous 45.5 inches wide and 44.5m inches tall, and were an instant success.
Helping to celebrate the Pontiac Motor Division's 50th anniversary in 1976 was a Trans Am Special Edition painted Starlite black with gold pinstripes, lettering and a striking gold firebird on its hood. This car would inspire the 1977 Special Edition Trans Ams that achieved huge fame with the Smokey and the Bandit movie. A similar black and gold livery and gothic-style script theme was available in 1978, and would continue in modified form from 1979 to 1981.
To mark the Trans Am's tenth anniversary in 1979, Pontiac released the biggest 'bird to date, one whose wing tips wrapped on to the fenders and separated the body's Platinum Silver paint from the roofs charcoal paint. The Turbo Trans Ams of 1980 and 1981 traded the shaker for an offset hood bulge, so the firebird was redesigned with a long flame that curled up from its beak onto the bulge.
When the aerodynamic third-generation Firebird and Trans Am debuted in 1982, the bird decal remained on the nose, albeit in smaller form; a larger hood firebird would be optional through 1987. Although the firebird would remain an integral part of the Firebird and Trans Am until the model's demise in 2002, it would never again have such a prominent size or placement.
Hood-spanning firebirds of all sizes and colors are reproduced today by Phoenix Graphix and Stencils and Stripes Unlimited, and can also be purchased from Classic Industries, Ames Performance Engineering and Year One.
PONTIAC OAKLAND AUTO MUSEUM
The Pontiac-Oakland Museum in Pontiac, Illinois opened July 23, 2011 and is home to 15 classic and antique Oakland and Pontiac cars, thousands of artifacts from dealer promotional items to signs, posters, and sales training aids, and an entire library filled with automotive-related print materials. The museum is located at 205 North Mill Street in Pontiac, Illinois.
Come see one of the world's greatest collections of Pontiac and Oakland automobile brand items. Antique and Classic cars, thousands of dealer artifacts, a comprehensive library of maps, brochures, original design drawings, service manuals.
For more information, 1-800-835-2055 or www.visitpontiac.org .
The Parts Place Inc.
630 Enterprise Ave.
POR-15. Available in engine enamels, high temperature and other formulas. See the complete list on the website. To order call by phone at 1-800-442-0411 or visit the website at www.thepartsplaceinc.com.
Ames Performance Engineering
P. O. Box 572
14 x 6" Rally I and II wheel trim ring - polished. For original wheels. New clip design. Appearances is very close to original. This part fits Rally I wheels perfectly. Also fit Rally II wheels.Part #: T111F. $49.95
3329 Colonel Rd.
1979 - 1981 Firebird and Trans Am Front Nose Bumper Cover Grille Insert Set, LH and RH
Brand new pair of black grilles for your 1979,1980, or 1981 Firebird. Exact fit for all 79, 80, and 81 Firebird including: Firebird, Trans Am, Formula, Esprit. These front nose bumper cover insert grilles are sold in a matched pair, one left hand and one right hand. Includes installation hardware set. Replaces original GM Part #ís 10010503 and 10010504 perfectly! Part #: GRI-2026. $159.95.
National Parts Depot
900 SW 38th Ave.
Starter: 1970-1979 for Firebird 400 engine. Manufacturer Reference #ís: 1109022. NPD Part #: C-2041-14A. $59.95 (+ $20 core charge).
Technical Sections Volume 2
A complete copy of all the Technical Sections, topics, questions and answers published in the EAGLE from 1998 to current. Available on CD-ROM for PC or Mac or in a printed version or emailed pdf. It is indexed by category such as electrical, suspension, etc. for easy reference and accessibility and contains over 150 pages and over 200 topics.
Available from the NFTAC by ordering on the website or by using the order form in each issue of the Eagle.
$15 plus $5 S & H for the CD and $20 plus $5 S & H in printed version.
It can be purchased as part of a 2 volume combo that contains Tech Sections Volume I and II (vol. II on CD) for $25 plus $5 S & H or Volume I and II both printed for $30 plus $10 S & H.
Eagle Issues on CD or emailed pdf
You can have the last years of the Eagle since 1998 easily accessible on your computer. Indexed by issue. These publications, which are no longer in print contain numerous and diverse articles and photos. Enjoy all the entertaining and informative stories that you can no longer get anywhere else and at a reasonable price.
Available from the NFTAC by ordering on the website at or by using the order form contained in each issue of the Eagle. $15 plus $5 S and H for the CD.