The May 2007
featured car was the
Ď74 Firebird Esprit of Jim Suva. Here is his story:
In 1974 a new TV series aired called The Rockford Files
starring James Garner. Mr. Garnerís character Jim Rockford drove a Pontiac
Firebird Esprit. I fell in love with this car immediately. So I purchased a used
1974 Firebird Esprit that was gold and had a black interior. (Rockford drove a
gold and tan interior version.) I only kept the car one year before I sold it.
The Rockford Files went through Firebirds from 1974 through
the 1978 model year. I have always wanted to buy one over the years.
Fast forward to November 2002. I was looking for a used car
for myself and found a 1977 Firebird Esprit on the Internet. It was gold with a
The Firebird only had 63,000 miles on it and it was in great
survivor shape. I am the fifth owner of the car. The Firebird was purchased new
in 1977 in Oregon to a lady who was about 50 years old, who gave the car to her
ministerís wife in the late 1980ís. The ministerís wife kept it for a number of
years and sold it to another gentleman around the year 2000. In March of 2002
that gentleman sold the Firebird to another gentleman named Mike in Rhode
Island. Mike sold it to me. What is nice about this Firebird is that it has only
been owned by people over 45 years old. So it has not been abused.
Once I bought the Firebird, I contacted Jim at Pontiac
Historic Service for a copy of the original build sheet. The Firebird was built
in Ohio and shipped to a dealer in Oregon. The car originally had a rear spoiler
and a stripe, which I believe was removed at the dealership. It also had wire
wheels, that Mike (owner #4) switched out with a set of Rally 2 wheels to make
the car look like the Rockford Files car.
Since purchasing the Firebird, I have replaced the wheel-well
chrome all around, added a correct AM/FM radio with two rear speakers. Of course
I have done some regular maintenance like brakes, heater core, water pump and
The Firebird has a 305 engine, power steering and brakes. It
also has air conditioning and a tilt steering column with a gold Formula
steering wheel. These are the only options on the car.
I used the Firebird as a daily driver for about 11 months. It
is now retired as an antique vehicle with just over 69,000 miles on it. It
sports the same license plate number that was Jim Rockfordís on the TV show (853
I have shown the Firebird at a few local car shows and it is
received well. A lot of people actually ask me if this is an original from the
TV show. The nice thing about this Firebird is that it is a star car replica.
Since everyone wants a General Lee Charger, KITT Trans Am, or a Batmobile, my
car is special. Not too many Rockford Files Firebirdís running around. Plus,
there are a lot of Trans Am and Formula Firebirds, so it is cool to see the
Esprit as one of a few examples still out there.
Plans for the future are to have the Firebird repainted and
have some minor dings and dents taken out. As luck would have it, I met a
gentleman in California who gave me the original color-based codes from an
actual surviving Rockford Firebird.
I have also had the opportunity to talk to someone who
actually supplied the Firebirds to both the TV series and the Rockford Movies in
the 90ís. He gave me a lot of background information on the Firebirds. But that
is another story.
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