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Member Stories and Photos (NEW) / '81 Bandit Tran Am of Santiago...
Last post by firebirdclub - December 06, 2022, 02:10:53 PM
This issue's featured car is the '81 Bandit Trans Am of Santiago Class from Springville, Alabama. Here is the story:

I purchased my Trans Am in 1981 at a dealership in Montgomery, Alabama. She was originally white with a gold hood bird, tan interior and an automatic transmission. She has taken me all the way to Maine and down to Miami, Florida before finally settling back in Montgomery due to a divorce and prior military service.
Financial strain forced me to drop my insurance. As fate would have it on May 4, 1984 — just two weeks after dropping my insurance — I was driving to work about 5:30 in the morning when it started raining so hard I could no longer see the road in front of me. The car began to bounce violently.

As I reached over to buckle my seat belt, I heard a loud bang. The rear window exploded and hit me in the back of my head! Then, my T-tops flew off. As I looked up into the sky, I could see that I was now in the middle of a tornado's funnel!

All around me, other cars (and even an 18-wheeler) were being tossed around like toys.
After my windows blew out, my car became a bit more stable.
Fortunately, my terror was over relatively quickly, but that same violent tornado went on to claim the lives of five local residents while cutting a path of destruction one-mile wide and several miles long.

Yes, we survived this event but it took years for me to get used to driving in the rain once again.
Meanwhile, the damage to my Pontiac was extensive. The paint on one side suffered thousands of rock chips. The rear window, driver's window and T-tops were each gone, and my hood was bent in half. The Trans Am looked really beat up.

I eventually purchased another hood, replaced the glass and got a new set of T-tops, but that was all I could afford to fix at the time.

Fast forward to 2005 when I finally decided to undertake a full restoration. I was transferred to Miami with my job but kept paying for the restoration here in Alabama.
During a visit back home to check up on the Trans Am's progress, I quickly discovered that nothing had been done in the past eight months. As I was speaking to the owner, bill collectors were hounding him on the phone. Obviously, something was wrong.

I then found a place in Miami called Trans Am Specialties who offered to take on my project, but I had to hire an attorney to get things moving. But, when my Pontiac showed up in Miami, all that arrived was a shell — no motor, transmission, front or rear end. The total loss was estimated at $18,000.
Trans Am Specialties proceeded to work their magic and replace all the missing parts. Just before they were ready to install the decals, I told them to stop — I decided to have the iconic Trans Am graphics [Airbrushed] here in Alabama by Impatient Creations.

During the resto-mod upgrades, I installed a 5-speed Tremec 600 TKO and FITECH fuel injection. The balanced and blueprinted 400 motor features Kaufman RAVI racing heads and a RAVI cam.
Exterior custom touches include sequential LED taillights and LED headlights. The cutout mufflers are controlled with a key fob.

All the pinstripes, lettering and 'Bird graphics were airbrushed and then sealed with a ceramic coating. Four stone guards that mirror the wheel flares in front of each wheel were also added. They perfectly frame the 17x9" Year One Snowflake wheels.

Inside, the original radio has been gutted and replaced with new internals featuring Bluetooth capabilities. A Dakota Dash provides modern gauges. The front seats have been replaced with Cordeaux units, and my shifter knob has had the numbers painted gold.

It took a total of 10 years to finish, but the wait was well worth it. My Trans Am has won various Best of Show awards plus First Place honors at the World of Wheels three different times.
Finally, at age 63, I have achieved my dream of having the ultimate Trans Am: Super Bandit 400.

Member Stories and Photos (NEW) / '99 Trans Am of Ben Schwandt
Last post by firebirdclub - December 06, 2022, 01:56:36 PM
Greetings! I recently sold my 2000 T-top WS-6 Trans Am and decided I needed another to replace it! I found this beauty advertised for sale in your Eagle publication, spoke with the seller and the rest is history!
I had it shipped from New Jersey to my home in Minnesota sight unseen. It's a beautiful car with only 21,000 miles on it. It is 1 of only 48 red WS-6 Trans Ams with a 6 speed. This Trans Am is a great addition to my black 1983 Trans am and my 2002 Collector edition convertible.

Ben Schwandt, Moorhead, Minnesota

Editor's Note: Photos of his 1983 and 2002 Trans Ams have appeared in the August 2022 issue of the Eagle.
Member Stories and Photos (NEW) / 1989 Trans Am GTA of Josh Weav...
Last post by firebirdclub - December 06, 2022, 01:39:09 PM
If you're a purist, this car isn't for you. I've always loved 3rd gen Firebird's, and when I started looking for my own there were some things I really wanted; T-tops, L98, digital dash, and flame red metallic paint just to name a few. Unfortunately, these aren't common because the digital dash was only available in 87/88 and the 5.7 with T-tops was only available after '89 (this is according to the GTA source page - except for export, so you could find this in Canada). Either way, it would be a tough find, but I did stumble across one with an intriguing story....The previous owner to this car had a flame metallic red '87 GTA with 58K miles and totaled it in the early 90's, but purchased it back from insurance hoping to repair it. After tearing into it, he saw that the body was too far gone, so he started searching for another car. He came across a theft recovered '89 gunmetal gray GTA, with 52K miles in New Jersey. The car was fine, but NJ law required it to have a reconstructed title, even though there was no damage. He checked it out and agreed to make the purchase. However, between the time he saw it and when he picked it up, someone stole the engine. He negotiated a new price with the insurance company and took it home.

He then decided to install the engine from his '87 into the '89 and while he was at it, also swapped the interior. He liked the Flame red metallic so much, that he repainted the 89 in this color (you can still see the gray behind the door panels). There were only 644 GTA's in '89 that were painted gunmetal gray. Keep in mind this was the mid 90's and nobody had a clue what these cars would be worth, and nobody cared about the build numbers at this point. So, over the course of 4 years, he swapped the engine, interior, and painted the car in his spare time. When he finally finished it in the late 90's, he had lost interest and put it in storage.

20 years later, he pulled it out of storage and decided to sell it. We made a deal and I brought it home and began a month's long cleanup process. The first stop was to my local mechanic, who couldn't believe the detail the guy went through on the engine swap. He said there are things that the previous owner kept and installed that most guys would not have reinstalled. He did a full service on the car, gutted the cats and installed frame connectors. Next, it was detailed with a ceramic coating and tuned with a new PROM. Then I spent months working on the odometer and DIC trying to correct the displays while not driving it to preserve the mileage until it was corrected.

It's probably a one-of-a-kind bird. Like I said, not a number matching pure car, but I feel one with some of the best options. It has about 55K miles (engine has about 4KBen Schwandt more), runs great and is a blast to drive! Thanks for checking it out!

Josh Weaver, Strasburg, Pennsylvania
News and Announcements / 'Birds in Flight
Last post by firebirdclub - December 06, 2022, 01:31:59 PM
'Birds in Flight
by Mark E. Neumann

Editor's Note: this is the tenth in a series of columns about interesting stories connected with Firebirds and Trans Ams.

First-Gen Firebirds and George Barris: A dynamic duo

We all know the custom car builder George Barris for his crazy movie and TV show cars – the Munster Coach, the Batmobile, the Green Hornet, and lots of other eye-opening projects.

But Barris, who passed away in November 2015, also had a penchant for Pontiac power. He designed a motorized stagecoach for the rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders, known for their hit songs "Cherokee Nation" and "Kicks." Called the Raiders Coach, the two 428 ci Pontiac V8s delivered 800 horsepower to the car. The band, which also did commercials for Pontiac when the GTO Judge debuted in 1969, took the Coach with them while touring (see pictures at the Raiders Coach Facebook page).

Barris also did custom paint work and body mods on several first-generation Firebirds for TV shows in the 1960s and 1970s, including "Groovy," a teenager situation TV series.. He customized a '67 Firebird and made a guess appearance on one of the episodes. He also produced a customized 'Bird for "A Boy, A Girl" – a movie starring Dino Martin (son of Dean). The convertible was basically stock except for a wild, flamed paint job.

Another Barris-customized Firebird crossed over the auction block recently at Mecum's Chattanooga, Tennessee auction. It was a 1968 Firebird convertible customized by Barris for the "Sounds of '68" variety show on ABC-TV. Barris built three copies of the car as giveaways at the end of the show's season to the best "Super Teen" musical talent.

The one that went on the auction block is believed to be the last remaining example; it was authenticated by George Barris and Barris Kustom Industries in 2006.

The styling cues that Barris developed for the car may have inspired some of the design work by Pontiac for the 1969 Firebird Trans Am, according to the car's information sheet.
The car has a matching number 400 c.i. motor and factory teal interior. PHS Services documentation and a build sheet indicate the car was assembled at a GM plant in Los Angeles and originally sold by a Sherman Oaks, California Pontiac dealership. It has an automatic transmission with Posi traction, air conditioning, tilt wheel, and it was priced at $5,072.16.

Barris's custom additions include simulated side air scoops, adjustable trunk mounted spoiler, unique hood, sequential taillights and unique bumpers front and rear, along with a side pipe exhaust.

In an interview with High Performance Pontiac in March 2008, Barris said he picked the Firebird for the "Sounds of '68" show because the car was "very youth oriented. I thought that car was the cat's meow for that show, and I could make the car even more appealing to the 15-35 age group through design and styling upgrades," he told HPP writer Christopher Phillip." I loved the car. It was really great."
Bidders took the car to $60,000 once it hit the auction block at Mecum, but it did not hit the reserve..
Clearly not a Raider's Coach, but a nice one-of-kind collector car with the George Barris touch.

Barris G. and Featherston D. "Barris TV and Movie Cars." MBI Publishing, 1996.

Mark enjoys taking rides in his 1974 Buccaneer Red Trans Am and serves on the copyediting team for The Eagle. He lives in Chandler, Arizona and belongs to the Valley of the Sun Pontiac Club. ( ).
News and Announcements / Meet the New Members!
Last post by firebirdclub - December 06, 2022, 01:26:44 PM
This topic highlights some of the new members that have joined the club (not the message board) recently and is the same list that appears in the latest printed Eagle club magazine. Welcome to the Club! Recent members may appear in a subsequent topic.

Thomas Prince, Gloucester, Virginia

Robert Bagby, Grandville, MIchigan
He has a '78 Trans Am.

Thomas Kauffman, Newport, Pennsylvania
Thomas has a 2000 black Firehawk t-top, a pewter metallic Trans Am WS-6 t-top and a 2002 black Trans Am WS-6 convertible.

Nicole Lloyd, Cincinnati, Ohio
Nicole has a '91 black Firebird Formula.

Connie Mann, Cartersville, Georgia
Connie has a '78 solor gold Trans Am Y88.

Marie Harsh, Canton, Ohio
Marie has a'95 red Trans Am.

Joseph M. Pekora, Delmont, New Jersey
Joseph has a 1979 10th Anniversary 400 4 speed Trans Am.

Jon Booher, Keller, Texas
He has a '79 white Trans Am.

Terry Miller, LaCrosse, Washington

Marcus Rangel, Dallas, Texas
Marcus has a '70 white Trans Am 400 Rami Air III with bright blue interior.

Charlie Jourdain, Pleasant Hill, California
Charlie has a '71 white Trans Am.

Ed Compton, Ovid, New York
He has a '67 dark green Firebird.

Ralph Anastasio, South Charleston, West Virginia - Ralph has a 2002 red WS-6 coupe.

Mark D Schieffer, Alden, New York

Marie Key, Summmerville, South Carolina

Kevin Mack, North Tonawanda, New York
Kevin has a '78 Trans Am.

William Markel, Caste Pines, Colorado

Paul Wawak, Denton, Texas
Paul has an '89 white turbo Trans Am and a 2002 yellow Collector's Edition Trans Am.

John Dewitte, Waretown, New Jersey
John has '96 red Firehawk which is #40 of 41 built in 1996 after many years of owning a '68 GTO
Upcoming Show Announcements / March 5, 2023 - 25th Annual Bu...
Last post by firebirdclub - December 01, 2022, 08:59:59 PM
25th Annual Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac-Cadillac-GMC Truck Show in the Desert, Mesa, AZ. .
Upcoming Show Announcements / June 11-15, 2023 - Bandit Run,...
Last post by firebirdclub - November 27, 2022, 12:12:41 AM
Bandit Run, from Texarkana to Atlanta.
Upcoming Show Announcements / June 2-4, 2023 - 23rd Annual P...
Last post by firebirdclub - November 27, 2022, 12:09:02 AM
23rd Annual Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Upcoming Show Announcements / May 18-21, 2023 - Firebird Fes...
Last post by firebirdclub - November 27, 2022, 12:04:16 AM
Firebird Fest St. Louis, O'Fallon, IL

Upcoming Show Announcements / May 6, 2023 - 24th Annual All ...
Last post by firebirdclub - November 26, 2022, 10:22:51 PM
24th Annual Pontiac and GM Car Show, Clovis, CA. .

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