Pontiac Transportation Museum 350 W. Pike St. Pontiac, Michigan 48341
One of America’s most robust centers of transportation history, innovation, and accomplishment is Pontiac, Michigan. While nearby Detroit proudly claims the mantle of “The Motor City,” it was here in Pontiac during the late 19th and early 20th centuries where some of the nation’s most successful manufacturers of horse-drawn buggies and carriages evolved into the earliest automobile companies. Among the dozens of such companies with local roots, two of the largest ultimately became General Motors’ famous Pontiac Motor Division and GMC Truck and Coach.
To celebrate the heritage and remarkable
achievements of these many enterprises, the Pontiac Transportation Museum is
being created to showcase examples of the cars, trucks, and other vehicles
designed or built here – vehicles that truly changed the nation and the world.
The Museum will also honor many of the personalities whose legacies are
associated with these efforts. Through the museum’s existing and growing
collections we will endeavor—through displays and various programs—to help
educate and inspire young people to chart their own destiny with greatness.
The Pontiac Transportation Museum has acquired and
will develop a 55,000 square foot building that will include vehicle display
galleries, a theater, research, library, and restoration spaces. The museum
store will offer appropriate merchandise and the facility and its grounds will
be able to host special events, vehicle shows, and other meetings. The Museum is
expected to open to the public late 2019.
A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the ‘99 Trans Am 30th Anniversary Edition of Tom Joseph from Clarkston, Michigan.
Here is my 30th Anniversary Trans Am. It’s one of 292 coupes with a Hurst 6
speed. I drive it as much as possible in Michigan. Thanks to the National
Firebird and Trans Am Club for all the technical advice and putting on a great
shows every year!
“This is Jim Rockford, leave your name and a
message”…if you’d like to buy my car.
Or you can head to the Barrett-Jackson auction in
Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday night to bid on a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula
400 that was not only used in the James Garner-led TV show, “The Rockford
Files,” but also owned by the actor himself.
The Sierra Gold coupe is one of three identical
cars that were acquired by the production company for the making of the
detective program. According to Hagerty, the Formula 400s and their powerful
6.6-liter V8 engines were needed for stunt work, but the cars were stripped of
some parts and badges to make them look like one of the cheaper Firebird Esprits
that down-on-his-luck Rockford might actually be able to afford.
You can even use it for your own remake of the
show, because it was the sound car and is still equipped with microphone inputs
in the dashboard, although the rest of the recording equipment has been removed.
It also has an automatic transmission and skid plates in case you get caught up
in a wild chase.
Garner, a well-known car enthusiast and racer,
bought the Pontiac when the show went off the air in 1980 after six seasons and
kept it for himself for about a year.
It changed owners several times after he let it go,
before ending up in the hands of movie car collector Steve Reich, who gave it a
full restoration and is the one offering it, along with a co-owner, at
There’s no estimate on what it will go for, but one of the other three cars
was sold at a Mecum Auctions event in 2015 for $40,000.
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Here are some of the Firebirds from the Hemmings MusclePalooza event last Labor Day weekend in upstate New York. This event is also held every Memorial Day weekend at West Lebanon Dragway. I was with the Long Island GTO/POCI contingent. For this we don’t necessarily restrict ourselves to our Pontiacs. some of these Firebirds are ours and others are not. This is a great muscle car show and classic drag racing event! I’ve enjoyed this event for years and recommend it highly. Michael Weiss
A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the ‘78 Trans Am of Stephen Granato of Davenport, Iowa. Here is the story as submitted by Dwayne Johnson:
Stephen Granato, of Davenport, IA, acquired this
1978 Trans Am in August 2016 from an Illinois resident that had owned it since
1988. Originally a California car from Salta Pontiac in Long Beach, CA, it has
the Olds 403 and automatic. Originally brown in color, it was taken down to bare
metal and repainted in GM Lime Rock green by a local shop. The interior was
completely redone by Stephen, with original style panels, covers, and carpeting.
An upgraded stereo was cleverly hidden in the glove compartment to preserve the
stock dash. Stephen also replaced all brake, fuel and vapor lines, hoses, fuel
tank, a/c, brakes, window motors, weather stripping, all bushings in vehicle
were replaced with Energy Suspension parts, shorty, ceramic coated headers and
complete header back exhaust installed. Shaker hood scoop was made functional
with an electric flap kit. Underside of car was cleaned and coated by Stephen.
All of this was accomplished in time to drive the car to Detroit for the 2017
Woodward Dream Cruise in August 2017. Many nights, weekends, (and memories made)
were spent making a dream come true. Time well spent on something to keep
Six promotional/show cars were built by T/G Racing.
There were all new showroom cars bought from Royal Pontiac in Los Angeles.
According to Doug Innes, T/G Racing bought the six Trans Ams and took them to
their shop at 18422 Topham Street, Tarzana for conversion. The cars were
stripped of their interiors and insulation which was crated and stored. The
interiors were included with each car when they were sold once the 12 month
promotion was completed. T/G Racing installed a race seat, fire extinguisher, a
mock fuel cell cover in the trunk and a fuel filler on the quarter panel.
Lightweight tubing was installed as a roll cage . Mini Light wheels were
installed – obviously with BFG Radial T/A’s were mounted on each mini light
wheel. Hood pins and rear window bracing was also installed . The HO 455 engine
& M21 4 speed transmission were not touched other than valve covers and dress-up
were items added. On completion, the cars were sent across the alley to T/G’s
other shop and Peter Dodge painted them all blue to match the #92 race car. The
graphics were done all by hand based on a BFG design – which was brilliant . It
is still one of the most recognized race cars ever! When complete, BFG picked up
the cars and distributed them to their zones for promotional purposes. Most cars
were used by dealers on their showroom floors to attract customers. At the
conclusion of the racing season, the cars were either sold to the public or
destroyed. To date, only two cars are known to have been sold. One in California
and one in Ohio. Only the California car is still known to exist and here is its
I believe that it is the last remaining promotional
car of the 6 that were built. This car was originally bought by Tom Senter,
editor for Popular Hot Rodding, in 1972 from BF Goodrich which used it to
promote their new radial tires in SCCA racing in 1971. The car was covered in
several 1970’s magazine articles which I remember reading as a kid growing up.
The history of the car is documented at www.bfgtirebird.com/promotional-tirebird
The 2018 “Pontiac Celebration” Eastern Regional
Meet was a huge success, setting all new records. Once again, our event has
grown in the number of great Pontiacs showing, and the number of Pontiac
hobbyists enjoying this special weekend gathering.
Not forgetting the purpose of this event– “Pontiacs
with a Purpose”– many gave their time, energy, and contributions to our
children’s cancer charities: Alex’s Lemonade Stand foundation for childhood
cancer and The Tomorrow Fund helping children and families affected by cancer.
To date nearly $50,000 has been donated by “A Pontiac Celebration” from 2010
through 2018. All because of our generous Pontiac enthusiasts. Proving how great
Pontiac people are!
While a few Pontiac lovers arrived as early as
Thursday to help with the event, many more rolled in Friday to participate in
our area-wide “Teddy Bear Cruise” that evening. Live music, food, and drink
attracted many great cars of all types, makes, and models cruising in for the
The big event was the All Pontiac Car Show on
Saturday. Sunny Fall weather made for a great day. We were happy to see 255
beautiful Pontiacs on the show field. Once again many local and surrounding area
Pontiac Clubs came in force to make our event a huge success. We thank everyone
for their support. As our event has grown in cars showing, so has the Saturday
banquet awards dinner. The evening’s sprawling BBQ dinner spread was enjoyed by
a hungry crowd after a full day of fun and activities. But the high point of the
banquet was when the many awards were given out to all who worked so hard
preparing their cars.
Top award of the evening– People’s Choice– went to Keith Bailey with his
beautiful 1910 Oakland. In addition, the Vacation Raffle saw a lucky winner
heading off to a luxury condo vacation in the mountains of New Hampshire. For
more information about A Pontiac Celebration– 2018 visit