from Fox News
“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 Barrett-Jackson.
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.
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 forever!
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 history.
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 .
San Antonio, Texas
Warwick, Rhode Island – September 21-23, 2018
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 fun.
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 www.PontiacRegistry.com .
’69 Firebird of Ken Miller
A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the ‘69 Firebird of Ken Miller from Enfield, Connecticut. Here is his story:
My 69: As a new member of the club, I am sending you some pictures of my recently acquired 1969 Firebird. The car underwent a 6 year restoration to stock by the original owner. who reluctantly sold it to start work on another project, and needed the extra cash and space for his new project vehicle. He was very meticulous with the project, and the only modifications are the 69 Trans Am rear spoiler, and exhaust tips. The 400 motor was rebuilt with speed pro racing lifters and a Crane cam setup identical to the one Pontiac used on the 69 Ram Air IV engine. Even the exhaust was replaced with the correct factory setup with the single transverse mounted rear muffler. All of the receipts pics, etc. were sent to me with the car. Looking forward to hitting the many car shows and cruises when the good weather gets here, as well as putting some miles on her as well.
photos and story by Ben Deutschman
The annual NJ Trans Am/All Pontiac Run was held on July 7, 2018, and this year’s destination was the Flemington New Jersey Cruise Night. The weather conditions were perfect, with not a cloud in the Sky, low humidity, and a high around 80 degrees. One cannot get better weather in July, than what we had for this year’s Run.
The vehicle count was the best we’ve had so far in the ten years or so this Run has been in existence, with over 30 Pontiacs showing up at the Edison New Jersey Crossroads Plaza McDonalds.
Our entourage left the McDonalds Parking Lot a little after 2:00 P.M. and headed out for Flemington. We arrived in Flemington a little after 3:00 P.M., and sailed right down Main St, to our designated Parking area behind the Courthouse, made famous by the Lindberg baby kidnap case, and across from the dangerously deteriorated Union Hotel, also made famous by the said Lindberg baby kidnap case.
After giving everyone a chance to settle in, and before our host Cruise Night officially started, we had our own prize and Trophy Awards presentations. The giveaway items, graciously provided by the National Firebird and Trans Am Club (https://firebirdtaclub.com/) were dispersed to the lucky recipients via a free Raffle, and I (Ben Deutschman), as the event organizer, chose the two vehicles to receive the Best Pontiac and Best Firebird Trophies. The National Firebird and Trans Am Club also provided back issue of the Club magazine, The Eagle, which were given out to the participants in the Run.
After our Awards presentation, and free Raffle, everyone hung out for the Cruise Night, and we were also asked to take part in the Parade of Pontiacs, since the feature car for the Cruise Night was Pontiac.
The Cruise Night ended around 8:30 P.M., and the remaining participants in the NJ Trans Am/All Pontiac Run departed at that time as well.
Overall, a great event this year, and once determined, next year’s date will be announced on Facebook, the event Website http://www.njtransamallpontiacrun.com/ and via the National Firebird and Trans Am Club magazine..