Category Archives: Members’ Cars and Photos

2000 Formula WS-6 of Andy Cain

A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the 2000 Pontiac Firebird Formula WS-6 of Andy Cain from Biloxi, Mississippi. Here is the story:

This is our 2000 Pontiac Firebird Formula WS-6. The build date was January of 2000 and my wife and I are the original owners. From the numbers I can find it was 1 of 233 Formula WS-6’s built in 2000, 1 of 151 with the 6-speed manual transmission and 1 of 23 in bright red. The car was a daily driver until 2010 and currently has about 91K miles on the odometer. It was ordered from the factory pretty much loaded with leather 6-way power driver’s seat, 6-speed manual with Hurst shifter, traction control, t-tops and the Monsoon Sound System with the cassette player. The car has since been upgraded to the Monsoon Sound System with CD player and trunk 12-disc CD-changer. The engine mods are modest, I’ve swapped out the LS1 intake manifold for a LS6, installed a ported and polished throttle body, coolant by-pass mod, oil catch can and SLP Cold Air Intake with a K&N filter. To stiffen up the frame I installed the strut tower brace, sub frame connectors and Detroit Speed Fender Flange kit. I had to replace the t-top sail panel band due to an issue with the glue bleeding through and bubbling the paint and leaving black streaks on the band. I had the MAGG Performance replacement sail panel installed and it fits and looks great. As far as suspension goes I upgraded to Bilstein shocks and slotted and dimpled rotors when the time came to replace them. I purchased the car to replace my 1994 Firebird Formula because I was concerned Pontiac was going to close down the Firebird line soon. Of course they didn’t do that until 2002, but they did stop producing the Formula WS6 after 2000.

I’ve been a Pontiac guy since my high school days and as you can probably tell, I really enjoy this car. One of the strange things about the car that I’ve never been able to figure out is the paint in the engine bay is clear coated. I thought initially it was due to the car being a WS6 with a different hood so they clear coated the engine bay as it went down the line and then installed the WS6 hood. But after seeing many Trans Am and Formula WS-6’s without clear coated engine bays. I am not so sure. If you know the answer please let me know.

1979 Trans Am Bandit of Ken and Darlene Szymczak

This issue’s featured car is the ‘79 Trans Am Bandit of Ken and Darlene Szymczak from Dunkirk, New York. Here is their story:

From Featured Car in the August 2018 Eagle, Ken and Darlene Szymczak’s 1979 Trans Am is now featured in a movie.

Of all lows experienced in 2020, one high is from Ken and Darlene Szymczak of Dunkirk, New York. Their 1979 black S.E. Trans Am is starring in a short movie being made in Buffalo, New York.

The movie is a short musical comedy that takes place in a well known Canadian amusement park called Crystal Beach and its famous wooden roller coaster and our ‘79 Trans Am.

The small time Buffalo produce contacted me about using our car in the movie. After going over the details of how the shooting would be done inside a television studio that has a large area with a green screen for shooting scenes. This way the filming would not be done outside in traffic and nobody would be driving the car.

It was a fun day as I got to studio early in the morning. It was great to see how they switched out our special New York license plates for Ontario, Canada “TA Jane” license plates. They also placed the four car wheels on rollers so as to move the car around. I met the actors and saw the cameras and all others involved in making the movie and hearing a song that is in the movie. The story is about how Trans Am Jane gets caught in the rain, t-tops off. The car has Honeycomb wheels and twin tip dual exhausts. How exciting it all was and I got to take a few photos without interfering with filming. We are hoping the movie will be done in a year or two.

Little did we know that when we ordered our Trans Am in November of 1978 that we would have such fond memories. From both of our children learning how to drive in it to winning trophies at car shows, to being featured in the Eagle and now being featured in a movie. Wow, what a great time it has been and who knows what is next. Hollywood – we are waiting.

Ken and Darlene Szymczak
Dunkirk, New York

‘79 Trans Am Bandit of Ken and Darlene Szymczak from Dunkirk, New York
‘79 Trans Am Bandit of Ken and Darlene Szymczak from Dunkirk, New York
‘79 Trans Am Bandit of Ken and Darlene Szymczak from Dunkirk, New York
‘79 Trans Am Bandit of Ken and Darlene Szymczak from Dunkirk, New York

1983, 2000 and 2002 CETA Trans Ams of Ben Schwandt

My 1983 Trans Am is the car that got me started in my interest in Trans Ams. I grew up watching Knight Rider and ever since then I’ve wanted a Knight Rider style Trans Am. My dream came true in 2018 when I purchased mine sight unseen from a private seller in New York. It has 26,000 original miles and was the third gen Firebird forums November 2020 car of the month! I love the car and drive it as often as I can on the weekends and evenings when the weather is nice!

My 2000 Trans Am is the car I fell in love with in college but couldn’t buy new due to being in college. I found this car in 2003 in Rugby , North Dakota in a classifieds ad in the local newspaper and the rest is history! I have always loved the ram air look on these cars and think it is the most aggressive looking muscle car that GM has produced. The car currently has 18,000 miles on it and is seldom driven except to car shows where it has won many awards over the years.

My 2002 Trans Am CETA is a car I have wanted since 2002 when it came out. I have always wanted a special edition Firebird and I remember like yesterday when there was a 2002 CETA just like mine in the showroom of my local Pontiac dealer blocks away from where I lived. I’ve been hooked since. I bought my car in June of 2021 and received it in July. I bought it sight unseen from the second owner in Florida. The original owner owned the Pontiac dealership in Indiana and ordered it new. The car currently has 3,900 miles on it and is rarely driven. I love the convertible and is so much fun to drive with the top down!

I first learned about your club on the Internet just randomly searching about Trans Ams. Happy to be a part of this awesome group! I’ll send a picture of each one of my cars described above in a second email. Thanks again !

Ben Schwandt
Moorhead, Minnesota

2002 CETA Trans Ams of Ben Schwandt
2000 Trans Ams of Ben Schwandt
2000 and 2002 CETA Trans Ams of Ben Schwandt
1983 Trans Am of Ben Schwandt
1983 and 2000 Trans Ams of Ben Schwandt

’88 Trans Am GTA of Dave and Jodi Przybysz

A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the ‘88 Trans Am GTA of Dave and Jodi Przybysz of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Here is their story:

My wife, Jodi, and I have wanted our own collector car for years. Financially, it just never seemed to be the right time so we lived vicariously through my father, going to shows and car cruises in one of his classic or antique cars that he had restored.

Then one day, in the middle of a substantial home remodeling project, our contractor told us about this 1988 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA.

He said it’s been in his buddy’s garage for years and he believed he would sell the car. We thought…”Wow! A true barn find!” Not really being in the position to purchase, we made arrangements to go see the car anyways.

It was gorgeous and with only 12k miles on the odometer, it was something we knew we just couldn’t pass up! The car was stored for 17 years, in a clean climate controlled garage (not really a barn find). It was sitting sideways in the back of the garage on wheel dollies. The owner just simply stopped driving it one day and began driving a different vehicle in their collection and so there it sat.

The stickers on the windshield indicated that the last time the car went through a Pennsylvania state inspection was 2003! A price was negotiated and arrangements were made to have a flat bed pick it up. We bought it without even knowing if it would run!

Thanks to our good friend, who is also a mechanic, all the proper maintenance and repairs were preformed to get her running again! We flushed the fuel and brake systems, replaced the fuel pump and injectors and all four tires were replaced. The air conditioning compressor was bad so we replaced it and upgraded the refrigerant. Finally we rebuilt the power antenna motor and then we fired her up. After 17 years she roared back to life!

The history of the car is kind of interesting. As I understand it, the car was purchased new in the Philadelphia area. At some point the car was stolen. It was eventually recovered although, I do not know in what time frame that this occurred. The GTA had sadly been partially disassembled. The radio and taillights were missing, there was a scratch down the passenger side, the windshield was missing and the VIN tag had been removed.

The second owner had purchased the car at an insurance auction.

Oddly enough, because the major components of the car were still intact, the car retains a clean title with a reissued VIN. The taillights and radio were replaced, as were the windshield and the paint was repaired.

Today she sits in our garage. It goes out on nice days to car cruises or for drives in the country, sometimes just to go get ice cream and occasionally to work. Since we’ve owned it, it’s never even seen the rain.

Now, she’s not perfect. There are small details and imperfections that we will enjoy detailing as time goes by but, she is better than anything we ever dreamed that we would own!

Recent events in our lives have proved to us that there is never a right time and that life is too short. The timing, financially, was definitely not right for us to purchase this car but, it is a dream come true and a continuation of a family tradition…in fact…our Trans Am bares the Pennsylvania Antique license plate that was originally registered to my father’s first antique car…a 1930 Chevy.

‘88 Trans Am GTA of Dave and Jodi Przybysz of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
‘88 Trans Am GTA of Dave and Jodi Przybysz of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
‘88 Trans Am GTA of Dave and Jodi Przybysz of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
‘88 Trans Am GTA of Dave and Jodi Przybysz of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

1974 Trans Am of Perry Pegoraro of West Bend, Wisconsin

I found this car in 1997 coming home from dropping my daughter off at college. I saw it at a Classic Car dealership. I stopped, it was raining, I gave it a quick look and went home. I thought about it for a week. I had purchased a 74 Trans Am brand new and kept it for ten years. This was the car I had when my wife and I met. Always regretted selling it. I went back the following Sunday and the car was gone. I called them the next day. Apparently the car had been there for two years and the owner just took it back. They said mostly kids wanted it and they did not have the money. They wanted $8500.00.

I called the owner and went over to see and to drive the car. It had surface rust on the roof going back. The dealership had broken all the flares driving it up onto one of those raised racks for display. The owner was a large guy. He was linebacker big. He said he didn’t want the car because it’s too small for him. I asked him how much and his reply was $7500.00. I countered with $7000.00 and the deal was done.

I immediately began to restore things. Everything was loose. They said the A/C worked. Well I pulled it off to do some engine work and there wasn’t an o-ring to be found on any of the lines. Later I also found out all the AC ductwork under the dash was missing. I had the car completely repainted as close to Buccaneer Red as we could find. I reinstalled all the decals. We joined a local car club and have been having a fantastic time with the car. Over the years it has accumulated over 200 awards, including five best in shows. Every year I think about modifying the car and I am about to retire so I will finally have the time. Keep the hobby alive for future generations.

1974 Trans Am of Perry Pegoraro of West Bend, Wisconsin

Featured Car – ’68 Firebird 400 of Wes Hardy

A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the ’68 Firebird 400 of Wes Hardy from Nahant, Massachusetts.  Here is his story:

Reading the latest issue of Eagle, reminded me that I’ve been meaning to send some pics of my restored 1968 Firebird 400 Convertible.

While not “numbers matching”, it is a “period correct” ‘68 400, with a 4 spd M22 transmission & Hurst Shifter and a 355 Posi Rear End.

The original “somewhat frame off” restoration was done approx 15 years ago by a mechanic in NJ, who I bought the car from in August of 2019 after it had been “backed into” while being stored. Upon receiving the Bird, we (my mechanic & I) noticed a number of other “issues”. It went into the shop and went through a “real” restoration at one of the area’s best local shops – Louis Restoration and Repair in Salem Massachusetts.  The engine was totally rebuilt and all of the fenders, quarter panels, doors, etc were taken off, taken back to bare metal, re-primed and realigned to better than new. Though the new restoration took over 6 months (and totally blew my budget!) the car is now approaching “show quality”. As the attached pictures show, the beautiful new paint job is immaculate and “Blue” turns heads wherever I go!

Wes Hardy

68 Firebird 400 of Wes Hardy from Nahant, Massachusetts
68 Firebird 400 of Wes Hardy from Nahant, Massachusetts
68 Firebird 400 of Wes Hardy from Nahant, Massachusetts
68 Firebird 400 of Wes Hardy from Nahant, Massachusetts