My love affair with Firebirds began in January 1968, when my wife, Donna (deceased 2018) and I purchased a new ’68 from Quebedeaux Pontiac in Tucson Arizona. The car was turquoise with a 350 2 barrel and a 3 speed manual. The only options were a push button AM radio and power steering. I loved the styling, but did not get to drive it much as two months later I was off to Vietnam. I learned an important life lesson in all this – do not leave a pregnant wife in the Tucson summer driving a non AC car. I returned stateside in March 1969, and was promptly informed by Donna that the portable playpen for our son would not fit in the Firebird’s trunk. We went back to the dealer, and after insuring the playpen fit in the trunk we traded the Firebird in on a ’69 GTO with air.
Our next contact with a Firebird was not until 1994 and after several other Pontiac models, when we acquired a new white Formula with an LT1 and automatic. We shared it as a family vehicle and used it as a daily driver. In 1998 we bought a new bright red Formula with Tremec 6 speed (photo of Donna modeling it new). It served several years as a daily driver and quickly ran up twenty-five grand on the odometer. Donna then informed me that she was tired of shifting, so I got her an automatic Grand Am. Since then I have been applying numerous modifications to the car (see attached list of mods and photos). The car will eventually go to our youngest son, who resides in the Seattle area and only has a single parking spot at his house. I keep the Formula garaged here in Arizona and use it only as a weekend vehicle and car shows. The car now has over fifty thousand miles and runs great with the original spark plugs and regular fluid changes.
1998 Pontiac Firebird Formula LS1 5.7 litre/M6 Transmission/Bright Red
Brakes: Front – SSBC Force 10 Aluminum 4 Piston (43mm) Calipers/Powder Coated Red Front – SSBC 13″ Slotted & Plated Rotors/Braded Stainless Steel Lines/High Performance Pads Rear – SSBC Slotted & Plated Rotors/High Performance Pads Rear – Red Painted Calipers
Computer/Tuning: Hypertech Power Programmer III Hypertech 160 degree Thermostat
Exhaust: CORSA Cat Back Exhaust w/Pro Series 3.5 Tips
Induction: SLP 85mm MAF Sensor SLP Smooth Intake Bellows SLP High Performance Air Box Lid APM Automotive WS6 Style Ram Air Hood GM Lower Ram Air Box EGR Tube Modification Throttle Body Coolant Bypass Modification K & N Air Filter
In April of 2016 we found out we were the winners of the 2015 Bandit Dream Giveaway Sweepstakes. Ironically, one of the previous owners who had restored the car was actually from Chicago not far from where my wife who is a native of Norridge, IL was born and raised. Since receiving the car, we have joined the National and Southern California chapter of POCI and Karen is now serving as Chapter secretary and we regularly attend car shows. A side note is the impact the original Smokey and the Bandit movie had on me as well as the car as a kid who saw the movie in the theater when it first came out at the impressionable age of 16! Not to mention the texts I get from family and friends to give me a hard time every time that movie is on. Editor’s Note: The Bandit Dream Giveaway Sweepstakes has been promoted by the Club.
‘79 Trans Am SE Bandit of Michael and Karen Bianchino from Anaheim Hills, California (winner of Bandit Dream Giveaway Sweepstakes)
This issue’s featured car is the ‘80 turbo Trans Am Indy 500 pace car of Al and Patricia Dompieri of Forked River, New Jersey. Here is the story:
Here are some pictures of my 1980 Turbo Trans Am Indy 500 Pace Car. It is owned by Al & Patricia Dompieri of Forked River, NJ. We acquired the car from the son of the original owner who had recently passed away last year. It has 64,000 original miles on it and was purchased from AW Golden in Reading PA. We’ve spent the last few years restoring the car, from the interior, suspension, mechanicals, and paint. The car is now complete and ready to enjoy with our family! My wife and I run a website that promotes local car shows and the classic car hobby, www.jerseyshorecarshows.com and we enjoy getting out to the local shows with the car. Everyone who sees it loves the car and it always brings back great memories.
I have been a huge Firebird fan since I was little kid. I always thought the look of a ’68 or ’69 Firebird was nicer than the Camaro. I bought this car in Bend Oregon. I put a 5.7 liter 440 hp engine that I bought from a guy who makes engines in Tacoma Washington. I have redone the suspension, replaced the shocks and the disc brakes and of course rebuilt the engine.
A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the ‘68 Firebird 400 convertible of Jim McCarty of Palm Springs, California. Here is his story:
I am a happy owner of a ‘68 Firebird 400 convertible, and I thought I would share some pictures of my car. These pictures are a little different from the normal ones you see. No green lawns, and well kept houses.
I have owned the car for about 25 years, and it’s our daily ride when we live here in Palm Springs California in the winter season.
The somewhat unique thing about my car, is that it has an agent, and does a fair amount of advertising, commercial work, and photo shoots in and around the Southern California deserts and ghost towns. I have worked with clients ranging from high brow ad agencies with household brands, to adult film producers. It’s always different, fun and oh, interesting….
Here are some pictures recently taken at a photo shoot for an Australian fashion brand at a deserted gas station at Salton Sea, CA-about 140 miles east of Los Angeles.
This is the 1987 Trans Am of Walter Stasiewski from Denver, North Carolina. It is black sapphire, t-tops, 5.0 liter fuel injected engine, 3 speed transmission with WS6 performance package and digital dash.
One owner, everything is original including the interior, drive train, suspension, paint and radio. He has all the original paper work. The rear spoiler was repainted by the dealership at purchase and the wiper fluid is original to the car.
This issue’s featured car is the ‘80 Trans Am of Craig Pelletier from North Smithfield, Rhode Island. Here is the story:
I am new to the club, but not new to Pontiac. My first cars when I was 16 was a 69’ Firebird 400 and a 69’ Firebird with the Pontiac 350. My current Firebird is a 1980 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am Indy Pace car. It has 52,000 miles and is all original. The decals are starting to fade, crack and slightly yellow. Overall the car is in really good shape. On the sail panels, I have the “500 Festival” logo. They are also fading and cracking the same amount as the rest of the cars decals. I believe they are original.
I am unable to find any info about the actual track cars. I realize it is not a “true” pace car. I believe it to be one of the press cars. Does anyone have any idea on how to verify that the vehicle was at the Indy 500 race on the track during the parade lap? I have searched the internet with no luck. I have decoded the VIN and other tags and it is a real pace car, but I could not find the build sheet. Editor’s Note: If you have any information that can help him, please contact him by email at Fnfast468@yahoo.com .