Category Archives: General

for items of general interest

James Garner’s “Rockford Files” Pontiac Firebird is Crossing the Auction Block

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.

Rockford Files Firebird
Rockford Files Firebird
Rockford Files Firebird
Rockford Files Firebird

YOUR CHANCE TO WIN THIS CLASSIC TRUCK

Don’t miss your chance to enter and win this 1972 Chevy C-10! Collector-car fans, check this out. Classic trucks make up one of the fastest growing segments in the entire collector-car hobby. You can enter to win a fully restored, custom Chevrolet Cheyenne C-10 in the first ever Chevrolet C-10 Dream Giveaway. This grand-prize 1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne C-10 has already been a star on the cover of a national magazine. Now you can put it in your garage. CLICK THIS LINK:
www.DreamGiveaway.com/tickets/chevy-c10?promo=CY0319K or call toll-free 866-600-0646 and use code CY0319K .

Your tax-deductible donation benefits New Beginning Children’s Homes (Federal ID# 27-5011514) and six other great charities.
GET DOUBLE TICKETS NOW!

Origin of the BFG Tirebird Promotional Cars

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 .

Bruce Johnson

San Antonio, Texas

BFG Tirebird Promotional Car

 Burt Reynolds 1936-2018  –  Rest in peace Bandit!   Thanks for the memories!

Cruising the Ozarks to 2018 Cruising the Ozarks NWA Auto Week & Car Show

With the passing of Burt Reynolds (The Bandit) we are wanting to put together the greatest collection of Bandit Trans Ams and Smokey and The Bandit Movie Cars October 5th-7th. These Cars will be center stage all three days. We would also like them to lead Arkansas’s Largest Road Tour October 7th. This will be a 54 Mile Drive that takes you through some of the best roads and scenery in Northwest Arkansas to Devils Den State Park then back up toward Fayetteville ending at the Arkansas Air and Military Museum. Even if you don’t have a Bandit Trans AM but just a Firebird or Trans Am we want it right there with the rest leading the pack. Please share this with anyone you know that owns a Bandit Trans Am or Pontiac Firebird or Trans Am. For questions please message us or email us at cruisingozarks@gmail.com .

As posted on the National Firebird and Trans Am Club Facebook Page.

Visit to Pontiac Museum

by Frank Ochal

I had an opportunity to visit both the Pontiac Museum and the Route 66 Museum which are both in Pontiac, Illinois Here are the photos from the visit.

The history of the Pontiac-Oakland Museum & Resource Center in Pontiac, Illinois began August 1st, 2010 when Tim Dye was on his way back to his home in Oklahoma from a Pontiac show near Chicago. As he drove south on I-55, he noticed signs for the city of Pontiac. As Tim is curious about anything having to do with the Pontiac name, he pulled into town. As he explored the city, he visited the International Walldog Mural & Sign Art Museum which led to conversations with the mayor of Pontiac.

These conversations led to a long series of emails, phone calls, and personal visits to begin the process of creating a new museum were worked out.

The Pontiac City Council approved the museum’s creation on January 3, 2011, and work began immediately on the remodeling of the museum’s new space. The creation of the museum was aided by the hard work of many people. Special thanks to Tim and Penny Dye, Mayor Robert Russell, City of Pontiac Administrator, Bob Karls, Tourism Director, Ellie Alexander, Pontiac Building Supervisor, Milt Hanson, his crew and many more. Grand opening day took place on July 23, 2011, less than one year from the time Tim first visited Pontiac.

Auto Insurance

The auto insurance industry is not easy to navigate. There are so many factors to consider when shopping for a provider that car owners often get lost in (or cheated by) the fine print.

On behalf of consumers, a team of researchers at Reviews.com set out to identify the auto insurance providers that rise to the top, “based on their ability to serve customers and actually pay out claims; not just on premium cost.” Take a look at their helpful guide here: https://www.reviews.com/auto-insurance/

They started with 41 of the nation’s top auto insurance companies. These are the factors they considered in their comprehensive review:

  1. Financial solvency
  2. Claims processing
  3. Coverage options
    1. New car replacement
    2. GAP insurance
    3. Uninsured motorist coverages
  4. Discounts
  5. Customer support

Their guide not only provides their overall favorite auto insurance providers based on the above considerations, but also offers recommendations tailored to your personal needs – whether you’re a pet owner, veteran, on a budget, or…a classic car owner! (They recommend Grundy) Find their research process, recommendations, and purchasing tips here.

Technical Sections Volume III Now Available

A  complete copy of all the Technical Sections, topics, questions and answers published in the EAGLE from 2008 to 2017. It is indexed by category such as electrical, suspension, etc. for easy reference and accessibility and contains over 100 pages. $15 plus $5 shipping and handling for the printed version.

 It is also available on CD-ROM for PC or Mac (can also be emailed with no shipping charges) in combination with Technical Section Volume II. It is indexed by category and contains over 250 pages. $15 plus $5 S&H for the CD which contains both Tech Sections Volume II and Volume III (emailed $15).

Available from the NFTAC by ordering on the website at www.firebirdtaclub.com/regalia.htm or by using the order form in each issue of the Eagle..

It can be purchased as part of a 3 volume combo that contains Tech Sections Volume I, II and III all printed (over 400 pages) for $40 plus $10 S&H or a CD combo which contains Volume I printed and Volumes II & III on CD for $30 plus $5 S&H. Other options available on the club website at www.firebirdtaclub.com/regalia.htm and in the club magazine.

National Firebird and Trans Am Club Advertisers – Insurance, Parts, Publications and Literature, Service

These are the people and services that help bring information to our club members by advertising in our club publication, the Eagle. Please support them.

Insurance

Classic Auto Insurance, 1-800-397-0765, www.classicins.com
collector car insurance for less

Parts

Ames Performance Engineering, 1-800-421-2637, www.amesperf.com
Firebird and Trans Am restoration parts

Convertible parts, 1-800-343-4261, www.hydroe.com
pumps, cylinders, roof rails, weatherstripping and more!

Firebird Central, 859-408-2000, www.firebirdcentral.com
the best parts at the best prices, 10% off online orders using coupon code: EAGLE

Frank’s Restoration Parts, 760-361-3242, www.frankspontiacparts.com
buy, sell, new, used and reproduction

National Parts Depot, 800-874-7595, www.nationalpartsdepot.com
Restoration/Performance Parts & Accessories

The Parts Place, 800-442-0411, www.thepartsplaceinc.com
original and reproduction parts from the Pedal to the Metal!

Parts for your Firebird or Trans Am at http://parts.firebirdtaclub.com.
parts for all Pontiacs and other vehicles!

Year One1-800-932-7663
www.yearone.com
Parts for your Pontiac, Firebird and Trans Am

Publications and Literature

Firebird and Trans Am color sales brochures, 315-432-8282, www.autolit.com
original sales brochures for most cars and trucks

Pontiac Shop Manuals on CD, www.firebirdtaclub.com/regalia.htm
with Fisher body service and 1963-75 Pontiac parts, for ‘67, ‘68, ‘69, ‘70, ‘71 or ‘72

NFTAC Technical Sections, 773-769-7166, www.firebirdtaclub.com/regalia.htm
Volume I, II & III. Copies of technical topics published in the NFTAC Eagle.

Service

Speed and Sport Chrome Plating, 713-921-0236, www.speedsportchrome.com, sales@speedsportchrom.com
chrome plating, 15 day service, specializing in classic cars

Book Review: Pontiac Firebird: 50 Years


by David Newhardt

Celebrate 50 years of Pontiac’s iconic muscle car

The early 1960s saw American auto manufacturers desperately trying to sell cars to the emerging baby-boom market. Pontiac attained success with its original muscle car, the GTO, but as successful as the GTO was, it was handily outsold by Ford’s grand-slam home-run pony car, the Mustang. In response, Pontiac entered the pony car market in 1967, its new Firebird, a model that became one of the most iconic cars of the classic muscle-car era. Eventually the top Firebird model, the Trans Am, became the standard bearer for automotive performance in the U.S. market, kept the muscle car flame alive throughout the dark years of the 1970s and led the charge when performance reemerged in the 1980s.

Pontiac Firebird: 50 Years chronicles the Firebird’s rich history, from the early attempts to reach the youth market in the early 1960s, through the potent and turbulent years of the classic muscle car era, the resurgence of muscle in the 1980s, to the car’s continued popularity today.

This 2017 hardcover book is, priced at $50.00 is available on Amazon.

Purchaser review from Amazon: Finally a big fancy and good hardcover book on one of my other perennial favorite vehicles, the Pontiac Firebird and its derivatives, the Formula, Trans Am and so forth. Beautiful book chronicling this vehicle that sadly is no longer with us. Smokey and the Bandit and movie cars and marketing genius is in the book. I would have like to have seen the current Bandit conversion T/A (Camaro with a body kit made to look like a T/A; they also have a GTO based kit and other kits from others) car and aftermarket Camaro based clones as well as the racing cars and racing heritage. Otherwise I love the cover, love everything about the book and the history contained in it as it is well written. Glad to have this book in my F-Body (Camaro/Firebird) Book collection. Hope one day Pontiac will come back with the Firebird, T/A and Formula (wishful thinking). In the meantime we have a book like this tha
t perfectly shows these legends. – Jose Lopez P

The Definitive Firebird & Trans Am Guide 1967-1969 by Rocky Rotella

In the mid-1960s, Ford Motor Company took the automotive world by storm with the release of its new “pony car,” the Ford Mustang. It was the right car for the right time, and it caught General Motors by surprise. One year later, after seeing the Mustang’s enormous sales success, General Motors announced the development of its own pony-car platform, code-named “Panther,” to compete with the tremendously popular Mustang. And what a competition it became. Chevrolet Camaros and Pontiac Firebirds hit the market as 1967 models, and the world clamored for more of these new Mustang killers. These F-Body cars became some of the most popular enthusiast cars of all time.

 In The Definitive Firebird & Trans Am Guide 1967-1969, Pontiac expert and historian Rocky Rotella examines each production year of the first generation of Firebirds. Production figures, option codes, running changes, model year changes and variances, rarity, collectability, interviews with engineers, and more are thoroughly covered in what is sure to become the ultimate Firebird reference book. Complementing the detail and year-by-year analysis is a combination of archival photography from the launch of these cars and beautiful color photos of original and restored examples.

Whether you are into the first generation of F-Body convertibles, Formula 400 performance models, the special overhead cam Sprint 6s, or even the first Trans Ams of 1969, this book tells the entire story of these immensely popular cars. It is an excellent addition to any pony car, muscle car, or any enthusiast’s library.

The fresh-off-the-press hardbound book, priced at $39.95, is available through Car Tech Books at 1-800-551-4754 or at www.cartechbooks.com . It is also available on Amazon.