Category Archives: Members’ Cars and Photos

'79 Trans Am and '98 Firebird of Kelly Powell

I am an avid Firebird and Trans Am lover! I have had around ten Trans Ams and Firebirds throughout my life. My pick is the ‘79 Trans Am but I love them all!

When I was around 20 years of age, I drove my first Trans Am. The rest is history! I was hooked and had to have that car which was exactly like the blue ‘79 featured in a past issue of the Eagle. I begged my friend and talked him into selling the ‘79 to me. After that, I wanted nothing to do with any other car, other than a sports car and mainly a Trans Am.

I now have a ‘79 Trans Am which I purchased in December 2006. I never thought I would ever get the chance to own one again. The way I got the car is bitter-sweet in that my parents passed away leaving the family home to me. Since I could not keep the home because of taxes and repairs needed on the house, I sold the property. At the time I made the sale, I was cruising through New Boston, Ohio on my way to Wal-Mart and in passing Cooper’s Car and Truck Accessories, I spotted the ‘79 Trans Am I now own.

I had to have that car! As you can see, it is beautiful! I have a son who is 16 years old and I have a feeling this car will be his graduation present. That way, he will have a “gift” from his grandparents and mother and something to treasure for the rest of his life. But until then, it will continue to be my dream car. I want to restore it in the near future and I hopefully I will be able to. Having suffered from cancer and back surgery and having really been through a really rough time in my life. Purchasing this car has been a god-send to me. It really cheered me up and brought back new hope in my life!

I also have a ‘98 Firebird which I will be hanging onto and restoring in the future. I love my ‘98 Firebird but it does not compare to my ‘79 Trans Am. Nothing ever will.

'78 Gold Special Edition Trans Am of Philip Lepage

I was looking for a ‘78 Trans Am to restore to look exactly like the Trans Am I owned in 1978. I saw an ad for a 1978 Trans Am, so on September 20, 2004, Ian Manderscheid, Dianne (my wife) and I left for Dodsland, Saskatchewan, Canada to look at it. The car needed a lot of work but had potential. I purchased the car from Kevin Jenn. I still had the idea of restoring it to look like my old one. After getting the car home and seeing how everything on the car had a gold theme, I realized it would be quite difficult to change the car to look like my old white one. I did a little research and realized the car was a gold special edition Trans Am. Our youngest son, Daryl, found a picture of a 1978 gold special edition Trans Am and made it his computer screen saver. When I saw the picture I thought, “Why would I want to change the appearance of this car”. It looked great! Dianne looked up more information on the Internet, and we realized we had quite a special car here and decided to keep the car as original as possible.

In December 2004, Ian, Daryl and I pulled the engine, transmission and interior out of the car. The transmission was brought to Extreme Transmission in Saskatoon where it was completely rebuilt, including a new 2,500 rpm stall converter.

The engine was completely stripped and rebuilt. The heads were brought to SIAST (Kelsey) in Saskatoon and worked on there. The rest of the engine rebuilding was done at Thane’s and Prairie Engine Rebuilders in Saskatoon and assembled by Paragon Auto Services.

The work done on the engine included a 3 engine valve job, harden exhaust seats, port matched and polished, all new valves – intake and exhaust, new valve springs, valve guides, crane roller tipped rocker arms, 7/6″ push rod guide plates and rocker arm studs, comp hydraulic performance cam shaft, Edelbrock aluminum intake and 626 cfm electric choke carb, .040 bored over, new TRW forged pistons, chrome ring, high volume oil pump, double roller timing chain, water pump, starter, alternator, spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor.

In March 2005, I brought the car to Lyle’s Autobody in Annaheim, Saskatchewan, where he fixed the floor, roof and did a few other minor repairs.

In July 2005, the car headed to Paragon Auto Services. There the engine, transmission, exhaust system with Headman headers, brakes and shocks were installed. A new three-core radiator from Advance Radiator in Saskatoon was also installed.

The rims were removed and brought to Kelvin’s Wheel, Tire and Polish of Saskatoon, where they were restored to original. The rims on the 1978 gold special edition Trans Am are unique. In all the years, Kelvin had been restoring rims, he had never seen rims with this type of finish. Only 8 inch rims on the 1978 gold special edition Trans Am and a few 1978 Bandit cars have rims painted this way. If the car would have had 7 inch rims, they would have gold on the inside of the honeycombs and the face of the rims would have a polished silver look. These rims are completely gold except for the very outside lip which is polished silver.

The car was then brought to Specialty Cars in Prince Albert, where the remainder of the bodywork was done. A new heater core and dash were installed. We could see that the gauge panel was extremely faded. Wherever the gauge covers had protected the dash from

the sun it still had a gold color, so we repainted the gauge panel back to its original gold color. We also painted the steering wheel to its original gold color. The car was painted and the pin-striping package was put on.

The car was then returned to Paragon, where the final touches were put on the brakes and engine. The seats that were in the car were not the original seats. They appeared to be from a 1980 or ‘91 Trans Am. The style of these seats was the same as the seats in the 1978 Trans Am, but the material was different. I contacted S.M.S. Auto Fabrics in Canby, Oregon. They sent me the original material for a ‘78 gold special edition Trans Am.

Michelle Lepage of Chaise Michelle Upholstery in Bruno, Saskatchewan reupholstered the seats and made a new parcel tray.

I brought the car home and installed the interior. I painted the interior panels and installed them. I also bought and installed a new headliner and sound deadener package and carpets on the floor. I then installed the seats.

’78 Gold Special Edition
Trans Am
Dianne and Philip Lepage on
their 25th Wedding Anniversary

Philip Lepage first ‘78 Trans Am 78 Gold S. E. Trans Am of
Philip Lepage
Before Restoration

'76 Trans Am of Brian Deines

The November 2008 featured car is the ‘76 Trans Am of Brian Deines. Here is his story:

In 1975 I was ready to order a new 1975 Trans Am; but because of emissions controls G.M. didn’t offer the 455 Engine in Canada. I had decided that I wanted to have the 455. So buying a new Trans Am went on hold.

'76 Trans Am of Brian Deines

A few months passed when I read an article that G.M. was coming back with the big Block 455 in the TA for 1976 and this would be the last year. The car was ordered April 1976 from our local G.M dealership. Options were 455, 4 speed, screaming eagle on hood, custom white interior and carousel red exterior. After 10 weeks of waiting and checking the dealership about every other day at last a Trans Am appeared on the front lot. Wow! This was mine, beautiful ORANGE color and white interior. As I got me closer to the car I went into a cold sweat, it was 400 not the 455 that I had ordered and it was an automatic, my heart stopped. They had messed up the order. As I stood over the car for while, one of the head salesmen came out and told me some good news. This wasn’t my car. What a relieve. It had been ordered for the local race track to use as a pace car.

Two long weeks later my T.A. came in; it was perfect. I enjoyed the T.A. for 5 years. Getting married to my best girl, we took the car south on our Honeymoon. Those were great times. After those 5 great years, we decided (with the wife’s regrets) that we needed something more practical. Children were in the near future and I had to build my garage. Sad, but I sold the T.A. and bought a ½ ton truck.

After having two great children, 20 years has passed and I still missed the TA.

With encouragement of my wife, I decided to look for another TA. Both of my children are into cars, and they though it was a cool idea. Searching on the web, eBay there was many beautiful Firebirds on line. But if you can’t see it in person, you don’t know what you are buying.

Finally one day, my wife suggested why not try to hunt up our old ’76 TA. Wow, what a great idea. Since having kept the bill of sale, and if it still registered I should be able to track it down. After some investigating, I found the person that had the TA registered. She was just west of Ottawa; not very far away. When I talked to her at first I thing she was suspicious about my call, but she came around and we finally got to talking about the car. She had the car for almost 20 years, and changed the color to blue. It was stored in the barn, so when I heard that, I thought the car should be in good shape. Then the big blow came. She had just sold the car and would not give me the new owner’s name. I left my phone number with her and asked if the new owner ever called her back that I would like to talk to him. It seemed like the end of the trail. Then one night, approximately 6 months later, I received a call from the guy saying he was the owner of a 76 TA and heard that I was the original owner.

Finally, I was talking to the guy that has our car; what a rush! He wanted to know what the color code was when the car was new, as he wanted to change back to the original color. I asked him if he would call me when the car was painted as I would like to see it again. I never mentioned about buying it since I wanted to see what shape it was in first.

Another 6 months passed, when I got his call and the car was done. He was going to a car show, and I said I would see him there.

The day of the car show my wife and I went early and got a good spot to see all the cars drive into the show grounds. We were both exited to see our honeymoon car again. Then, all of sudden you could hear it coming down the road. You can’t only miss the carousel red, but the sound of it gave it away. We both felt 25 years younger. I got weak in the knees as it came closer and parked with the rest of the show cars. There it was looking almost as good as the day I saw it for the first time in front of the dealership. It didn’t take us long to go and join up the owner. The outside of the car had been all refinished, new paint, rally rims painted, new screaming Eagle and all decals. Inside was original and looked very good for the age.

We talked to the owner for a couple of hours, as he was very proud of the car and was having fun telling his friends that I was the original owner.

The next question was; is the car for sale. My wife and I talked in private, as we both wanted the car back. That was all I wanted to hear. He was very reluctant at first to sell, but after the right price and help from his wife a deal was achieved. The TA was coming back home.

I enjoy taking my prize to shows, where I never have time to rest; always sharing my story with other car owners and spectators. Lots of memories that will only grow.

’76 Trans Am of Brian Deines

'76 Trans Am of Brian Deines

1977 Trans Am of Wayne Lewis

My name is Wayne Lewis form southeastern Indiana. I purchase on eBay in August of 2007 a 1977 Trans Am. This vehicle was sold new in December of 1976, at Don Sisk Pontiac in Indianapolis, Indiana. The original owner kept the car 20 years and only put 36,000 miles on it. He then sold it to his brother, who in the next 11 years put another 3000 miles on it. And it gets better. The car was rust proofed at the dealer when it was sold so it has no rust in the floor pans, trunk, etc. And I have all the original paperwork for the original sale, rustproofing, and even the the first two Indiana vehicle safety inspections. The interior also is in very good condition. The car came with steel wheels on it. It has the W72 package and Hurst link 4-speed. The A/C is inoperable but everything is there. It has camel interior and white exterior. I was going to paint it Smokey and the Bandit black and gold but I may leave it cameo white. I also picked up a set of snowflake wheels and had them reconditioned and then painted gold.

It is really nice getting all the double looks as I meet people on the highway and people coming up to talk while getting gas and stuff.

'77 Trans Am of Wayne Lewis
'77 Trans Am of Wayne Lewis
'77 Trans Am of Wayne Lewis
'77 Trans Am of Wayne Lewis

Firebirds of Christian and Tracey Driscoll

‘68 Firebird of Christian Driscoll The 1968 Firebird has a fresh engine swap. in November of 2006.the preparations for the swap began. All new subframe, heater components, Hurst shifter, front end rubber, springs, 400 hood and more. I got her back in August 2007 and it a work in progress still but she‘ll do for now. The ‘79 formula is built for Canada. The gauges are in kilometers. She belongs to my wife Tracey. It does not have the 301 engine but has the 403 monster engine. ‘68 Firebird of Christian Driscoll 79 Formula of Christian Driscoll’s wife Tracey

'71 "Tirebird" Trans Am of John Motroni

this is an excerpt from the articles appearing in the EAGLE

This issue’s featured car is the ‘71 “Tirebird” Trans Am of John Motroni. Here is his story:
Back in 1971, BF Goodrich introduced their then new BFG Radial T/A Tires. To promote their new tires BFG bought and modified six ’71 Firebird Trans Ams, calling them BFG “Tirebirds”.
One was raced by Jerry Titus in the SCCA Trans Am series and five were used to promote the tires around the nation at tire stores, car shows, etc.

‘71 In 1972 BFG sold or demolished all the promotional cars. The real race car which is owned by Mark and Linda Mountanos of Utah is still campaigned on the vintage racing circuit today.
In 1972, famed engine builder, Dry Lake Hall of Fame member, and magazine columnist (Car Life, Popular HotRodding, etc.), Tom Senter bought the ravaged Trans Am Tirebird promotional car that I own today. The original 455 HO was trash as were the suspension, brakes, etc. Too many tire store yahoos driving too hard and too fast.
‘71 For the next two years, Tom rebuilt and restored the Tirebird’s interior, suspension, etc,. and asked Pontiac for a 455SD to replace the HO. Pontiac said none were available, so Tom called his friends at Michigan’s Berger Chevrolet, famous for their COPO Camaros, Chevelles, and Novas, and asked if they had a “grand rodent” for sale, the historic LS6 454, rated stock at 450hp/500lbs. of torque.
They did, and they sold it to Tom for $750.Tom wrote several car magazine articles about the car and about it’s transformation from a blue BFG Tirebird into a Ferrari Fly Yellow Trans Am that regularly turned 11’s in the quarter mile.
‘71 After Tom died, the “Tirebird” was briefly owned for a couple of years by Tom’s close friend before it was sold to a Fresno real estate agent who took out the M21 and installed a Turbo 400 so his daughter could drive it to high school. After a year or so, he sold the car to Fresno area almond farmer Tom Gejeian in 1983. Tom Gejeian put the Tirebird in his barn, only taking it out once or twice a year around his large farm to keep it running.
In 2004, I bought the Tirebird from Tom Gejeian after seeing his ad in the GoodGuys Gazette.
Since that time, I’ve rebuilt the suspension, brakes, cooling system, electrical system, and replaced every rubber seal, hose, and clamp, as well as rebuilt the engine, transmission, and differential. Re-painting the Tirebird in Tom’s Ferrari Fly Yellow is my next project.


'98 WS-6 of Lee Adanti

Lee & Sue Adanti’s 1998 WS-6 Convertible Lee & Sue Adanti’s 1998 WS-6 Convertible Lee & Sue Adanti’s 1998 WS-6 Convertible
The May 2008 issue of the National Firebird & T/A Club Eagle (the club member magazine) is the ‘98 WS-6 of Lee Adanti. Here is the story:

My ’98 WS-6 Convertible was noticed on the truck in May of 1998 as it was being delivered to Dearborn Pontiac in Dearborn Michigan. I happened to be out of town and my wife was getting our ’96 Grand Am serviced. She inquired about the car because it looked very unique to her. To make a long story short, she put a down payment and I completed the transaction once I came home and saw and drove it!

I have managed to do some research into it because I know the SLP/ASC did not do convertibles until later in the year. So here are some of the facts on its exclusivity:

Of the 3083 WS-6s built in 1998 360 were convertibles of which 86 were Red (confirmed through ASC). Only 18 of the red convertibles were made with the Taupe top and interior (most were Black).

Also, as you will recall, the SLP dual-dual exhaust system was available on the Camaro SS but to get it on a Firebird you had to order a Firehawk. That was the way SLP decided to make it exclusive. So as far as I know and can tell, I have the only Red ’98 WS-6 Taupe Convertible with the dealer installed dual-dual Firehawk exhaust.

'87 GTA of Gary Boggs

My friend Lou used to drive this car everyday. When he got married his wife hated the car, so back in the yard it went. After years of sitting and other projects Lou decided to get rid of the car. My husband and son had gotten into drag racing and one day Lou came to the track to see them run. I inquired about the car and Lou said “if you want to turn it into a race car you can have it.” I couldn’t believe my ears! He said he would give the car to my son Gary for his 16th birthday. We towed it back to our home and rolled it into the garage. My son has decided he wants to keep it stock for now and try to restore it. We can’t get it started because the fuel lines are clogged…Any inormation or tips on how to get all the fuel out of it would be greatly appreciated. My son took the seats out top have them re-covered so I am also looking for any suggestions as far as nice seat covers. I’d like to purchase some covers for him for Christmas. I guess we’ll need a lot of help from members to get this car in nice shape and back on the road. Maybe later he’ll turn it into a dragster! Any comments or information could be sent to my email address

Thanks, Robyn Boggs ( Gary’s Mom)

‘95 Trans Am convertible of Shelby Lauener

‘95 Trans Am convertible of Shelby Lauener‘95 Trans Am convertible of Shelby Lauener‘95 Trans Am convertible of Shelby Lauener The August 2007 issue of the Eagle magazine’s (sent to club members) featured car is the ‘95 Trans Am convertible of Shelby Lauener. Here is the story:

Here are some pictures of my Trans Am. It is a 95 Trans Am convertible which I have converted to a WS6 with modifications. In the past four years the car has won 35 trophies at local car shows in Oklahoma. I drive the car a lot and have enjoyed meeting folks that like classic cars and trucks.

Jim Suva's "Rockford Files" Firebird

In 1974 a new TV series aired called “The Rockford Files” starring James Garner. Mr. Garner’s character Jim Rockford drove a Pontiac Firebird Esprit. I fell in love with this car immediately. So I purchased a used 1974 Firebird Esprit that was gold and had a black interior. (Rockford drove a gold and tan interior version.) I only kept the car one year before I sold it.

The Rockford Files went through Firebirds from 1974 through the 1978 model year. I have always wanted to buy one over the years.

Fast forward to November 2002. I was looking for a used car for myself and found a 1977 Firebird Esprit on the Internet. It was gold with a tan interior.

The Firebird only had 63,000 miles on it and it was in great survivor shape. I am the fifth owner of the car. The Firebird was purchased new in 1977 in Oregon to a lady who was about 50 years old, who gave the car to her minister’s wife in the late 1980’s. The minister’s wife kept it for a number of years and sold it to another gentleman around the year 2000. In March of 2002 that gentleman sold the Firebird to another gentleman named Mike in Rhode Island. Mike sold it to me. What is nice about this Firebird is that it has only been owned by people over 45 years old. So it has not been abused.

Once I bought the Firebird, I contacted Jim at Pontiac Historic Service for a copy of the original build sheet. The Firebird was built in Ohio and shipped to a dealer in Oregon. The car originally had a rear spoiler and a stripe, which I believe was removed at the dealership. It also had wire wheels, that Mike (owner #4) switched out with a set of Rally 2 wheels to make the car look like the Rockford Files car.

Since purchasing the Firebird, I have replaced the wheel-well chrome all around, added a correct AM/FM radio with two rear speakers. Of course I have done some regular maintenance like brakes, heater core, water pump and transmission service.

The Firebird has a 305 engine, power steering and brakes. It also has air conditioning and a tilt steering column with a gold Formula steering wheel. These are the only options on the car.

I used the Firebird as a daily driver for about 11 months. It is now retired as an antique vehicle with just over 69,000 miles on it. It sports the same license plate number that was Jim Rockford’s on the TV show (853 OKG).

I have shown the Firebird at a few local car shows and it is received well. A lot of people actually ask me if this is an original from the TV show. The nice thing about this Firebird is that it is a star car replica. Since everyone wants a General Lee Charger, KITT Trans Am, or a Batmobile, my car is special. Not too many Rockford Files Firebird’s running around. Plus, there are a lot of Trans Am and Formula Firebirds, so it is cool to see the Esprit as one of a few examples still out there.

Plans for the future are to have the Firebird repainted and have some minor dings and dents taken out. As luck would have it, I met a gentleman in California who gave me the original color-based codes from an actual surviving Rockford Firebird.

I have also had the opportunity to talk to someone who actually supplied the Firebirds to both the TV series and the Rockford Movies in the 90’s. He gave me a lot of background information on the Firebirds. But that is another story. (excerpt from the club magazine, the Eagle)