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 .
If you had been looking for your fix of classic cars, The Bandits brought it straight to you on June 28, 2019. Camdenton, Missouri was the host to a parade of Pontiac Trans Ams as they rumbled through town. The parade was in honor of Smokey and the Bandit.
The event began in Texas and went all the way to Kansas City, Missouri. With over 110 cars in attendance, it was hard to miss. John Kelsey, owner of Kelsey Tires in Camdenton, is one of the main reasons the group decided to make a stop in town. Kelsey’s museum is home to a number of rare and vintage automobiles.
The event is not only in honor of Smokey and the Bandit, but also to Burt Reynolds himself. Kelsey Tires supplied the tires on one of the vehicles Reynolds drove in the movie, and is one of the many claims to fame Kelsey enjoys.
The Bandits enjoyed this while in town, with buses shuttling drivers to and from Kelsey’s location on US-54. The drivers made their way to Camdenton Middle School and park at the building. Lunch was held for the group inside the building, with Kelsey and his wife hosting a number of memorabilia pieces inside the cafeteria. The public was welcomed to take pictures and see the cars as they came through, but it was not considered a public event.
Kelsey says that this group is important as they recognize a significant era in this vehicles history. He says that the era of Reynolds and Smokey and the Bandit was important to tire salesman and classic car lovers. Being a salesman at the time of its release, he says it’s a tribute to an era that is loved by many.
“For those of us who were active in that era and in the tire business, it set the tone for that car and was very important,” Kelsey said.
While the Skies over our Garden State Fall Show may have been cloudy, it was clear that the most ardent of Pontiac, Oakland and GMC Truck enthusiasts from our area were undeterred. Our show drew some great entries from across northern New Jersey, Staten Island (NYC) and from the Long Island Pontiac Clubs (oh, and one guy from Manhattan, too). Our Fall Show was definitely the place to be on October 6, 2019!
Dianne Lennox, president of our chapter, certainly knows how to organize a first-class event. Fellow Garden State Chapter members helped her smoothly orchestrate everything, from registration to class parking to the award presentation – noted for its rather nice trophies. Thanks go out to the efforts of each of our club members for their individual contributions.
More thanks go out to the Clifton, NJ Masonic Lodge for once again for providing and excellent venue for our show. I know everyone appreciated our genial food vendor. We started out with a “just-right” DJ, but later on, we introduced the spectacular talents of the Glynis Cobb Band. They simply wowed the crowd!
There was no shortage of trophy winners in the various classes and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
I think it is worth mentioning that this is our 39th Fall Show, which has to be a record for POCI chapters. Just wait until next year!
Now, having assumed the role of roving reporter and photographer, I find it personally rewarding to chat with as many of the owners as possible. Everyone in attendance had great stories to share about their pride and joy. Sharing the passion for our Pontiacs is why we have our club, and our show is enhanced with a diverse selection of models from the various decades – a true hallmark of POCI events.
Mike Weiss Editor’s Note: Mike Weiss is a member of the NFTAC and this event draws many Firebirds and Trans Ams as shown by the photos hers. I encourage our members to attend this show later this year.
This instantly recognizable package is more than just a movie car.
The 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit may have immortalized the black-and-gold Pontiac Trans Am, but this special edition model was actually created by GM design boss Bill Mitchell to celebrate Pontiac’s 50-year anniversary in 1976. These cars were designated with the Y82 RPO code, and they featured the iconic black paint job with gold accents including gold pin striping, gold grille, gold wheels and, of course, the gold Screaming Chicken decal on the hood. The Y82 Trans Ams were built in low volume from 1976 through 1978, but this “Bandit” paint job carried on (under various other RPO codes) through the second-gen Firebird’s final year in 1981.
In 1977, the Y82 code represented only the examples with t-tops, while the hardtops showed Y81 on the build sheet. Compared to the more than 15,000 Y82/Y81 Trans Ams built in ‘77, the 1978 model year saw this number drop down to just 3,643, and t-tops were also added as standard equipment with this package. With the Firebird’s 1979 redesign, the RPO code was changed to Y84 for the car’s final three years of production.
Here are two excellent examples of the Y82 Trans Am, and both are available through Carolina Muscle Cars for $75,000 each.1976 Pontiac Trans Am Y82 Limited Edition
Only 2,590 examples of the 1976 Pontiac Trans Am Y82 50th Anniversary Limited Edition were ever built, and only 319 were built with the 455 H.O. engine and without the available Hurst t-tops. The 1976 model year was the last year for the 455 CID V8, and it was paired to a four-speed manual. This particular ‘76 Y82 is a numbers-matching car with a factory-original interior and a restored exterior including new paint and graphics. This Y82 Limited Edition is spotless and ready to show, and it comes with documentation from Pontiac Historical Services, original build sheet, ownership history and more.1977 Pontiac Trans Am Y82 Special Edition
The popularity of Smokey and the Bandit led Pontiac to increase production of the Trans Am Special Edition to more than 15,000 units offered with a 400 CID or Oldsmobile 403 CID V8, and this Y82 is just one of 3,760 equipped with the W72 high-performance 400 CID V8 engine and an automatic transmission. This, too, is a numbers-matching Trans Am that was fully restored including all-new body panels and an all-new interior, and it also comes with the factory build sheets.
Black and gold Trans Ams are everywhere these days, but if you want a true Y82 Trans Am, contact Carolina Muscle Cars for more information on either of these rare and immaculate Pontiacs.
I bought my 1973 Firebird 400 in 1977 when I was 16 years old. It had 51,735 miles. I garage stored it for 29 years and started restoration in 2009. My son and I rebuilt the engine. It was bored over to .030 with a scat stroker kit.
Now it’s a 461 cu. in. with 549 lift compcam. I put in a scorpion roller valve train that features Kaufman aluminum heads. The fuel delivery is a Rob mic fuel pump to a pro fuel system with a Holley 870. The transmission is a GM Turbo 400 with a B&M 3K stall converter built by M. Downs.
It has got a 12 bolt master rear end with 373 gears and I rebuilt the suspension. The paint and body was done by Dean Osborne in Levercross, North Carolina.. I have all authentic GM sheet metal. My fiancé and me restored the interior. I finished my car in October 2017.
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This issue’s featured car is the ’77 Formula of Jim
Elick from Sharpsburg, Georgia. Here is the story:
The Formula is the rarest of Firebirds but try to
find a one-owner, matching numbers 400, in 29L Nautilus Blue with prototype “Sky
Bird” bucket seats.
It was purchased 21 days after Smokey and the
Bandit and spending $5000 for this car nearly 42 years ago. I have not seen
another 77’ like her and apparently neither have the judges as we’ve just
stormed through the southern US car show circuit. By these same attachments,
it’s clear who my only Firebird club is!
Having just returned from Mecum in
Indy and speaking with PHS, yet again, these simply don’t exist any longer, not
with this cowl plate.
She is 43 years old and was featured on Summit Racing’s turntable for two
weeks in September.. This car has a terrific story behind it as well being a