All posts by firebirdclub

The Definitive Firebird & Trans Am Guide: 1970 1/2 – 1981

Definitive Firebird and Trans Am Guide

Pontiac expert and historian Rocky Rotella examines each production year of the second generation of Firebirds. Complementing the data and year-by-year analysis is a combination of archival photography from the development of these cars as well as beautiful color photos of original and restored examples today.

After the extremely successful debut of the first-generation Firebirds and Camaros, General Motors had a tall task ahead: create an equally popular yet radically different version of the ground breaking pony car it was replacing. Enthusiasts picked up on the radically different part as soon as they saw these cars. Over time, we have come to appreciate how successful these second-generation cars were. They include the early models that had an emphasis on performance along with the continued development of the Trans Am, the 455 Super Duty cars of 1973 and 1974, and the lightning-in-a-bottle popularity of the Smokey and the Bandit editions. During their production run, these Firebirds and Trans Ams were truly the only real performance cars out of Detroit, and for many of the model years, they eclipsed even the mighty Corvette.

This book tells the entire story of these immensely popular cars, whether you are into the second generation of F-Body regular models, Formula 400 performance models, the Super Duty Trans Ams, or the cars of Smokey and the Bandit fame. It is an excellent addition to any pony car, muscle car, or any enthusiast’s library.

Available on

Final Rick McLaughlin Update

This is the final Rick McLaughlin update. On a publicly broadcast court hearing, Rick McLaughlin was remanded to federal prison in handcuffs for the next 7.3 years. No probation no exceptions! He was sentenced for scamming $1.2 million over the past 3 years.
Bringing this criminal to justice was only made possible through the efforts and contributions of the online Trans Am community. Due to your efforts, enough people where able to come together and as a group make their concerns known to law enforcement.
The effort is not over, we will now refocus our efforts to bring his conspirators to justice and to try to recoup some of the money for the victims ….. but for now the Mission is complete.
Ben Kenion

’67 Firebird of Bob Schneider

A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the ’67 Firebird of Bob Schneider.  Here is the story:


A company transfer landed me in Wichita in the spring of 1967. After seeing several great ads on TV for the new Pontiac Firebird Series, I went to Scholfield Brother’s Pontiac dealership in Wichita, Kansas. This was a new dealership. After looking at several cars on the showroom floor, the salesman and I went out to the lot and I spotted a new ‘67 Pontiac Firebird 400 4-speed white top convertible, red on red, with red line tires and dog-dish hubcaps. I was stricken!! After test driving this beauty, I knew this was the car for me. She was sleek, fast and responsive. No decision here!! I made a deal on the spot and drove her home!

Fast forward to 2020: Our BABY is still in great condition, garaged and happy. She is original, with approximately 92,000 miles. She has quite a track record for travel and has been driven from Kansas to Nebraska, then to Missouri, over to Georgia, then up the coast to New Jersey and back to Nebraska, ending up in California in the mid 70’s. These travels were connected to my being drafted into the Army, serving as an MP in Vietnam. I did my MP training in Augusta, Georgia and my wife, Diana, drove the Bird from Nebraska to Georgia. I met her in Topeka, Kansas after my company transferred me there. I proposed to her in the Bird, on our first date. We will celebrated our 53rd wedding anniversary in December 2020. She loves this car as much or more than I do. After our four children were born, she would load them in the car and take them to school. (Back in the day when no seat belts were required) Today they are all in their 40’s, and they are happy we have the little red convertible they remember from their childhoods, riding with Mom with the top down and going to Dairy Queen for ice cream cones.

We lived in Colorado Springs when I returned from Vietnam and our beauty loved the snow and loved going up Pikes Peak. With three feet of snow on the ground and the top down on the car, we would take friends and family members visiting to the top of the Peak, having a grand old time. The road up was always open in the winter months. We also enjoyed racing up in the summer months.

We also have a garage buddy, a 2004 red on red Corvette convertible. These two red rubies sit next to each other, under car covers, and we drive them on Sundays to various events and car shows. It’s been a fast and fun 50 years. Having maintained this Firebird in perfect running condition through the years has been a joy to us, as well as family and friends. I hope you have enjoyed reading about

our “JEWEL”. She is 100% all original bone stock GM Pontiac, with ALL matching numbers!! I am also sending pictures for you to view. Warm Regards,

Bob Schneider & Family, Sacramento, California.

'67 Firebird of Bob Schneider
'67 Firebird of Bob Schneider
'67 Firebird of Bob Schneider

Firebird and Trans Am Gallery

‘78 Trans Am SE Y88 of Michael Hastava from Manhasset New York
‘78 Trans Am SE Y88 of Michael Hastava from Manhasset New York
‘89 Trans Am GTA SE Indy Pace Car of Alan Darr from Lakeland, Florida
‘89 Trans Am GTA SE Indy Pace Car of Alan Darr from Lakeland, Florida
'70 Trans Am Ram Air III of Dennis Fernandes from Ludlow, Massachusetts
’70 Trans Am Ram Air III of Dennis Fernandes from Ludlow, Massachusetts
‘95 Firebird of Ron Davenport from Irving, Texas
‘95 Firebird of Ron Davenport from Irving, Texas

Rick McLauglin Update

Rick McLaughlin / McLaughlin Trans Am Museum / McLaughlin Motor Cars Update

Yes we all thought it was over but not yet. There are still a few details that have come to light and we need some assistance in putting Rick and his band of merry accomplices behind bars.

Updates to the story. Rick was charged and found guilty of wire fraud in January. His sentencing will be in the last week of April. Charges carry up to 20 years. Part of the agreement was that Rick would try to make restitution until he reports to jail through liquidation of assets and any “legal” work

Well as it turns out good old Rick has not been living up to the agreement. Rick was just ordered by the Federal court to turn over a beautiful chocolate brown Trans Am that he had stolen 3 years ago! It is now safely back in the hands of Mike Fresca in Georgia!

Today there are still 4 high end older Trans Ams in the chop shop that have not found their owners. Please if you know anyone who has been taken advantage of by Rick McLaughlin, even if years ago contact Detective James Hart at 304- 580-1078 and/or Michele Wentz, West Virginia prosecutor at 304-347-3319. Also, if you have ever been told that your case is a civil case, contact them as well.

In other news, Rick has changed his business model and now goes by McLaughlin Museum where he is specializing in older trucks. Yes that is right older trucks please see the info below. I ask everyone to share this with any classic truck site or friends.

Finally … Rick has been selling “authentic” Burt Reynolds autographs! However, these have been only signed by Rick’s partner in crime, his ex-wife! If you have any of these let me know the Burt Reynolds foundation would like to know.

Recap for those joining the conversation late: 1 year ago, I purchased a 1989 Trans Am Turbo from Rick McLaughlin, after a lengthy battle my car arrived minus ownership papers and keys. I waited and begged Rick McLaughlin for the items and finally an envelop arrived with a forged MSO and other documents… During that time the West Virginia police and owner had contacted me, informing me Rick McLaughlin had stolen the car and my 50K dollars! Since then thanks to the online community we have located many other victims of Ricks scams including suspected insurance fraud, title fraud and grand theft auto and a host of other federal crimes.

3 other people have been able to retrieve their cars from his chop shop in West Virginia. Jeff, Dennis and Jay are now reunited with their cars and one long term lawsuit was finally settled retuning a restored truck to Mark in Canada!

The federal case against Rick McLaughlin is coming to a close and with a plea bargain and or jail time likely. Hopefully all of the victims (including myself) will eventually be paid or Mr. McLaughlin will have a new address, some new friends and time to reflect on his crimes. We are still searching for some Trans Ams that Rick has sold illegally which are listed below.

If you know anyone who has been taken advantage of or owed money by Rick McLaughlin, please reach out and I will put you in touch with the authorities.

As always thanks and message me if you have any info. Without Facebook, Rick would be still on the street taking advantage of people!

Ben Kenion Editor’s Note: Ben Kenion can be contacted on our Facebook group ( by searching for his posts.

Featured Car – ’68 Firebird 400 of Wes Hardy

This issue’s 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

’86 Trans Am of Mark Goldman

A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the ‘86 Trans Am of Mark Goldman from Endicott, New York. Here is the story:

In 1995 I purchased my 1986 Trans Am. It was the pace car at one of our local tracks. It was dark blue metallic with silver ground effects and was decked out in NASCAR vinyl stickers. I started the transformation by removing the stock hood, removing the stock 305 and having a complete engine out paint job performed. She was painted ice blue with pearl dust in the clear and ghost flames were added on both sides. The flames became her theme. The 305 was replaced by a built Corvette 350 Engine that was dynoed at 440 HP and a 600HP 700R4 transmission purchased from Monster Transmission in Florida was installed and a custom dual muffler system with Mazda dual exhaust tips. Then a fiberglass ram air hood was painted and installed. A BCool radiator and flamed radiator cap, flamed valve covers and breathers were added, a lowering kit was installed and air shocks were added to the rear. American Eagle (flamed) wheels and P245/50ZR16 Sumitomo tires replaced the stock Trans Am wheels and existing tires. Every flame on was painted with the same color paint as on the car, as well as the brake calipers.

The interior is stock except for firebird’s embroidered on the headrests, Panasonic stereo and BM Ratchet Shifter. A dual custom sub box, painted with the same paint as the car, dual MTX speakers and a Kicker Amp was installed in the rear well.

In 2010 a very good friend of mine helped me tuck all the engine wires into the sub frame and I added a March Performance Serpentine Chromed Front End, Taylor Wires, Flamed Spark Plug Wire Looms, and Lokar Transmission and Oil Dip Sticks.

Finally, in 2016 I had a local artist paint an eagle on the underside of my ram air hood.

In its present state it is true value insured for $50,000 through Collectors Insurance.

It has won several honors, but none as important as the 1st place it took in 2010 and 2012 out of all the 3rd Gen’s entered at the “Firebird’s On The Lawn” in Saratoga Springs, NY. Unfortunately they stopped having this car show.

Mark Goldman, In the Spirit of the Sport, USA Veterans Championship Wrestling Team Leader

‘86 Trans Am of Mark Goldman from Endicott, New York
‘86 Trans Am of Mark Goldman from Endicott, New York
‘86 Trans Am of Mark Goldman from Endicott, New York

’98 Formula of Guy Ferstl from Goodyear, Arizona

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

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

Hypertech Power Programmer III
Hypertech 160 degree Thermostat

CORSA Cat Back Exhaust w/Pro Series 3.5 Tips

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

'98 Formula of Guy Ferstl from Goodyear, Arizona
Donna with '98 Formula of Guy Ferstl from Goodyear, Arizona
'98 Formula of Guy Ferstl from Goodyear, Arizona