Category Archives: Events

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Pontiac Southern Nationals

by Jay Lord

It’s Back!!! Yes, after a two year hiatus, the Pontiac Southern Nationals is Back!

In case you have never heard of or been to this event, it’s the brain child of the Dallas Area Pontiac Association. Here’s how it all got started. In 1993 the Pontiac Southern Nationals came to be as a result of the Dallas Area Pontiac Association’s desire to put on an event weekend that rivaled any national car event anywhere. Traditionally, PSN has been held in Dallas, Texas and quickly became one of the major Pontiac event weekends in this part of the United States. The PSN also quickly became known nationally as one of the top events each year and Pontiac hobbyists from across the nation attend. A very high quality hotel is always selected as the host hotel where Pontiac guys and gals bring their family and friends and meet other Pontiac owners and spend hours sharing information about their cars and the hobby. Traditionally, on the Friday night of the event weekend, there is a casual supper for entrants and their family, usually around the hotel pool, a court yard or at a hospitality suite. On Saturday, the all Pontiac car show is run and on Sunday, bracket racing is offered at one of the top ¼ mile tracks in the area.

Josie\'s 1970 Trans Am The PSN was a hit from the beginning and continued its winning ways through 2005. Then the DAPA members took two years off in 2006 and 2007 and only hosted a charity show in its place by way of the Sewell Pontiac BOP show benefiting the American Cancer Society, which is still their charity today.

During those two years, many Pontiac folk sent emails, letters or had conversations with many of the DAPA members, expressing their feelings about the need to resume the PSN. In late 2007, DAPA President Don Fenton and DAPA members came together and decided to resurrect this tremendous weekend on June 6-8, 2008. The only difference was that it was held in San Antonio, Texas.

Pontac Southern Nationals car A block of rooms were set aside at an almost brand new La Quinta Inn and Suites which was only a few miles from downtown San Antonio, where attractions such as the Riverwalk, the Alamo, Tower of the Americas, HemisFair Park, fine restaurants, and shopping could be enjoyed by all. The La Quinta was also where, the traditional Friday night casual social event and supper for entrants and their families was held.

Saturday started early for many of the hobbyists. Many struck out before 8 a.m. for the car show which was held on the grounds of the Retama Horse Race Track. Although the forecast called for a 30% chance of rain, the show was blessed with only one small rain shower. A few of the entrants might have seeked shelter at the race track because the entry fee included a free admission to the track.

Pontac Southern Nationals car Pontiac hobbyist and their cars came from all over Texas to celebrate the resurrection of the PSN. Despite sky rocketing gas prices and the threat of rain for the weekend, 77 primo Pontiacs entered the show. Of the clubs that entered cars, the San Antonio Pontiac club, South Central Texas Chapter of POCI, entered over a dozen cars and many of them took home awards. Over three dozen top quality first, second, third and fourth generation Firebirds, Formulas, and Trans Ams entered, were teched and placed in one of the six classes for F-bodies.

Four second generation cars that caught everyone’s eye and scored very well by the judges were the 1976 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Trans Am owner by Robert Kern of Dallas, the 1979 Special Edition Trans Am owned by Paul Kenny of Houston, a 1979 10th Anniversary Trans Am owned by Greg San Marco of San Antonio and a 1970 Trans Am owned by Josie Lord of Bulverde, Texas.
Robert’s ’76 50th Anniversary Limited Edition is a Hurst t-top Y-82 code car, with automatic (TH350), 400 cid, 2.56 rear gears. This very original car’s total mileage (after the 2008 Bandit Run and the PSN) is only 83K!

Paul’s 1979 Special Edition Trans Am has the Pontiac 400 ci motor, 4spd. with only 31k original miles. He’s owned it for 10yrs. It is a high optioned un-restored survivor car that shows very well.
Greg’s 1979 10th Anniversary Trans Am is a 400/4spd car with only 3800 original miles on it. It too is an un-restored survivor car that shows very well.

Josie’s 1970 Trans Am has been in the family for almost 20 years, is a polar white, numbers matching, PHS documented, highly optioned, Ram Air III, California car.

Best of Show went to a 1969 Firebird 400 owned by Jay Lord of Bulverde, Texas. This gold with a parchment vinyl top Firebird is an unmolested, numbers matching, PHS, heavily documented car. It has only been driven 78K by its 4 owners. It has won awards in many shows in and around San Antonio but this is the car’s first Best of Show award.

Pontac Southern Nationals car The races on Sunday at the San Antonio Raceway’s ¼ mile track had some fantastic cars. Many of the DAPA members that had been involved with the PSN for years felt the track was the best venue they have used hands down. Several classes were established and provided racing fun and excitement. Cash awards were made to the winners and runner up in each class. To maximize entrants and spectators enjoyment, if a racer lost their first round elimination race, for an extra fee, they were allowed back in to the same class for a second chance.

The entire weekend was a huge success thanks to all the hard work of all the Dallas Area Pontiac Association members and family as well as the support received from several sponsors – Red McCombs Superior Pontiac GMC of San Antonio, Ames Performance Engineering, Butler Performance, Sewell Pontiac of Dallas, GTOAA Ram Air Restorations, DuSold Enterprises, and Street Dreams.

Rest assured, whenever and wherever the PSN is set for 2009, we’ll all be there. Hope many of you reading this story will bring your cars and join in the excitement, Pontiac Southern Nationals style.

5th Annual All Firebird Lawn Show

2007 5th Annual All Firebird Lawn Show2007 5th Annual All Firebird Lawn Show 2007 All Firebird Lawn Show 2007 5th Annual All Firebird Lawn Show 2007 Firebird Lawn Show

Story by Keith Fuerst

Pictures by Pete Manos, Phil Ginsberg, Richard Millier, Ralph Mangino, Tom Smith, and Keith Fuerst

The fact that the 5th Annual All Firebird Lawn Show at Saratoga Auto Museum, hosted by Firebird Nation of North America, has come and gone is proof that “time flies when you’re having fun.” This show has grown from a local gathering of Firebird owners to a regional show covering 10 states and Canada. In 2007 another attendance record was set…127 Firebird owners decided they couldn’t miss out on all the fun. Cars shows are great but what makes this one more special is that it’s a fund raiser for Special Olympics Saratoga. Almost $ 5,000 was raised at the 2007 show. Thanks to some very generous Firebird owners and sponsors that figure was a new show record.
2007 5th Annual All Firebird Lawn Show 2007 5th Annual All Firebird Lawn Show 2007 5th Annual All Firebird Lawn Show 2007 5th Annual All Firebird Lawn ShowA car show this big doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of work. The driving force behind the show is founder Tom Smith and co-founder wife Sandy Smith who handled all the organizational details from A to Z. They are certified Special Olympics coaches and Firebird owners. They lead a dedicated group of volunteers to produce this ever growing event. The volunteers are judges Joe Carey, Neil Silberkleit, Eddie Barra, and Keith Fuerst; the registration queens Sandy Smith, Susan Banker, Arlene Delaney and Sandy Byron; the food and beverage staff David, Lisa and Trish Lord. Special Olympics volunteers Judy Keehan, Mary Schwartz, and Chris Radz sold raffle tickets. FNONA member Keith Tanny sold 50/50 raffle tickets with half of the proceeds going to Special Olympics. Special Olympics athletes Brian Smith, Todd Byron, Jennifer Delaney, and John Schwartz selected the winner of the Athlete’s Choice trophy and gave out ribbons to 25 of their favorite Firebirds. Athlete DJ Nolan provided the music and announcements.

On Friday afternoon there was a meet and greet at the
Saratoga Auto Museum for Firebird owners who just couldn’t wait until Saturday to feed their Firebird addiction. An SSPD police escort arranged by FNONA vice president Joe Carey lead 25 Firebirds on a cruise to Mr. ED’s Ice Cream and Pizza Station. On Saturday the show was blessed with great weather except for one nasty looking rain cloud that made everyone nervous…. until it passed by without leaving a single drop.
There was some top quality eye candy in the form of Firebirds in all directions on the show field. Cars included a pristine 69 T/A Ram Air III and 70 T/A Ram Air IV, both owned by Ray and Kathy DeCrescenzo. These cars drew an instant crowd that lasted most of the day. Other birds of note included a 94 25th anniversary T/A Firehawk convertible, 1 of 2 made, a 77 T/A with a 502… 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th Anniversary Trans Ams, and a 74 SD 455. Also some black and gold Special Editions, a few Sprint 6 Firebirds and some very well cared for high mileage Firebirds and Formulas of all years made a strong presence.

Thanks go out to Alan Edstrom of
Saratoga Auto Museum for his help and support. Thanks also to Ralph Mangino Jr. of Mangino Pontiac for sponsorship and dash plaques. Much gratitude to all the members of NFTAC, Trans Am Country, Charter Oak Birds, Connecticut F-Body Association, Firebirds Forever and the Ohio Firebirds for making the long trek to the show. Much appreciation to Rob, Frank and NFTAC for the raffle items, Eagle Magazines, and coverage of this show in Eagle Magazine. July 5, 2008 (rain date July 6, 2008) is the date for this year’s show. Please join us for some Firebird fun.

2007 TA Nationals

The 23rd annual Trans Am Nationals were held the weekend of August 24-26, 2007 in Dayton, Ohio. The staff of the National Firebird & T/A Club are always at this event because of the large number of Firebirds and Trans Ams that always are present. Sue Emmel and Becky Bayes and the rest of the “crew” did their usual fine job.

The turnout was great and Trans Ams as there were approximately 500 Firebirds and Trans Ams with many fine examples of all generations.

It was great to meet so many of our members at the show and we thank you for all of the many complements about the club itself.

A great time was had by the attendees and the 24th Annual Trans Am Nationals is scheduled for August 22-24, 2008. Take a look at all the great cars and we know we will see you there!

All GM Nationals at Carlisle, PA on June 22-24, 2007

beveryreedyflyer.jpgbeverlyreedyatgmnationals2.jpgbeverlyreedyatgmnationals.jpg Beverly Reedy was selected to be part of the invitational display at the 2007 GM Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Much to her surprise they used her car on the cover of the flyer and Program Book. The also used it on t-shirts although the color of my car was changed to yellow.

2007 Bandit Run

by Steve Thompson

bandit-run-sign.jpg I own a 1977 Special Edition Black Bandit Trans Am and a 1978 Black Bandit Tribute Trans Am. Both have the 400 Pontiac Engine, 350 Turbo automatic transmission, power windows, T-tops, polished snow flake wheels, new paint and graphics, AM- FM Stereo CD player with amplifier and additional CD changer in the trunk and built in CB radio.

bandit-run-on-track-1.jpg The 1978 was purchased six years ago and has been restored, frame on. Three years ago, I saw the 1977 at a carbandit-run-bandit3-1.jpg show. I told the owner to call me if he decided to sell it. I kept in touch with him and he finally agreed to sell it to me in the fall of 2006. I had it repainted in March 2007 and put new graphics on it in April. A fellow Trans Am owner, Gary Drew of Colorado Springs, told me about the possibility of a “Bandit Run” on May 15 -19, 2007. I immediately began research into the possibility of such a thing. Boy did that sound like fun. I signed up for the Run and decided I had to drive my 1977 Special Edition Bandit Car. I hoped to drive the car to a bunch of car shows in April, to test out the endurance of the 77 Bandit. But, it rained or snowed every weekend and the car sat in the garage. The “Run” was its initiation drive.

bandit-run-steve-thompson-2-tas.jpg On Sunday May 13, I left Colorado Springs, Colorado and headed to Texarkana, Texas. I pulled into the designated hotel Monday night and saw a roped off area for the Bandit Run cars. Boy was I excited to join the other drivers on the first “Bandit Run”. That evening, most of the drivers were cleaning their cars for the next day “Run”. A bunch of us decided to drive to the Texarkana Classic Car Museum (Day 1 meeting place).

bandit-run-road-atlanta.jpgDay 1 we parked in the lot of the Texarkana Car Museum and got a free tour of the museum. While waiting for the official start of the “Run” a couple actors appeared, one dressed like “Sheriff Buford T. Justice” and another dressed like “Junior”. We met the actors and also had a visit from the mayor of Texarkana. He wished us a safe drive to Atlanta and the drive began with Police escort out of town. We started the Run with maybe 50 or so Trans AM’s, GTO’s, a Camaro, a Dukes of Hazard Car, and other Pontiacs. About an hour or so later, we picked up more police escorts as they took us through Magnolia, Arkansas. We were escorted around the town square where hundreds (if not thousands) of people were lining the streets waving to the Bandit Run Convoy. What a sight to see, all the people standing on the sidewalks waving and yelling at us as we drove by. That evening we pulled into Tupelo, Mississippi for the night.

Day 2 saw us meet at the Tupelo Auto Museum to show off our cars, view the cars in the museum and see the new “Year One Bandit Car”. It looks fantastic, but a little pricey for some. We were told that Bandit One starts at around $130,000 with Bandit Two at $160,000 and Bandit Three around $190,000. That morning, we probably picked up another ten or so cars joining the Bandit Run. We then began the drive from Tupelo to Birmingham, Alabama, after having a BBQ lunch at the museum.

Day 3 saw us pick up another 10 or so cars and leave Birmingham, driving in a convoy toward Atlanta. I had the pleasure to take on a passenger in my Bandit car, that day. Steve Clark flew to the USA from England to go on the Bandit Run. Day One and Two, he rode with other drivers and asked me if he could ride with me on Day 3, to experience riding in my Colorado “Bandit7” car. On the way to Atlanta, we stopped on the side of the road to gather all the Trans Am’s and other cars on the Run. Our next exit was to be the Talladega Race Track. Once at the track, we got to tour the museum and were treated to lunch. Photographers were lifted high in the air on a boom truck and took a photo of all the cars parked in the parking lot. That photo is in the August Automotive Magazine, in their article about the Bandit Run. We then drove to Atlanta, running into a huge traffic jam on our way to the Year One facility. Most of the Trans Am’s did not overheat in the hot weather and bumper to bumper traffic. Once at the Year One facility, we were treated to tours and snacks. We got to see the area where the new Bandit Cars are being built. We also heard the official news that Burt Reynolds was not going to make the trip to Atlanta due to an illness. Most of us Bandit drivers were disappointed that we were not going to meet him in person.

Day 4 saw us meet at the Year One facility to drive in a convoy to the Road Atlanta Track, for the annual Year One Experience. We showed off all the Bandit Run cars, which now totaled close to 90 or so, in a special Bandit Run Car Show. The organizers also gathered up all the black “Bandit” cars and took us down to the track facilities. We lined up our cars and drove two times around the track completing 5 laps, so a camera car could shoot the entire drive. We then came in to change camera cars and headed out for a second time to drive 5 more laps. What a sight to see, all the Bandit cars. I estimated that there were about 28 Bandit cars from 1977 through 1980. Once done, we then drove back to park them for the remainder of the day at the Bandit Run Car Show.

Day 5: Since Burt Reynolds wasn’t going to be at the Bandit Run Car Show, I decided to head back to Colorado. I knew that I had a 3-day drive back and left that Saturday morning. What I missed was the unveiling of the new Year One Bandit Car, but I had already seen it while on the Bandit Run.

Some of the participants of the Run were going to drive to a couple movie locations on Day 6 or Sunday. That part would have been nice to attend, but I kept thinking about my long drive back. There was no way that I was going to trailer my car to and from Atlanta, while on the Run. I had to experience the whole drive, even if it did cost me over $600 in fuel for the whole trip, ouch! But a small price to pay for a fantastic experience that I will never forget. I did the Bandit Run, wow!

7th Annual Pontiac Classic Car Show

The South Central Texas Chapter held their 7th Annual Classic Car Show in Seguin, Texas on Sept. 16, 2006. We had 127 classic cars and the show was a great success. There were some very nice Trans Ams and Firebirds shown, several owned by Club members and more in the non Club classes. We were very fortunate to have a very rare ’73 Brewster Green Trans Am Super Duty 455, 1 of 252 produced, shown at our show. It is a gorgeous concourse quality rotisserie restoration and we were grateful to our son, Greg San Marco, for bringing it to the show.

Thanks to The National Firebird & TA Club for sending several door prizes and goody bag items that helped contribute to a wonderful show.

This year’s show is scheduled for October 6, 2007. (excerpt from the club magazine, the Eagle)

Penny San Marco

2006 All Firebird Lawn Show Report & Photos

I’m happy to report that the 4th Annual Firebird Lawn Show at the Saratoga Automobile Museum was a complete success! The weather was almost perfect-sunny, warm and not too humid. This year’s show was the largest to date- 109 Firebirds, T/As, Firehawks, GTAs showed up in Saratoga from 9 states and Canada to share our love of Firebirds and raise money for the Special Olympics. A total of 4100 dollars was raised, another show record.

Some of the cars at the show were-a 74 SD 455, a Notchback GTA, Notchback Formula, a #2 of 6 2002 Mecham Trans Am, 80,81, 89,96 pace cars, a Father (20th anniv. T/A) and Son (25th anniv. T/A), a 67 Firebird stuffed with a built 455, KITT, Bandits- most of them met up at a hotel and arrived at the show in one long line!! A bone stock 80 turbo Bandit T/A… well not exactly, under the hood was a twin turbocharged 455 putting out 848 hp at the rear wheels!! WOW. Talk about a sleeper!! Yes the owner had the dyno paper work to back up those numbers. Once again the quality of cars was amazing.

I’d like to thank my fellow NFTAC members who made it to the show. Also the members of Firebird Nation of North America who attended and Trans Am Country- many who drove three, four and up to eight hours to get to the show.

Thanks to Rob, Frank and NFTAC for providing items for the show. Hope to see you at the next show on July 7, 2007.

Keith Fuerst

2006 Trans Am Nationals Report & Photos

The 22nd annual Trans Am Nationals were held the weekend of August 25-27, 2006 in Dayton, Ohio. The staff of the National Firebird & T/A Club are always at this event because of the large number of Firebirds and Trans Ams that always are present. Sue Emmel and Becky Bayes and the rest of the “crew” did their usual fine job.

The turnout was great and Trans Ams as there were approximately 600 Firebirds and Trans Ams with many fine examples of all generations.

It was great to meet so many of our members at the show and we thank you for all of the many complements about the club itself.

A great time was had by the attendees and the 23rd Annual Trans Am Nationals is scheduled for August 24-26, 2007. Take a look at all the great cars and we know we will see you there!