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.
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