Firebird and Trans Am Day at the Pontiac Museum

Ken Pitcher

What a fun and fantastic time we had in Pontiac, Illinois again this year, as we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Firebird, at the 3rd Annual All Firebird and Trans Am Day at the Pontiac Museum in Pontiac, Illinois!

This event is co-sponsored by Midwest Firebirds and the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum. All proceeds from the event go to help the museum continue their great work promoting the legacy of the Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors and the Oakland Motor Car Company, which produced cars from 1908 to 1931 and then became Pontiac Motor Car Company in 1932. I am ecstatic to report we had 85 Firebirds and many more people at the event, and were able to generate over $4,300 to the museum’s bottom line! As Penny Dye from the Museum told us: “That’s a huge impact to the museum for a day of cars, music, food, and fun in the sun on the square in the beautiful little town of Pontiac, Illinois.”

Our club’s involvement with the museum started in 2014, when we did a Spring Cruise down Route 66, ending at the museum. We then met up with members from the Indianapolis Firebird Club and did a tour of the museum led by curator, Tim Dye. Tim approached me with an idea. He asked if we would consider co-hosting an event with them for Firebirds of all generations the next year – which he dubbed “All Firebird Day at the Museum.”

We just completed our 3rd Annual All Firebird and Trans Am Day at the Museum a few weeks ago, although you could argue we’ve actually been there for four years in a row! And every year we are getting more Firebirds coming from further away, as interest in this Firebird gathering is gaining some serious momentum.

One of the cool things about this event is that it is not just a “car show”, the museum is open the whole time, and special behind the scenes tours are offered, including the new art gallery, which our club helped sponsor last year.

Part of the day’s events include a tour of the private auto collection of Alan Finkenbinder, and a tour the Dongbai Art Studio. The Village of Pontiac provided Trolley service to all of these locations, as well as shuttling our group to Mario’s Pizzeria for a special pizza lunch prepared for the participants.

The museum always provides one or two of their special display Firebirds for us to examine up close. And this year was no exception, as they brought out the 1970 special-color, 433 original-mile, restored Firebird Formula that was featured in the current Smoke Signals magazine, and a real Sportsman-Series 1979 Trans Am race car for all to enjoy.

You should have heard the noise coming from the race car when they actually drove it into place under its own power. It was quite an attention getter!

Being a First Generation Firebird club, this is a wonderful event for us to co-host, to unite all Firebird enthusiasts. We truly enjoy seeing all the years of Firebirds, especially those rare Anniversary and Special Edition Trans Ams and Firehawks, you just don’t see at every car show. The idea behind the show has always been to create a fun event for Firebirds of all generations to celebrate our Pontiac car model, and support the POCI museum. Kind of like a smaller version of the Trans Am Nationals, held in the heart of Illinois. And other than Illinois, we had Firebirds come in from seven different states including, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and even Mississippi!

If you want to be a part of this Firebird get-together next year, mark your calendar now for the 3rd weekend in May. We hope to have even more Firebirds on hand for another wonderful day at the museum.

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