All posts by firebirdclub

'98 WS-6 of Lee Adanti

Lee & Sue Adanti’s 1998 WS-6 Convertible Lee & Sue Adanti’s 1998 WS-6 Convertible Lee & Sue Adanti’s 1998 WS-6 Convertible
The May 2008 issue of the National Firebird & T/A Club Eagle (the club member magazine) is the ‘98 WS-6 of Lee Adanti. Here is the story:

My ’98 WS-6 Convertible was noticed on the truck in May of 1998 as it was being delivered to Dearborn Pontiac in Dearborn Michigan. I happened to be out of town and my wife was getting our ’96 Grand Am serviced. She inquired about the car because it looked very unique to her. To make a long story short, she put a down payment and I completed the transaction once I came home and saw and drove it!

I have managed to do some research into it because I know the SLP/ASC did not do convertibles until later in the year. So here are some of the facts on its exclusivity:

Of the 3083 WS-6s built in 1998 360 were convertibles of which 86 were Red (confirmed through ASC). Only 18 of the red convertibles were made with the Taupe top and interior (most were Black).

Also, as you will recall, the SLP dual-dual exhaust system was available on the Camaro SS but to get it on a Firebird you had to order a Firehawk. That was the way SLP decided to make it exclusive. So as far as I know and can tell, I have the only Red ’98 WS-6 Taupe Convertible with the dealer installed dual-dual Firehawk exhaust.

1970 ½ Trans Am of Jay Lord

1970 ½ Trans Am of Jay Lord 1970 ½ Trans Am of Jay Lord 1970 ½ Trans Am of Jay Lord
I was in Riverside California and working at March AFB in November 1988, when an ad appeared in a Penny Saver “1970 Trans Am, ram air, runs $1300, phone — ——. Naturally, I called and asked if it was a Ram Air III or IV. The owner had no clue, so that made me want to get there even faster.

A friend who was making a clone 1970 Chevelle SS went with me to look at it. As it turned out, it was a white Ram Air III TA that was in pretty bad shape. The paint was yellowing in areas; windshield, nose, and passenger window gone; driver’s door had a huge dent in it, five small rust spots around the rear window, trunk lid and rear center spoiler caved in due to a garbage truck’s bucket coming down on it, carpet and seat covers gone, dash pad cracked in the middle, console shot, steering wheel pretty torn up, front center spoiler gone, AC compressor gone, a worn out battery and starter, and a tired Ram Air III motor.

1970 ½ Trans Am of Jay Lord 1970 ½ Trans Am of Jay Lord As I found out later, the car we were looking at, was a true PHS documented, high optioned, Ram Air III, California TA that still had the original paint, engine, heads, trany, rear end, door panels, fenders, floor pans and quarters. It had very little rust, as described above. The shaker even had the solenoids, wiring, and all the goodies that make the flapper open when you accelerate. As we thoroughly looked over the car, we quickly determined the car’s good points far surpassed the bad ones.

The seller said the car would run but got hot in the summer time and would not start. He said it had been sitting out in front of his home for about eight months, parked parallel to the curb, and that’s where the garbage truck’s bucket struck the rear trunk lid and spoiler. My friend Randy and a huddled up and came up with an offer of $950 and he took it! I became the third owner and the seller was friends with the first owner, so he had a lot of history on the car.

We had the car towed home as the motor had not been turned over in 8 months. The next weekend we started the restoration. In the next 18 months, almost everything was either replaced or rebuilt to include transmission, suspension, air conditioning, interior, carpet and dash pad, glass etc. The original set of Rally II rims (JW codes) were still on the car, so all that was needed was to strip and repaint each one. A numbers carburetor was found with the help of a good friend, Scott Nesheim, who, to this day, still owns his Lucerne Blue ’70 TA. The body work and prep took the longest to get accomplished because it was done by a great body shop guy that did private work on weekends at the shop. Finally, I had it painted to its original white. I disassembled all the spoilers, mirrors, grills, lights, chrome, rear bumper and nose to ensure all surfaces got an equal amount of Code 10 paint. About a month later the stripes went on.

The last thing, but the most important one of all, was the engine rebuild. In 1990, the compression had finally gone almost to zero. I decided to find someone who could rebuild the motor. I didn’t have to look far as I had met Carl Lower at one of the local Pontiac club meetings. At that time, Carl was staying with Bruce Fulper-Rock & Roll Engineering and came highly recommended.

Carl, along with his two sons, and I did the rebuild in my garage and took several weekends before it was complete. All the machine work was done by a Pontiac performance shop in Riverside. The engine had never been into so it only had to be bored 30 over. A three angle valve job was done and new bronze guides were installed. The block was bored and honed and new cam bearings were installed. Forged TRW pistons and Melling cam (068) and bearings were installed. A Ram Air III oil pump, Carter fuel pump and Edelbrock double roller timing chain were also installed. The whole assembly was balanced and finally we carried the Ram Air III home, put it back in the TA, and the car came alive!

In 1993, I moved to Texas and only have had to replace the normal parts a car goes through in 12,000 miles of driving plus new power steering pump and box, AC system (converted to R134 in 2003), exhaust system, brake booster and tires.

Although I show my TA in many San Antonio and surrounding area shows, the best times I’ve had with the car are when I’m driving it to and from these shows, to a cruise night or two, or just around the area where I live on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I don’t care that some engine parts don’t shine quite as much as new ones, because many are 16-18 years old or are original ones. This car was my first one to try to restore and will always be very special to me. Also, one of the best things about owning this car is I get to meet so many great people that love old cars almost as much as me. Through the years, I’ve also met folks that do excellent work on them and I’ve been able to pass along their names to others that need help with their car. Without my TA, all of that wouldn’t have happened. I feel very lucky to have found it.

Jay Lord

No Trans Am for Pontiac

New Firebird New Trans AmBuick, Pontiac and GMC dealers will get 12 new or special-edition vehicles over the next 20 months — but they won’t get a Pontiac Trans Am.

Pontiac had lobbied for a sibling vehicle to the Chevrolet Camaro, which is scheduled to arrive in February 2009.

General Motors’ plan to make Pontiac a rear-wheel-drive performance car division is likely to be scaled back because of fuel economy regulations, GM leaders told dealers at the make meeting.

One dealer said the business case for the Trans Am didn’t compute.

“It was an economic situation,” said Lynn Thompson, owner of Thompson Motor Sales in Springfield, Mo. “It would cost $200 million to bring out the vehicle.”

Pontiac will remain a car-only brand for the foreseeable future, dealers were told. But because of new legislation requiring vehicles to reach a fleet average of 35 mpg by 2020, Pontiac might not end up as GM’s performance division, dealers said they were told.

“The plan is being tweaked because of the gas situation,” Thompson said. “I hope they don’t give up on performance because they don’t have to. You can use four-cylinder engines to achieve incredible power.”

B-P-G will give dealers six new or special-edition vehicles — such as the special-edition GMC Sierra pickup, called Pro Grade — this year. They will get another six next year, dealers who attended the meeting told Automotive News.

Chicago Auto Show Concept Trans Am

by Bob Phillips

Trans Am Concept Trans Am of Bob Phillips This Trans Am is the original, un-restored, survivor, 1 of 1, promotional concept car that was built for the 1974 Chicago Auto Show (actually has 24 separate options that would make this a one of one [1 of 1] car or a first [1st]). The interior has a special silk material used on the seats and the carpet is by Cadillac. The famous 455 Super Duty (SD) engine that Nascar developed with only 1296 made in a two year period was dropped under the hood.  It features a one of a kind special gold metallic flake blended into the black base color with gold  pin striping (also known as a Johnny Player Special) and would become the promo car (for the second time) for the 1976 50th anniversary Limited Edition TA that would evolve into the later Special Edition models from 1977 – 1981. 

It was used as a promotional car (for the third time) for the Trans Am Territories, (which was a gathering and race for Trans Am buffs and GM personnel), and was driven by John Schinella (Head Chief of Design for GM) on the track.  It has untouched, original paint and clear coating, with spider webbing from many clear finishes from all the changes by the design staff.  It is documented 28,000 original miles and still wears its original tires (Goodyear made two sets special for this car with gold lettering).  The car (most thought lost) was purchased from the original owner’s estate sale in 2004 by Bob Reason, car dealer and collector of Michigan.  The original owner (Clarence Sproul) worked for GM as head accountant and was close to Bill Mitchell, the vice-president of GM who owned the car before it was turned into a concept car.  Bill instructed the car go to the accountant rather than being destroyed like most concept cars.  It was personally signed by John Schinella on the center console and core support in 2004.  John was appointed head of Trans Am design by Bill Mitchell in 1971 and used this car to sell the Big Bird idea to Bill Mitchell, who originally hated the bird decal.  The car is titled as a buccaneer red 1973 Trans Am with Turbo 400 automatic transmission. 

The public excitement over the car during the 1974 show circuit prompted the release of the 1976 Limited Edition (50th Anniversary) Trans Am and essentially was the first Bandit car.  It is historically documented in 21 articles online,  and in seven books  publications such as in the  “The Fabulous Firebird” by Michael Lamm, “Firebird Trans Am” by David Newhardt, “Pontiac Firebird” by Marc Cranswick. 

More photos at www.firebirdconcept.com or www.1973-76transamconcept.com .

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.

From the Editor's Desk – January 2008

Steve Thompson ‘77 Bandit at Garden of Gods Lookout Thanks to all of the new members that joined recently. Thanks to Steve Thompson for his story on the Bandit Run and Denise Belair and Beverly Ready for their photos and stories in this issue and all of the other contributors to this issue! Also many thanks to Todd Stahr, Justin K., Bill Simcox and Brett Campbell on their continuing technical help to our members on our new message board at board.firebirdclub.net.

I am happy to inform you that Technical Sections Volume II is now available which continues the great tradition of practical tech advice started with Volumes I. In keeping with the times this one is available only on CD for PC or Mac and is available in the Club Store section of each Eagle and on the website at www.firebirdtaclub.com.

Another new item in the store is a complete copy of the past ten years of the Eagle available on CD only for PC or Mac.

We have a new member of the tech staff, Bill Simcox. He is a first generation Firebird specialist. See the article about his experiences in this issue and see his contact information under the tech staff on the technical services section.

We have a new and improved club message board. You can access through the club website at www.firebirdtaclub.com or directly at http://board.firebirdclub.net . We have a members only section of the message board. You can use the user id and password on page 3 of each Eagle or you can get a personal id and password. To do so, register and then logon to the message board and send a message to us with a reply in this section or via email. This allows you to access the MEMBER ONLY QUESTION & ANSWER and UPKEEP & PERFORMANCE HINTS area. It also allows you to post items in the FOR SALE and WANTED sections as well as post photos in the MEMBER PHOTOS area.

The club also now has a blog located at http://blog.firebirdclub.net . Members can publish items or comments to the Blog.

We have a National Firebird & T/A Club photo gallery located at http://photos.firebirdclub.net . The same login is used for the gallery as the Message Board. Members can download photos directly here.

The Firebird Nation of North America is a new local chapter of the National Firebird & T/A Club. The club is for all Firebird owners in upstate, central & western NY, central & western MA and northern CT. The organizer’s name is Thomas Smith and he can be reached at 518-587-8215 or by email: tsmith24@earthlink.net or http://clubs.hemmings.com/firebirdnationofnorthamerica .

We now offer a 3 year membership or renewal rate which includes a free t-shirt or tech volume II CD. The rate is $95 or $125 for members outside the USA. And in response to many members we now have a 3 year eMembership for $50 which also includes a free t-shirt or tech volume III CD. So save some money and get a free t-shirt or tech CD in the process!

Classified ads are FREE to members but now you can add photographs of your items for sale. For $15 we will include a B & W photograph of your car or item and for $35 we will include a color photo. Also the classified ads will now appear on our Internet web site.

Remember we will send out the eEagle, our email newsletter in addition to the regular Eagle for members that have given us their email address. Our website address is www.firebirdtaclub.com and our email address is info@ firebirdtaclub.com. The website has a “Members Only” section on the web site. This section contains technical staff contact information, recommended repair shops, spare parts lists that members have sent in as well as complete current and past issues of the member magazine which can be viewed on-line or downloaded for printing.

You need an ID and password to access this area. You will find the current ID and password on page 3 of each issue of the EAGLE. These will change with each issue so use only the current ones listed.

Thanks for all of your support and to this issue’s contributors and I hope you are preparing for the upcoming season!!

'87 GTA of Gary Boggs

My friend Lou used to drive this car everyday. When he got married his wife hated the car, so back in the yard it went. After years of sitting and other projects Lou decided to get rid of the car. My husband and son had gotten into drag racing and one day Lou came to the track to see them run. I inquired about the car and Lou said “if you want to turn it into a race car you can have it.” I couldn’t believe my ears! He said he would give the car to my son Gary for his 16th birthday. We towed it back to our home and rolled it into the garage. My son has decided he wants to keep it stock for now and try to restore it. We can’t get it started because the fuel lines are clogged…Any inormation or tips on how to get all the fuel out of it would be greatly appreciated. My son took the seats out top have them re-covered so I am also looking for any suggestions as far as nice seat covers. I’d like to purchase some covers for him for Christmas. I guess we’ll need a lot of help from members to get this car in nice shape and back on the road. Maybe later he’ll turn it into a dragster! Any comments or information could be sent to my email address rboggs127@cox.net

Thanks, Robyn Boggs ( Gary’s Mom)

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!

More Renderings of Possible Future Trans Ams and Firebirds!

If you want to see a new Trans Am and Firebird let GM and Pontiac know at General Motors Corporation, Box 33170, Detroit, MI 48232 or 480-210-701 or http://www.gm.com/utilities/contact_us/contact.jsp?deep=contact.

'74 Trans Am of Denise Belair

74tadenisebelair2.jpg74tadenisebelair.jpg74tadenisebelair.jpg My Dad was battling brain cancer and my Mom called to see if we knew of anyone who would want to buy her ‘74 Trans Am. I got excited and said that my Husband and I would like to look at it.

Now, I haven’t really looked at the car for quite a few years as it sat covered up in my parent’s garage. I had not seen them drive it in a long time either.

74tadenisebelair.jpg74tadenisebelair2.jpg74tadenisebelair2.jpgWe set out to my parent’s house to take a look. I was excited because I can remember feeling like a “cool kid” when my Mom would pick me up from somewhere in that ear. It was really cool to be picked up from the movie theater after watching “Smokey And The Bandit” in a shiny red Trans Am! My Mom bought the car new from Thompson – Pontiac in Cuyahoga Falls Ohio. I remember going with her to a Trans Am Club meeting at the car dealership. I even had a Trans Am Club tee shirt. I also passed my driving exam in that car.

74tadenisebelair3.jpgWe got to my parent’s and uncovered the car. I was sort of disappointed when I saw it. It had rust holes on the same place on each front lower quarter panel. It also had some rust at each rear lower quarter panel. The passenger side door had rust by the mirror. My Mom had always taken painstakingly good car of the car. The car never saw snow or salt and was always clean and waxed. Maybe my mom washed it too much or let it sit wet in the garage. None the less, it was still beautiful to me. “We can fix it”, I said to my husband. He was not as enthused as me. “Body work can cost a lot of money” he said,” And we are not sure of the engine”. We got the keys and started it up. It started but the engine shook like it was going to jump out of the hood! It started to run a little better after awhile. My husband looked at me and knew I wanted that car. We bought it and even drove it all the way home with no problems. Since then, we had the body fixed and painted and new decals put on and it looks super! The interior was already perfect and needed no work. The radio works, but the old 8 track player is not working. My Mom gave me her old 8 tracks too, and it would be nice to cruise down the road listing to the old tunes. The engine is the original 400 4bbl automatic and now still runs good. The car has 95,000 miles on it now.

I had always wished when I was a kid that I could have a cool car like my Mom and now I do.