Category Archives: Members’ Cars and Photos

’94 25th Anniversary Trans Am of John Klaver

The August 2010 issue’s featured car is the ‘94 25th anniversary Trans Am of John Klaver.  Here is his story:

'94 Trans Am of John Klaver I want to let you know about another Trans Am that I just added to my collection. I have already told you about my white 1988 GTA, my white 20th Anniversary turbo pace car and my black ‘96 Trans Am.

Now I have a ‘94 25th Anniversary Trans Am. It’s number 3 off the assembly line for the total production of the anniversary run. Now for the really neat part – it’s also 1 of 2 1994 NASCAR pace cars. One is in Michigan at the Pontiac Motorsports Museum and I have the other. It’s also the same car that paced the late, great Dale Earnhardt to his seventh and last championship. This car still has all the markings on it from race 29, AC Delco 500, North Carolina Raceway, October 23, 1994 and the caution lights are still intact and still work.

'94 Trans Am of John Klaver It has 12,600 miles, 4,000 are documented pace laps from the 1994 season. It’s one of the 25th anniversary cars with hard top, automatic transmission and AM/FM Cassette radio which makes it 1 of 254 produced but again the documentation shows it to be one of the earliest off the assembly line, as NASCAR needed it to prep for the ‘94 Daytona 500. Paperwork also shows that these two pace cars were at 20 different NASCAR tracks in ‘94 excluding the Brickyard 400 which used a Monte Carlo.

In short, this rare ’94 25th Anniversary pace car looks good sitting in my garage next to my 10th Anniversary turbo pace car.

Long live the Firebird Trans Am, if not on GM sales lots, at least in the our garages and on the road!

’77 Trans Am of Larry Bartlett

'77 Trans Am of Larry Bartlett ‘77 Trans Am of Larry Bartlett back on the road with the new 496 engine! It burns E85 and she loves it! It’s a lot cheaper then premium and more then half the price of racing fuel. 13:1 compression and E85 works great.

'77 Trans Am of Larry Bartlett

’79 Trans Am of Doug Lester

The featured car in May 2010 issue of the National Firebird and Trans Am Club Eagle is the ‘79 Trans Am of Doug Lester. Here is his story:

I have had Trans Ams for as long as I can remember. I sold my first one to start a business. Things went well for me and I caught the car bug one day at a local car show. I went out looking and found one in January of 2009 and stripped it down and built it back up. 8 months and 15k later, she was done. I took it to the Trans Am Nationals, in Dayton, Ohio and placed 2nd in the F-4 modified class . Thanks to some of the tips I got from other Trans Am owners!

'79 Trans Am of Doug Lester

'79 Trans Am of Doug Lester

'79 Trans Am of Doug Lester

’86 Trans Am of Mark Goldman

In January of 1995 I found my 1986 Trans Am in a used car lot. At the time it had 59,000 miles, was dark blue metallic w/silver ground effects and had been used as a pace car on the local track. It was pretty much a stock 305.

Since that day I have totally transformed her into a custom modified beauty”. In 2000 I had my 305 pulled and the car painted Ice Blue w/Pearl Dust and Ghost Flames by Dreamakers Kustoms in Endicott, New York. Upon completion of the paint I installed a custom built 350 Chevy 700R4 transmission, Be Cool radiator, fiberglass ram air hood, Eagle alloy wheels and a custom dual muffler system w/dual Monza exhaust tips. The interior is stock except for Firebirds embroidered on the headrests, Panasonic stereo w/ MTX custom sub box and Kicker Amp and a BM Ratchet Shifter.

In 2008 I won all local shows in my class and took a 3rd place in 3rd Generation at the “Firebirds On The Lawn” in Saratoga Springs, New York.

'86 Trans Am of Mark Goldman

'86 Trans Am of Mark Goldman

'86 Trans Am of Mark Goldman

'67 Firebird of Jim Muldoon

The January 2010 Eagle club member magazine’s featured car is the ‘67 Firebird of Jim Muldoon. Here is his story:

Here are some photos of my car. It is a 1967 Firebird convertible with 326 engine. It has a three speed on the tree manual transmission, manual top, no air conditioning and an AM only radio.

I bought the car in February of 1969 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It had 20,342 miles and it now has 92,481 miles on it. It is all original except for new paint and top in 1977 and the spoke wire wheels. I have the original wheels and hub caps.

It is a fun car and now I am in Florida so the top is down all summer.

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'67 Firebird of Jim Muldoon
'67 Firebird of Jim Muldoon

1977 Special Edition of Trans Am of Dr. Anthony LaRusso

This August 2009 issue’s featured car is the 1977 Special Edition Trans Am of Dr. Anthony LaRusso. Here is the story:

THE SECOND TIME AROUND

1977 Trans Am Special Edition of Dr. Anthony LaRusso
1977 Trans Am Special Edition of Dr. Anthony LaRusso

I became a NFTAC member in 1996 and got serious about my love for Firebirds and that Firebird spirit that is so evident in all NFTAC members. There is just something about the Firebird that no other car has. Not even the minute-est fraction of
A Firebird is like no other car; even the similar body styled Camaros with the same shell never looked like a Firebird.

My dream car was a 1977 Special Edition Trans Am. I had one and it was featured in the Spring 2000 issue of this magazine and it’s story. Then divorce hit. I was forced to sell it and everything else I owned. After a few years of being broke and starting my life over, I found another 77 Sp. Ed. Tran Am in Queens, New York. I went to see it in June 2004 and by that point they had become much more popular than in the 1990’s and more valuable (and expensive). This one was shot, but all there, numbers matching. It blew out smoke, but it still ran. T-Tops and all. It was a genuine Y82 Trans Am and loaded with every option including the more expensive Lombardy Cloth interior, new for 1977. The interior was clean but faded. Not even any rips! The dash was cracked and the armrest was as well, and there was more rust in it than in the Titanic. To me, it was a survivor. Originally from Brooklyn and now in Queens, this sucker made it! From 1977-2004 and still all there and running. In New York! It’s probably the only one in all 5 boroughs to survive. Even though it was tired, it had a look to it. Tough and mean. The face on it just looked so manly. The ride was smooth and handling was even better than the previous mint condition one I had before divorce. This was a well built T/A. I loved it. I bought it for $3,000 and after driving around and burning several quarts of oil each time I took it out for a day, I blew the motor on the NJ Turnpike trying to outrun a pain-in- the butt T-Bird that was chasing me. I had the engine taken apart. My uncle was concerned for me and urged me to sell it. He pointed out that I was not yet on my feet after divorce and this car just wasn’t worth all the time and energy it would need, and the money to invest in it. I agreed and sold it for $1,000.

1977 Trans Am Special Edition of Dr. Anthony LaRusso
1977 Trans Am Special Edition of Dr. Anthony LaRusso

Two years and three months later I was regretting selling it. I saw one go by one day and they had also gone even further up in popularity and value. Heck when I was first going in 1996, they were $9,000 clean and no one talked about them and they were not considered classics and no one cared. At the time I didn’t understand this and it quite frankly ticked me off. In 2006 they had risen to $30,000 clean and today clean survivors are selling in the low-mid 30 thousands. Restored cars are worth over $40,000. Wow! I mean all classic muscle cars and classic cars in general have skyrocketed in value in this decade… .and now the 1977 Special Edition is lumped in with all of the rest. It is now a highly sought after valuable classic car.

I was combing ads in 2006 and saw a 77 Sp. Ed. For sale with freshly rebuilt motor. It was in a town about 20 minutes from mine, so I went and it was my car! With the engine rebuilt bored 30 over and done right. My shorts were still in the trunk and it was still titled in my name. The dude bought it from the person I sold it to.
The first guy monkeyed with it and the second guy knew what to do. He did the engine himself and in the garage next to it was a gleaming restored 4-speed 1976 Trans Am 455 that he had restored himself He was working on a few cars and ran out of money. So, he was forced to sell this car. Now that I had my car back and it ran like hell, I wanted to do something special for it. I mean, heck, this thing survived New York for 30 years and had this crazy story in New Jersey and I end up buying it twice. It just deserved something special.

I went online and searched for restoration shops to restore it. I found Trans Am Specialties of Florida. I called and spoke to Rick Deiters, the owner. He was warm, charismatic and convincing. He is the only restoration shop in the world that focuses on the Special Edition Trans Am. I described the car and we talked numbers and I had a truck take it to Miami. It stayed 11 months there and Rick and his crew labored on it. They took it off it’s frame and even cut-off the back half of the car to fit a donor rear-section on it. That’s how bad the rust was. I wanted to keep as much of it as possible, so that is why I had them save the cabin section and not just replace the entire shell. What a great place. I flew in 3 times, met Rick and his men. He even let me drive a Special Edition he had there (one of many) and took me to his house to meet his wife and beautiful two kids. We went with the kids to Dunkin Donuts for goodies and had fun together. I also hung out at the shop which is Trans Am fever. All Firebirds, accessories, and they do things right. My car came out show-room new and it is my baby. Rick documented the entire restoration on his web site. This one is for keeps. I have learned from my mistakes and for me and for this car, and for our story together, it is truly THE SECOND TIME AROUND.

Dr. Anthony LaRusso

1975 Trans Am of Morris Porter

This 1975 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is a 3 owner car (I am the 4th owner) with only 16,800 original miles. That’s right, only 16,800 original miles. It still wears its original coat of code V V (upper and lower) Sterling Silver paint from the factory, and the black Morrokide interior (code 19V1) is also all original. The all original L78 400 4 Barrel V8, rear end and M20 4 Speed Manual Transmission are also still in place on the car. According to the PHS documents, the car was ordered with virtually every option, including:

GR70 X 15 White Letter Steel Belted Radial Tires, 8 Track Stereo Tape Player, Front Console, Window Sill and Hood Edge Moldings, Tilt Steering Wheel, Power Windows, Soft Ray Tinted Glass, Extra Quiet Insulation Package, Rear Defroster, Heavy Duty Alternator, Radio, Stereo AM/FM, Rear Console (a rare option), Roof Drip Moldings, Door Edge Guards, Hood Decal (yes, it was an option back then), Power Door Locks, Air Conditioning, Heavy Duty Battery, Lamp Package (which included a trunk light, interior courtesy lighting and a glove box lamp)

The total sticker price was $6,319.60, which was quite costly in 1975. The car was shipped on 3-12-75 to Lockwood Motors in Peekskill, NY for delivery.

The story of the car’s purchase and previous owners is as interesting as the car itself. The car was purchased as a high school graduation gift for the original owner. An uncle worked at GM in Tarrytown, NY, so the car was purchased in his name so that the car would be billed under the GM Employee Discount (which wasn’t available to the public back in those days). The young owner didn’t drive his Trans Am very often, and was careful about taking the car out in severe weather. He went away to college, met a girl who would become his wife and started building a family life away from home. The Trans Am sat in his mother’s garage under a cover and on jack stands for several years. One day, while on a golf outing with his best friend from high school, the young owner mentioned that he was selling his beloved Trans Am to help finance the purchase of a new home. The friend immediately expressed his interest in purchasing the Trans Am as he knew the car well and had

ridden in the car during their high school days. A deal was struck and the car had a new owner.

The new owner drove the car very little and put it into his aunt’s garage for safe-keeping. The car sat on jack stands while the owner started his family, worked, had children and later got divorced. Through these life changes, the car remained in his aunt’s garage, being driven on periodic occasion to keep it in running condition. The owner had a buddy who was a firefighter and happened to own a 2000 Trans Am. The two friends thought it would be neat to photograph the two cars together, but like many friends, were perpetually busy and had a difficult time carving out the time. Sadly, that time would never come as the firefighter was on duty on 9/11/2001 and perished in the World Trade Center disaster. The Trans Am’s owner never forgot his friend and regretted never getting together to photograph the cars. It also gave him some perspective on living life for the present and not putting things off.

As time went on, the owner decided to purchase a boat as he had wanted to own a boat for years and knew that selling the Trans Am would help him gather the down payment. An advertisement was placed on Craig’s List and the car was sold to a muscle car collector on Long Island. The 3rd owner was struck by the car’s original condition and documentation. After the car was purchased, it took its place in the garage next to a 1970 Ram Air III Trans Am he had owned for 17 years and a 1977 Camaro Z-28. It needed only a few items, requiring only new tires, a new exhaust system and a replacement clutch (the original clutch had simply dried out). This owner’s wife tired of parking her daily driver outside in the cold of winter while the two Trans Ams sat nice and warm in their two-car garage. An ad was placed in Hemmings Motor News. I saw the ad and called the owner the first week that he advertised it. As it turns out, we were both in Carlisle, PA attending the Fall Carlisle show, so we agreed to meet at the seller’s house after Carlisle ended.

Upon viewing the car, I was totally blown away by the untouched condition of the car. The original paint looked great, as did the original interior. The black carpet was simply perfect – it was hard to believe it wasn’t recently replaced. The car purred and ran and drove perfectly. The doors shut like a brand new car, as it is basically a new car. You can tell from the thunk of the doors shutting that it is a true original and not a restored car. The Trans Am handled beautifully and unlike many F bodies, went down the road with no squeaks or rattles. Additionally, the patina and presence of this car is unbelievable. It’s a really neat car with a unique history. After a brief negotiation, we struck a deal and I became the 4th owner of this original beauty. As the saying goes, “They are only original once.” The car stands today as a testament to how Pontiac “used to build them.” It’s also a great reference point for others restoring their T/A’s. I hope you all enjoy reading the story of my 1975 Trans Am as much as I enjoyed writing it.

1975 Trans Am of Morris Porter

2001 Trans Am of Tennille Mather

The May 2009 Eagle’s featured car is the 2001 Trans Am of Tennille Mather. Here is the story:

 

The car was superchipped, also a K&N air filter kit, magnaflo exhaust, and 20″ Foose ‘nitrous’ rims were added! I plan on a lot of more engine work which is also quite exciting!

 

 

2001 Trans Am of Tennille Mather

2001 Trans Am of Tennille Mather

2001 Trans Am of Tennille Mather

2001 Trans Am of Tennille Mather

'79 Trans Am and '98 Firebird of Kelly Powell

I am an avid Firebird and Trans Am lover! I have had around ten Trans Ams and Firebirds throughout my life. My pick is the ‘79 Trans Am but I love them all!

When I was around 20 years of age, I drove my first Trans Am. The rest is history! I was hooked and had to have that car which was exactly like the blue ‘79 featured in a past issue of the Eagle. I begged my friend and talked him into selling the ‘79 to me. After that, I wanted nothing to do with any other car, other than a sports car and mainly a Trans Am.

I now have a ‘79 Trans Am which I purchased in December 2006. I never thought I would ever get the chance to own one again. The way I got the car is bitter-sweet in that my parents passed away leaving the family home to me. Since I could not keep the home because of taxes and repairs needed on the house, I sold the property. At the time I made the sale, I was cruising through New Boston, Ohio on my way to Wal-Mart and in passing Cooper’s Car and Truck Accessories, I spotted the ‘79 Trans Am I now own.

I had to have that car! As you can see, it is beautiful! I have a son who is 16 years old and I have a feeling this car will be his graduation present. That way, he will have a “gift” from his grandparents and mother and something to treasure for the rest of his life. But until then, it will continue to be my dream car. I want to restore it in the near future and I hopefully I will be able to. Having suffered from cancer and back surgery and having really been through a really rough time in my life. Purchasing this car has been a god-send to me. It really cheered me up and brought back new hope in my life!

I also have a ‘98 Firebird which I will be hanging onto and restoring in the future. I love my ‘98 Firebird but it does not compare to my ‘79 Trans Am. Nothing ever will.

'78 Gold Special Edition Trans Am of Philip Lepage

I was looking for a ‘78 Trans Am to restore to look exactly like the Trans Am I owned in 1978. I saw an ad for a 1978 Trans Am, so on September 20, 2004, Ian Manderscheid, Dianne (my wife) and I left for Dodsland, Saskatchewan, Canada to look at it. The car needed a lot of work but had potential. I purchased the car from Kevin Jenn. I still had the idea of restoring it to look like my old one. After getting the car home and seeing how everything on the car had a gold theme, I realized it would be quite difficult to change the car to look like my old white one. I did a little research and realized the car was a gold special edition Trans Am. Our youngest son, Daryl, found a picture of a 1978 gold special edition Trans Am and made it his computer screen saver. When I saw the picture I thought, “Why would I want to change the appearance of this car”. It looked great! Dianne looked up more information on the Internet, and we realized we had quite a special car here and decided to keep the car as original as possible.

In December 2004, Ian, Daryl and I pulled the engine, transmission and interior out of the car. The transmission was brought to Extreme Transmission in Saskatoon where it was completely rebuilt, including a new 2,500 rpm stall converter.

The engine was completely stripped and rebuilt. The heads were brought to SIAST (Kelsey) in Saskatoon and worked on there. The rest of the engine rebuilding was done at Thane’s and Prairie Engine Rebuilders in Saskatoon and assembled by Paragon Auto Services.

The work done on the engine included a 3 engine valve job, harden exhaust seats, port matched and polished, all new valves – intake and exhaust, new valve springs, valve guides, crane roller tipped rocker arms, 7/6″ push rod guide plates and rocker arm studs, comp hydraulic performance cam shaft, Edelbrock aluminum intake and 626 cfm electric choke carb, .040 bored over, new TRW forged pistons, chrome ring, high volume oil pump, double roller timing chain, water pump, starter, alternator, spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor.

In March 2005, I brought the car to Lyle’s Autobody in Annaheim, Saskatchewan, where he fixed the floor, roof and did a few other minor repairs.

In July 2005, the car headed to Paragon Auto Services. There the engine, transmission, exhaust system with Headman headers, brakes and shocks were installed. A new three-core radiator from Advance Radiator in Saskatoon was also installed.

The rims were removed and brought to Kelvin’s Wheel, Tire and Polish of Saskatoon, where they were restored to original. The rims on the 1978 gold special edition Trans Am are unique. In all the years, Kelvin had been restoring rims, he had never seen rims with this type of finish. Only 8 inch rims on the 1978 gold special edition Trans Am and a few 1978 Bandit cars have rims painted this way. If the car would have had 7 inch rims, they would have gold on the inside of the honeycombs and the face of the rims would have a polished silver look. These rims are completely gold except for the very outside lip which is polished silver.

The car was then brought to Specialty Cars in Prince Albert, where the remainder of the bodywork was done. A new heater core and dash were installed. We could see that the gauge panel was extremely faded. Wherever the gauge covers had protected the dash from

the sun it still had a gold color, so we repainted the gauge panel back to its original gold color. We also painted the steering wheel to its original gold color. The car was painted and the pin-striping package was put on.

The car was then returned to Paragon, where the final touches were put on the brakes and engine. The seats that were in the car were not the original seats. They appeared to be from a 1980 or ‘91 Trans Am. The style of these seats was the same as the seats in the 1978 Trans Am, but the material was different. I contacted S.M.S. Auto Fabrics in Canby, Oregon. They sent me the original material for a ‘78 gold special edition Trans Am.

Michelle Lepage of Chaise Michelle Upholstery in Bruno, Saskatchewan reupholstered the seats and made a new parcel tray.

I brought the car home and installed the interior. I painted the interior panels and installed them. I also bought and installed a new headliner and sound deadener package and carpets on the floor. I then installed the seats.

’78 Gold Special Edition
Trans Am
Dianne and Philip Lepage on
their 25th Wedding Anniversary

Philip Lepage first ‘78 Trans Am 78 Gold S. E. Trans Am of
Philip Lepage
Before Restoration