Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am Gets The Spotlight: Video
There aren’t a lot of cars in this world that I will freely admit to having obsessed over at one point in my life. The Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am is one of those cars. I’ve loved this car ever since I first saw Smokey and the Bandit on my uncle’s old Betamax player. That love hasn’t died one bit, which is why I appreciate wholeheartedly what Gregg Hamilton has with his own Firebird Trans-Am.
As somebody who makes a living working for Ken Block, Hamilton is used to being surrounded by fellow grease monkeys who know their way around a rally car even if you tried blindfolding them. Hamilton’s one of them, so instead of letting his job consume his life, he found a different kind of car that eventually became his form of release from the rigors of his job. He bought a 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from its previous owner and has made it a personal mission to bring it back to its glorious peak condition.
He admits that there’s still some work left to be done on the Firebird, but what he has right now, including the big V-8 engine and the manual transmission, is impressive enough in its own, right? Oh, and that gold Firebird livery on the hood of the car, well that brings back so many memories of my own.
Check out this episode of Petrolicious because it’s a really good one. Take the word of someone who has loved the Firebird Trans-Am since he was five years old.
Valentine’s Day Special – Spread The Car Love
There’s really one good reason you’re reading these words right now – you love cars. Non-car people don’t get it. They laugh and roll their eyes, calling it a waste of time to fix up that old beater, a waste of money to get out to the track for another weekend. That’s ok – let ‘em. Of course it doesn’t make sense to them. They don’t know the joy of finally getting an engine to spark back to life. They don’t know the thrill of setting a new personal best lap time. Too bad for them.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we’ve assembled five videos that are sure to remind you why you love cars. We’ve got a little bit of everything here, from Euro speed to Japanese tech, ground-up rebuilds to expansive muscle car car collections.
So sit back, hit play, and when you’re done, treat yourself to a drive.
Continue reading to check out the videos.
David Hasselhoff is set to reprise his role as Michael Knight in what appears to be a remake of his classic ‘80s TV show, Knight Rider. I said "appears to be" since details about this project are still scarce. There is a trailer, which shows the Hoff in his trademark leather jacket and aviators, waiting for a black car in the middle of a desert. The car, of course, is KITT, and those who were fans of the TV series will definitely appreciate the solid nod to the show’s opening sequence.
The mysterious project is called Knight Rider Heroes, and if there’s anything to be taken from the trailer, it has the makings of a “mentor-student” story with Knight handing over the crime-fighting responsibilities, and presumably ownership of KITT, to an equally mysterious young man. That’s as far as the trailer went, as it skipped out on some other important details. For one, there’s no word on whether it’s going to be a TV series, a movie, or even a reality show. It also doesn’t say if the project is being backed by a prominent Hollywood studio, or any studio for that matter. The only company that’s attached to the project is Knight Media Industries, which may or may not be a real company.
Christopher Rutkowski, the creator of the Aficionauto series that featured the same visual treatment as the trailer, did tell Autoblog that a new Knight Rider project is in the works. Hasselhoff will be there, as will be the original KITT (Pontiac Trans-AM) and not the newer version (Ford Shelby GT500) that appeared in the ill-fated 2008 remake. There’s also an official website - knightriderheroesmovie.com - but a quick look at the site doesn’t reveal anything.
By the way it looks now, there are still too many unanswered questions to take this project seriously. I hope that something comes out of it because I’m a huge fan of the original Knight Rider series. But, until more details are unveiled, I’m taking this one with a grain of salt.
Early Pontiac Trans Ams are very easy to love. They had classic muscle car looks and huge amounts of power. But by the late 70s, emissions-neutered engines were just sad, and the styling was overcompensating by getting more outrageous. Liking these later Trans Ams is something of a guilty pleasure, ’cause they’re just so cheesy; but they still have their fans, and the reviewer in this video and myself are two of them. And the Trans Am in the video is one of the easiest of its generation to love, as its a rare Turbo model.
GM would figure out how to make turbocharging genuinely badass a few years after the car in this video was made, and while the 1982-1987 Buick Grand National was amazing, this ’81 Turbo Trans Am isn’t quite there. But that’s okay, because the audacity it takes to cover the entire hood of a car with a giant screaming chicken (the common slang term for the Trans Am eagle logo, it’s used several times in the video without explanation) sort of excuses a lot.
Burt Reynold’s movie Smokey and the Bandit has been a cult classic among petrol heads and truck drivers since the day it appeared on the silver screen back in 1977. The Bandit’s black Pontiac Trans Am quickly became an icon, only growing in popularity over the years. That’s never been more evident than now thanks to the sizable price paid for Reynolds’ personal Pontiac.
An auction over the weekend at Julien’s Auction House in Las Vegas saw Reynolds’ unrestored 1977 Pontiac Trans Am sell for $489,000 — far greater than the original $80,000 expected selling price. The car’s original condition includes a slightly faded paint job, a dirty (yet fully functional) 6.6-liter V-8, and a well-lived-in interior.
Though the car was never used in filming, it was a “promotional” vehicle used during that time and later given to Reynolds after filming was completed. It comes complete with a gold placard in the door jam saying, “1977 Pontiac Trans Am Owned by Burt Reynolds.”
The car wasn’t the only item of Reynolds’ sold. In fact, the entire auction consisted of his more public personal effects. His jacket from “Stroker Ace” was expected to sell for $600 ended up going for $9,375; the canoe he piloted in “Deliverance” went for $17,500; and the helmet he wore in “The Longest Yard” sold for an amazing $20,000.
Click past the jump to read more about Burt Reynolds’ 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.
Well, it’s that time of year where scary things happen; when the supposed dead rise and walk among us; when spooky things lurk just beyond the shadows; watching and waiting. Yes, it’s Halloween and there are plenty of frightening relics oxidizing away in your neighborhood junkyard just waiting for a chance to come back from the dead.
The TopSpeed staffers have put together our five worst nightmares of automotive resurrection in the list below. It contains vehicles that should have never been made and whose rightful place is deep inside the bowels of the crusher.
These are vehicles that are both terrible in their mere existence and terrible in the negative ramifications that would befall their respective makers for constructing such fiends. These are vehicles that, if they were people turned zombies, Rick Grimes of The Walking Dead wouldn’t hesitate to exterminate with his .357 Colt Python.
So hold on tight, grab a weapon, and fight your way through our list of cars we’d hate to see become the undead.
Launched in 1967, when GM decided to give Pontiac a piece of the pony car market action by sharing the Camaro’s F-body platform, the Firebird became an integral part of the muscle car wars within a couple of years. 1970 saw the introduction of the second-gen model, which included the most brutal Firebird ever built. In its range-topping trim, the coupe came with a 7.5-liter V-8 under its hood and more than 360 horsepower routed to the pavement. With Pontiac out of the automotive scene for more than four years as of October 2014, the Firebird is one nameplate we wish was still around. Fortunately, the legacy of the early cars grew stronger the past four decades, and first- and second-gen Firebirds have become sought-after collectibles.
While some examples are being restored and taken care of by enthusiasts, other Firebirds are joining the restomod ranks by receiving modern underpinnings and amenities. Which brings us to this 1970 coupe that was auctioned off for $87,000 by Mecum Auctions. It’s black, mean and powered by a twin-turbo, 7.8-liter V-8 that’s ready to rip the tarmac off a drag strip under full throttle. Check out the details after the jump.
Click past the jump to read more about the Pontiac Firebird Resto Mod.
If you were a kid of the 80’s like I was, you probably have a soft spot in your memory for K.I.T.T. like I do. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, K.I.T.T. is the hopped-up Pontiac Firebird Trans Am David Hasselhoff used as a crime fighter in Knight Rider, well before he traded his trademark black leather jacket for those bright-red lifeguard trunks. In any case, The Afficionados produced a video review of K.I.T.T. that brought back a lot of memories, largely because the replica car looks almost identical to the TV car I came to grow and love.
The replica K.I.T.T. car is actually owned by Jennifer Catano, who, like me, grew up as a big fan of Knight Rider. But her devotion to the show, especially to the car, remains to this day, which is why I admire her dedication in building her own K.I.T.T. car. It’s got pretty much everything that the show car had, including the trademark all-black look, the iconic scanner, and the plane-like dashboard with all those switches.
It’s an incredible piece of restoration that even caught the Hoff’s attention. Yes. David Hasselhoff is in this video and he even got a chance to drive K.I.T.T. around like a certified boss.
This is a the true personification of a walk down memory lane. The only thing missing is K.I.T.T. actually talking.
Mobil 1 and Tony Stewart — Smoke to most of us — are up to a whole new bag of tricks with their commercials. This time around, they borrowed the plot of one of every car buff’s favorite classic car flicks, Smokey and the Bandit. As expected, Tony plays the Bandit — a role once reserved for Burt Reynolds — and he is driving a Trans Am nearly identical to the 1976 Trans Am that originally starred in the movie.
So far, Mobil 1 has released three episodes of the six-part series and a trailer. If you’ve watched the original Smokey and the Bandit movies, then you will appreciate that a lot of the scenes are nearly identical to the original, save for a few humorous modifications. If you have not seen the original movies yet, I suggest watching them before checking out this series — you’ll definitely need to have the original plot in mind to really grasp these remakes.
We’ll pass on the remaining episodes as Mobil 1 releases them, so keep it locked on TopSpeed.
Click past the just to see the videos.
Back when Pontiac went the way of the dodo bird, we didn’t so much mourn the loss of the brand as much we did the finality of the Trans Am’s death. Sure, the Trans Am was gone following the 2002 model year – along with its cousin, the Camaro – but there was still a glimmer of hope for it to return, much like the Camaro has. Well, when GM finally boarded up the windows and doors at Pontiac in 2010, we laid the Trans Am name to rest.
We have seen many people attempt to turn the new-generation Camaro into Firebirds and Trans Ams, but none have really done the model’s heritage justice. The folks over at Trans Am Depot, on the other hand, have done rather well in converting the Camaro into something that at least somewhat resembles what the Trans Am would likely look like, if it existed today.
The Trans Am is available in three models, so far, and they include: 2012 7T7 Trans Am, 2013 6T9 Trans Am and 2013 Hurst Trans Am. These bad boys not only give the model its due attention, but they also punish the pavement better than Trans Ams of yesteryear with the 6T9 version punching out 1,100 horsepower. Simply amazing.
To help promote its models, Trans Am Depot has released a series of videos about the cars they offer. Above, you will see the promo video for the Trans Am lineup, which includes some shoddy acting, but the cars are sexy as hell and the women are, well… “nice.” The two videos after the jump are mini documentaries about the production of the cars.
All we can say is “wow!”
In our weekly scrounge to try and dig up an interesting photo for you folks, we came across something rather interesting that we had forgotten all about. In 1995, GM decided it was time to overhaul the Cavalier and axe the Sunbird altogether. With the exit of the Sunbird came the introduction of the “sportier” Pontiac Sunfire – ah, GM’s creative naming department struck gold there. What we tend to forget is that the Sunfire project started in the early-1990s and was far different than the end result.
To think that the crappy Sunfire was actually a hot concept car with true sports car appearance and likely matching performance numbers seems preposterous, but it’s true. From this photo, you can see just what GM was working on and, on the outside, it was a stunner. Now, inside was a different story. You can see the huge, clunky 1990s GM buttons on the center of the steering wheel and a plethora of these eyesores on the center console too.
One of the advertising gimmicks on this flier, which was distributed at car shows, was the remote-control CD player. This was for those people that just did not have the energy to move their arm the foot or so, needed to touch the CD player’s buttons. What innovative thinkers GM was in the 1990s, right?
Anywho, we need to thank Flickr user Hugo90 for the laughs we got from this blast from the past. Make sure to check out his entire photo stream here, as he has tons of awesome pictures and fliers from various car shows.
The Dark Knight Rises has been heating up cinemas for the past few days, so it seems only fitting that with the last part of the trilogy in cinemas today, we take a look at one of the most enduring stars of the famed DC super hero movie franchise. No, we’re not talking about Alicia Silverstone’s Batgirl character from Batman and Robin. What we’re referring to is the Batmobile, the Dark Knight’s very own ride-of-choice.
In this section though, we’re going to pay tribute - we use that word loosely - to the five worst Batmobile replicas we’ve ever seen. Some are more eye-cringing than the others, but rest assured, none of them would pass the standards of Bruce Wayne.
Heck, we don’t even think the Joker would be caught dead riding in one of these so-called Batmobiles.
So here it is, folks. Prepare to cringe, laugh, or whatever emotion these pictures will do to you.
Find out TopSpeed’s five worst Batmobile replicas after the jump