In this last installment of first generation Firebirds at the 2014 Indian Uprising at St. Charles, we are highlighting the last year of the FGF – 1969. That was the year when Pontiac decided to drastically change the interior and exterior of the car, which at the time was not very well received, especially when GM let it be known that in 1970 the F-body would get a ground-up new design. Because of those two factors, sales were down for Firebirds in 1969. However, the ’69 Firebird is a unique, one-year only model, and it was also the debut year of the Trans Am. Now fast forward to modern times, because of it’s unique, more refined styling, and being a one-year only model, the 1969 Firebird is by far the most popular of the three first Generation Firebirds in our club and overwhelmingly at the Indian Uprising.
We counted ninteen 1969 Firebirds at the show, which almost doubles the number of ’67 ‘birds that were there. We’ll start this post by looking at the winner of our 1969 Firebird Best of Show trophy, seen here with Pontiac Museum curator, Tim Dye. Tim selected Dave Armstrong’s national award winning, Nightshade Green ’69 400, 4-speed coupe. This ‘bird was featured in the September 2004 issue of High Performance Pontiac Magazine, and is an absolutely correct, highly optioned, 1000 point show car. We are also incredibly fortunate to have Dave as a tehnical advisor to our club.
Dave has owned this car since 1976. It was originally owned by a GMAC director, and ordered with just about every available factory-installed option, including an AM/FM with eight track! The two photos above are from the magazine photo shoot, courtesy of our club member that shot them, Larry Delay. (We will be doing a Member’s Ride feature on this car in the future, so stay tuned.)
Next up is new member Mike from Indiana and his Best of the Crusin Tigers Show award winning Turquoise Blue, 4-speed, Ram Air III, concourse restoration 400 coupe which he debuted at this show. Mike took home one of the five best of show trophies – a great feat considering there were about 450 restored Pontiac’s he was competing against.
With just a glimpse of the rear quarter of this car, any avid Pontiac enthusiast should immediately recognize that they are in the presence of Pontiac royalty. Club member Rob’s 1 of 8 convertible Trans Am drew quite a crowd at the indoor arena.
While outside, member Scott’s all original, never painted Trans Am survivor was a head turner. Scott loves driving this car with us on cruises, and you will see it in action on the road in our video of the Fall Colors Cruise to Lake Geneva from last October. This ‘bird is one of only 14 TA’s that came with a Parchment interior.
Member Mike L’s Matador Red 400 convertible (below top) is one of the rare high performance 400 HO ‘birds. The 400 HO engine is the same engine Pontiac used for the Ram Air III cars. The difference in the order code would be the addition of the open scoops, and top and bottom air cleaner pans and Ram Air set-up. The second Matador Red car below is a different car that looks like Mike’s. Then a beautiful Goldenrod Yellow convertible is just above member Matt’s custom Silver and black 400 convertible.
I love this next trio of blue Firebirds. Club member Bob’s 350 coupe, is a true Windward Blue with original Parchment interior car, which was a factory special order color for 1969. The other two convertibles, are just as beautiful with a slight variation off the Windward color theme. The color and shine on Bill’s convertible in the middle was just stunning, and slightly brighter than Windward. The bottom convertible was driven in by the owners daughter and son, with the Mom being the original owner. It had more of a silver cast, reminiscent of a 1967 Tyrol Blue. No matter the shade, all three “bluebirds” looked fantastic.
Three more beautiful ’69 Firebirds in Starlight Black, Flambeau Burgundy and a custom Red restomod bird that won one of the first place awards. The middle car is owned by our club member Vince, and you may recognize it from our post on the Lake Delavan car show.
We’ll end this post with five Carousel Red ’69 Firebirds that go from mild to wild. Carousel red was a one-year only color for the Firebird, so it is fitting that this is the most popular color for the ’69 birds in our club. You may also be familiar with the name “Hugger Orange” from the ’69 Camaro, the Indy Pace Car of that year was white with Hugger Orange Rally Stripes & orange Houndstooth interior. But we’re talking Firebirds here – and we have some beauties… First up is owned by Mike Noun our Technical Director, and he is seen here with Iowa club member Craig (Sleddog) – this is no mild mannered ‘bird, with a 455 pushing out over 500 hp. The engine looks stock, until you look very closely, noticing Edelbrock Performer aluminum heads painted in Pontiac blue, with a high performance racing intake also in disguise sitting below a custom made ram air set-up. This ‘bird has also been featured in National Pontiac magazines.
The second car is our club Treasurer Mike K’s 350 California convertible he has owned for over 21 years. Then member Randy’s freshly restored Ram Air convertible with Torque Thrust wheels. Rounding out this set is Tom from Chicago’s restomod ‘bird with custom seats and high performance engine.
The final Firebird of this post is an immaculate restoration completed by our friends at RM Restorations in Lakemore. This is member Mitch’s car and is in absolute show condition. The fresh Parchment interior and white top look fantastic. The engine bay is perfect with the right treatments everywhere. Mitch’s car was featured recently in the Daily Harold’s classic car section.
If you are a fan of the 1969 firebird, there had to be plenty for you with these nineteen ‘birds! The total count of all first generation Firebirds at the Crusin Tigers Indian Uprising this year was a whopping 43, that had to make it the biggest turn out of the year of these rare “early birds”. Next up for our site is the 2014 Firebird and Trans Am Nationals going on this week-end in Dayton Ohio, stay tuned.
(Story by Ken Pitcher. pictures by Ken Pitcher and Larry Delay.)
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