The Trans Am Nationals show is put on by the Dayton Chapter of the Trans Am Car Club of America. This event is so large that the Indianapolis Chapter joins in on the support of the show. It is open to Firebirds and Trans Ams from 1967 to 2002.
Midwest Firebirds member and nationally known Pontiac photographer and writer Larry DeLay (pictured on the left with fellow member, Dave Sullivan) was also at the 2014 Trans Am Nationals in Dayton. Today’s story is brought to you by Larry along with some excellent photographs of the pride and joy of a few of his Pontiac friends. We hope you enjoy it!
Winners Circle Cars. From 2013, including a ’76 Limited Edition w/ 400 and w/o T-Tops, and this gorgeous ’68 Verdoro Green convertible, owned by Don Hitchens, of Muncie Indiana.
Three beautiful 1968 Firebirds. The Solar Red coupe with Black Cordova top came all the way from Greenbelt, Maryland riding comfortably on radial red line tires – these tires provide the vintage look of the original bias-ply tires, but give a softer ride. The Cameo White with red interior is a cool 350 HO ‘bird, and note the Goodyear Polyglass bias-ply tires on the Verdoro Green with Parchment 350 coupe, as the owners enjoy the parade of anniversary Trans Ams to the Quaker Steak and Lube.
What a stunning color combination on this 1967 326 HO convertible – the exerior is Mariner Turquoise with Parchment interior. This car also has the column shift, which means there is no console between the front bucket seats, and has the deluxe interior option. Take note of the rare and elegant wire wheel option – somethng hardly ever seen on a first gen, providing that “extra-touch” that distinguishes it from other ‘birds.
How about some really “WOW” 1969 ‘birds? Custom Burgundy paint and oversize restomod wheels and tires make this one stand out. Here’s another picture of the very cool “reverse Trans Am” painted convertible. Note the large aluminum CNC machined Rally II wheels, giving it a touch of restomod flavor. This ’69 convertible TA creation, with blue top looks great, and made the trip to Ohio from Oneonta, New York. The sign really tells the story of how owner William acquired a real Trans Am Coupe that was being parted out, and combined it with a ’69 convertible to make this beautiful looking ‘bird.
Now here’s the real deal, Steve Hamilton’s 1969 Trans Am. We also saw this car in Pontiac Illinois during our Route 66 Club Cruise. Steve is from the northeast side of Indianapolis & is one of the most instrumental people in the on-going success of this show. Steve always brings a transport trailer load of 6 and drives one. He’s just a great guy and he also set up a wonderful display of all the anniversary cars.
Tim Dye (top) the curator of the Pontiac Oakland Automobile Museum and a good friend of our club, was one of the presenters at the show. His presentation focused on “Interesting Facts” and was done in a very conversational and effective style. The engine is the 301 Turbo that Tim brought. He designed and crafted the “travel / presentation mount” that member Dave Sullivan and crew helped pack for the trip.
Jim Lyons seminar followed Tim’s and focused on Turbocharged Trans Ams. There was a great deal of interest in both the 301, and especially the unit used in the 20th Anniversary TA’s. Jim spearheaded the development of this engine. Many questions followed during the Q& A session. Now let’s take a look at some second gen beauties.
1974 Admiralty Blue 455 Super Duty – this is one of my (Ken) favorite colors for a 2nd gen. Continuing, Larry said: “The ’70 1/2 with red interior is rare and a real eye-catcher. “Custom Option” Trim Code 214 – red knit-vinyl appears to be the designation for the interior. Here a photographer is questioning the owner, Dave Garber of Beavercreek, Ohio. HPP wanted me to do a feature on this car last year but he had left the show before I could find him. They let me know too late! The second photo shows a close up of the red interior.” Now here’s an interesting fact, I called Jim Mattison of PHS yesterday, and according to him, until the 1980’s, Pontiac never kept a record of how many cars were produced by the interior color. So contrary to popular myth, no one knows the exact number of these early Firebirds that were made with a specific color interior. However, based on what we see at shows today a red interior on a 1970 Trans Am is extremely rare.
Note full race prep.- wheels, roll cage and much more on this second generation Lucerne Blue Trans Am. Finally, another extremely rare Firebird – a 1973 Formula Super Duty 455.
A closer look at the ’76 Black Limited Edition TA from the Winners Circle. This red 1997 Ram Air belongs to Ken and Sandy Bauco from Island Lake, Illinois. Ken was the Illinois POCI Chapter President for many years. This was the “Best of Show” winner for the entire event this year. Congratulations to Ken and Sandy. By they way, Sandy is always there to help prepare their immaculate Firebird!
One of this year’s 30th anniversary highlights was a parade of anniversary cars to the Quaker Steak and Lube Resturant. Here we have some beautiful third and fourth generation Firebirds. The first white 20th anniversary TA in the shots was owned by the late Dave Doern, who set up the 3 actual Pace Cars for Pontiac. He also set up a 4th car the same way, with strobes etc. for himself! The second 20th anniversary TA belongs to Gene Scheer from Moline, Illinois, a friend whom I was with at the Indian Uprising show this month.
(Top) Gene Scheer and Jeff Loh with Jeff’s real 1999 30th Annivsary Pace Car (fourth gen.). One of two real 30th Annivsary Pace Cars. Jeff is from Dickinson, North Dakota and that’s him on the right in the top picture.
Member Tom Mayhugh, from Lexington, Kentucky was also at the show and had this to say, “I have been attending TA Nationals since the mid ’90’s, only missing a couple years when I was in California. It appears to me that the number of First Gen Firebirds at the show continues to decline. I am definitely a First Gen guy and tend to gravitate to stock vehicles. My 1969 Firebird 400 convertible is completely stock other than a tach, oil and temp gauges. A few of my favorite cars were Dan Jensen’s 1969 350 HO (which one of my best friends used to own), Dennis Jensen’s Brewster Green 455 Trans Am and a Starlight Black ’72 Formula 455 HO from Scott Depot, West Virginia.”
My favorite event is the Tipp City Cruise-in. The city did a great job renovating the streets and sidewalks. I love being able to see all the cars and people in a great setting! There are several good restaurants (the pizza place is our favorite) and if you and/or your spouse like antiques and such, then there are plenty of places to visit.”
When I asked our Technical Director, Mike Noun about the Starlight Black ’72 455HO Formula, I found out its interesting back story and just how rare it truly is:
“This car was found by a guy named Steve (from NJ) back in 2012 (bottom picture). He meticulously detailed the car, and being it’s mostly original (just one repaint in 1985), he carefully documented every part on the car he needed to replace, making sure he stayed authentic with GM. The car has a staggering 34 options, and is 1 of only 276 Formula 455HO’s built. On top of that, the car was originally delivered to London Ontario (only 10 Formula 455 HO’s were exported to Canada). A very rare car indeed, and looks downright nasty in black.”
“Steve sold it in 2013 when he found an all original 1973 SD455 Formula! The current owner, Bob Bennett is the one who brought it to the Trans Am Nationals. I spent a few of my childhood years up in London Ontario, and I remember seeing this black Formula 455HO around town back in the day! At the time (not old enough to drive, but old enough to gawk, and build plastic models) I had never seen a black Formula before, but I was very into Pontiacs, as both of my brothers had GTO’s.”
What an unbelieavble show for a Firebird and Trans Am enthusiast of any generation! Make sure you put this one on your calendar for next year!
(Story by Larry DeLay, edited by Ken Pitcher with comments by Tom Mayhugh and Mike Noun. Pictures by Larry DeLay, Mike Noun and Tim Dye.)
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