Fully loaded Martinez 10th anniversary Trans Am ’79

Pontiac’s history dates back to 1907, when Edward Murphy, a leading manufacturer of horseless cars, established Oakland Motor Car Co. in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan.

General Motors had just established itself at this time and had acquired Buick, Cadillac and Oldsmobile before 1909, when Oakland Motor became GM’s fourth brand. In the beginning, the Pontiac was part of the Oakland division when it was produced in 1926 as a cheaper model in the Oakland lineup. But Pontiac became a better seller than Oakland, and the Oakland brand was discontinued in 1931. Pontiac cars were also made from demountable kits in Osaka, Japan, from 1927 until December 1941, when something went wrong. is produced in Pearl Harbor which disbanded this program.

Pontiac cars were a cut above Chevrolet and a cut below Oldsmobile. Pontiac built great cars and had memorable leaders including Bunkie Knudsen, Pete Estes and John DeLorean, who produced the famous Pontiac GTO in 1964 and won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 1965 with the entire Pontiac range.

The first generation Pontiac Firebird was manufactured from 1967 to 1969 and looked a lot like GTO models. The second generation (1970 to 1981) was an all-new, quick-back bodywork and only available as a two-door coupé. The availability of the Firebird engine ranged from a 231 ci V6 to a 455 ci V8 and offered four transmissions; three- and four-speed manual and two- and three-speed automatic. The 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am became one of the most famous movie cars when it was used in “Smokie and the Bandit” with Bert Reynolds. In fact, none of the 12 Firebirds used in the film survived, but the Firebird was promoting the film sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for $ 550,000.

The car featured in this issue is a 1979 10th Anniversary Pontiac Trans Am owned by Roy Davi since 2014. Out of 219,000 Trans Am models built that year, Pontiac produced only 7,500 10th Anniversary models, which sold. for about $ 10,000 (about $ 37,680 in today’s dollars) in new condition.

This limited special edition is packed with just about everything that was available at the time. Its color is platinum silver with charcoal gray, red and silver stripes and the largest black eagle sticker of any Trans Am. It has mirrored glass roofs, air conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes, locks electrics, windows and antennas, turbine-polished aluminum rims, a tilt steering wheel AND an eight-track radio, which was only available that year (and worth $ 1,000 today). The Martinez resident paid $ 17,000 when he purchased this car.

“The paint was in good shape,” he said, “but the undercarriage was in really bad shape. It was from Minnesota so there was a lot of salt damage. The brake lines were on the point of breaking down, much of the sheet metal that holds the body parts together had holes in it. One of the cylinders was not pulling. I dropped it off at my friend’s body shop, and it l ‘had for about 11 months and took the whole car apart like Legos. Then I got it back and started tinkering with it myself. I fixed the engine a bit and then about 10 months I had the engine rebuilt and made it a bit stronger and gave it more power.

Davi estimates that the engine is now just under 400 horsepower, compared to the standard in new condition of 185. He said he has invested somewhere between $ 40,000 and $ 50,000 in this restoration project. . The mechanical-inclined general contractor sought out a Firebird to buy for a particular reason. Incidentally, all Trans Ams are Firebirds, but not all Firebirds are Trans Ams.

“I had a 1981 Trans Am in high school and I loved it. For years he had fond memories of that Trans Am. “Finally, I started looking for one, and it took me about a year to find one that I really liked.” He found it online. “I found there were basically two classes of Firebirds: really beat up, rusty and battered and really, really nice cars. There was nothing that was sort of in the middle. Then I came across this one.

Besides everything he has done on the car, he is thinking about repainting it, but the current paintwork is not too bad and while a new paint would make the car look better, there is the fact that a car is original only once.

Two 10th anniversary Pontiac Trans Am models were used as official race cars: one at the Indianapolis 500 race and one at the Daytona 500 race.

“Anniversary models,” Davi said, “had more options than some Cadillacs and Corvettes.”

He drives this car 6,000-7,000 miles a year and says with a smile, “This is my fun weekend car.

Do you have an interesting vehicle? Contact David Krumboltz at [email protected] To see more photos of this vehicle and other issues, or to read more of Dave’s reviews, visit Mercurynews.com/author/david-krumboltz.

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