Tag Archives: Firebird

Americana Paddock Questions – Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

At the end of May Geoffrey Horton popped along to the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival and kindly sent a large number of photographs, including those selected today which have an American theme.

Kurtis 500S, Tom Claridge, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival,

Built in 1953 Tom Claridge’s Kurtis 500 S #022 was originally supplied with a de Soto motor, after an accident in 1954 the car was rebuilt with the current Chrylser Hemi # C53-8-I5990, this car has been seen at the Goodwood Revival meetings.

Chevrolet Corvette, Bruce Miller, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival,

I am not sure of the racing provenance of Bruce Millers Sunoco liveried 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, but I understand the chassis number is #30867S118408, if you know more please chip in below.

Mercury Cougar XR7, Ike Keeler, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival,

The racing provenance of cars raced in the 60’s is never easy, there are references pertaining to Ike Keeler’s #14 Mercury Cougar,chassis #7F91C597587, being the Bob Estes sponsored #79 driven by Mark Waco which do not tie up on the dates I have found elsewhere on the internet, a Burien Mercury sponsored #14 Cougar was driven at least twice in 1967/68 by Dave Tatom, again if you can clarify these anomalies please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Doug Schultz, Dodge Daytona, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

I beleive Doug Schultz’s #7 Hilton Charger is a 1969 Dodge Daytona driven by 1966 and 1973 NASCAR Camping World Series West Champion Jack McCoy who recorded 54 wins during his career from the late 1950’s to early 1990’s.

Ford Boss Mustang, Jim Hague,  Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival,

Ken Epsman’s #16 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 appears to be the car Bud Moore entered for Peter Gregg in the 1971 Trans Am series.

Pontiac Firebird, William E. (Chip) Connor, Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

After an accident during practice for a Trans Am race at Road America Jerry Titus lost his life in August 1970 after crashing his #8 Terry Godsall Racing Pontiac Firebird similar to the one belonging to William-E.-Chip-Connor above.

Chevrolet Camaro, John Hildebrand, Sonoma Historic

2011 Indy Rookie of the Year JR Hildebrand was inspired to start racing after watching his Dad John race the #56 Peerless Racing Chevrolet Camaro that I believe was raced by Craig Carter from late 1978 to 1979.

If you have any additional information on any of the vehicles above please do not hesitate to chip in below. My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing today’s photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Americana Paddock Questions” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at five favorite Ferrari’s that have appeared at Silverstone Classic. Don’t forget to come back now !


Video Equipped Interceptor – Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

In 1993 Pontiac launched the 4th generation Firebird with an even more radically aerodynamic styled body than the third generation Firebirds built from 1982 to 1992.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The 1997 LT1 Trans Am package includes 5.7 litre / 347 cui V8, fitted with dual catalytic converters, which produces 285 hp, enough to take the car from rest to 60 mph in 6 seconds and an electronically controlled 155 mph.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

General Motors have paid the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), who own the Trans Am name, $5 for every vehicle sold since 1969.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

This particular Trans Am, seen at the Summer Classics Show in Easter Compton, is described as being “fully kitted out as a California Highway Patrol Police Interceptor” with out being specifically described as being an ex service car, a sticker on the back bumper even suggests this is an ex drug dealers car !

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Alongside the California Highway Patrol livery and police lights this vehicle is fitted with; Carson sirens, police radio, cb radio, drugs weighing equipment, breathalyser, full video recording front and rear, central laptop loaded with CHP incident logs, handcuffs and American police baton.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

On the UK highway the police lights and siren must be electrically isolated to be legal.

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

The owner, who has had Firebirds for 30 years since he was twenty does not believe he will ever be parted from this car with which he has a lot of fun at show’s, sounds like the ultimate Christmas present for someone.

Thanks for joining me on this “Video Equipped Interceptor” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”. I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

Wishing all ‘Psycho On Tyres’ readers and contributors a Happy New Year !


Summer Classics – Easter Compton

After visiting Queen Square a couple of weeks ago I popped over to Easter Compton for the Summer Classics meeting.

Volkswagen Beetle, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Representing the home of the Volkswagen, Wolfsburg (Wolfs Castle), was this 1959 Beetle.

Citroën CX 25 GTi Turbo, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Turbo’s were all the rage in the 1980’s this is a top of the range Citroen CX 25 GTi Turbo from 1985 capable of 130 mph.

Raleigh Safety Seven, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

From 1933 an air cooled twin cylinder Raleigh Safety Seven 3 wheeler, built by the manufacturer in Nottingham better known for building bicycles since 1885 as it does to the present day.

Pontiac Firebird, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

If the signage on this California Highway Patrol car is to be believed this 1997 Pontiac Firebird was converted from a drug dealers car, though I suspect that might just be a bit of PR. If you know different please do not hesitate to chip in below.

Oldsmobile Delta 88, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Delta was an upmarket trim option introduced to the Oldsmobile 88 in 1965, this Oldsmobile Delta 88 was built in 1972.

Dodge Deluxe Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton Convertible, Summer Classics, Easter Compton

Dodge is celebrating it’s centenary this year, this 1948 Dodge Deluxe Convertible with Fluid Drive transmission was based on a design that went back to 1940 complete with L head side valve motor. These solid Chrysler Corporation D24 cars outsold Fords in the immediate aftermath of World War 2.

Thanks for joining me on this “Summer Classics” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at another vehicle with Can Am history. Don’t for get to come back now !


Booby Prize from Wide Track Country – Pontiac Firebird

In 1954 vice president of engineering at General Motors Oliver K Kelly called Packards head of Research and Development John DeLorean to offer him a choice of jobs across the five divisions on General Motors. DeLorean who at the time also had the choice of moving to Studebaker with whom Packard had just merged settled on becoming assistant to chief engineer Elliot ‘Pete’ Estes at Pontiac.

Pontiac Firebird, Silverstone Classic

By 1963 John had become chief engineer at Pontiac, and Estes had become general Manager when they together with engine specialist Russell Gee and chassis engineer Bill Collins convinced the GM management to let them offer a $296 performance package on the Pontiac LeMans Coupé and Convertible body stiles that included a 325 hp 6.4 litre / 389 cui V8 motor normally found in the full size Pontiac Catalina and Bonneville models, from whence the ‘Wide Track’ strap line was born and named it GTO a name John picked up from the Ferrari 250 GTO.

Pontiac Firebird, Silverstone Classic

The Pontiac GTO with initial production limited to 5,000, by a disbelieving Pontiac Sales Manager Frank Bridge, was an instant hit with Ronnie and the Daytonas, the youth market at which it was aimed and GM Management. The GTO was responsible for transforming the image of the brand from an ‘aunties car’ to a youth orientated performance brand with over 32, 000 units built in 1964.

Pontiac Firebird, Silverstone Classic

As the GTO was launched John DeLorean moved on to the development of the Pontiac Banshee a concept car to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette which was killed by GM’s top management. DeLorean seen as Pontiacs golden boy was promoted to head of the entire Pontiac division and given the consolation task of turning the Chevrolet Camaro into a Pontiac Pony Car with the proviso that there could be no alterations to the sheet metal except to the front and rear panels.

Pontiac Firebird, Silverstone Classic

By incorporating a signature Pontiac split grill with built in bumper at the front and a version of the rear strip lights seen on the two Banshee concept cars the Pontiac Pony car was easily distinguishable from it’s Chevrolet sibling, Having failed to acquire the Banshee naming rights from rocket scientist Eugene F. Lally, who had successfully raced a Corvette powered special of the same name, for less than ¢50 per car, the name Firebird which had been previously used by GM on three seriously out landish gas turbine concept cars, was eventually adopted for the Pontiac pony car.

Pontiac Firebird, Silverstone Classic

The absence of marker lights, Federally mandated in 1968, and the E suffix on the registration plate confirm this as most likely one of the five variations of the 1967 model line up.

Pontiac Firebird, Silverstone Classic

The Ram Air bonnet / hood suggests this car had the top of the range 6.6 litre / 400 cui motor installed when it left the factory.

Pontiac Firebird, Silverstone Classic

Just over 100,132 1967 Firebirds are thought to have been manufactured of which 9,980 were convertible.

Thanks for joining me on this Wide Track Country edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !