Monday, November 24, 2014

Eastbound and BROWN

Man this car is a hero to me and tons of dudes my age! This is the same year, make, and model of the car Burt Reynolds made famous in Smokey and the Bandit (though theirs was a Trans-Am Special Edition with the amazing "Flaming Chicken" hood graphic). What we have here is a somewhat forlorn 1977 Pontiac Firebird parked out in Queensbridge.
That split grill with pointed prow was particularly beak-like just this year and '78 and I love it. I mean this is 1977, arguably the worst year in automotive design, and Pontiac managed to produce a very tough looking muscle car! For this they should be commended.
The 4 square headlights with a similar grill arrangement was also used on the compact Pontiac Sunbird for this year which made for a cool-looking if slow & tiny car.
This beast is still parked on the street, resting on tires that are holding air. The decades of hard living are on display though, with wheels of varying vintages and body panels in different colors throughout. That rusty gold rear wheel is indeed from a Firebird, but one from the '80s. The other three wheels are probably worth as much as the rest of the car (if the 4th one is around somewhere). They are the 1979 10th Anniversary Turbo rims used for the turbocharged Trans Am of that year.
Yes that is a functioning shaker hood scoop announcing the 6.6 liter 400 V8 hiding underneath. Don't get too excited though as the regular 6.6 was rated at an abysmal 180 horsepower. Ugh. Almost more insulting is that you could upgrade the 6.6 to a whopping 200 total horsepower. What's the point?
Don't call this car brown by the way, as the color is Buckskin Poly. The hood looks to be Glacier Blue which isn't a hue you'd normally see on these, especially cars with the cutout for the hood scoop. The blue donor car must've been something when it first left the showroom.
From this angle it's just a beat-up old Pontiac with terrible paint deterioration and a shabby overall feel. I still like it though because I fell in love with this car the moment it outran the cops on screen.
180 horsepower is enough to lob decades of salty slush on to the lower quarter panels so they can rot completely away. When this was built it was an enormously popular car for Pontiac with over 150,000 sold that year. For this reason and the fact that they were slow the value has never really gone up. Just now after so many have disappeared from the landscape are they starting to be sought after.
Inside is complete but doesn't look like it would smell very fresh. The cloth seats are intact, as is the console complete with power window switch behind the shifter. The dashboard is highly reflective turned metal for a totally awesome look.

You have to give it to Pontiac for the most elegant solution to the federally mandated bumpers that were required in the '70s. They made huge polyurethane moldings that incorporated the bumpers, grill, and headlights as opposed to having big chrome monstrosities hanging off the ends.
Well there we have it; a multicolored Brownbird roosting in it's nest. I'd like to think someone will restore this Firebird and get it in fighting shape again. Most likely it'll be a quick and dirty job of filling up the holes with bondo and painting it shiny black with a big Flaming Chicken decal on the hood. I'll still enjoy seeing it roll by even if it's in this chewed-up state because nostalgia will do that for you.

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