The 1970 Pontiac Firebird, Formula & Trans Am
|| David Rugg owns this awesome Trans Am. David writes:
"This is my 70 1/2 Pontiac Trans Am. It is a PHS documented car built in Norwood and originally sold in Minneapolis MN. The car is still in MN. and I frame off restored it in 1989. I bought the car all original except for the motor. I restored the car and was looking for a RAIII motor that it was supposed to have. I ran across one from a local club Pontiac club member that was sitting (blown) in a shed. I checked the numbers and it turned out to be my original motor from my car- taken out years earlier. Without saying anything more, I bought the motor for $100. and rebuilt it. Now it is back in the original car again. This made the car all numbers matching. It has the RAIII motor w/TH400 and 3.55 posi. rear. Options are the RARE black vinyl/cloth interior, Power Windows, locks, trunk. Tilt wheel and AM-FM stereo radio. Matching Rally II wheels less trim rings. Please consider this car for the 70-81 T/A section."
This Formula is owned by Len Rickards. Len writes:
"The car is one of 189 Ram Air, close ratio 4-speed cars which was verified by Pontiac Historical Services. Originally sold in New Hampshire it was ordered without A/C and has the 2 speed, blower type, rear window defroster to fan the frost of a New England winter morning. The original owner did opt for a remote driver's mirror and an AM pushbutton radio as the few luxury items ordered to make daily driving more comfortable. The rally gauge package and HD radiator were also purchased as well as a posi-traction differential with 3.73 gears (standard with the close ratio transmission option). This Firebird was not factory equipped with hide-away wipers and the original color was Atoll Blue with black vinyl upholstery.
Terry McGean, the former editor of High-Performance Pontiac, told me he was unaware of any Ram Air Formulas in Atoll Blue let alone without the much preferred wiper option. Prior to receiving the current white paint it was candy apple red so not only was it born in Norwood, Ohio, USA, it has actually been red, white and blue! The chrome moldings and markings have been left off to make the appearance a little cleaner and a rear spoiler was added as were American Racing CP200 wheels with B.F. Goodrich T/As. These have been the only changes to the exterior.
Regarding the car's history as I know it: I bought it in the Denver, Colorado area from an owner that had it in his possession for 13 years. It sat for about 10 years after he grenaded the original engine by top speed racing a V8 powered Vega or Chevette. Remember the 3.73 gears? Not conducive to top speed racing for any considerable length, it finally gave in to excessive RPMs. The owner said he was winning and couldn't let off while he was in the lead! Such is life for a muscle car. He replaced the engine with various pieces although the heads were those used on 1966 350hp 421s which translates to smaller valves.
Hopefully, there have been enough other upgrades to offset some of the loss of the #12 heads. Modifications include TRW forged pistons, an Edelbrock Performer manifold, Crane Cams ignition box with Mallory and Jacobs parts in an HEI distributor, Headman 4 tube headers with true dual exhaust of 2 1/2" diameter and Flowmaster 2 stage mufflers. Although I currently live near Firebird Raceway in Phoenix I have not taken it to the drag strip. I did run it at Bandimere in Denver and with the altitude correction it produced a 14.26 with a bad carburetor (since replaced) and the ignition mods not performed at that time so I expect to pick up a tenth or so. I guess only a few passes will tell if those gains were realized.
The interior has been altered during its life as well with 1971 or newer seats covered with maroon fabric rather than the original vinyl. Also upgraded with a modern radio (which is difficult to hear with the very loud exhaust system) and the accuracy of a Hurst Competition Plus shifter replacing the original. The Phoenix metro area is very active with car shows and various club activities so we enjoy driving it year round although much less in the summer. Keep up the good work on the website as we Firebird owners need to stick together!"
Site contributor Chris Giles owns this Lucerne Blue Formula. Chris writes:
"I purchased the 1970 Formula in 1997. It is a very original California car, and has spent its entire life, up to 1997, in Northern California. I am NOT a lucerne blue-freak, and when I learned of this car, was told that it was white with blue interior. I would have preferred to have a second car that was a different color, but it was in such nice shape that I couldn't pass it up.
It is still wearing the Van Nuys-applied Lucerne Blue, with the exception of the driver's door and add-on rear spoiler which have been repainted (I know - if you look close the spoiler end pieces are 74-78). This car is definitely a "50-footer" as it wears a number of door-dings and other battle scars accumulated over its 35 years. The car is a nicely optioned RAIII 4 speed, with HD radiator, 3.73 axle, custom trim, rally gauges, formula wheel, AM/FM stereo, console, and tinted glass. It does not have Y99 suspension as the 15' Rallyes are borrowed from my '71."
Chris also owns a 1971 Lucerne Blue 455HO Trans Am, seen in the last pic, that can be seen at 1971 Firebirds Lot#3.
||A great looking Ram Air III TA. The rear end on this model is my favorite of all the different years. Matter of fact this whole body style is my favorite of all the year models. Only two colors were available for the new TA model; Polar White and Lucerne Blue. Polar White would become Cameo White from '71 to '73 but Lucerne Blue would remain a color option till '73.|