More than sixty grand is a lot of money for a used car, even more so for an aftermarket build that pays tribute to a dead brand and vehicle range – in this instance, the fire-breathing Pontiac Trans Am Bandit, based on a 2012 Camaro Convertible 2SS V8, which you can jump into brand new for $43,250.
Movie car replicas vary greatly in their quality, and sadly most who take on the endeavor of actually trying to convert an existing car into their boyhood dream end up with a half-ass attempt that is not really worthy to show off. We’ve seen so many of those, that we’re thankful for the few people out there that are dedicated and passionate enough to do a thorough job.
One of the most popular icons of the decade that brought us big hairdos and even bigger shoulder pads was K.I.T.T., short for "Knight Industries Two Thousand".
It was the car of Michael Knight, played by Germany's favorite son, David Hasselhoff, in the original action-adventure television series, 'Knight Rider'. K.I.T.T. was a blacked out, heavily customized and highly intelligent version [pun intended] of the 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am.
Back in 2009, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) become one of the many independent shops at the time to capitalize on the approaching death of the Pontiac brand by releasing a concept model inspired by the 1970s Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am and based on the then brand new Chevrolet Camaro.
Fast forward to today and the 2012 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Lingenfelter unwrapped the production version of its T/A Concept that will be known from now own as the LTA.
The third generation of the Pontiac Firebird will likely be remembered by the masses for its key role in the popular 1980s television series Knight Rider as KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), a specially modified version of the Trans AM model with high tech crime-fighting equipment.
In real life, the Trans Am was available as a specialty package for the Firebird usually offering upgraded handling through suspension modifications, more power under the hood and exclusive styling features.
As popular as it was in its heydays, it has also been more than thirty years since GM ended production of the second generation Pontiac Firebird (1970 to 1981). This means low mileage and well-cared examples are getting very hard to come by, which is why this one captured our attention.
This 1970 (1/2) Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 we found on eBay has just 26,505 miles (42,646) on the odometer with the seller claiming that the car is in original condition having been "stored and cared for its entire life".
Finished in the oh-so-70s Coronado Gold exterior paint color with a Sandlewood Tan interior, the Firebird is equipped with the Formula 400 optional package that includes an array of goodies such as the 400 cubic-inch (6.6-liter) V8 engine with a four-barrel carburetor, dual exhausts, sports suspension, dual scoop hood and more.
The death of the Pontiac brand back in 2009 gave birth to several Firebird builds based on the Chevrolet Camaro, one of the most prominent of which is the Hurst Edition Pontiac Trans Am designed by Kevin Morgan for Trans Am Depot.
Inspired by the classic Trans Am from the Smokey and the Bandit film series, the screaming chicken made its debut at the 2009 SEMA show.
YouTube user DtRockstar1 captured an example of the Trans Am firing up its tuned V8 engine at the 2012 Detroit Autorama show. You can watch the video straight after the break.
The makers of the fire-breathing Phoenix T/A that we saw at the 2009 SEMA show in Las Vegas are back with yet another proposal for a Pontiac model based on the latest iteration of Chevy’s Camaro pony car. This time the people over at Trans Am Depot will give birth to a modern day interpretation of Pontiac’s famed 1969 GTO Judge. The tuner named its creation “The GT9 Goat”.
The teaser renderings and photos of the faux-Pontiac reveal a bespoke front end with a split grille and a revised hood with air scoops, while at the back we find new tail lamp and bumper designs as well as a restyled trunk sporting a prominent wing. The characteristic profile side stripes, quad tail pipes and the newly styled alloy wheel options round off the exterior changes. There’s no word yet if there will be any kind of upgrades to the interior and the mechanical hardware of the Camaro.
The last time we heard from Heide Performance Products (HPP), the Michigan-based tuner showcased a Daytona conversion for Dodge's Challenger. Keeping with the vintage theme, HPP is now ready to show its next pony car conversion - a Camaro-based Trans-Am kit - at this year's SEMA show in Vegas.
As with all the other Firebird body kits out there (Lingenfelter's, ASC's, etc), HPP's version does its best to bring back the good-ol' days of the screaming chicken. The results, as with any "we're selling you memories" conversion, vary.
Regarding the proposition of selling this conversion (for anything other than the collectability factor), I don't see a point. Pontiac is D-E-A-D, it's not coming back, and that means anyone's "new" Trans-Am will forever be a Chevy wearing a costume. It's similar to having a Plymouth nameplate on a modern Chrysler or Dodge; the vintage naming works for the Daytona, but not for the Superbird.
Car auctions always have some interesting product to show off. Hell, I'm going to have to pick up my Boss '9 at one somewhere down the road, but that's beside the point. The one-of-one Pontiac GTO Judge convertible seen here is about to hit the block in a few weeks at Mecum's St. Charles Auction and here's a little something about it.
What's the deal with cheesy Pontiac-based replicas? Every time I see one, I ask myself how anyone in their right mind would ever think it's a good idea (unless purely testing one's kit building and car chopping talents). This ebay-situated Firebird-based 308 replica can be yours for the low-low price of $6,500; if you'd like to try your luck with the auction, feel free. We won't judge either way (sinner!).
Words cannot describe how mega this crash is. If you haven't seen it yet, do it...DO IT NOW. It must be seen. Even if you have seen it, check it out again. The victim was a 19-year old who was speeding, tried to pass on the left, ended up in the median...then something CRAZY happened, he got ejected from his Firebird, somehow survived, and is now in critical condition.
While Classic Design Concepts (CDC) deliberately avoids the use of the word 'Pontiac', the first thought that comes to mind upon seeing the FireBreather is a modern iteration of General Motor's Firebird Trans-Am pony car.
The 2011 Camaro-based special was originally created as a one-off movie car for Exxodus Pictures' new sci-fi flick, Jinn, but the company decided to build a limited series for sale. And now, the order book has opened with the maker planning to manufacturer a total of 50 exact replicas of the FireBreather, priced at $60,000 a piece.
The folks from 'The Smoking Tire' decided to bid farewell to the 2011 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible they had for this year's Bullrun by bringing on Classic Design Concepts' Pontiac Firebreather for a brief tet-a-tet.
For those unfamiliar with the Firebreather, the Pontiac Firebird-ized 2011 Camaro was originally created by Classic Design Concepts as a one off movie car for Exxodus Pictures' new sci-fi film, Jinn, but the company took the decision to build a limited series for sale to the public.
Pontiac never made a 1981 Firebird Formula convertible (or any kind of '81 Firebird Convertible, for that matter), but that didn't stop a lot of people from going out and chopping the tops off of these post-oil-crisis Ponchos anyway.
While this version - originally done by Coach Works and featuring a manual top and boot - doesn't look too shabby with the top down, I'd have to see it with the top up to get a better idea of what we're dealing with.
Not surprisingly, Pontiac's demise has spurred an interest in the creation of Trans Am replicas based on the new Chevrolet Camaro. We remind you that we've already seen a conceptual proposal for a modern-day Pontiac Trans Am from ASC Creative Services and real-life examples from Lingenfelter and Trans Am Depot.
The latest company to join the list of tuners interested in creating a Trans Am replica is a company called Gearhead Performance Group.
Along with the cosmetic upgrades that include new front and rear fascias complete with unique lights, 21- or 22-inch snowflake wheels, a large rear spoiler and gold interior accents (...), the tuner claims that it will offer an optional twin-turbo LS9 V8 with some 900 horsepower.
The Phoenix T/A kit also includes other body parts such as the new hood with a shaker scoop, specific front fenders and rear fascia complete with taillights and a boot spoiler. The 20-inch gold or silver machined face snowflake wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero 305/35ZR20 tires and the unique tail pipes plus the interior trim and badge appointments complete the cosmetic package.
Trans Am Depot will also offer a range of performance upgrades including a suspension and engine kit for Camaro SS' V8 powerhouse.
The company plans to sell the Phoenix T/A as a completed model (based on the Camaro SS) or as a conversion kit starting early next year.
PHOENIX T/A PHASE 2
PHOENIX T/A PHASE 1
The teaser renderings provide us with our first look at the 455 TA's appearance that adds a newly styled fascia and rear end along with 20-inch custom honeycomb style wheels shod in beefy tires, a hood scoop, side air vents and a sweet duck-tail spoiler to the 2010 Camaro.
Lingenfelter says that 455 TA will also feature a custom interior, which we gather will hark back to the original Pontiac Trans Am.
Although the vehicle is billed as a concept for now, we're pretty sure that if there's enough interest in the car, Lingenfelter will go ahead and offer the Camaro-based 455 TA for sale.
The Phoenix T/A project that is said to recall the '77 - '78 Trans Am will feature among other things, new front and rear fascias, unique alloy wheels, lowered suspension and turned aluminum inserts in the interior plus a series of performance upgrades.
Trans Am Depot said that the company will be offering everything from the body conversion only to the limited Phoenix Edition with details, pricing and delivery information to be released at a latter date.
Phoenix T/A Conversion Specs - Excluding Performance Upgrades
- 1' - 1.5' Lowering Kit w/sway bar handling upgrade
- Wheels & Tires
- Front: 20x9.5x120 CB-66.9 Gold or Silver Machined Face Snowflake Wheels. PIRELLI PZERO 275/45ZR20
- Rear: 20x11.5x120 CB-66.9 Gold or Silver Machined Face Snowflake Wheels. PIRELLI PZERO 305/35ZR20
- Shaker Scoop
- Fender Extractors
- Exhaust Conversion w/ splitter tips
- Rear Fascia Clip w/tail lamp lenses and bulbs
- Rear Spoiler
- TA Graphic Package
- Embroded Head Rest and Console Lid - KM Graphic Punch
- Turned Aluminum Door Panel
- Turned Aluminum Dash Inserts
- Turned Aluminum Instrument Cluster
- Door Panel Badges
- T/A SN Badge and Designation