Saturday, February 1, 2014

My 1984 Trans Am

Back in April 2012 I got the bug (again) to restore a car. Not sure why I fail to learn that car restoration is a money-loosing endeavor, but I keep falling back into the same trap every once in a while. I try to convince myself that I do it mainly for the fun and, ultimately, the pride of having saved another car.

And so, I started my search sometime in early 2012 looking for a good candidate for such a project.

I read hundreds of ads on CraigsList and the Auto Trader, mainly for C3 Corvettes, but the cars that fit my small budget were total pieces of garbage that would take tons of time and money to bring back to show condition.

By a fluke I came across a 3rd generation Firebird which reminded me of two of the cars I had owned back in the '80s; a pre-owned low-mile 1982 Firebird and then, a brand spanking new 1986 Trans Am I purchased from the Pontiac dealer in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida that same year.

With those fresh memories in mind, I decided to start looking for a 3rd Gen F-body.

I looked at plenty of Camaros and Firebirds, and prices were more than reasonable for cars in very decent condition, but I kept trying to find the "perfect" car for me. And then one day it finally showed up! A Royal Blue 1984 Firebird Trans Am.

The car had over 130,000 miles but, in spite of that, it was all there and—although very dirty—in good overall condition. For 3 grand it was a bargain, at least in my opinion, so I paid the man and took it home with me. I had a plan for this car.

At the time I had no clue that the "plan" would be to spend over $10,000 restoring it, and probably wouldn't have mattered. I wanted to restore this particular car and that was that!

I will skip the long and arduous process of restoring a car in my garage, but if you are interested in seeing all I did to it, I have a pretty decent chronicle of the process on My 1984 Trans Am blog. The blog itself still is a work in progress as I continue to upload photos and text, but it should give you a good general idea of all the work I did on this car. If you are a gearhead who happens to like 3rd Gen Firebirds, of course.

Anyway, after the car was done, I enjoyed the heck of it going to car shows and local cruises, and drove and enjoyed it quite a bit. But then I came across what to me is the Holy Grail of 3rd gen F-bodies: a 1989 Turbo Trans Am. And so I decided to sell my '84 T/A, which I did during last year's Thanksgiving Turkey Rod Run in Daytona Beach. A guy from Norway showed up and fell in love with the car. He made an offer, I counter-offered, and so on, until we agreed on a price.

A few days later he showed up with the cash and took the car in order to get it ready to be shipped to Oslo, Norway.

I captured the moment on video as he drove "my" car out of my driveway, then down my street for the last time. Knowing that the car I spent building for so many hours was going to a new home was bittersweet. The new owner is a nice guy and truly loves the car, which makes me feel good, but every time I watch the video I feel a little sad at seeing that beautiful car leaving my driveway.

We are only custodians of "things" while we are on this planet, and I am OK with that, but the early 3rd generation Firebirds (1982-1984) were the best looking of them all. And sure, when compared to any modern vehicle they were under-powered thanks mainly to the oil crisis and corporate policies. But they are beautiful cars, even by today's standards.

So goodbye, Trans Am. I hope you will have a good life in Norway. And who knows; maybe sometime in the future I will go visit you, and we'll go for a drive one more time.