Dateline…A hot Summer afternoon in
August of 1976 - I was in LAX airport awaiting a flight to Hawaii when I
picked up a copy of the latest issue of Motor Trend magazine (could have
been Road & Track or Car & Driver, I don’t really recall). A striking
picture of a Black & Gold sports car on the cover caught my eye. Upon closer
look I found it was a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am for what was to be their
1977 model, plans for introducing a “special edition” at that. It certainly
got my immediate attention and I thought to myself …”That is the car I just
gotta have!”…My name is Gary Drew and this is my Trans Am story --
Well as good fortune would have it, realization of acquiring my dream car actually came true with the very generous help of my parents. This was my first car in life at age 21. Although it was not the “Special Edition” variety TA I had hoped for, it was darn close (way too close for me to complain). It had a jet black exterior with Rally Sport wheels, the Screamin Chicken hood decal (back then I thought it was called the Phoenix Bird). It was a 400cc automatic transmission vehicle with vinyl ‘buckskin tan’ colored interior. The biggest disappointment (if you could ever really say getting a new TA is such) was it did not have any T-Tops. But I figured I could add that on my own, which I later did by having a set of American T-Top installed. To accent the car even further, I had memorized all the exterior appointments and pin stripping indicative of the “Special Edition” which I had professionally retro-fitted to my car, so it sort of became an ‘SE’ clone. I was instantly the envy of the neighborhood and climbed to impeccable stature with all my friends (did wonders for my dating prospects). I felt I had become a KING!
Regretfully I only had the car a few short years and sold it (worse move I ever made automotive speaking). For years, even until recently, I had occasional dreams at night that I still had my TA and it was in pristine shape. Then reality set in and I woke up. With the advent of the information age, the Internet, and my mid-life crisis, I endeavored to try to replace the Trans Am of yesteryear, this time bound and determined to get a true “Special Edition”.
Circa Fall 2005…enter “Trans Am Specialties” of Mentor, OH into the picture. It was quite obvious to me that these were the real experts in the business of putting vintage second generation TAs back on the road, and better than ever before. I contacted the principle owner Brett Campbell. One thing led to another and next thing I know it, I made a down payment on a 1977 black & gold Y82 “SE” 400cc (W-72 engine) 4-speed 4bbl TA. It had just completed a ‘frame-on’ full restoration in what TA Specialties refers to as their “show” level, wherein 95% of the car is either replaced or refurbished. This time I had the ‘real McCoy’ Special Edition just like on Smokey and the Bandit, black interior and exterior, high performance engine, 4-speed with Hurst shifter and Hurst T-Tops, even has a gorgeous blonde co-pilot riding shotgun (my wife Sherry). I took delivery of the car on Saturday January 7, 2006 and licensed it with a collector car plate. Needless to say, I’m hooked up again with an old car of mine and I’ve not been the same person since. Thus the reunion of Man-n-Machine ,this time I hope to keep the car to see it’s 50th anniversary…..East bound and down!
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