Jim Emmel 22nd Annual Trans Am Nationals
Get Your Fill of Firebirds Right Here!
From the February, 2007 issue of High Performance Pontiac
By Thomas A. DeMauro
Photography by Thomas A. DeMauro
Like most any food product made with corn or wheat, Firebirds, Formulas, and T/As have also become part of a balanced mid-westerner's diet thanks to the T/A Nationals-the largest Firebird event in the world.
The Dayton Chapter of the Trans Am Club of America, through a dedicated volunteer staff of members headed by Chairperson Sue Emmel, hosts the three-day shindig in late August each year. For 2006, over 420 registered examples of Pontiac's famed F-bodies made the trek to the Dayton Airport Hotel in Dayton, Ohio, for the arrowheaded love-fest that is the T/A Nats.
It's certainly the place to see more SD-455, 455 H.O., and 400 Ram Air models than any other venue in the country. The event also houses a gaggle of Birds from all generations in classes ranging from stock to mildly modified and completely off-the-hook customs.
If that weren't enough, the wealth of information that can be gained from this event by looking at the models is astounding. If you need to know the correct textures under the hood of a '70 Ram Air IV T/A, you need only walk out the front doors of the hotel to find a concours-restored one. Like to compare and contrast the detailing of the 455 H.O. and SD-455 engines? Multiple examples were lined up next to each other awaiting perusal. Have to find out if 19-inch wheels with steamroller tires will fit on your Fourth-Gen? There was bound to be more than one so equipped on the show field.
This year was just as chaotic weather-wise as years past, with many a participant primping and polishing their expressions of personal transportation between stray raindrops on Saturday. In the swap-meet area, vendors were doing their best to service customers and keep their wares dry during the passing showers. That night however, the annual pilgrimage to Tipp City went off as planned and was well attended under threatening skies. For Sunday, the weather cleared up nicely, and we walked rows upon rows of intoxicating examples of Pontiac's Pony Car, which even spilled over into the surrounding parking lots.
On the show field, 33 states and Canada were represented (there were even spectators from Australia and France), so you can imagine how fierce the competition was. Some traveled from as far as Florida for the event, and for one Floridian, it was well worth the trip-Loren Sheffer's '7011/42 Trans Am won Best of Show. Not surprisingly, this stunning Pro Touring T/A built by "Bird Doctor" Artie Philipp is this month's cover car. You'll quickly realize why this T/A received such accolades when you read about it.
There were many deserving Bird owners who were recognized for their efforts at the awards ceremony. One of them was Mike Kozar for his '77 Fire-Am, which won HPP's Editor's Choice and is pictured in this story. Other activities at the T/A Nats included Scott Scheel's interesting seminar on the history of the Firebird, kids' crafts and games, the mini-nats featuring diecast Firebirds and T/As, and a dinner buffet on Friday night for club members and workers.
Worthy of discussion amongst all this Pontiac talk is the fact the T/A Nats also raises money for A Special Wish Foundation each year. This year's tally was $4,665. In gratitude, A Special Wish Foundation, Dayton Chapter, presented the Lowell E. Baker Outstanding Organization Award to the Trans Am Club of America Dayton, Ohio Chapter. The club's continued support through the Annual Trans Am Nationals Car Show has raised more than $28,000 over several years to aid fulfilling children's wishes.
If you can't get enough Firebird excitement and want to aid a worthy cause, then the Trans Am Nats is a must-attend event. This year's dates are August 24-26, 2007. For more info, visit www.tanationals.com.
Accomplished Firebird- and...
Accomplished Firebird- and T/A-collector Steve Hamilton treated the showgoers to a comprehensive display of Pontiac's F-body that depicted the rare '69 T/A and the 455 H.O., SD-455, and more Second-Gens. Yes, these are all his (except for Scott Scheel's white '77 T/A on the far end), and he has more.
Mike Kozar's gorgeous Y82...
Mike Kozar's gorgeous Y82 '77 T/A with 400 four-speed and the full Fire-Am treatment was chosen as HPP's Editor's Choice recipient. If you received the March '07 issue, then you already know how incredible this Pontiac is as it was featured and graced the cover.
Thanks to rain showers early...
Thanks to rain showers early on, participants were kept busy detailing their rides.
Jim Mattison trotted out Pontiacs...
Jim Mattison trotted out Pontiacs from the Division's historical collection for all to enjoy. Here we see the Type-K Kammback Third-Gen wagon and the black 383 LT1 Lingenfelter Formula. Also present was the Gold Rush T/A (not shown).
Bandit Trans Am Club
Dayton Airport Hotel
Dayton International Airport
Dayton Airport Police
National Parts Depot
Pontiac Historic Services
Restore A Muscle Car
More Pontiac historic vehicles...
More Pontiac historic vehicles include an SCCA racecar named "Bill" that was campaigned by Doug Goad, the last Bird built in '02-a red T/A convertible, and the '02 Collector Edition Daytona pace car.
Speaking of Jim Mattison,...
Speaking of Jim Mattison, here is his fresh '67 Ram Air Firebird in the rare hue of Plum Mist.
What could be better than...
What could be better than polishing your T/A in the warm sun while sporting your collectible T/A Nats T-shirt, which marked its 20th Anniversary in 2004.
Verdoro Green was a Pontiac-only...
Verdoro Green was a Pontiac-only color for '68. This First-Gen faces its younger brothers across the lot.
This LT1 T/A has combined...
This LT1 T/A has combined the 30th Anniversary graphics with the '02 Collector Edition color scheme to arrive at a striking combination.
Here's a nice badge on Brian...
Here's a nice badge on Brian Balash's '99.
Linwood Robbins' '76 Formula...
Linwood Robbins' '76 Formula sported an eye-grabbing color scheme.
If 403s don't go, nobody told...
If 403s don't go, nobody told Craig Blake. His numbers-matching 403 Olds in his '79 T/A SE is stuffed with a boatload of goodies from Dick Miller and was built by FCR Performance to put out 517 hp at the crank.
Nick Seslar has owned his...
Nick Seslar has owned his Goldenrod Yellow '77 T/A since new and has done a wonderful job of preserving it.
|2006 T/A NATIONALS WINNERS|
|Best of Show|
|Loren Sheffer, '70 1/2 White T/A|
|Director of Aviation Award|
|Kevin Adams, '69 Red Firebird|
|Managers' Choice Award|
|Ron McCracken, '68 Red Firebird|
|Jim Emmel Memorial Award|
|Dale and Angela Henderson, '94 Maroon T/A|
|A Special Wish Foundation Childrens' Choice Awards|
|1st Nick Buzzelli, '79 Black T/A|
|2nd Jeff Garlitz, '68 Midnight Blue Firebird|
|High Performance Pontiac Magazine Editor's Choice Award|
|Mike Kozar, '77 Black T/A Fire-Am|
|Show & Shine Calendar Awards|
|Dale Schwartz, '82 Black T/A|
|Club Participation Awards|
|Indy Firebird Club|
Speaking of serious power,...
Speaking of serious power, Joshua Koher's Third-Gen is packin' a supercharged engine and a raft of other upgrades to torture the rear meats on his GTA.
|1st||David Techtmann, '67 White Firebird|
|2nd||Steve Karew, '69 White T/A|
|1st||Richard Winkles, '74 Red T/A|
|2nd||Larry Reeb, '76 Orange T/A|
|3rd||Jay and Nicole DeLaigle, '74 Blue T/A|
|1st||Thomas Pasquale, White T/A|
|2nd||Eric O'Dell, '77 Black T/A|
|1st||Todd Warmark, '79 Blue T/A|
|2nd||Mike and Laurie Leggio, '81 White T/A|
|1st||Denny Sullivan, '89 White T/A|
|2nd||Steve Coco, '89 White T/A|
|3rd||Andrew Ryner, '89 White T/A|
|1st||Duane and Lynne Haars, '96 Silver Formula|
|2nd||Jeff Loh, '97 Green T/A|
|3rd||Gary McElroy, '96 Green T/A|
|1st||Diane and Gary Miano, '02 Yellow T/A|
|2nd||John Sherbak, Yellow T/A|
|3rd||Matt and Becki Phillips, '99 Red T/A conv.|
John Bonser's '71 Firebird...
John Bonser's '71 Firebird Esprit is proof that Second-Gens don't have to be T/As or Formulas to be cool. This one took First Place in its class.
|1st||Jim Mattison, '67 Purple Firebird|
|2nd||Buddy Pullock, '68 Red Firebird|
|1st||John Bonser, '71 Canyon Copper Firebird Esprit|
|2nd||Gregg Denise, '71 White T/A|
|3rd||Roy Becker, '73 Red T/A|
|1st||Scott Warmack, '79 Blue T/A|
|2nd||Ron Hoover, '77 Red T/A|
|3rd||Graham Counihan, '79 Silver T/A|
|4th||Gerg Berg, '78 Black T/A|
|5th||Nick Seslar, '77 Yellow T/A|
|1st||Carl Hessick, '87 Flame Red GTA|
|2nd||Dave Clark, '84 White T/A|
|3rd||Ken Bauco, '87 Flame Red T/A|
|4th||Joe Hobbins, '87 Flame Red GTA|
|1st||Rick Kaiser, '02 Red T/A|
|2nd||Bryan and Misty Baker, '99 White T/A|
|3th||Silvio Kimmel, '94 White T/A|
|4th||Bill and Bonnie Waugh, '02 Black T/A|
|5th||Gregg and Dee Theobald, '99 White T/A|
Rick Mahoney displayed his...
Rick Mahoney displayed his fresh Ram Air IV '70 T/A in Lucerne Blue-1 of 88 total and 1 of 25 in the blue hue. By the way, it's a stick, too.
|1st||Jerry Brushaber, '76 Red T/A|
|2nd||Doug Harrison, '68 Gold Firebird|
|3rd||George and Kim Boylan, '81 Black T/A|
|4th||Gene and Rhonda Moberly, '77 Black T/A|
|1st||Chris Petroskie, '91 White Formula|
|2nd||Joe Rennekamp, '91 Blue T/A|
|1st||Tom Testa, '98 Black T/A|
|2nd||Dale and Angela Henderson, '94 Maroon T/A|
|3rd||Bill and Collette Listh, '00 Pewter T/A|
|4th||James Lucas, '01 Red T/A|
|1st||Ron McCracken, '68 Red Firebird|
|2nd||Kevin Adams, '69 Red Firebird|
|1st||Bob Rahl, '91 Black T/A conv.|
|1st||Jeff North, '01 Red T/A|
|2nd||Mike Shumaker, '02 Yellow T/A|
|3rd||Brian Nicodemus, '94 Black Formula|
Vendors in the fully stocked...
Vendors in the fully stocked swap-meet area rode out the rain showers on Saturday, and an intrepid few remained to enjoy sunny skies on Sunday.
|1st||Chris and Christi Reynolds, '69 Carousel Red Firebird|
|2nd||Joel Howard, '68 Red Firebird|
|3rd||Andy Bonnell, '80 Maroon T/A|
|4th||Jeff Hill, '79 Gold T/A|
|1st||Ken Fisher, '86 Red T/A|
|2nd||Bob Suttles, '87 Red GTA|
|1st||Rob Barney, '00 Pewter T/A|
|2nd||Roger Grimsley, '01 Red T/A|
|3rd||Dave Servey, '96 Red T/A|
|1st||David Barone, '82 Black T/A|
|2nd||Ted Durlacher, '67 Red Firebird|
|1st||Jeff Garlitz, '68 Blue Firebird|
|P-1 Stock All Years|
|1st||Denny Sullivan, '02 Yellow T/A|
|P-2 Modified All Years|
|1st||Ron Lucas, '96 Silver Comp T/A|
|2nd||Mike Kozar, '77 Black T/A|
Grab a chair - it's the T/A...
Grab a chair - it's the T/A Nats!
|T/A Nationals Cruise-In Awards|
|1st||Jared Vanderoof, '68 Springmist Firebird|
|2nd||John Hancock, '68 Green Firebird|
|1st||Mark Rogers, '76 Carousel Red T/A|
|2nd||Joe Kubic, '79 Blue T/A|
|1st||Joshua Koher, '89 Oxblood GTA|
|2nd||Jay Bartelheim, '86 Black T/A|
|1st||Bill Peffly, '01 Red T/A|
|2nd||Brian Balash, Blue T/A|
|Cruise-In Show & Shine Award|
|Jason German, '99 Red T/A|