In the mid 1960s, Pontiac General Manager John DeLorean and Special Projects Engineer Herb Adams spearheaded an effort to build a Firebird that would be competitive in SCCA Trans Am racing and provide the required street cars to a performance-hungry public. The final product was the Trans Am-a highly stylized Firebird sporting a performance-tuned suspension and a wealth of power. Dressed in Cameo White with blue stripes for '69, these Birds, though not overly successful in the series as race cars, would go on to become icons in street trim.
This milestone in Pontiac's rich history was celebrated on its 10th birthday with a special model. Adorned with commemorative graphics and a special-colored interior, the Platinum Silver T/A was the first of many anniversary models that followed every five years until the 1999 30th Anniversary package.
A Bit Of History
Much like the original and 15th Anniversary models, the 25th Anniversary Edition was only offered in a white and blue color scheme. HPP spoke with Jack Folden, Chief Designer for Pontiac Exterior II Studio, about the 25th Anniversary cars and how they came to fruition.
The door panels and seats were covered with white leather and embroidered with 25th Annive
"One thing that all of us on the design team agreed on was that the car would be white with blue stripes," he says. "We were all very loyal to the Firebird and the Trans Am, and we understood the significance of this color scheme. Not too many cars can pull it off, and it just says 'Trans Am' to any Pontiac loyalist."
With this mindset, the team, which consisted of Craig Janos, Dave Ross, and Jack's assistant, Dave Rand, came up with an assortment of clean sketches before making a single clay model. "The original idea was to honor the '69 Trans Am while creating a design appropriate to the Fourth-Gen vehicle, which was unique but tasteful. We made a few sketches with dual stripes," Jack says, "but it became apparent that the design of the car really called for a single stripe." That's when the decision was made to mimic the stripe found on the '70 1/2 Trans Ams, which came with a single stripe down the middle, led by the screaming chicken on the nose.
"This was 1994 and we were very proud of the new Fourth Generation body design we released the previous year. We wanted a very clean, but distinctive commemorative vehicle design which would 'let the new body be the star.'" With the color selection confirmed, the team tactfully placed callouts on the car, without "overbadging" it.
The aftermarket anniversary-edition trunk mat is owner-added.
This example, owned by Silvio Kimmel, was originally sold in Las Vegas and received dealer
The engine compartment received no performance or aesthetic upgrades. Still, the LT1 was r
The color white made a simple design statement and Jack and his team felt that having white wheels was important. "You have to remem-ber, in the late '80s and early '90s, body colored wheels were very Pontiac and therefore this model's exclusive use of white wheels would set it apart from other Trans Ams while continuing to be true to Pontiac.
Communication between both studios (interior and exterior), design management, and Pontiac division was key to the success of this project. By the time the clay model was completed, everyone was very pleased with the end result. "Pontiac Division was great to work with and supported our design direction to be tastefully unique." The only thing that was shot down was body-colored door handles, which eventually found their way onto the LS-powered Fourth-Gens.
Once approved, the 2,000 cars were allotted to dealers and they sold quickly. Much to your author's and Jack's surprise, only 128 cars came equipped with a manual transmission, none of them in a convertible.
Only 250 convertibles and 1,750 coupes, 338 of which were sans T-tops, hit the streets. "The fact they even built any convertibles amazes me," he says, "the rear decklid was entirely different from the coupes, which meant they had to make a stripe designed for 250 cars."