Smokey and the Bandit Director Receives Honorary Oscar
The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it will present an Honorary Award to Hal Needham at the Academy’s 4th Annual Governors Awards dinner on Saturday, December 1, in Hollywood, California.
Needham, of course, needs no introduction to High Performance Pontiac readers, as he is well-known as the director of Smokey and the Bandit. During his active duty in Hollywood, he was a pioneer in improving stunt technology and safety procedures, co-founded Stunts Unlimited, and mentored young stunt performers.
The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an individual for “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy,” says an Academy spokesperson.
Congratulations, Hal, from your fans at High Performance Pontiac.
HPP Contributor Authors New Book
High Performance Pontiac contributor Rocky Rotella has to make some extra room on his bookshelf—and you should too—for his new book, How to Build Max-Performance Pontiac V-8s. The book includes Rocky’s advice on the proper way to modify Pontiac engines for optimal power and durability, and includes actual high-performance Pontiac V-8 buildups with dyno results. Rocky told HPP, “Readers may recognize the title How To Build Max Performance Pontiac V-8s and it may already be part of their library, but they can rest assured that this version is very different from Jim Hand’s original print. While Jim’s remains an excellent resource for those looking to build a Pontiac engine using original components, the new version expands on building with the aftermarket pieces, providing an in-depth look at the most popular modern approaches toward serious Pontiac performance.”
The 8.5x11-inch, soft-bound book features 144 pages packed with 352 color photos. The price is $24.95. For more information, visit www.cartechbooks.com.
Pontiac Special Projects Engineer Passes Away
Retired Pontiac Special Projects engineer Jeff Young passed away as a result of a fall during a fishing trip on August 5, 2012. He was 68 years old.
Young was teammates with Pontiac’s Herb Adams, and we recently detailed Young’s great contributions to the Pontiac Ram Air V, SD-455, and racing programs from 1968 to 1973 (“The Pioneers of the Pontiac V-8, Part II,” Sept. ’12).
HPP extends condolences to his family, friends, and fans.