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Is This Cool? A Teen Inspired By A Movie, A "Screaming Chicken" And Lettered Tires Buys A First Car

A story in USA Today by Chris Woodyard, today, tells of a California 15 year-old, growing up in a “car-loving family” who buys a 38 year-old piece of history. I was a young man when that car was new and I spent a lot of time in a friend’s Formula 400. It was lots of fun!

They just don’t make cars like this anymore. If you want one you need to get one from the past. I enjoy seeing this car recognized by a person so young.

There’s a video by Dan MacMedan with this, but my PC can’t get it because of poor download speed through my hook-up. Can you tell me what I’m missing?


The video is just some brief excerpts from the movie “Smoky and the Bandit” and an interview with Connor Schwarz, standing next to the car in a car lot.

The kid saved long and hard to buy it, loved it since seein it in smokey and the bandit. Loves the sound, wants to go to the beach to show it off as he will be getting his learners permit soon. He did start it up, the 6.6 sounds a little harsher than stock, but I am not sure.

I imagine the insurance will be a tad more.

I’m not sure why insurance should be high, except that he is a young man. A 1978 Firebird is mighty slow. Beautiful car, though.

Thanks guys!
The fact that it’s a Pontiac makes it appeal to me, too!
I remember when Pontiac had the motto “We Build Excitement” and they followed through with it.

I have had to buy some of these from the past, myself. Even my lowly old Grand Prix (and a little bit my Bonneville) are fun to drive. I’m telling you, that Grand Prix is really comfortable has a cool dash and controls lay-out, and it scoots, too.

I’m still hoping for a return of the Pontiac from GM.

Maybe things have changed but a friends kid wanted a Talon, until they found it was classified as a sports car and insurance was quite a bit more.

"Maybe things have changed but a friends kid wanted a Talon, until they found it was classified as a sports car and insurance was quite a bit more."

That was the problem when I got my first car. So… I ended up with a 64 Volkswagen bug and always kept a motorcycle for the excitement part. :wink:

I think that GM will continue with the four brands they have today. I can’t see a return of either Pontiac or Oldsmobile. GM will build excitement in Cadillac and Chevrolet cars rather than try to start a Pontiac dealer network again. The dealer network is the real cost.

I read the article and saw he paid $5000

Isn’t that on the low side?

"The high-school freshman says he saved $5,000 for his share to buy the car."

His Share. For sure, I’d bet his car-lover dad helped out. That car has to be worth some serious coinage.

Well…I owned a '78 Trans Am and is was anything but slow. Funny story about the “Screaming Chicken”…I tried to buy a decal after getting the car painted. I removed the gold colored one and wanted to replace it with a red one. I just about gave up hope when I discovered one by accident in my own trunk. A good friend of mine who owned a salvage yard said it was quite common to find those decals in the trunk of Trans Am’s. He searched them out whenever one came into the yard.

@“common sense answer”

Hah . . . !

I missed that “for share” part of the story :frowning:

I suppose I need to improve my reading skills :smiley:

IMHO this remains one of the best looking cars that ever hit the streets. The kid has great taste.

One of my nephews had a 1970 Firebird 400. It was a 4 speed M/T and was a nice handling car plus you didn’t have to look at the idiotic screaming chicken on the hood while driving or riding shotgun in it. I also purchased my first car in 1967 at the age of 15 (I did have my driver permit). It was coincidentally a Pontiac. A 1963 Bonneville convertible. 421 cu in/390 (under rated)hp tri power. Bucket seats with 4 speed “hydramatic”. $900 cash. I was far to young to sign a finance contract. I also admire this young man for choosing a classic instead of the usual Honda Civic with the weed-eater exhaust.

A fleet manager customer brought me a “Screaming Chicken” in sad shape and asked that I make it mechanically like new from end to end and never asked for an estimate, giving me many weeks to finish. I took him for a long ride to be sure he was satisfied when completed and found out that his son had wanted one when he graduated from high school but was disappointed because all loose cash was going to a college fund. Well the son joined the U.S.N. and became involved with nuclear propulsion and after 6 years was offered a phenomenal job at a reactor builder so dad was building him the car that he didn’t get 6 years earlier. When I was through the car went to a body shop where it was reupholstered and painted and got the chicken which was quite expensive installed. And the car was quite responsive and fast. I doubt if the car could have matched the performance of a 4 speed 68 Camaro in a street race but red light to red light it would have been a close call I believe. Burt Reynolds made a lot of great movies. My kids could probably sing the theme to “Smokey and the Bandits” today. And who can forget the fast talking side stepping governor of Texas? It’s always image.

I don’t know what to think. I like his spirit although I don’t particularly like the Trans Am and some other popular muscle cars too. I think back when I was his age, I gave myself an allowance of $5 a week and the rest went into my school fund. My Morris was my first car and my VW after that. Just no room in the budget for a nice car to show off.

Yeah I too would like to see Pontiac and Olds return. No matter what they do, Chev will always be ordinary and reasonably dull. Buick will always be related to the elderly (even though I owned them). Its not like the old days where the parts were all different. All they had to do was buy some name plates and make some cosmetic changes. Seems strange to me.

In my neighborhood there are some older teen guys that have taken to aquiring, repairing, and driving much older vehicles. One’s dad has three ‘‘project’’ vehicles currently sitting . . waiting , then he changed jobs and got too busy.
Well, as the boys ( two next door , one two blocks away plus friends ) got older and began driving , their interest was soon piqued by the existance of these pending projects . . and they got into it too.

    • The 1956ish Chevy pickup is still awaiting their ever gaining expertise. it had been painted and is sitting in the driveway with no engine.
      One kid’s daily driver is a 70ish big boat Oldmobile. Trenton’s daily is a 96 Ford pickup but he has a 69 drivable project Ford pickup . . AND . .he just aquired , for free, a 72ish Dodge van cutoff camper that need lots of work . . but it drives. He’s had it parked in the street by my house working on the camper portion a lot. . cabinetry, windows, upholtery, appliances, he’s set out to do it all.
      Last month they took on one of dad’s old dusty hulks and got it running and driving. it had been in that driveway for about two years waiting. A 75ish Chevy one ton dually cab/chassis with a one car carrier rack up and over the cab and rear tow sling.
    • btw ; I HAVE warned them about the age of all these tires.
      Still on tap . .in the side yard.
      a 70-something white t-top Trans-Am and newish VW beetle convertable.