Click here to see Pontiac Firebird Trans Am History
E.A.R.T.H.A. (not K.I.T.T.) is a 1988 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, which, we believe, was imported directly to a dealers in Scotland, where she sat for a couple of years before being finally registered in 1991. She boasts a 5.0 litre V8 engine mated to a 4 speed with overdrive Turbo HydraMatic automatic transmission and a glass targa roof.
We acquired the car in 2008. At some point in its life the car had had a respray in the original Gunmetal with silver ground effects, however there were a couple of scratches and rust bubble over one wheel arch. Things would only get worse. Inside was pretty clean apart from the centre arm rest, which was delaminating, along with the door arm rests. These were glued and clamped and look like new. The original radio cassette was still in the car, which I changed for a Bluetooth Sony unit. There were two main problems here. The FM on American radios are set to search half frequencies, which are not used in the UK and the size of the unit is a shallow one-and-a-half DIN. So an adapter had to be used. I made a surround for the radio to help it blend in and also replaced the speakers in the sail panels as the sound quality was poor. The huge glass hatch was too much for the poor old gas struts so new ones were sourced through a local supplier and fitted.
Very little in the way of repairs were needed over the next few years, with an annual service enabling it to sail through all of its MoTs. In 2011 we decided she needed a new set of tyres, which had to be ordered as they are not a size commonly used in the UK.
As we had no garage, the Trans Am was outdoors all year and the effects were beginning to show on the paintwork. Micro-blisters were forming on all the top surfaces of the bodywork. We were advised that this was because when the car was resprayed, the painter had not left enough time between the coats for the paint to â€˜flash off’. The only cure would be to have a full bare metal respray â€“ and I don’t have to tell you how expensive they are.
We had decided that we would keep E.A.R.T.H.A. for some time and that a respray would be worthwhile. After much research and several quotes we settled on having the job done by Mark Jackson at Leyland Autobodies in Leyland, Lancashire. The car went in over the winter of 2012/2013 for them to work their magic. The results are spectacular and worth every penny in my opinion (and that of others as she won Best American Muscle Car at the June Tatton Park Classic & Performance Car Spectacular).
E.A.R.T.H.A. now lives in a Carcoon, under a new carport, well protected from the best a British winter has to throw at her.