Car of the Week 1976 Pontiac Trans Am Old Cars Weekly

22 мая 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Car of the Week 1976 Pontiac Trans Am Old Cars Weekly отключены
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Car of the Week: 1976 Pontiac Am


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and photos by Brian Earnest

seem to have worked out well for Rick Mielke. He got to both the girl and the car.

At one back in the late 1970s, neither was a sure thing for the du Lac, Wis. resident. His squeeze, Carol, hadn’t become Mrs. Mielke and Rick was seriously considering his beloved 1976 Pontiac Am.

Fortunately, Carol said “I do” to the idea, then said don’t” to the idea of selling the These days, the couple is 30 years of marriage and still around in the Trans Am, which 85,000 miles on the odometer and almost as good as the day it was delivered.

there was a time in my life I was about ready to let er go, because of the gas And I had driven it pretty hard,” chuckled. “And it needed fixing! My wife kind of me out of it. We weren’t even married but she said to hang onto it, and we even through two kids.”

“I tell him he couldn’t [sell Carol added. “I just saying, ‘You will it.’ I’m glad he hung it. I enjoy it, too.”

Does that mean she actually gets driving too? “Absolutely! And I don’t have to ask permission!”

Rick to being a fan of almost any vintage machine — Camaros, Firebirds, Cudas, you name it — but he knew the car he wanted when the era of muscle was in its days in the middle 1970s. it was an easy choice. The Firebird and Am were not only beautiful, cars, they offered the engines still available in of their ilk, and they the closest things left to muscle machines. “In the ’70s we through the gas thing and Pontiac was the one that hung onto the big Mielke said. “To me, it was the car to buy in 1976. It I believe — and I’ve read things that conflict other — but it was supposed to be faster the ’Vette back then. In ’76 it was quite a bit from the original because of the energy [crisis] and was the last year they put the in it.

It was the last go-round.

“My friend and I went out together and he bought a one, and I bought the black We bought them at different but we went together.”

Mielke and his were certainly not alone in the ’76 T/A’s. With 46,701 for the model year, they more than twice as as either the base Firebird, or the Formula — their three in the Pontiac Firebird family.

Of course, the cars were more than a year from becoming indelibly in American culture — that happen until the 1977 Am stole the show with Reynolds behind the wheel in The Bandit . The 76s and 77s were a little of course. The 1976s had the traditional headlight assemblies, and Reynolds’ had T-tops and no 455 under the hood. the Trans Ams of the era were similar that the American public to identify them all as “Bandit” — something Mielke found out not after the movie hit.

I get it all the time!” he said. “People all ‘Hey, it’s the Bandit.” But was the last of the single-headlight version. went to the dual rectangular after that.

“But a lot of relate to that car. It a lot of attention. They come at shows and want to take of the hood with the bird.”

The Ams came with a base four-barrel V-8 rated at 185 hp for 1976, but the crowd had an even better with the optional 455-cid, L75 option that required the manual. About 7,100 were built with the power plant shaking the Some sources say about of those were painted

Standard equipment included a four-speed M-21 manual shaker hood scoop and air a front air dam, concealed wipers, power steering, gauges with a clock and front disc brakes, tailpipe extensions, GR70x15 raised white-letter radial and a Radial Tuned Suspension.

Mielke’s black T/A could be confused with the special Edition T/A that was also for 1976. The car was built to celebrate 50th year and featured Black paint with graphics.

With a base of $4,987, the T/A’s were a lot of car for the dough in the mid- 70s, and frankly didn’t have a lot of in the U.S. The best Chrysler monsters were long the Ford Mustang had become of a compact car than performance and even the Corvette wasn’t as many pulses race.

figured the way he drove his Pontiac the few years, the car was destined to live and die young. When the time to move on to another car, he never really found he liked better.

“It was pretty my first muscle car and I drove it as It got driven pretty hard,” he “But we parked her every It only saw one winter.

It was terrible in the getting stuck in the middle of an because there is no weight in the

“Then after about years and the decision to keep it, been babied pretty I don’t light it up too often. It will, but she’s pampered.”

Mielke decided to have his Am repainted about five ago. Other than bearing work on the transmission a back, it is the only major or repair work ever to the car.

“I’m real about changing oil and maintaining and waxing them,” he said. “My think I’m crazy, because I like five vehicles I’ve waxed in the past weeks. I’m very particular how I keep it up.

“The engine’s as it was. It’s got 85,000 on it. … It hasn’t been rebuilt, but been used. It’s to Tennessee and New York. We took it on our to Niagara Falls.”

Mielke relishes the chance to take his car out he can in the summer. When the temperature however, he’s gets to his decision to order a black car a black interior and no air conditioning.

“I ordered it late in the year in of ’76. It had to be built. I wanted the the 455 and the electric windows,” he said. then, you didn’t want the air because it was too heavy… We were in once in the summer and it was 110 degrees and we in a traffic jam and we had to open the doors it was so hot.

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It was like an oven. The on black is tough. Just it looking right and not swirling the is tough.

“But I wanted the black. I had a ’65 Lemans. I should have my lesson, but I still like the way a car looks when it’s all up.”

Along with the paint and big engine, Mielke his T/A with a tilt wheel and windows. “The Honeycombs with the package,” he said. “It without a radio, so I put one in it.”

The make regular car show in their hot black Pontiac. has got a 1968 Firebird at home he’s working on, too, but he expect that to ever cut into his seat time in his Trans Am.

“If the weather is nice, and a show, I’m gone,” he said. “Of there’s only so far you want to go in a car that. But it drives good It will cruise along at 70.

“It will drive as long as my foot works, I guess.”

At point, the Mielkes can’t parting ways with T/A. Seller’s regret something Rick wants any of.

“I always went to a lot of car shows and what you always hear people — ‘Oh, I wish I have kept that ‘I wish I would have this car,’” he concluded.

“I pretty much decided to do

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