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16/11/2010 1402

Pontiac [4] - Firebird Trans Am Type K

Specifications:

185 hp, 403 cu. in., three-speed automatic transmission, front independent suspension with live rear axle, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 108”

When Ford realized incredible success with their Mustang in 1964, the Pony-car market was born and every manufacturer scrambled to produce their own offering. Pontiac hoped to produce a two-seater based on their Banshee concept car, but GM feared it would compete with the Corvette. It was decided that Pontiac could restyle the Camaro that was based on GM’s F-body platform. The designers at Pontiac pulled went about re-making the F-body in their own image with both styling and engineering changes. The bumpers were integrated into the design of the front end and its rear "slit" taillights were inspired by Pontiac’s GTO. The treatment was a huge success and Pontiac had a share of the pony-car market.

In 1970 When Pontiac and Chevrolet stylists were busy redesigning their first series Firebird and Camaros, some thought was given to an additional model with a more usable interior space. A wagon was penned, but the joint venture stalled when the two divisions wouldn't agree to interchangeable doors on the Firebird and Camaro. Later, Pontiac revived the idea on their own and proceeded under the direction of GM executive designer David R. Holls and Studio stylist Jerry Brockstein. The first type K (for Kammback) was conceived on the base Firebird and early crude prototypes were built of fiberglass. Ultimately production at GM seemed out of the question, so Vice President of Design, William L. Mitchell, met with Italian coachbuilder Sergio Pininfarina and arranged to have two metal-bodied Type Ks constructed. 

In late 1977, Pininfarina completed two “wagons.” One was silver with a red interior and the other was gold with a natural beige interior. They were styled like the 1978 models, but were later updated to look like 1979/80 models. The concept was well received and Pontiac discussed a possible arrangement with Pininfarina, but the options of building cars in Italy or in a special U.S. plant was too costly. If Pontiac were to offer the wagon to the public, it could have been double the price of a comparable coupe. The project died, but the idea lived on as The Deco International Corp. of North Hollywood, CA, began building Type K replicas in 1980. Conversions cost about $15,000 and consisted of fiberglass over a steel framework.

The example presented here was sold by Pontiac in the early 1980s to a Texas man. In 1993, the car turned up at a used car dealership and Mr. McMullen purchased the rare piece. He immediately commissioned Scott Tieman to perform a no-expense-spared restoration to show standards. Upon completion in 1995, this Type K was awarded first prize at the Pontiac Nationals. Since restoration, this example has seen very little use and has received excellent care. As such it remains in excellent restored condition. With a careful restoration and just 36,540 original miles, this “rare Bird” will be welcome at any concours. While both original exist today, the Type K from the McMullen Collection is the only one in private hands and the opportunity to purchase this historic prototype sports car is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

source: RM Auction - www.rmauctions.com

Shows

1978  Chicago

Design studios

Pininfarina

Picture places

RM Auctions 

Www.chicagoautoshow.com 

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