Firebird Finds

Prototypes Uncovered in Connecticut

Larry Jewett - April 23, 2014 04:16 PM


The finds will be subject of two Discovery Channel episodes of Fast N' Loud

Discovery Channel

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      According to a story in the New York Post, Richard Rawlings of Gas Monkey Garage and host of the Discovery Channel series “Fast N’ Loud” has found what he calls the car industry’s “Holy Grail” — the first two Pontiac Firebirds ever built.
      The prototypes were manufactured by Pontiac engineers and were used as models for the 1967 Firebird. “We found the cars in a garage in Connecticut,” says Rawlings. “They were in a dilapidated barn and are the very first Firebirds . . . they were hand-made . . . and were used by GM to decide if they wanted to build the Firebird.”
      Discovery devoted two episodes (April 21 and April 28) of “Fast N’ Loud” to Rawlings’ find, showing how he and his crew, including Aaron Kaufman, restored both cars, which were purchased for a combined $65,000 and sold for $650,000 (after each car underwent $200,000 worth of restoration).
      Rawlings says he learned about the Firebirds after selling a “pretty rare Corvette” to a client. While these cars were the real deal — their authenticity was verified through scrupulous paperwork — they were in extremely bad shape.
       “They were really beaten down and were rusted out, with their motors laying off to the side,” Rawlings says. “The [owner] was never going to restore them, so we made him a pretty hefty offer and the game was on.”