Fans of the Discovery Channel’s Fast ‘N’ Loud have enjoyed the account of Gas Monkey Garage’s epic acquisition, restoration and sale of two very significant muscle cars: the first and second Firebirds ever built. These two of Pontiac’s “Magnificent Five” were bought from Chuck Alekinas, former UK and NBA basketball player.
Having acquired the pair of 1967 Pontiac Firebird models, Gas Monkey’s Richard Rawlings made a risky deal with their new buyer that came with a punishing rider: restore them to museum condition in just 60 days, or pay a $10,000-a-day penalty for every day over deadline. The team at Gas Monkey rose to the challenge and enthusiasts will get a chance to enjoy the historic pony cars at the 3rd annual Concours d’Elegance of Texas on May 4 when their new owner unveils them to the public, before they take permanent pride of place in a private museum in Colorado.
Having watched the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro enter the pony car market, Pontiac had joined the race in 1967, creating a unique identity for its new Firebird. Rather than offer one car with multiple options, it instead presented “The Magnificent Five,” each model offered with its own distinctive style and different engine. “This discovery of the very first and second Firebirds ever built, two of the Magnificent Five, was an enthusiasts dream,” said JD Pass, entrepreneur, collector, cowboy and long-time friend of Gas Monkey Garage. He and his business partner, a lifelong Pontiac enthusiast, were branding cattle on a Dakota ranch when they learned of the discovery of the “Holy Grail” Pontiacs “over the mooing and bellowing of hundreds of cattle.
“Having done the deal and bought the cars, we elected to bring them back to their former glory so that people can enjoy them as originally built, rather than leave them to deteriorate further,” he explained. “Gas Monkey Garage rose to fame as a hot rod and custom shop, but the team has done an exceptional job of turning out a museum-quality restoration on these great historic cars.”
Originally bought by Gas Monkey Garage for $70,000, the Firebirds were sold for $650,000, after each had been the subject of that ground-up restoration, led by Jason Aker, a concours restoration expert brought on board to oversee the project. Serial #’s 100001 and 100002 are both factory show cars, as evidenced by the trim tags which read “Show1” for the No. 1 car and “Show4” for the No. 2 car, significant when factory show cars do not usually survive. Pontiac’s first Firebird is this 326 Convertible, presented in its original Regimental Red with cruise control, deluxe interior package in red and a very rare floor-mounted clock. Car #2 is a four-speed HO Coupe in Silverglaze and is also the first High Output car built with a factory-mounted tachometer, Rally II wheels, tilt column and deluxe black interior.
OCW gets the facts and stats on Pontiacs in “Standard Catalog of Pontiac.” Get yours here.