The Trans-Am, And Being an English Redneck

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I live in a quaint little village by a river in a coastal bit of East Anglia, England. I enjoy cream tea with a nice raspberry jam scone, and my made-in-Cambridge hi-fi system often has Elgar yelling out of it. I live up to a great many British stereotypes, but would stress that I have absolutely no interest in Morris Dancing and will be very upset if you serve me a beer at anything much more than room temperature.

I also have a Firebird tattoo on my left upper arm. I can’t really explain it, but I’ve always had a ridiculous misplaced fondness for the F-Body, and examples like the one I photographed at a recent car show don’t do anything to put me off.

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It’s possibly Sally Field’s fault. Even before adolescence took me under its cold, frightening cloak I had experienced peculiar feelings when watching Smokey and the Bandit, and I’m pretty sure it was nothing to do with Mr Reynolds, though that moustache…wow. Yet it couldn’t have been just Sally, the car must have had something to do with it.

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I mean, though Daisy Duke was more than Sally’s equal in every way, somehow I never engendered quite the same strange, lusty feelings when in the company of an orange Charger as I experience standing next to a black and gold Trans Am. Even though I know, everybody knows, that the Pontiac Ponycar wasn’t exactly the best car in the world, and was certainly rarely as powerful in stock trim as a lot of Go Mango or Plum Crazy products.

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This one was first registered in the UK in December ’80, but I see this car as a ’77 or ’78 with those square headlamps set into the grille like this. In fact, that grille, strangely, gives the Pontiac a similar facial expression to Burt Reynolds, don’t you think?

The T/A 6.6 graphics on the hood bulge mark out the specification we’re looking at (and the DVLA search confirms it), which means we can expect probably 200ish hp in factory spec. Of course, that poor old engine was badly emasculated by various anti-smog developments for sale in early ’80s America, whether it still breathes out meadow-clean air now it’s in the UK remains to be seen.

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It still sounds good, though, and that’s a big part of the battle won. There are T-Tops, too, which really ought to have been removed to take advantage of the unique day of sunshine that we haven’t seen the like of here since these photos were taken.

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The only thing about this car that makes me go “ugg” is that set of JVC carbuncle speakers forced upon the door trims. It’s a real shame these couldn’t have been made to blend in with the interior a little more discretely, but I suppose anything that makes the car more liveable has to be respected. I wonder if there’s some modern means of music playback hidden away somewhere as the factory radio is still present and correct.

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But never mind the lack of real power, the details and the question-mark hanging over whether the F-Body should really be celebrated apart from for nostalgic reasons.  It’s a Trans-Am, I love it, and I wear that tattoo with pride.

(Though I don’t usually explain what it is.)

Edit: OK, here it is.

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[Images: Copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Chris Haining]

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