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1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula

1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula in CHiPs, TV Series, 1977-1983 IMDB Ep. 2.05

Class: Cars, Coupé — Model origin: US

1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula

[*][*][*][*] Vehicle used a lot by a main character or for a long time

Comments about this vehicle

AuthorMessage

stronghold EN

2006-08-30 11:34

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..it's a real FIRE-bird.! (..Ponch buys this car for...$83.!)

[Image: chips20542bl0.4467.jpg] [Image: chips20535un5.57.jpg]

Note:- although it's only shown in the background in this episode ... after ponch buy's it ..it's used as his car in following episodes (...after he's repaired it ..that is.!)

-- Last edit: 2011-03-13 06:45:00 (an_unusual_eye)

stronghold EN

2006-09-10 02:32

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starting the rebuild in eps 2.07 + preparing for respray in eps 2.12
[Image: chips2732bh2.3264.jpg] [Image: chips212365eg.226.jpg]

-- Last edit: 2007-01-23 10:28:19

Skid US

2006-11-05 00:20

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The car shown here is actually Firebird Formula, not a Trans Am. The telltale dual-scooped hood was unique to the Formula, whereas Trans Ams had "shaker" hoods.

stronghold EN

2007-02-16 18:25

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[Image: chips2130bi6.4996.jpg] [Image: chips2134vq2.8060.jpg] [Image: chips21350un9.402.jpg] [Image: chips21354gj6.4506.jpg] [Image: chips21358jg0.2813.jpg] [Image: chips21360px9.9946.jpg]
The car has been fully rebuilt by eps 2.13, but is then stolen and later used in a chase (and once again destroyed.!)

carchasesfanatic ES

2007-02-16 18:29

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We could use stronghold's fith thumbnail :whistle:

gliffhanger NL

2007-06-02 23:27

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1970+

blk95ta US

2008-03-02 22:59

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isnt that same car seen in an episode from season 1 where john is cut off by its driver and put into the hospital?

stronghold EN

2008-03-16 01:33

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in eps 2.18 back on the road again.!
[Image: chips21863zn4.345.jpg] [Image: chips21853ap6.5463.jpg] [Image: chips21856sw6.2899.jpg] [Image: chips21862dd8.8246.jpg]

stronghold EN

2008-03-17 20:30

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eps 2.21 resprayed now
[Image: chips22155aq9.2854.jpg] [Image: chips22157ov6.9323.jpg] [Image: chips22159pq4.3305.jpg]

grumble63

2008-04-14 06:46

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Ok heres some info about the BIRD. The bird/birds were leftover from the movie "Corvette Summer" They were assembled from parts of both formula and T/A's. In the "Summer" movie the close up car had side pipes and add on flairs behind the wheel openings. Both were carried over on the chips car. Here are some facts. the high back seats we not offered in the 70 year model. The clips from eps 2.18 the air extractors are missing from the front fenders, however if you look close at the area just behind the front wheel well opening in the last frame provided by stronghold. just under the body line you can make out a rectangular shadow. that is the location of a small louver panel that was found on the formulas in 71 and the 70 esprits.

blk95ta US

2008-06-04 05:28

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this car is clearly the same car one of the bad guys used to run down john in ep 1.21
[Vehicle Image 026635]

another interesting note by looking at the pics above.. when ponch finished the car the first time in 2.13 it had a trans am bird on the hood, but then the car was destroyed at the end of that ep, and in 2.21 after it's been fixed/painted again, the bird is gone

-- Last edit: 2008-06-04 10:11:16 (antp)

MaindrianPace US

2009-03-07 18:25

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I would like to reposted as a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am because you can tell that the Ponchmobile has both a shaker and dual hood scoops from the pictures. The Ponchmobile actually is the popular 70's color Root Beer, and also has high back bucket seats. The motor is actually a 455 HO. I got proof from the website Chips Wiki that it's a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. This is actually the same that one of the bad guys had used in a crime to run down John and Grossie in the first season episode Crack-Up, and it was later impounded. The same from the impound yard that was used in the crime. Ponch later buys the same car from the pervious owner who had started on fire when he refused to let the tow truck driver take it away in the second season episode Neighborhood Watch for $83.00 dollars. The Ponchmobile has been wrecked at least three times (once by Kim the car thief in a late second-season episode, once by his partner Jon, and finally by a forklift.

I got proof from following websites for reposting:
http://www.chips-tv.com/wiki/index.php?title=Ponch
http://firebirdfever.com/firebirdfever/7081ta.html



-- Last edit: 2009-04-07 17:22:29

blk95ta US

2009-05-05 19:32

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i'll agree with you that its the same one the bad guys used to run down john with in the season 1 ep, but they didn't make a gold 71 Trans Am. the only 2 colors offered on T/A's in 71 was blue and white. in fact in 73, the last year for that front end, they only offered white, red, and green. the hood is a custom hood that basically takes the formula ram air style hood and adds a shaker to it. the shaker is non functional IIRC because i think i once saw the hood open while they were working on it and the shaker was up on top of the hood, not on the air cleaner.

MaindrianPace US

2009-05-11 07:39

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The Ponchmobile is actually a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am not a Firebird Formula. 1971 was actually the first year to have high back bucket seats. The car actually has a custom hood on it which makes it hard to tell. The Trans Am equipment is actually a shaker, and the Formula equipment is actually twin dual hood scoops. Firebird Formula a chrome strips on the bottom, and in the wheel wells, Trans Am didn't have those strips. Trans Am had air extractor and extended front fenders, Firebird Formula didn't have that equipment. The car originally came in Camaro White and Lucerne Blue. The car was later painted Lamp Black for the Corvette Summer starring Mark Hamill. The left ones that werent damage from the movie were later repainted Root Beer now being used as Ponch's car on CHiPs. Ponch's car actually has Trans Am equipment. The car immediately needs to reposted it as a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

1971 Pontiac Trans Am Ad:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us


A tribute to the Ponch car.

-- Last edit: 2009-05-14 06:59:08

79TA US

2009-05-15 12:54

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The car is NOT a Trans Am. First off, watching episode 2.13 footage of this car, the shaker is not functional. Had they started with a real Trans Am, they'd have just glued on the Formula scoops and left the shaker in working condition. Secondly, you can see the second lower side vent that is exclusive to 1971 Formulas. Lastly, in episode 2.13 where the car is being broken into, you can see it has a plain black dash. A real Trans Am would have the aluminum swirl dash.

79TA US

2009-05-16 08:42

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Note the lower side vent that was only featured on 1971 Formulas. It can be seen on Ponch's car in several scenes. It is possible that this could be added to a Trans Am, just like the Trans Am scoop could be added to a Formula, though given the other evidence that I cited, this started life as a Formula.


Also, according to the source where you got your last picture, that is a 1970 Formula, which would not have the lower side vent.

-- Last edit: 2009-05-16 08:43:54

MaindrianPace US

2009-05-18 01:21

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Ponch actually drove a Root Beer colored 1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula from seasons 2 through 5. Ponch’s car was actually damaged five times. He finally got a brand new Lucerne Blue 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am in the final season.

-- Last edit: 2009-06-30 07:40:54

artytoons US

2009-07-20 23:55

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How Ponch's Firebird got damaged/destroyed:

1. First appearance...Ponch buys the car for a low price after the disgruntled owner torches it.
2. Overturned by a female car thief played by Randi Oakes, who later joined the cast as Officer Bonnie Clark in the following season. Ponch rescues the thief but the Firebird explodes. "Down Time"
3. The doors get punctured by a forklift operated by a member of a gang of construction site thieves, one of them was played by Robert Englund (Freddie Krurger!). The forklist lifts the Firebird with a very upset Ponch in it up in the air.
4. Flipped over with Jon as the driver during a demolition derby in "Demolition Derby"
5. Bumped by a tour bus driven by hijackers in "Thrill Show". The Firebird then flip partially and travels on two left wheels for several minutes before the other side lands on the pavement.

MaindrianPace US

2009-09-26 08:50

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The later model used in the fourth season episode Sick Leave was actually a 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with just a shaker and a bird on the hood I know now that the color was actually coppermine gold.

The appearances of Ponch's car:
First appearance the car was driven by Niles while racing his buddy and accidently runs over Jon. - Ep. 1.21 (Crack Up)
Second appearance the car when a disgruntled owner who had refused to the tow driver take it to the impound yard. The disgruntled owner decides to pour some gasoline on it then lights a match, and torchs it by setting it on fire. Ponch arrives on time then puts out the fire with a fire extinguster. The bidding war starts between Ponch and the Tow Truck Driver, and at the last minute Ponch out bids the tow truck driver, and buy for $83.00 dollars. - Ep. 2.05 (Neighborhood Watch)

Different Hoods on Ponch's car:
IIRC Hood - Ep. 1.21
Shaker Hood - Ep. 4.03

Different Mags on Ponch's car:
Black Cragar S/S - Ep. 1.21 through 2.13
Chrome Cragar S/S - Ep. 2.18
Turbo Cast - Ep. 4.16

-- Last edit: 2010-02-09 07:30:09

4mula455guy US

2010-01-22 01:19

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7mary3 gots it goin on

-- Last edit: 2010-01-22 01:20:14

MaindrianPace US

2010-03-27 01:14

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[Image: 734551.8361.jpg] [Image: 73tasd.8332.jpg]

Ponch car is actually a 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am which was actually used in the later seasons. 1971-1973 Formulas had the lower side vents.

The Apearances of Ponch's car:

Ep. 1.21 - Crack Up: Driven by Niles racing his buddy on the way to the garage, and accidently runs over Jon Baker.
[Image: chipseps2125we.6871.jpg] [Image: chipseps2133dr.2174.jpg] [Image: chipseps21201uu.258.jpg] [Image: chipseps21219ph.9660.jpg]

-- Last edit: 2010-04-17 01:25:58

79TA US

2010-05-10 11:16

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Just for clarification once more, the car featured in seasons 1 and 2 is a Formula and not a Trans Am. The non-functional (meaning that it does not mount on the air cleaner assembly as it should) shaker hood scoop is clearly seen in episode 2.12 when the hood is up. The lower side vents indicate that it is a Formula and not a Trans Am. The lower side vents were not offered on any Firebird in 1972 and 1973.
The car used in later seasons is an entirely different car and perhaps deserves its own page. The car in episode 2.18 is interesting because it is likely not the same car as seen before (given how badly the car was wrecked in 2.13.)
Note that the (upper) Trans Am sidevents are now missing. Perhaps this is an accurate portrayal of a restoration in progress as a normal Esperit fender (lower vent still present on the left) would have been easier to find at the time (with fewer Trans Ams in the salvage yards at that point.)

-- Last edit: 2010-05-10 11:43:05 (Neon)

rikko NZ

2011-08-15 02:21

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I agree with 79TA, it probably started life as a 71 Formula (although all '71s excluding the TA had the lower side vent), but since it has the formula snorkel scoops it was most likely a Formula. As we already know, the Transam shaker scoop is grafted onto the underside of the hood, not correctly placed on top of the engine, so that's an add-on (so guys, stop calling it a Trans Am!). The TA side vents could also easily be added, along with the fender 'foilers'.

steve1234 US

2011-11-24 00:36

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shame it wasn't an actual production car:/

outalne94z71 US

2012-01-23 05:44

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MaindrianPace wrote The later model used in the fourth season episode Sick Leave was actually a 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with just a shaker and a bird on the hood I know now that the color was actually coppermine gold.

The appearances of Ponch's car:
First appearance the car was driven by Niles while racing his buddy and accidently runs over Jon. - Ep. 1.21 (Crack Up)
Second appearance the car when a disgruntled owner who had refused to the tow driver take it to the impound yard. The disgruntled owner decides to pour some gasoline on it then lights a match, and torchs it by setting it on fire. Ponch arrives on time then puts out the fire with a fire extinguster. The bidding war starts between Ponch and the Tow Truck Driver, and at the last minute Ponch out bids the tow truck driver, and buy for $83.00 dollars. - Ep. 2.05 (Neighborhood Watch)

Different Hoods on Ponch's car:
IIRC Hood - Ep. 1.21
Shaker Hood - Ep. 4.03

Different Mags on Ponch's car:
Black Cragar S/S - Ep. 1.21 through 2.13
Chrome Cragar S/S - Ep. 2.18
Turbo Cast - Ep. 4.16


some of the screen captures floating around also show it as a 73 formula with the earlier vents, shaker cut into the snorkel hood and the trans am side scoops not properly recessed into the fender but it does have the deeper set 73 grille and amber lenses along with the 73 deluxe seats

MaindrianPace US

2012-02-25 08:47

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After I just did a little research on www.Oldcarbrochures.com in a 1971 Pontiac Performance Brochure. I can finally tell you that Ponch's car used in season 2, also it can be seen being driven by crazy Niles in season 1 episode called Crack Up, and it actually is a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Esprit because of regular standard interior with three spoked steering wheel. Ponch's car actually has the optional Pontiac engine which is a T/A 6.6 400 motor with a standard Rochester 2 barrel carburetor after watching the episode Destruction Derby. I can also tell you that a Firebird Formula would actually have a standard woodgrain dashboard with a formula steering wheel. I can actually tell you that Firebird Trans Am would actually have a standard aluminum swirl dashboard with a formula steeling wheel. Both Formula and Trans Am have rear spoilers.

-- Last edit: 2012-02-25 21:34:18

ztwntyn8 US

2012-03-26 01:20

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Ok, I had to sign up to straiten this out. I am not going to say this is set in stone but my mom used to drive me to elementry school in a 71 formula and I now have one (aswell as a 73 TA). This car imo is likely a 71 formula. The reason I say so is that ONLY 71 formulas had that vent in the lower fender... not a base firebird or espirit or trans am. They had to have taken 71 formula fenders and put ta vents in the top portion. The grills could only be 70 or 71 (since they are small squares). The back window and tail lights are 70 to 73 spacific. The hood is also a 70 to 74 piece with a hole cut for a ta shaker. That car is a 71 Formula imo since you would have to had a set 1 year only Formula firebird only fenders with the lower vent and cut them for ta vents in the top. The car also had a Formula only hood. So, it makes sence to me that they modified the 1971 Formula firebird's hood for a shaker and fenders for the vents..... realy rare fenders. Oh, and mom and dad's 71 Formula 400 (all of which are 4 bbl) did have a "formula" steering wheel but that is an option as mine has an interior colored firebird wheel. The dash in stock is a woodgrain unless you have a ta which is has the engine spun look out of metal. That is a realy realy easy swap... so, it's a 71 mula. One last thing... the rear spoiler. The formula only had an option for the rear spoiler and as for the wheel spats and front air dam. That ONLY came on a Trans Am. Dad's 71 Formula had these mods aswell: front air dam, wheel spats and rear spoiler.


-- Last edit: 2012-03-26 01:23:33

macdave US

2012-03-29 20:14

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The fender louvers were used on all the 1971 firebirds exc. the T/A. The Fiberglass dual scoop hood was used on Formulas from 1970 to 1975. I have often seen them modified by someone cutting the hole for a shaker. Being it is fiberglass, it is done very easy. The grilles on the car pictured were used for 1970 & 1971. The high back buckets and upholstery here were used in 1971. Adding the flairs is a common thing to do to a non-T/A car due to the nice look it creates, especially when using the aftermarket rear sections behind the wheels. Those were available from many places back then. The T/A was the only model sent out of the factory with the engine turned aluminum dash insert. The other models have wood grain. The Formula steering wheel was standard on the T/A but available on the Formula. The rear spoiler was standard on the T/A but available on any model as a Special Order. It is also very easy to install one on a car not originally equipped as such and is commonly done. All this considered, and not having the VIN (that would tell the truth), I would say it started out life as a 1971 Formula.

macdave US

2012-03-29 20:18

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One might also note that the car was modified for being towed. Note the mods to the front air dam. It is not groved out in those two places from the start. It looks as though they modified it for towing from the front of the fraim rails.

macdave US

2012-03-29 20:21

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For those who have not looked over the car, it has the standard steering wheel, not the "Formula" steering wheel issued standard on ALL T/As.

macdave US

2012-03-29 20:29

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I do see the 1973 (deep set) grile on some of the pictures and the early grile on some others. My guess would be that it was repaired with the later year nose. The car has obviously undergone many mods. The front airdam is also not modified for towing on the car with the 73 nose. Maby we are looking at a couple cars here. Maybe Erick can chime in sometime with some info.

MaindrianPace US

2012-04-09 06:34

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I finally did a little more research today, by figuring out Ponch's beautiful Pontiac Firebird paint color in which alot of you thought the color was Valencia Gold or Sienna Cooper, and the color turns out to be Canyon Copper. The color is also called Bittersweet Mist or Bittersweet in Buick and Oldsmobile, and Burnt Orange in Chevrolet and GMC. The GM paint code is actually WA4140, and is often shorten to 62B or 62C. The other manufacturers paint codes are the Ditzler PPG code which is actually 2340, also the Dupont paint code is 5281LH or 5281D, and the Sherwin William paint code is 3900. I found out Erik Estrada's email address, and going to start writing a letter to him in order to get some info and interview on the car. The paint ref link website is down below. Link to "paintref.com" Copper

-- Last edit: 2012-04-10 07:22:32

MaindrianPace US

2012-04-17 07:08

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Here is a picture of real formula dashboard, and steering picture from a 1970 Formula 400.
[Image: dsc04147cv.1.jpg]

-- Last edit: 2012-06-24 06:18:41

police car fan NL

2012-10-24 16:54

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[Image: i050077.jpg] [Image: snap303.jpg]

-- Last edit: 2013-01-01 17:18:42 (night cub)

MaindrianPace US

2012-12-28 06:20

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Ep. 2.05 - Neighborhood Watch: The car makes it second appearance on the show where a disgruntled owner (Shelley Berman) gets into a little dispute with the tow truck driver (Charlie Brill) over impounding his unregistered vehicle, and chooses to start it on fire with gasoline and a set of matches rather than have it impounded. Ponch and Jon finally get a call from their CB Radios, and manage to arrive on time in order to hear the complaint about an expired permit for the vehicle. Ponch immediately decides to grab a fire extinguisher out of the tow truck in order to put out the recently started fire on the unregistered vehicle. After Ponch finishes putting out the fire, and the owner decides that he wants to sell the unregistered vehicle to the highest bidder. Ponch and the tow truck driver decide to start a bidding war, and keep bidding higher against each other for the unregistered vehicle. Ponch finally wins the bidding war against the tow truck driver, and buys the unregistered vehicle for eighty three dollars.

[Image: 2119528_orig.jpg] [Image: 646159_orig.jpg] [Image: 7277989_orig.jpg] [Image: 4679648_orig.jpg] [Image: 9830440_orig.jpg] [Image: 1515409_orig.jpg] [Image: 8477884_orig.jpg] [Image: 7209392_orig.jpg] [Image: 5898048_orig.jpg] [Image: 9451065_orig.jpg] [Image: 7877839_orig.jpg] [Image: 4483571_orig.jpg] [Image: 62346_orig.jpg] [Image: 6759799_orig.jpg] [Image: 1110501_orig.jpg] [Image: 4031781_orig.jpg] [Image: 2769240_orig.jpg] [Image: 3684555_orig.jpg] [Image: 6873708_orig.jpg] [Image: 4521138_orig.jpg] [Image: 114714_orig.jpg] [Image: 4772925_orig.jpg] [Image: 4951386_orig.jpg] [Image: 3214644_orig.jpg]

Ep. 2.07 - High Flyer: Ponch decides to take Carol (Mary Louise Weller) grocery shopping while his partner Jon and their teenage friend Kim (Cynthia Bain) agree work on the engine, and finally manage to get it running temporarily.

[Image: 8867922_orig.jpg] [Image: 2703665_orig.jpg] [Image: 2908434_orig.jpg] [Image: 26327_orig.jpg] [Image: 1467272_orig1.jpg] [Image: 5615306_orig.jpg] [Image: 7606170_orig.jpg] [Image: 8230563_orig.jpg] [Image: 3189589_orig.jpg] [Image: 7148713_orig.jpg] [Image: 4954257_orig.jpg]

Ep. 2.12 - High Explosive: Ponch decides to escort Mary Barnes (Rosanne Katon) a recently injured victim of Barry Lasher's (Ike Eisenmann) accidental Harbor Freeway shooting to Jon's Rodeo as his special guest for the day.

[Image: 7180224_orig.1.jpg] [Image: 6671532_orig.jpg] [Image: 8323783_orig.jpg] [Image: 4558458_orig.jpg] [Image: 5908557_orig.jpg] [Image: 8853140_orig.jpg] [Image: 1412589_orig.jpg] [Image: 6424413_orig.jpg] [Image: 2334843_orig.jpg] [Image: 5755068_orig.jpg] [Image: 9334074_orig.jpg] [Image: 6072058_orig.jpg]

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Ep. 3.22 - Thrill Show: The car is damaged by a tour bus driven by the punk rock group known as the bus boys.

[Image: chipsvisibleramp0322.jpg]

-- Last edit: 2014-01-21 17:47:50

police car fan NL

2013-09-08 20:06

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Ep. 4.10:

[Image: snap206.5.jpg] [Image: snap208.jpg] [Image: snap212.2.jpg] [Image: snap214.3.jpg]

[Image: snap215.4.jpg] [Image: snap216.6.jpg] [Image: snap217.6.jpg] [Image: snap218.4.jpg]

Ep. 5.22:

[Image: snap697.1.jpg]

Ep. 5.25:

[Image: snap1040.2.jpg]

-- Last edit: 2013-11-05 20:24:59

MaindrianPace US

2013-09-26 05:33

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I actually did figure the vehicle identification numbers of the three actual cars used in the movie Corvette Summer, and was later used as Niles racing car in one episode of season one called Crack Up with a different California license plate number which is actually 525 CAT also being used as Ponch's car in seven episodes of season two starting with the episode called Neighborhood Watch ending with one episode of season three called Destruction Derby with another different California license plate number which is actually 033 PCE. The car actually used both in the movie Corvette Summer, and later used in the television series Chips from it's vehicle identification numbers actually proves that the car started out life as a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am not a 1970 or 1971 Formula or Esprit. According to Street Rodder with the information from Pat, and Larry at http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=56929.0 his car commonly (and wrongly) referred to as a '70 Firebird Formula was actually a 1971 Trans Am!!! #1101 was its last 4 of VIN, and there were THREE of these cars (VINs 1186 and 0907) used in both the movie "Corvette Summer" (the bad guys car), and CHiPs TV show as Frank Poncherello's (Erik Estrada) personal car. All three of these cars were built in Van Nuys, California. One of the cars was rolled during a stunt and then burned to a crisp in Corvette Summer and was again rolled and burnt in CHiPs twice. The producers of CHiPs had to give up on two of the cars for rebuilding since they were pretty much toast literally. But they did rebuild the last one left several times. How many differences can you see from the rebuilds. If I remember right, didn't they work the "rebuild" of the car into the story line? Didn't Ponch buy it after it was on fire and they put it out, then he took several episodes rebuilding it? Rims, wheel flares, side pipes, hood decal, color, possibly a roll bar in one pic,and looks like in some pics it has the formula fender vents as well as the ta vents.

The first vehicle identification number which is actually 228871L101101 proves that it actually a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am:

2 Line Pontiac

2 Series Firebird

8 Model Trans Am (V8)

87 Body Standard Model

1 Year 1971

L Assembly Van Nuys, California

101101 Serial 101101

The second vehicle identification number also proves that it actually a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am:

2 Line Pontiac

2 Series Firebird

8 Model Trans Am (V8)

87 Body Standard Model

1 Year 1971

L Assembly Van Nuys, California

101186 Serial 101186

The third vehicle identification also proves that it actually a 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am:

2 Line Pontiac

2 Series Firebird

8 Model Trans Am (V8)

87 Body Standard Model

1 Year 1971

L Assembly Van Nuys, California

100907 Serial 100907

-- Last edit: 2013-11-15 02:23:54

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