James Garner's personal 1978 Pontiac Firebird heads to auction
The 1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula personally owned by James Garner and used when filming The Rockford Files is heading to auction with Barret-Jackson at no reserve
To a generation of loved-up millennials, James Garner remains known for his portrayal as Old Noah Calhoun in 2004 weep-fest The Notebook. However, to those who grew up during the era of flared trousers and disco, Garner was the king of cool; Jim Rockford.
Whoever said they didn’t want to be Rockford when surviving the 1970s as an adolescent is an out-and-out liar, with his uber-American lifestyle one of envy for those stuck on the school run in their father’s humdrum saloon. Quite frankly, The Rockford Files was more of a religion than a TV series to those of a certain age. Well, courtesy of Barrett-Jackson, you can finally be Jim Rockford, as his 1978 Pontiac Firebird is headed for sale this week at no reserve.
More Pontiac greatness!
- Steve McQueen’s 1979 Pontiac Trans Am pulled from Illinois barn
- Burt Reynolds' top 5 automotive moments
- Great classic Pontiacs for sale!
Perhaps rivalling Burt Reynold’s Bandit for the title of coolest on-screen Pontiac, Rockford would showcase his Firebird Esprit and its 6.6-litre V8 abilities every Friday at 9pm. Reruns over the succeeding decades helped cement an unwavering fan base that currently outstrips most modern TV shows.
In fact, Rockford remains the only TV detective to have coined a driving manoeuvre – the famous ‘Jim Rockford turn-around’. Although he didn’t invent the reverse 180-degree ‘J-turn’, Garner’s character employed the action so often that the manoeuvre is forever associated with the show and its titular character.
The vehicle heading under Barret-Jackson’s hammer was one of three Firebird Formulas provided by Pontiac Motor Division for filming, employed from 1978 until the series ended in 1980.
With a special Sierra Gold exterior and tan interior, the factory Formula 400 model was modified to look like an Esprit. Used as a sound car, for close-ups while driving, the Firebird still has the original mic box, drilled holes for recording equipment and wires, and a skid plate to protect the engine and transmission from stunt damage.
Proving that Rockford was the coolest TV hero of the time, his Pontiac features air-conditioning and rally gauges, alongside power windows, steering and brakes. As the only car from the series to feature such luxuries, Garner was impressed enough to purchase the Firebird after the conclusion of the series and personally driven by the actor until May 1981.
More recently, the TV car underwent a frame-on restoration by noted Pontiac restorer Mike Flaherty and currently presents itself just as it would have appeared during filming of The Rockford Files.
Included in the sale lot is a copy of the dealer invoice highlighting delivery of the car to the production company alongside a letter from Garner’s production company identifying the model as an actual screen-used Firebrid Formula 400.
Ready to try out a few Jim Rockford turn-arounds? The Pontiac is being auctioned off at no reserve. Get a closer look here.
Classic Cars for Sale
MAJOR PRICE REDUCTION! THESE CARS ARE GOING NOWHERE BUT UP IN VALUE! Just Toys Classic Cars is proud to present this rare 1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. They did not make many of these cars and this is the real deal. We all know by 1976 the over all muscle car horsepower war was all but over. We had gone through gas shortages and lines, and then here comes this beauty. This car is totally awesome
Rare 455 4 Speed Just Toys Classic Cars is proud to present this rare 1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. They did not make many of these cars and this is the real deal. We all know by 1976 the over all muscle car horsepower war was all but over. We had gone through gas shortages and lines, and then here comes this beauty. This car is totally awesome and has had one repaint in its life. Under the hood
1928 Chevrolet 2dr Hot Rod Great History, Documents and Photos www.motorcarcompany.com Engine: V-8 350 Transmission: Automatic Transmission VIN: 4595221 Exterior Color: Green Metallic Interior Color: Gray About: This is a Turn-Key Hot Rod ready to be enjoyed. It was restored in 1991 with photos of it before, during and after the restoration process (all of which come with the pu
Here is a Van Nuys built blue plated California car! This Sundance Yellow Firebird was restored some years back and only had 800 miles of use on it since then. It has a 231 V-6, automatic transmission, power steering, power front disc brakes, bucket seats, newer headliner / carpet, tilt wheel, after-market stereo, and A/C. Original radio is still in trunk. A great looking 70's icon! Body: 2 Door