Highlights

  • The only Triple White 1969 Trans Am Convertible produced
  • 1 of 8 Convertibles produced
  • The first of four 4-speed Convertibles produced
  • Ordered new as a brass hat company car by Tom Goad
  • PHS documentation reveals three separate invoices
  • After company use, the car was shipped to the Pennsylvania zone office and eventually delivered to Arnold Pontiac in Houston, Pennsylvania
  • Restored by Scott Tiemann
  • Formerly owned by Dick Bridges, Milt Robson, Rick Mahoney and Brent Torino
  • Formerly on display at the Floyd Garrett Muscle Car Museum
  • Published in Hot Rod magazine in August 1978 and September 1979
  • Ram Air III 400/335 HP V-8, 4-speed
  • Power steering and brakes
  • Rally II wheels and Goodyear Polyglas tires
  • Cameo White with Blue stripes
  • Parchment interior and White top
  • Custom interior trim and console
  • A 10% buyer premium applies
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Story

The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was introduced to the world in 1969 without benefit of promotion and with scant advertising, but it would go on to outlast every other offering of the muscle-car era and leave some very rare gems behind, among them this 1969 Trans Am convertible, one of only eight built before the convertible body style was eliminated from the 1970 F-body platform, one of four with a 4-speed manual transmission, and the only one fitted with a code-217 Parchment Custom interior.

While most of its history has long been a matter of record and includes Pontiac Historical Society documentation, until recently it was thought that the original dealer invoice, bill of sale and warranty transfer paperwork were lost forever. But in a strange turn of events, in late October 2015 that documentation was discovered in the files of the selling dealer, Arnold Motor Company, a former Pontiac franchise and Yenko Chevrolet rival located just a mile down the road from Yenko on the corner of North Main and East Pike in Houston, Pennsylvania.

This one-of-a-kind 1969 Trans Am convertible generated three separate Pontiac invoices before its first owner purchased it. Its story begins when longtime Chevrolet and Pontiac engineer Tom Goad ordered it as a company car. Equipped with a code-217 Parchment Custom interior, Soft Ray-tinted windshield, Deluxe seatbelts with front and rear shoulder harnesses, console, Walnut shift knob, pushbutton AM radio, and Rally II wheels, it arrived at the Pontiac Division Central Office for company use in June 1969.

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On December 22, 1969 it was invoiced to the Pontiac Zone office in Pittsburgh, and finally it was invoiced to Arnold Pontiac in Houston, Pennsylvania, on April 24, 1970. Arnold Pontiac sold the car on April 30, 1970, just one week after taking delivery, to Robert Lauze of Houston, who traded his 1967 Firebird and went home with the Trans Am for $3,295. In addition to the original dealer invoice and bill of sale, one of the documents just discovered by Robert Arnold Sr. is the warranty transfer application, which reveals the mileage at the time of sale as 9,725 miles.

This newly discovered paperwork also exposed another unknown fact, the identity of this special car’s original owner. The late Mr. Lauze, a Vietnam War veteran, served in the United States Air Force. A motorcycle and sports car enthusiast, Lauze returned from Vietnam and purchased the Trans Am Convertible as a new car after it had spent 10 months as a company demonstrator.

The only triple-white 1969 Trans Am convertible and the first of the four 4-speeds built, the Tom Goad/Robert Lauze Trans Am might have eventually disappeared into history as just another racecar had it not been for the editors at “Hot Rod Magazine.” Instead, it has arguably become the most celebrated of the eight convertibles produced.

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In the mid-1970s Ted Gallas and George Marble of Ohio acquired the car. After reading an article in the April 1978 issue of “Hot Rod” claiming Pontiac had built just two Trans Am convertibles, Gallas responded with a letter in which he stated that he had purchased one of them and planned to race it. A photo of the car and a follow-up letter from Gallas were published in the September 1979 issue. The editor’s advice was succinct: restore it and keep it. “Hot Rod” later reported that the car’s appearance at the Car Craft Street Machine Nationals “stole the show.”

Pontiac collector Dick Bridges of Rockville, South Carolina, purchased the car from a North Carolina collection in December 1991. Bridges, who described the car in a “Hot Rod” article as “complete, drivable, and in presentable condition,” turned it over to noted Pontiac restoration specialist Scott Tiemann, who performed a concours-quality restoration that included a correct Ram Air III engine. After its completion in January 1994 the car was displayed at the Trans Am 25th anniversary celebration at Detroit’s Cobo Hall, where it once again caused a sensation. Bridges then loaned the Trans Am to Floyd Garrett’s Muscle Car Museum in Sevierville, Tennessee, where it remained on display until its purchase by a Connecticut enthusiast in early 2001. Pennsylvania collector Rick Mahoney bought it soon thereafter, and then sold it to Georgia muscle-car collector Milt Robson. In 2006, Las Vegas developer Brett Torino added the Trans Am to his famous collection, where it remained until early in 2015.

Ordered new by a Pontiac executive as a brass-hat company car, owned by noted collectors and driven just 321 miles since its professional restoration by a highly respected Pontiac expert, this one-of-one triple-white 4-speed Trans Am convertible’s unique status and history are matters of documented record, and its significance as a treasure from the muscle-car era is firmly established.

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