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The history of cars in the United States is nothing short of interesting. From the first Model T through the decades and eras to self-driving vehicles today, the automobile industry has been colorful. Before the time when fuel efficiency was at the front of everyone’s mind was the time when revving engines and aesthetics reigned supreme.
“Pony car” is an American car classification that describes affordable, compact, and highly styled coupes or convertibles that were groomed with a “sporty” or performance-oriented image. The common characteristics of a pony car included rear-wheel drive, a long front hood, a short decklid, and a wide range of options to provide an individualized experience.
“Muscle car” is an American car classification that describes high-performance, intermediate-sized cars with a large displacement V8 engine. The common characteristics used to identify muscle cars are rear-wheel drive (which has changed due to technological advances), a relatively lightweight two-door body, affordable price, and designed for street legal straight-line drag racing.
The first pairing of pony cars is the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird.
The Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird were both models built by their respective manufacturers to compete with the Ford Mustang. The Mustang has been continuously produced by Ford since 1964 and fits neatly in the pony car category.
The Camaro first went on sale on September 29, 1966, for the 1967 model year. The Pontiac Firebird also released its first pony car competitor on February 23, 1967. The Camaro and the Firebird were considered cousins in design, sharing the same type of F platform (F-Body) design. The Camaro and the Firebird are the only two vehicles ever built using GM’s F-Body platform. General Motors used this rear-wheel pony car automobile platform in models from 1967 to 2002.
The Camaro and Firebird both saw several generational changes over the years. The Camaro is still in production today. However, Pontiac stopped producing the Firebird in 2002.
The Camaro has seen six different generations thus far. There was a brief hiatus in the vehicle’s manufacturing from 2003-2009, which separates the fourth and fifth generation.
The Pontiac Firebird was no longer manufactured after 2002, meaning that the only body style available for these pony cars was the GM F-Body. A total of four generations were released for the Firebird.
Both the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird have a history in racing. Both vehicles were a part of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans-Am Series. However, there was particular controversy when the Firebird Trans Am was released. Not only was the engine too large for use in the series, but the SCCA claimed that GM used the name without permission. GM agreed to pay the SCCA $5 for every car they sold under the Firebird Trans Am name to settle this.
A “funny car” is a type of drag race vehicle and a specific racing class in organized drag racing. Funny cars are recognized by the tilt-up fiberglass or carbon fiber body and custom-fabricated bodies that give the appearance of a showroom model.
During 1995 through 1997, 14-time funny car champion John Force used a Firebird body to replace the obsolete Oldsmobile Cutless and Chevrolet Lumina he had used in races since 1988 – he won all three years!
The Firebird was also used by other racecar drivers, including Del Worsham, Frank Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, and Jerry Tolliver.
The Camaro’s racing history is a little more luxurious than the Pontiac Firebird’s. The manufacturer worked with Roger Penske to operate the unofficial factory-backed Trans-Am team, winning the title in 1968 and 1969 with Mark Donohue. During the 1970 season, Jim Hall’s Chaparral team replaced Penske.
Camaro-styled cars have also been used for racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, with all Chevrolet teams using the body style since 2013. The Camaro was also adopted as the official Indianapolis 500 Pace Car in 1967, 1969, 1982, 1993, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, and 2016. Needless to say, the Camaro has seen its day at the races.
The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was introduced in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, replacing the SS. The same model will be joining Australian Supercars Championship in 2022, replacing the Holden Commodore ZB.
When it came to choosing who to keep and who to discontinue, the answer was easy – both. When sales had declined enough, GM discontinued both the Camaro and the Firebird. During the early 2000s, GM found itself in some financial instability. In 2008 GM announced that Pontiacs would no longer be manufactured, following the same path they had taken with Oldsmobile in 2004 amidst their financial crisis.
The goal was to focus on the four remaining North American brands – Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC. With the focus shifted to only these four, it was soon after discontinuing the entire Pontiac line that the Camaro was reborn, only with a different body style. Even though the Firebird never stood a chance given the odds, both vehicles were worthy opponents of the Ford Mustang, which they were originally created to contend with.
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.
Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.
And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.
The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.
When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.
The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.
They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?
So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!
If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.
I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!
The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!
There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.
After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.
Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.
By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.
We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!
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