1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am
In the days before our modern 186-mph Y-rated tires, street tires were street tires, and race tires were race tires, and never the two shall meet - until the T/A. The B.F. Goodrich Radial T/A was the first American-made tire that was DOT rated, and also had SCCA approval for track competition. In order to prove the new tire had what it took, B.F. Goodrich looked for a team and a series to run a street tire in professional competition. They found a perfect partner in Terry Godsall and Jerry Titus' T/G Racing. They had built a trio of Pontiac Firebirds for the 1970 season. At the end of the season papers were signed, and the Firebirds became Tire Birds. This car was the third of three cars built by Jerry Titus' T/G Racing for the 1970 Trans-Am season.
Driven by Canadian champion John Cordts, Don Pike, and Larry Dent, this car was raced in Trans-Am, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and SCCA events. B.F. Goodrich took stock T/As and shaved off half the tread and had them put on the 3,200 lbs racecar. This Firebird eventually became the first production car to win a race using radial tires with a class win at Watkins Glen. At the 24 Hours of Daytona they moved up 14 places in the first 5 hours, but the 303 ci Pontiac V8 would let go early in the morning on Sunday, ending their race. They proved their point though, being the first street tire ever to run at Daytona.
After Daytona the Firebird would become a Camaro. The team had already convinced the SCCA to allow this car to run with a Chevrolet engine instead of the problematic Pontiac engine based on the fact that Canadian Firebirds could be delivered with Chevrolet engines. As a precaution the car was converted to Camaro bodywork in time for the 12 Hours of Sebring. It remained in Camaro trim for the remainder of its active racing career.
At the conclusion of Godsall's contract with B.F. Goodrich the car was sold to Alfie Ruys de Perez, and was raced by him in the 1972 Trans-Am season with assistance from Mo Carter's team. He recorded a top speed of 187 mph during his time with the car.
Its final professional stint would be with Canadian Don Clement who campaigned the car in IMSA and CSCC events. Don Clement would advertise the car for sale in February 1980.
This car has been restored to a very high concours standard by Trans-Am specialist Mark Mountanos and his team. The attention to detail down to the nut and bolt level is second to none. A huge collection of documentation, historic photographs, and interviews with Titus team members has insured a proper period correct restoration. The car has participated in just seven races since the restoration was complete including the Monterey Historics.
Today the car is in spectacular condition, fully sorted, and race ready. Last owned by a prominent west coast collector and vintage racer it has always had top quality care and preparation. The car looks as if the restoration had been completed yesterday.
The car has only three race weekends since a complete race-prep. Tony Oddo built the Chevy engine which has only 12 hours of track time, and produced 485.1 hp and 377.6 torque on the dyno. The T10 transmission has been completely rebuilt by Tex Racing.
Watkins Glenn Trans-Am - Cordts , 22nd. (Goodyear tires)
Canadian Sedan Championship, Mosport - 3rd, Cordts
Watkins Glenn SCCA National - Cordts, 1st, A Sedan, 2nd overall
(first production car to win a race using radial tires.)
24 Hours of Daytona 24 - Cordts, Pike , DNF
(converted to Camaro)
12 Hours of Sebring - Cordts, Pike, DNF
Bridgehampton SCCA - Dent, 2nd
Cumberland SCCA - Dent, DNF
Lime Rock SCCA - Dent, 1st in class, 10th overall
Bryar Trans-Am - Dent, 16th
Thompson SCCA - Dent, 2nd
Road America June Sprints - Dent, 3rd
Mid-Ohio Trans-Am - Dent, 3rd
Nelson Ledges Trans-Am - Dent DNS
Bryar Trans-Am - Perez, 8th
Mid Ohio Trans-Am - Perez, 29th
Watkins Glenn Trans-Am - Perez, 9th
Donnebrooke Trans-Am - Perez, 26th
Road America Trans-Am - Perez, 8th
Saniar Trans-Am - Perez, 14th
About Jerry Titus
In 1967, Jerry Titus was the Trans-Am Champion racing a Ford Mustang for Carroll Shelby. In 1968 and 1969, he was third in the Trans-Am series. He had 43 career races with 4 wins in the 1967 race season. He had 5 poles, and 7 wins in his career as a driver or co-driver.
At the final 1968 Trans-Am race at Kent, the big news was that Jerry Titus was leaving Ford and moving to Pontiac. Terry Godsall, a young Canadian businessman, offered Jerry a chance to run a team of his own Pontiac Firebirds. In going with Pontiac, Titus found that he was handicapped by the need of a great deal of developmental work, especially on the engine. Early on, Godsall pulled out of the Trans Am series, saying that the SCCA was inconsistent in its rule enforcement policies. Jerry then carried on the administrative responsibilities as well as driving for his team.
In 1970, Jerry Titus decided to stop building Firebirds for customers and concentrate on his own race cars. Three cars were built. This BFG " Tire Bird" and the Titus car are the only cars that still exist. The third Trans Am Firebird was severely wrecked in a crash and eventually destroyed. The 1970 Season was Jerry's last season.