Jim Rockford Comes to Pontiac, Illinois
Written by Jim Suva
On Friday September 18, 2015, Julie and I started our trip to the 4th Annual All Pontiac Cruise and Car Show. The show was hosted by Heart of Illinois GTO Club, Gateway GTO Club, Windy City GTO Club and the Pontiac-Oakland Museum.
On our way to Pontiac, we stopped in the small town of Odell, to see their Standard Gas Station. The station was built in 1932 and continued as a body shop till 1999. It's a great photo/gathering spot for car clubs. Below are a few pictures.
Right down the street from the Standard Station, is an old Mobil Gas Station. Another great photo spot.
We arrived in Pontiac on Friday afternoon and went straight to the Pontiac-Oakland Museum to see Tim and Penny Dye. The Dye's run the museum and do a wonderful job keeping the Pontiac name and history alive and well.
When you visit Pontiac, they have many other great museums, like the Route 66 Museum and War Museum. Both are great for the history that is told through their artifacts. They also have the largest Route 66 Mural. A visit would not be complete with out having a picture taken in front of the mural with or without your car.
On Saturday and Sunday, tours of the museums were offered to the public. For those registered for the All Pontiac Cruise and Car Show, a Poker Run was scheduled on Saturday afternoon. The route was designed with 7 stops. The Poker run started at the Route 66 Mural, and then went to 5 private car collections across the area. The final stop was the Pontiac-Oakland Museum. We were welcome to stay and browse at each stop as long as we wanted to. Before leaving the stop, we were asked to choose a random playing card.
See pictures below from the different car collections along the way.
Saturday evening, at a special gathering that included dinner and dessert, the winner with the best 5 card poker hand won a prize! There were also two runner up prizes.
After dinner and dessert, everyone was treated to a show by the Vermillion Players, a local talented group. We enjoyed a very entertaining musical review, that also celebrated the Vermillion Players 50 consecutive years of doing shows in Pontiac. Quite an accomplishment!
On Sunday was the big Car Show. This is also the Pontiac-Oakland Museum's big fund raiser of the year. This year's event had 210 cars attending and raised more than last year for the museum. Below are just a few pictures from the car show.
The City of Pontiac does a wonderful job making everyone feel right at home. The community has a lot of interesting sights for everyone to enjoy, even if you are not interested in cars. Julie and I go back every year to enjoy this special place.
The Rockford Files: TV Guide Articles
Written By Jim Suva
Over the years TV Guide has done a few articles about The Rockford Files, as well as some of the cast. I recent purchased these TV Guides below and have scanned in the articles, so that you may enjoy them as I have. Click on each picture below to get a larger readable version.
This first TV Guide, from February 1, 1975, has a nice article about James Garner.
The second TV Guide's article, from March 6, 1976, is about Noah Beery Jr. (Pidge).
Third issue dated March5, 1977, talks about filming on location. This article has some very nice sketches.
The fourth TV Guide, is dated August 20, 1977. Joe Santos is featured in this issue.
The fifth issue dated June 2, 1979, article talks about the Producers, Writers and Production Crew.
The sixth TV Guide issue dated November 26, 1994, is all about James Garner's return to The Rockford Files Movies.
Rockford Files Cookie Jar
Written by Jim and Julie Suva
Any true fan of Jim Rockford knows he kept his gun, a .38, in his cookie jar. Of course he also kept his favorite cookies, Oreos, in there too. Over the different seasons, Rockford’s cookie jar changed a bit. Below are several pictures of the different versions.
According to Pat McKinney. There were three different cookie jars used through out the series. The first two were ceramic and differed by one having a tiered top, the third was tin. The first two jars were store bought items and this was confirmed by Robert Zilliox.
Here are two pictures of the cookie jar from "Blessing In Disguise" Rockford Movie. This is the only time that I have seen the back of the cookie jar. As you can see it is made out of tin.
This year Pat McKinney purchased one of the screen-used cookie jars. See pictures below of Pat's screen-used jar. From what I can find in episodes, this version started to be used in season 4, and lasted throughout the Rockford movies, with the exception on the last movie, If it Bleeds it Leads. That movie had a solid brown cookie jar for some reason.
Over recent years, I have come across a number of Rockford fans that expressed an interest in owning a similar cookie jar. Of course, many Rockford-related items have come up for sale, and are usually priced very high. So Julie and I decided to make our replica. Using the pictures of Pat's cookie jar and the screen capture below, we did just that.
We are sharing what we learned, and giving you instructions so that you can make your own! We started off with a Bisquick cookie tin that Julie got in the 1970’s. We discovered that it had the correct shape. These are available on ebay, along with other similarly shaped cookie jars. The important thing to keep in mind is that you want the proper style lid. Note that this cookie jar is actually smaller then the one used on the show.
I lightly sanded down the original graphics, using a 150 grit sand paper. This was to make the jar smooth and all the same color. We also removed the knob for ease of painting.
We purchased our paint supplies from Michael’s. Below is a picture of the different colors of paint we used.
For the main color of the cookie jar, we used Krylon Indoor/Outdoor ivory satin spray paint. It took several coats to get a nice even cover.
Once the cookie jar dried, Julie started painting the circles on the lid's knob, using a pencil eraser to make the 8 circles on the top of the knob. She used a mixture of Martha Stewart Crafts Pearl and Chalkboard Pink paint, to get the color we wanted.
Next, using a compass she drew the guidelines for the purple and blue dots on the lid. Martha Stewart Crafts Chalkboard Purple made up the inner circle, and Martha Stewart Crafts Blue Satin paint for the outer dots.
The larger dots on the outer edge of the lid, as well as the dots on the main part of the cookie jar were a little harder to make. Julie used the cap from a tube of caulk for the size. She painted the outer edge of the cap with the desired color and pressed it on the surface. Then she filled in the inner area of the circle with a very thin paint brush. This was very time consuming. The dots on the edge of the lid are Martha Stewart Crafts Green Chalkboard.
Moving on to the main part of the cookie jar. Starting from the bottom, using blue painters tape, we measured 1 inch from the bottom of the jar. This was the starting line for placement of the first row of dots. The first line of dots will be the same pink combination used for the lid's dots above.
Moving up from the bottom, the second row is the Purple paint. The third row is Martha Stewart Crafts Light Blue Satin, followed by Green, Blue, Green, Light Blue, Purple and finally Pink.
The final row of dots on the top edge of the jar is Blue.
After everything was dry I coated the lid and jar with Krylon UV-Resistant Clear/Acrylic Coating to seal the colors in.
We hope you like our finished project!
Rockford Files Firebird Home in Australia
By Jim Suva
Well the 1978 Rockford Files Firebird from the TV Movies, has finally arrived at it's new home. A gentleman from Australia purchased it last January, at Mecum Auction's in Florida. The winning bid of $40,000 purchased this piece of TV history, from the Welborn Muscle Car Museum.
Due to the LA Dock strikes and other things that came up it took close to 7 months to make it's way to it's new home. Here are a few pictures taken by the Firebird's new owner.
I plan to do a story once the new owner has time, on the Firebird's arrival and it's new home.
If anyone is interested in ordering their own 6ft James Garner cutout it, to display with their replica Rockford Firebird, or to add to their Garner collection, here is your chance. Thanks to Pat McKinney, who had the original made last year, it is now available to everyone.
Below is the cost for 1 x 6ft cutout and their material choices.
Here is there website: https://www.lifesizecustomcutouts.com
Miami Vice Daytona Found
By Jim Suva
When the TV show Miami Vice premiered, Don Johnson as James (Sonny) Crockett drove a black 1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder. That was his car for the first two seasons of the show. In real life, the Daytonas used on the show were replicas built by Tom McBurnie. “Real” Ferarri’s were very expensive and also quite rare, so replicas were used.
Speaking with Brian Gram from the Volo Auto Museum, he tells the story of how the first replica, known as “Car One” came to his family museum. This particular car was used primarily for the first two Miami Vice seasons, and was brought back for a few episodes in the third season.
Volo Auto Museum purchased this car many years ago from Jeff Allen of The Car Chasers, before Jeff had a TV show. It came with a lot of paperwork, and the car itself showed obvious signs of film use, as well as evidence that was unique to the Miami Vice car. When Volo bought it in very poor shape, basically they redid paint and interior. Please see pictures below:
Volo Auto Museum is planning to restore the car to the next level. They already removed the TPI motor and replaced it with a carburetored motor like it had in show, as well as the correct Momo steering wheel. Research is still being done on the interior. As in many TV productions, the interior of the car had some changes over the seasons.
At those earlier days, Brian was not nearly as knowledgeable about the background of the Miami Vice cars as he is today. So when Volo Auto Museum listed the car as the one from the TV series, Brian got an earful from folks saying that this wasn't the real car. There were a total of three Daytonas used, and there was a real Ferrari Daytona that was used briefly. The owner of the car didn't like the way the car was being taken care of, so he withdrew the car. Universal Studios bought two Daytonas that were built by Tom McBurnie. Car #1, the first Daytona replica ever built, and Car #4. Both were built on Corvette chassis. Car #1 was built on a 1976 chassis and Car #4 on a 1981 chassis.
Ferrari didn’t like the fact that replicas were being used on the show. Ferrari ended up suing McBurnie’s company to stop them from building the replicas. Ferrari offered to supply their newest model, the Testarossa for the show. As part of the deal with Ferrari, the Daytona was blown up in the third season. They wanted the Daytona removed from the show, in a way that would put it out of people’s minds permanently.
The Daytona was also part of a real life Miami Vice story. A mechanic that had access to the car was arrested in a police sting. The mechanic was caught trying to sell an illegal gun silencer. Guess which car he was driving when he was arrested?
When they discontinued the Daytonas use, both cars went to a man named Carl Roberts. In exchange for the cars, he was to build a Testarossa stunt car. Carl got the title to Car #4, but not to Car #1. When Carl was trying to make a business by producing and selling Daytonas, he sold Car #4. Later he was hired to provide two Daytonas to go to Canada for use in the movie Speed Zone. The Volo Auto Museum car, and one other were sent to Canada for that movie. You need titles to get cars into Canada. After the two cars came back, they were pretty much abandoned. The owner of the property where the cars were left was able to get titles back in 1992, and he has owned at least the Volo Auto Museum’s car, if not both since. Jeff Allen discovered the car and Volo bought it. Many people were interested in find out what happened to Car #1.
Carl Roberts said the car was dismantled, the frame was scrapped, and the body was put on another chassis, but he doesn't know which chassis it went on. So basically he was saying the car no longer exists. Then all these people started coming forward claiming “we have the car,” including Volo Auto Museum. But Brian felt strongly that theirs was the actual car because of the items on the body that were unique to the screen-used Miami Vice cars. For instance, the nose emblem, which was originally mounted in the wrong spot by the producers, and later relocated to the right spot. Volo Auto Museum’s body has the original emblem holes that were filled, from where the emblem was incorrectly placed. The body was 1-1/4 inches shorter on the passenger side than the driver’s side on Car #1 because of an accident. Volo Auto Museum’s car was 1-1/4 inches shorter. So it was determined and accepted that the Volo car may possibly be the #1 body but without a VIN there was no way to know for sure. Brian accepted this and left well enough alone.
Then Jeff Allen called up Brian and said, "Hey watch my show, lots of great McBurnie/Miami Vice information”. Brian watched the show and Jeff found the lost Car #1...which raised Brian’s eyebrows, because the car he bought from Jeff was thought to be Car #1. After talking to Jeff again he said no mine is the ‘81, Car #4, even though the ‘81 is accounted for. So that prompted Brian to start the investigation again. Brian wanted to research the VIN, which is a 1980 VIN number. Brian sent the number to GM Heritage, and got a window sticker back for a beige 1980 Corvette. But he then noticed the VIN tag was tampered with, which of course raised a flag. So Brian decided to investigate the frame numbers hoping to find a 1976 VIN. First he looked in the most likely spot, the rear frame rail on the driver’s side. Brian had the frame section cleaned to bare metal but found no numbers. Then he asked a Corvette buddy, who said the only other spot GM placed VIN numbers, was on top of the frame under the sill plate. Unfortunately, you have to remove the frame to see them. Brian was disappointed but determined. So he got a hole saw and cut through the sill. He cleaned the frame, found the numbers, and they were 1976 serial numbers! Then Brian noticed the original Corvette trim tag was still attached to the door jamb. He looked up the codes and it was a 1976 trim tag, green with black interior. That obviously didn't match the beige that the 1980’s VIN tag called for. Brian was able to cross reference the date code on the trim tag to the serial number on the frame, and both were built during the third week of March in 1976. The frame and VIN number went together. Another piece of the puzzle fell into place.
The man who owns the other Miami Vice Daytona has the documentation that shows the original VIN numbers to the two cars. He keeps the documents and VIN numbers confidential to keep anyone from committing fraud and producing a replica. Brian sent him an email with the VIN number from the frame, asking if we have a match. After several days of nail biting, hoping he would hear from him, Brian got a phone call and ... it was a match! The lost Daytona that was said to no longer exist had been found.
Volo Auto Museum is open 7 days a week 10 AM – 5 PM. Check the events calendar for Holiday Hours and Special Events. They are located at 27582 Volo Village Road, Volo Il. 60073
I have seen this car in person. It is beautiful. I would love to have it in my garage.
Here is a new Firebird poster available. Designed by the Pontiac Vintage Press and available exclusively through the Pontiac-Oakland Museum this poster highlights Firebird history from the beginning in 1967 to the end in 2002. It features many limited production models and has production figures for each year. It is available now at the museum gift shop and will soon be available on the museum's web site and at major Pontiac events this year. Only $10.00!
The Paradise Cove Beach Cafe posted on Facebook their new sign. This sign honors James Garner and The Rockford Files. What is nice is today would have been James Garner's 87th Birthday.
Here is what Paradise Cove Beach Cafe posted: Check out our other commemorative sign, beautifully made out of granite, in honor of #JamesGarner and #TheRockfordFiles which was filmed here between 1974-1980!
We would like to thank them for this wonderful tribute, to a great actor and a wonderful show.