40 years ago today The Rockford Files pilot, "Backlash Of The Hunter" premiered on NBC. Happy Anniversary to the Cast and Crew, who made this wonderful TV series.
I also wanted to thank everyone involved, for all your hard work on making such a wonderful TV series and Movies. Because of the Cast and Crew, many people have such happy memories of the show and that time in their lives.
Tom Martin's 1975 Rockford Files Firebird Replica
Written by Jim Suva
I had the pleasure to meet Tom Martin and his 10 year old son Tommy at last years Rockford Files Cast and Crew Reunion Party. At that time he and Tommy were just about to start working on their own Rockford File replica Firebird.
Tom's car is a 1975 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400. Just like the Firebirds used on the show, it has it's original 400 cubic inch engine, automatic transmission, deluxe interior, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, rally guage package and manual windows. It did come with a rear spoiler and a "snorkel" hood, which were both removed, just as done on the show.
A few months ago Tom and his son just finished the project, and began traveling to different filming sites from the show. This past weekend, Tom took his Firebird down to Paradise Cove and took these wonderful pictures.
Of course the Firebird got quite a reaction to the people there. He shared that as soon as he got onto PCH in Santa Monica, there were honks and waves in recognition if the car. When he got to Paradise Cove - where the famous trailer was parked - appreciative fans snapped photos if the car. But Tom related that as much fun as all that was, the most gratifying part of that day was yet to come.
When he and his fiancée Ginger walked into the Paradise Cove cafe Bob Morris' Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, they saw 100's of pictures from various movies and TV shows shot at Paradise Cove over the decades. Surprising, they couldn't find a single photo from The Rockford Files. So Tom asked the manager where the Rockford Files pictures were. "We don't have any" he said. "We had a replica business card from the show behind the desk where customers check in, but someone stole it".
It was incredible to Tom that perhaps the most popular show ever shot at Paradise Cove did was not represented in the collection of pictures. The manager agreed. In fact, he related that Gigi Garner (James Garner's daughter) expressed to him the very same dismay when she visited the restaurant.
Tom kept a script from the show and an an 8 X 10 collage of photo shots from the show signed by James Garner in the trunk of the Firebird because Tommy loves to talk about them and about the Firebird at car shows.
But it was clear to Tom where the 8 x 10 really belonged: on the wall of the cafe behind the check in counter for all to see.
The manager even let Tom pick the place for it after he frames it! Next time Gigi goes in there, she won't be disappointed!
I would like to thank Tom for sharing his pictures and story with us.
1974 Firebird Formula 1/24 Scale Rockford Firebird
By Jim Suva
Back in 1974, The Rockford Files premiered on TV. I was hooked on the Firebird. So I went out to get the closest model I could find, to the one James Garner drove as Jim Rockford. I found this 1974 Formula. I originally painted it orange and with a black interior. See the pictures below.
Now here is the Firebird model being transformed in the Rockford Firebird.
Now we add the final touch with miniature California license plates.
It is with great sadness, that I have to tell you that Juanita Bartlett passed away last night in her sleep. Juanita on the left, is pictured here with Mary Ann Rea. Juanita was a wonderful writer and producer for The Rockford Files and many other TV shows. Photo provided by Mary Ann Rea.
In 2012, I had the pleasure to interview her for a story for this blog. I can tell you I have talked with her several times, since then on the phone. She told me some great stories. Juanita was one of the most down to earth and wonderful ladies you could ever want to talk to. Everyone that knew her has always told me how talented she was and that she was such a pleasure to work with. Juanita will be greatly missed. Rest In Peace.
Rockford Files Replica Firebirds
This is going to be an on going Directory of replica Firebirds. Since we have already spot lighted original screen used Firebirds from the show, this will spot light those who built their own Rockford Firebird.
1975 Firebird Formula
This car belongs to Thomas Martin of Southern California.
I love this license plate!
1976 Firebird Formula
Tom Koch of the East Coast owns this Firebird. Tim is in the process of changing out the original white interior to a tan version.
1977 Firebird Esprit
This Firebird belongs to Jim Miller of Michigan. Jim's Firebird is powered by a 350 engine.
1978 Firebird Esprit
Chris Turko of Canada, owns this beautiful Firebird Esprit. Here is his story.
I purchased my 1978 Firebird on E-Bay, in the spring of 2005 with only 79,000 original miles. I am the third owner as far as I could find. Approx 75% of the paint is the original Laquer. Interior is the original Doeskin Vinyl. Factory options include- 305 Engine, Custom Air Cond, Tilt Steering, AM/FM Stereo,Rear Speakers, Rally Gage Package W/Tachometer, Full Tinted Glass, Firm-Ride Package, Visor Mirror, Dual Outlet Exhaust, Esprit Package, Rally II Wheels, Full Size Spare.
1978 Firebird Esprit
Here is Glenn Gamer's Firebird from Neveda. Here is his story.
I found my 78 Firebird Esprit after a year of looking these are getting very hard to find. It was in Iowa on Craigslist and it was bright Yellow with a cloth interior. The odometer showed 78000 I believe to be original it still has all the original exhaust smog pump and factory a/c. The cars drivetrain is in great condition 305ci automatic transmission.
If you have a Rockford Files Firebird and would like to be added to this directory, please send pictures and information to [email protected]
KITT and Dawn
Written by Jim Suva
In the 1980’s a TV series called Knight Rider hit the airways. It was an instant success, starring David Hasselhoff, as Michael Knight. But one of the other stars in the show wasn’t human! It was the Knight Industries Two Thousand, which we know as KITT, a black Pontiac Trans Am.
About 14 years ago the Volo Auto Museum started collecting Star Cars. Their first three Star Cars were the Batmobile, the General Lee, from the Dukes of Hazard, and KITT. The Volo Museum’s KITT is a 1983 Trans Am, a replica of the KITT used on the original TV series. About two years ago the museum purchased a Super Pursuit Mode KITT to add to their collection. That version of KITT was used at different times during the 4th and final season of the TV series. Volo’s first KITT was temporarily put into storage, to make room for the newer version. Recently the museum decided to auction off several of their TV/movie cars at an online auction site, including their first KITT.
While the auction was ongoing, a young lady named Dawn, and her mother Naomi Kennson, were planning to visit the museum and KITT. Dawn has had to cope with the limitations of cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia her whole life. Coming to see KITT always made her feel better, especially when times were especially challenging for her. Naomi called ahead to make sure that Dawn’s favorite car was still on display. She was told that KITT was being auctioned off. This was going to be very distressing news to Dawn, so Naomi asked about buying KITT for Dawn, even though she knew that this was not financially possible.
It was especially difficult for Dawn, who has a special bond with KITT. Naomi told us, “[Dawn] has struggled in the last few years to receive opportunities for education, and struggled to see her needs met for the specialized wheelchair, which you can see her using today. She received this chair in early August, roughly two years after applying for its coverage through Medicaid.” Losing the opportunity to see KITT regularly was difficult.
“Dawn was introduced to the original Knight Rider TV series from the 1980’s. KITT’s character was developed largely by its voice actor, William Daniels. The character represented by this replica, stood in the show as a standard for fairness, justice and protection of weaker members of society. The integrity of the character resonated with Dawn, who by the very nature of her disability, has been subjected to limitations imposed upon her not only by her physical disability, but also through the unfairness of discrimination.”
Talking with Museum Director Brian Grams, he made arrangements for Dawn and her mother to come to the museum to see KITT up close. At the time, the auction already had a bid of $20,000. Brian knew that the auction could bring the museum somewhere between $30,000 to possible more than $40,000, a price the Kennison family could not afford. Brian, seeing the deep attachment Dawn had for KITT and how emotional she was, asked if the Grams family pulled KITT from the auction and put it back on display, would that work for them?
Needless to say Dawn and Naomi loved the idea! The Grams family not only pulled KITT from the auction, they rededicated the new display in Dawn’s honor. So on Wednesday November 20th, Brian Grams also gave a lifetime membership pass to Dawn and her mother Naomi, so that they can come to visit KITT anytime they want to. Brian also gave Dawn a ride in her favorite car around the museum property. When she returned from her ride, she was asked how it was. She said: “It’s a little rickety, but you would expect that with the age of the car.” I asked her which KITT she preferred, the original KITT or the Super Pursuit Mode version. Just like a good politician, Dawn said, “I like them both, because they are part of the same character.”
Just like the motto of the original TV series, “One man can make a difference,” I guess one car can make a difference.
Celebraty Machines, is now making Jim Rockford's license plate. These plates are the closest replica plates that are being currently made and DMV correct. The best part is the cost is $18.00 a plate, plus shipping.
Here is their website, if anyone is interested in buying a license plate. http://www.celebritymachines.com
Below are the set I received. I added the two stickers to one of the plates. I will be showing my Rockford Files Firebird at car shows and events with these plates on them. A number of my fellow Rockford fans have recently purchased their own and they all love them.
Here is the ad for the plates featuring my 77 Firebird on their website.
If you are looking for the most accurate plates for your replica, these are the ones you want! Note that Celebrity Machines, also sells a large selection of other Movie and TV license plates.
Here is a link to their Facebook in case you would like to check it out. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Celebrity-Machines/124172690992084