What’s being called the Holy Grail of muscle cars has been found in New England–and there are two of them.
Richard Rawlings is the host of The Discovery Channel’s hit show “Fast N’ Loud,” which follows a couple of Dallas-based motorheads (Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman) as they search garages around the country for run-down cars they can restore for profit. And recently, they made a huge find: the first Pontiac Firebirds ever made.
Discovery Uncovers the Long-Lost #1 and #2
In an exclusive article by Michael Starr in the New York Post, the story of the Firebirds’ rediscovery unfolds to the public for the first time.
Rawlings was selling a rare Chevrolet Corvette to a buyer in Connecticut, and like he always does, he asked if the man had anything to sell Rawlings or knew of anyone who did. The man said no, but he’d heard that another man who lived in the vicinity was rumored to have the first two Firebirds in existence on his property.
In the NYPost article, Rawlings is quoted as saying that when it comes to these rumors, “a lot of times it turns out to be a ghost story.” But every once in a while, these stories turn out to be true. This was one of those times.
Back in the mid-’60s, GM built two prototype models of the Firebird. They were made by hand and studied by the higher-ups at the car manufacturing company to determine if they would go forward with their plans to mass-produce the car.
Obviously, they liked the prototypes enough to give the go-ahead for the 1967 Pontiac Firebird to head into production, which, according to some folks, may have been the catalyst that ignited a muscle car revolution.
The two original models, simply named #1 and #2, have been off the radar for decades, but Rawlings and the Discovery Channel had the good fortune of being able to track them down.
Reintroducing a Prototype: The Restored Firebird Models
Rawlings and his crew purchased the two cars from the New England seller for $65,000 total. The vehicles were discovered in a rundown barn and both were in very bad shape, so the purchasing price was really quite decent, despite the rarity of the cars.
Over two episodes of “Fast N’ Loud,” Rawlings, Kaufman and the crew show the story from start to finish: finding the cars, buying them, restoring them (which cost approximately $200,000), and finally selling them (for a reported $650,000).
It’s a fun and exciting page in automotive history and we’re lucky the story was caught on camera, so we can live through it, too.
What’s your auto Holy Grail? If you could get your hands on any car in history, what would you want? Would you keep it or sell it off, post-restoration? Let’s hear it in the comments below!