FAA WATERCOLOR MARK DOES NOT APPEAR ON FINAL SALES
While at a Classic Car Show in June 2013 in Westbury, New York located on the north shore of Long Island I came across this mint looking 1979 Pontiac Firebird with a stunning Screaming Eagle Emblem spread across the front hood with vibrant orange and red colors on the eagle with the eagle's feathers outstretched and laying on a nice bright white background front hood to really make the Emblem stand out. Excellent photo for Classic Car lovers and non Classic Car lovers to have and hang in there home, den or office just due to its stunning appearance. Hood bird. Laughing Phoenix. Screaming Chicken.
Whatever the preferred nickname, any discussion about the Pontiac Firebird, not to mention the Trans Am, will inevitably come around to the giant flaming graphic consuming every inch of useable real estate on the hood in a display of pure 1970s bravado. Wallflowers need not apply. Parents need not apply (or understand). The Man need not get in the way.
Gas prices rising? Insurance companies out to eliminate youthful exuberance? Disco? Is it any wonder the shape of the Screaming Chicken pretty much boils down to two outstretched middle fingers?
As anti-establishmentarian a message the graphic sent, it also became an icon in an era known for the emergence of punk rock and avant-garde art movements. And soon, imitators began flattering Pontiac's extroverted imagery. Ford's King Cobras of the mid- and late 1970s flaunted supersize hood graphics, as did AMC's resurrection of the AMX name from 1977-'80. Even Jeep had a Golden Eagle trim package that featured a giant eagle graphic spread over the hood. The infamous stripe-and-handling packages of the period essentially owe their existence to the Screaming Chicken.
The Screaming Chicken, in turn, essentially owes its genesis to one of the first cars to carry the name Firebird, the turbine-powered 1959 GM Firebird III concept car. As former Pontiac styling chief Bill Porter told David Newhardt for Newhardt's 2005 book, Firebird Trans Am, the designer of the Firebird III, Norm James, "had seen this stylized firebird, with its wings spread and sort of feathered" in the Phoenix airport and went on to apply a similar graphic to the nose of the concept car.
Pontiac, of course, debuted the Firebird in 1967 emblazoned with a version of the design, albeit one that appeared on subtle badges no more than a few inches wide. The bird evolved a bit on the 1970 Trans Am, but remained subtle, a decal about 12 inches wide on the Endura nosepiece. In 1970, however, Porter recalled James's graphic, "and it gave me an idea of a device to get the (Trans Am's reverse-facing) hood scoop to look like it belonged on the car, by wrapping these wings around it - it kind of sucked it back into the surface on the vehicle, integrated it."
With the help of graphic designer Norm Inouye (who had already designed the firebird graphic on the 1969 Banshee II), Porter applied his vision to one of the early prototypes of the second-generation Firebird in 1970, but immediately removed it when Bill Mitchell, GM's vice president for design, demanded as much with some choice words. "It has an Indian blanket on the hood!" Mitchell told Porter.
June 2nd, 2013
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