First the Rockford Files and then Smokey and the Bandit.I was hooked. I had to have a new 1979 Pontiac Firebird! I soon found myself at Wiesner Pontiac on Hwy 105 signing a note for $8,200 - a fortune at the time to me – to buy a midnight metal-flake blue Esprit, which was backordered for several months. They were really popular cars at the time.
The day it was delivered was a very happy and proud day for me. I named her Shasta, “she hasta have gas, oil, and tires”. I became known for that car. Everyone who met me said “Oh, you’re the women who drives that blue Firebird.”
For the next 21 years, I drove it every day from Conroe to Houston to my job. It saw me though several speeding tickets, at least three accidents – none which were my fault, and nearly a million miles on the road. I drove it to both coasts and all over the country on road trips.
Then came the day when I took a job that required that I drive a company vehicle. I couldn’t bear to sell Shasta, so she was parked in the driveway under a tarp. One year followed another, and soon the car have been sitting there for 13 years, getting rusty on the outside and moldy on the inside. Finally a tree limb fell across the roof putting a big dent in the top. I did not have the money to have a restoration done, but I couldn’t stand the thought of having her hauled to the junk yard.
Then one day Shasta’s “fairy godmother” – or “godfather” I should say – appeared at my door in the person of my friend Laura’s husband Dwight Cole. Dwight is a former member of the Conroe Cruisers Club and a talented amateur car restorer with several cars of his own.
“What are you ever going to do with that Firebird?”
“I don’t know….I can’t bear to get rid of it but I cannot afford to pay to have it restored.”
“OK, it’s coming to my house. I’m going to restore it for you.”
So Shasta moved down the road a short way and the work began. Dwight worked 10-12 hour days, four or five days a week, for about a year disassembling it, sanding it to bare metal, doing the body work on the dent and fixing the rust, repairing mechanical problems, redoing the interior and eventually painting it……all without a shop or paint booth. I was amazed and grateful.
The week before Easter, Shasta’s resurrection was complete. Our goal was to have her ready for the Conroe Cruisers Car show in April and she was ready to show.
On April 19th, I proudly drove her onto the Court House square in Conroe…. like Cinderella arriving at the Ball. She wasn’t the most expensive car there. There were lots of cars with restorations that cost in the tens of thousands of dollar. There were paint jobs that cost more than we spent putting Shasta back together!We didn’t win a trophy. But, like Cinderella – with her “car mom” and “fairy godfather” looking on, she held her head high in that completion and attracted lots of new admirers.and I was very proud.
Ann Meador, Conroe, Texas
1979 Pontiac Firebird Esprit (custom) – 301 engine.