The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was introduced to the world in 1969 without benefit of promotion and with scant advertising, but it would go on to outlast every other offering of the muscle-car era and leave some very rare gems behind, among them this 1969 Trans Am convertible, one of only eight built before the convertible body style was eliminated from the 1970 F-body platform, one of four with a 4-speed manual transmission, and the only one fitted with a code-217 Parchment Custom interior.
While most of its history has long been a matter of record and includes Pontiac Historical Society documentation, until recently it was thought that the original dealer invoice, bill of sale and warranty transfer paperwork were lost forever. But in a strange turn of events, in late October 2015 that documentation was discovered in the files of the selling dealer, Arnold Motor Company, a former Pontiac franchise and Yenko Chevrolet rival located just a mile down the road from Yenko on the corner of North Main and East Pike in Houston, Pennsylvania.
This one-of-a-kind 1969 Trans Am convertible generated three separate Pontiac invoices before its first owner purchased it. Its story begins when longtime Chevrolet and Pontiac engineer Tom Goad ordered it as a company car.
Equipped with a code-217 Parchment Custom interior, Soft Ray-tinted windshield, Deluxe seatbelts with front and rear shoulder harnesses, console, Walnut shift knob, pushbutton AM radio, and Rally II wheels, it arrived at the Pontiac Division Central Office for company use in June 1969. On December 22, 1969 it was invoiced to the Pontiac Zone office in Pittsburgh, and finally it was invoiced to Arnold Pontiac in Houston, Pennsylvania, on April 24, 1970. Arnold Pontiac sold the car on April 30, 1970, just one week after taking delivery, to Robert Lauze of Houston, who traded his 1967 Firebird and went home with the Trans Am for $3,295.
In addition to the original dealer invoice and bill of sale, one of the documents just discovered by Robert Arnold Sr. is the warranty transfer application, which reveals the mileage at the time of sale as 9,725 miles. This newly discovered paperwork also exposed another unknown fact, the identity of this special car’s original owner.
The late Mr. Lauze, a Vietnam War veteran, served in the United States Air Force. A motorcycle and sports car enthusiast, Lauze returned from Vietnam and purchased the Trans Am Convertible as a new car after it had spent 10 months as a company demonstrator. By: mecum