The Memories that Old Pictures Capture

Author: robertinseattle

Today I started trying to organize the many photographs I have scattered around my house again. After a few moves – and a major housefire back in 2002 – these pictures often represent the only physical memories of my family’s lives. For some strange reason, most of our pictures were left miraculously unharmed after losing almost everything else we owned back then. I decided a good first step to organizing them was to start getting them all gathered together in one place; so I emptied some shelf space in a bookcase to start pulling them all together at last.

So I was going through one small plastic box and I came across these two Polaroid SX-70 pictures of a very special Pontiac Trans Am Firebird. But first, here’s a picture of what that classic street car looked like, complete with the original Firebird emblem on the hood and the side panels:

H/T to AmCarGuide

A few of you may even remember that classic NBC series Knight Rider that starred David Hasselhoff (1982 – 1986) and the inimitable KITT, his sidekick Trans Am supercar with an attitude.

Anyway, I came across a couple of old SX-70 pictures I’d taken of a custom car painting job I’d taken on for friend and client of mine back in Naples, FL. Del Ackerman and his wife, Nancy, owned the Del’s 24-Hour Store that ran for 50 years in what was one of the roughest parts of town back in the day. One of the few things that made the place interesting. Del had a colorful past to go with everything he and his family has gone through personally over the years.

One day, he shows up at my graphic design studio back in the early 80’s to tell me that he had just bought this classic ’82 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird and was having it restored at a body shop nearby for his daughter, Tanya’s 21st birthday if I recall correctly. But being the promoter that Del always was, he wanted his daughter to have something uniquely different. So we brainstormed for a few minutes and came up with the idea of a tiger instead of the firebird. So that’s how I ended up at a custom paint shop with my airbrush for a couple of days. Here’s Tanya’s Trans Am Tiger:



I had no idea as to the importance of this gift to his daughter back then; Tanya was not supposed to have survived past her birth. (Their incredible story’s HERE – she passed away just a few years ago back in 2007.) In fact, going back on more of the stories about Del’s life, my life sure feels tame.

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