Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hunting project car parts leads to rare “X” Code 1972 Pontiac Trans Am in Sweden

Thomas Rosenborg with his 1972 “X” Code Trans Am in Sweden. 


Searching Sweden for Pontiac parts leads to discovery of rare 1972 Trans Am used for smuggling drugs. A few weeks ago Sweden’s Thomas Rosenborg found a classified ad listing early 1970s Trans Am parts. “I wondered, if there are so many parts, what happened to the car?,” said Rosenborg. Several hundred miles from home, Rosenborg bought the parts and began the chase for the Trans Am to which they belonged.

Parts, no car 
“I ended up meeting, Raimo, a guy that had seen better days and probably a lot of booze,” said Rosenborg. “Raimo told me the story of his life and that he was still the registered owner of the Trans Am, but he didn’t know where the car was!”



1972 Pontiac Trans Am “X” Code found in Sweden.

Drugs, stolen engines   
During a 5-hour chat, the owner revealed the T/A’s sordid past and that it was indeed a 4-speed “X” Code car. The ’72 T/A had been on a bumpy ride through Sweden even before he purchased it in 1976.
  In 1975, the Trans Am arrived in Sweden, 4,300 miles from the Norwood, Ohio assembly plant where it was built. Resourceful drug smugglers believed the Trans Am would the ideal for transporting their goods. Illegal drugs had been packed inside the inner roof of the T/A before it crossed the border. More criminal activity followed the Pontiac in Sweden. The car was soon stolen and the 455 H.O. engine disappeared. Another owner installed a 455 Super Duty engine which also was stolen. 
  The car changed hands several times within a year. Raimo was the fourth owner to hold the title to the T/A by 1976. He had stripped most of the remaining parts off the car when he eventually lost track of the shell in 2006. Rosenborg left a contact number with the Raimo because he was still interested in tracking down what was left of the rare Pontiac.

Trans Am hunt begins  
Rosenborg loaded the T/A parts and went home. A few days later he received a phone call from the parts seller. Raimo had dug up a phone number. It was a contact for a woman who owned the barn where the T/A was last seen around 2006. Now Rosenborg had a lead.

Too many dead ends 
The Trans Am was moved around Sweden without legally changing ownership from Raimo. “I gave it to a neighbor,” the woman, who answered the phone, told Rosenborg. 
  Rosenborg found and phoned the neighbor. “I gave it to a panel beater (body man),” said the neighbor.
  “I was really pissed,” said Rosenborg. The trail to the Trans Am was full of dead ends. Rosenborg called the panel beater. “He told me he gave it to a friend,” said Rosenborg. Undeterred, Rosenborg tracked the friend down and phoned this “friend.”
  The panel beater’s friend tried to brush Rosenborg’s attempts at locating it aside. “I’ve got the car, but it’s nothing to have, no fenders, no instrumentation, no rear axle,” the friend said.
  Rosenborg had found the car but he had to push hard get it. 
  “The car is not yours,” Roseborg said. “I’ll call the police if you don’t give it to me.”
  “Come and get it,” said the panel beater’s friend.




Thomas Rosenborg, right, shakes hands with Raimo, the former owner of the ’72 Trans Am as it begins to rain.


Not so fast ...
  The same day Rosenborg was to begin a 450-mile trek to pick the Trans Am up, the father of the panel beater’s friend called and he was not happy. “You are not allowed to pick up the car without bringing the previous owner and his ID,” said the father. “No problem,” said Rosenborg. Raimo accompanied Rosenborg to rescue the car. A front end loader was used to lift the Trans Am and move it to Rosenborg’s trailer.

Sixth owner
  Raimo was paid $1,750 USD for the Trans Am including almost all of the removed parts except the engine. Rosenborg is still tracking the original Muncie 4-speed transmission which makes the “X” Code so special. 
  All 1972 Trans Ams were packing 455-cu. inch H.O. engines but the one Rosenborg purchased was one-of 458 built with the M22 Rock Crusher close ratio 4-speed manual transmission. A “WM” or “WD” was stamped into the block on “X” Code T/As during the strike-shortened ’72 production year. 

“X” Code Pontiac project home at last
Rosenborg hauled the ’72 Trans Am 450 miles home. He arrived at 3 a.m. and parked his trailer loaded with the rusty T/A shell on the street in front of his house. The next morning his neighbor summarized the situation.
  “Thomas, I know you have a diagnose (sickness), but I didn’t know it was this bad.”

– Jody Potter, junkyardlife.com 



Rosenborg inspects his latest Pontiac purchase.


The rare 1972 Trans Am is loaded onto trailer a for 450-mile ride to its new home in Sweden.


Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a car or junkyard?  Send emails to junkyardbull@gmail.com.