Does any one know about the Royal Bobcat Firebirds? I tried to do some research, I found out that the name was derived from the Catalina & the Bonneville (hence Bob Cat). But they did test some pretty awesome 428 Firebirds, maybe not very street friendly but still very intersting to me. Was there ever a badge made for the Firebirds? Never advertised and certainly to a back seat to the Yenko at the time. I ask because I came upon a 428 that I will install in my 68 coupe. Maybe will give me a target clone. If not I will just make it into a really fun car to drive.
Break out another $1000.
Royal Pontiac cars used Royal Pontiac emblems, which were made of an embossed paper material, sticky back. Royal used the same emblems for a Firebird as they did for a GTO. The actual location of those emblems on the body changed over the years, but that was the only emblem they used.
The reproduction Royal Bobcat emblems are not like the originals. The repros are made of an aluminum sheet, they aren't embossed, and they are slightly smaller than the originals.
The red outline in the photo below is not part of the emblem, it's just a goofy shading effect.
Actually, the Royal Bobcat Firebirds just had regular 400 emblems. There was another dealer called Myrtle Motors that used 428 emblems on the hood.
There's actually some dispute as to whether Royal Pontiac ever sold a Firebird Bobcat 428 conversion. No examples have ever surfaced. They did a few GTO's.
They did perform Bobcat conversions on 67-69 Firebirds, which was the tuning, rejetting, recurving the distributor, cc the heads, shim the springs, etc., and those cars would have had the Royal Bobcat body emblems installed by Royal.
There were also thousands of members in the Royal Pontiac Club back then, and for a couple bucks, they would send you a catalog and a couple window decals (the little guy running with the emblem) to apply to your window.
If you bought the whole Royal Bobcat kit via mail order, which included jets, advance kit parts, thinner head gaskets, plugs, etc., you also received those body emblems shown above.
The Royal Pontiac Firebirds are few and far between. More famous were the Royal Pontiac race team cars, which had the giant "ROYAL" scrawled across their doors, and contingency decals, etc.
This is a 69 Firebird 400 that was prepped by Royal. The car started out as a base Firebird 400, was road tested by a magazine then Royal added a Ram Air setup and it was road tested again. Decades later, one automotive writer incorrectly stated this was a RAIV car.
You can see the Royal Bobcat badge in front of the door handle (they did the same on the 69 GTO). This was the only year Royal placed the emblems in this location.
Loc: Marine City, Michigan
Here is more info on Royal Pontiac:
Ace Wilson Royal Pontiac, based in Royal Oak Michigan, carried the performance banner for Pontiac. It all began with Pontiac adman Jim Wangers, proposed the idea of dealer-supported performance programs. Pontiac management would allow only one dealer to be a guinea pig, Royal Pontiac was chosen because of convienence. With factory support, Royal Pontiac sucessfully campaigned a 1959 Catalina in NHRA drag racing and then triumphed on Super Duty Monday, Labor Day in 1960, when Super Duty Pontiacs won three major competition events in three different locations. Sales of performance cars and parts escalated from there and Royal Pontiac created the Royal Racing Team for their fans which quickly grew to 55,000 members in just two years. In 1965, Royal mechanics developed the idea of sealing the Tri-Power's three air cleaners in a "pan" that that sandwiched a large foam gasket against the underside of an opened-up hood scoop. This package became an over the counter dealer option from Pontiac in 1965 and debuted as Pontiac's full force Ram Air engine option in February 1966. Along with parts, Royal also offered conversion kits. Early examples included a Paxton-supercharged "Royal Grand Prix" in 1962 (one built) and a hopped-up four cylinder "Tempest Tiger." Then came the first "Royal Bobcat," a big Catalina with all of Pontiac's hotest parts, including a Tri-Power 421, various tuning tricks and tweaks, distinctive paint, and Bobcat identification (made from the "CAT" leters from the Catalina and two "B"s and the "O" from the Bonneville. Royal became the leader in modified Pontiac's and Wangers continued to turn to Royal for all cars prepped for races or the press (including the infamous GTO vs. GTO Motor Trend car - which, by the way, had a 421). At its peak, Royal was selling over 1,000 Bobcat conversions a year, including GTOs, big 2+2s, Bonnevilles, Grand Prixs, and Firebirds. In 1968, Royal started dropping in 428 engines into GTOs and Firebirds, against GM rules, but similar to the shenanigans performed by Don Yenko and others. But in 1969, Ace Wilson decided he had enough and sold his Royal Racing Team to Leader Automotive, run by John DeLorean's brother George. In 1974, Wilson sold his dealership to pursue a land development deal and the Royal era came to an end.
1968 Firebird 428 4 speed coupe