In my original posting on The Rockford Files I mentioned that in later episodes, the editors would craftily sneak in shots of Rockford’s ’74 Firebird even while he drove a ’76-’78 in other scenes.
I am no particular fan of Firebirds and have no trouble differentiating between’74-‘75s and ’76-‘78s–or so I thought.
But Billy Rockfish pointed out a detail that I had completely missed: The 1970-74 Firebird’s rear window (backlite, in carspeak) ends at the C-pillar, as illustrated by the two photos above.
The 1975 backlite wraps around, however, turning the C-pillar into a basket handle. I had completely missed that, so I went back to Episode #1 to see if I could pinpoint the transition from ‘74s to ‘75s. Instead, I found there was none–they used both ‘74s and ‘75s in the same episode! In fact, the two shots of Rockford’s Firebird above were from successive scenes. And this wasn’t the only occurrence; it happened throughout Episode #1, and possibly others.
I have just finished reading “The Garner Files-A Memoir”, by James Garner and Jon Winokur, and in it Garner states that his production company, Cherokee Productions (Garner is one-quarter Cherokee), bought three new Firebirds a year until 1979 (after which they kept using ‘78s)–all of them Sierra Gold with a Camel Tan interior and equipped with the 400 cu in engine. The only change made from stock was to “stouten up the suspension” to handle stunt routines.