Jerry Titus, a seasoned and successful racer arrived at the 1969 24 Hours of Daytona with a fully prepared Trans Am racing car — once a Camaro but now wearing the panels from Pontiac's Firebird — ready to enjoy whatever luck might accompany his entry in Touring 5000, one of nine classes and 63 cars that would form the grid for the run around the clock.
By the end of those 24 hours, Titus and co-driver Jon Ward would demonstrate the power of preparation and perseverance — and benefit from a whole lot of luck — to earn not only top spot in class but third overall behind a pair of Lola T70s. That their roaring chunk of American iron outlasted faster, lighter and more exotic machinery to reach the podium seems unlikely enough, but given the race's high rate of attrition, it was entirely possible the Pontiac would have taken an overall victory were it not for the delay to find and swap in a replacement rear end. As it was, the Titus / Ward car finished just six laps behind the second-place Lola and 35 laps in arrears of the winning Penske Sunoco Lola of Donohue / Parsons / Bucknum. It was undoubtedly a relieved group of sanctioning officials when the cobbled-together American Pony Car failed to earn the top step.
After Daytona the car would never run again in an American series. Daytona also would be the last time Jerry Titus won a race. Though he enjoyed a good 1969 Trans Am season in the new Firebirds, the 1970 season did not start out well, and it ended in tragedy for Titus when he lost his life in practice at Road America in August.
Bonhams will be offering this example at their upcoming Amelia Island auction on the 9th March, the estimated value is between $300,000 – $400,000. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos courtesy of Bonhams.