Museum’s Screen Used Rockford Files Firebird
Nelson Garage’s Rockford Files Firebird
Written by Jim Suva
Nelson’s Garage is a museum located at 629 Main Street, Deadwood, South Dakota. This museum is on the main floor of the Celebrity Casino Hotel. Nelson’s Garage is owned by brothers Don and Robert Nelson. In November 2003, Don Nelson informed me that they were putting a screen-used Rockford Files Firebird on display in their museum.
This Firebird is a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula. It has a 350 cubic inch engine with a 4 barrel carburetor, automatic transmission, AM/FM radio, power steering, power brakes, power windows and air conditioning.
The Firebird was purchased through a prop house that has a relationship with Cinema Vehicle Services. According to Robert Nelson the Firebird has patched holes in the trunk lid and fenders. These holes were filled in after the standard rear spoiler was removed. This car also has two letters of authenticity from Cinema Vehicle Services. One letter states that this car was used in the filming of the “Rockford Files”, the second states that the car was used in the television shows “Rockford Files” starring James Garner. Both letters contain the VIN number of the Firebird and are signed by the President of Cinema Vehicle Services.
The Firebird has been on displayed for a number of years now. Robert said, “People who appreciate and know the car best are typically the people who used to watch the TV series. They love the car!” In fact, a lot of people who visit their property are retired, and that is why they felt the car would be such a good fit.
The Rockford car has been well taken care of. It is rotated with other cars on display and is serviced regularly. When the car is not on display, it is serviced and stored in a heated warehouse. I believe this one of the last Firebirds that James Garner drove as Jim Rockford. This is a nice piece of TV history and it is in very good condition.