My 2 Firebirds Runabout and Runamuck

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Socialvegetable, May 1, 2009.

  1. Socialvegetable

    Socialvegetable Wrecker

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    So, I know a post like this pops up every now and then, but I thought I'd start a new one, as I haven't seen one recently. Also, after Pontiac's death was announced earlier this week, this is my tribute of sorts.

    These are my two cars, 1987 and 1996 Pontiac Firebirds. My first car memory occurred when I was with my dad in 1996. He's an auto mechanic, and we stopped at a local Nissan dealership to pick up a part for a car he was working on. Sitting in the parking lot was a brand new 1996 TransAm Ram Air in white. I had never seen one before, and to this day I've never been so awestruck by a car. My dad, a former racer and car nut, learned me on what I was gawking at, and about pony cars in general. From that point, I've been a lifelong Firebird fanboy.

    When I turned 15, my dad and I were out getting groceries or something, when we passed his buddy's auto body shop. For sale in the lot was a pristine '87 firebird. We stopped to look, and I (half-jokingly) begged for the car. I still had a year to go before I could get my permit and license, but the next night at dinner, my dad slid a set of keys across the table to me. Speechless, I looked at the keys, then to my parents - I couldn't believe it. After dinner, my dad and I went to see the car again, and we drove it back to our house. The power steering was shot and it needed engine work, but I was in love.

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    The car got the work it needed, and I've got a million and one great memories of driving it. Fast forward to 2008, and the old bird's age is starting to show. It's got close to 300K miles, and is in need of some serious work. It sat for a few years while I was in college in the city, and occasionally did daily driver duty for my dad. Now I was moving to the 'burbs with my fiancee' and needed a more reliable car.

    One day after work, my fiancee' surprised me by telling me we were going somewhere. On the way, she spilled the beans that we were going to look at a car, a '96 Firebird. Despite it's jackass previous owner giving it some unnecessary "upgrades," it was a beauty, and my awesome fiancee' bought the car for me as a wedding present.

    [​IMG]

    So now I've got 2 Firebirds, and due to space and the fact that I don't need both at one time, the oldbird's back in stassis lock at my parents' house. The '96, as you can tell, has some TransAm decals and a RamAir hood, though it's a stock Firebird Coupe with the 3800 Series II V6. The car's rear was once totaled in an accident, and the owner had the rear bumper replaced with one from a 98-200 firebird, and replaced the center cap between the taillights with one from a Trans AM. I'm planning on ditching the TA logos and tailpiece when the car undergoes bodywork and paint in the future.

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    Also, I'm saving and planning for an engine swap with a factory fresh L32 (the supercharged V6 found in the '05 Grand Prix GTP) and a new transmission, to turn my baby into a new, faster car.

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    [​IMG]

    So, that's my car story so far, and planned future. Neither car is perfect, and they both need plenty of work, but I love them just the same. Anyone care to share their own car stories, or project cars?
     
  2. yodafett

    yodafett Well-Known Member

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    I've always been a Pontiac Fanboy myself. My first "real car" (by which I mean, with my name on the title, not my parent's) was an '89 Grand Prix. Maroon with grey interior.(Sorry, no Pics handy) It had... been around the block a few times, but as soon as I sat in it, it just... felt right. Drove it until the wheels fell off. Put about 150k miles on it in 3 years, until about the point that repairing it would cost more than replacing it. :( 

    Due to finances and what was available at the time, I ended up getting a 99 Monte Carlo. It was... ok. Drove it for 5 years until we detected a crack in the block. Well out of warranty. (I was very hard on cars when I was younger)

    Went to trade it in becore the crack got too bad. Looked at the new Monte Carlo's. pass. Looked at a Grand Am. Not for me. Liked a Bonneville, but too much $$$. Found a single '03 Grand Prix, a program car that had been driven by a GM employee for a year, with low mileage. Sat down and again, it just felt... right. Like coming home, as cheesy as that sounds. It wasn't until I drove it home and my (now) wife saw it for the first time that she commented that my old GP had been reborn. We were dating when I had the first one, but I never even noticed until she said it that it's the exact same color scheme, package, etc (or at least, as close as they can be over the changes). Maroon/Grey, CD, alloy rims, 3.1L etc. And it was. It's like my old baby was "reformatted" and brought back to me. :)  Now she (the car, not the wife) gets better treatment and much less wear and tear, only like 40k miles in 5 years now. I'm gonna keep her until the wheels fall off. And then replace them and keep driving. :) 
     
  3. Socialvegetable

    Socialvegetable Wrecker

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    Yeah, I like the last generation of the Grand Prix, and my wife wants one. I saw a used '05 Grand Prix GTP in the paper for $5779, and if I had the money, I might buy it for the engine and transmission alone, since a new L32 engine is going to run me that much alone. If I did buy it, I'd never e able to part it out, and we'd end up turning it into our daily driver.

    Also, they used that same maroon interior in the firebirds too (I think Dwight's TA on the Office is maroon), but both of mine are gray.

    The G8 GXP is such an awesome car, it's a shame to see the brand end when it was finally getting exciting again.
     
  4. yodafett

    yodafett Well-Known Member

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    Truth. A lot of people make the statement that Pontiac is (was) trying to be everything to everyone, and there's some truth there, but I rarely hear any complaints about the quality or experience, compared to other brands.

    Heck, I even had a Sunfire as a rental car, and even for a death-trap, I'd take one over a Cavalier any day and twice on Sunday, even though they're about the same car.

    I'd love to have a TA Ram Air some time. The only thing stopping me from tracking one down is my only problem with my GP, and that's that I've got bad knees, and as I get older, riding in a lower car is getting less and less comfortable to crawl out of. :-\

    Unless I put an 18" lift kit on the GP... lol
     
  5. Socialvegetable

    Socialvegetable Wrecker

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    Pontiac's history is all over the place, but I think it was the 80's and 90's that killed its reputation. I think the same could be said for most American automakers, though. There are two cars I dream of adding to my firebird collection: the 1991 Turbo TransAm, and any Firehawk I could get my hands on. Also a late Fiero.

    My old firebird's a workhorse, though and has lasted through much more mileage than most cars. My only complaint about either firebird is the Liveaxle rear end (coupled with crap tires because I'm too cheap to replace them) which results in countless fishtails through rainy intersections, even at the lowest of speeds.

    I think your car could use an airbag suspension kit to allow for greater comfort, and gold, 200-spoke wheels, for pimpability, and to match the airbags.
     
  6. Chaos Muffin

    Chaos Muffin Misadventure Veteran

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    Nice G1 collection
     
  7. michael_knight

    michael_knight Well-Known Member

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    Here's my '88:
    [​IMG]
    You can guess by my SN what I'm going to be doing to it. I'm so happy that it's finally back on the road, I replaced the original 305 with a 350 I built, and it runs great.
     
  8. MnemonicSyntax

    MnemonicSyntax Rooks Gang Leader

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    KITT was a 1982 TA, though I eagerly await your modifications.
     
  9. Socialvegetable

    Socialvegetable Wrecker

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    Haha, thanks. You should see my Countaches...that sounds dirty, and I apologize.
     
  10. Socialvegetable

    Socialvegetable Wrecker

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    Nice, man. I, too am a classic Knight Rider fan. When I was in high school, I dreamed of turning my car into a KITT replica, but after researching the parts, I realized that the cost, time, and know-how required were all too much. That and I liked my car as is. The old white paintjob has become a sort of slightly off-white, almost like an eggshell, and I love it. I like to think the car has aged well.

    I can't imagine an 80's bird with a big block in it. Does it have a live axle rear end? I know mine's got terrible traction with it's modest 6 cylinder, so I can't imagine one of those tanks with real power to those rear wheels.
     
  11. Blue Meanie

    Blue Meanie Hello from the Gutter

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    Sweet cars. I drive nothing but f-body cars (camaros and firebirds) and have built several. I wouldn't recommend building the supercharged v6 though. U can build LS1's and LT1's for peanuts nowdays. For example I am finishing a 427 LS7 for my SS and putting the old LS1 from the car in my 94 Z28. I am giving the LT1 to whomever is willing to drive away with it, transmission included. In the next few months I might be picking up an 89 Turbo TransAm from my friend. It would be my first Third gen firebird.
     
  12. rattrap007

    rattrap007 Insert witty comment here TFW2005 Supporter

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    Looks like it wants to come inside...
     
  13. MethKitty

    MethKitty it's about the podcast!

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    i had a 91 formula, i loved that car, was a very sad day when it left the driveway without me behind the wheel :cry 
     
  14. Soundwave84

    Soundwave84 Banned

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    Damn very very nice
     
  15. michael_knight

    michael_knight Well-Known Member

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    I know this, although '82 TA's are hard to find in good condition, and mine is already in pretty good shape. Plus I bought the car before I really decided what I wanted to do with it.

    A 350 is still a small block. And it actually drives fine, I don't drive it like I stole it though, since cops around here hate people who go to my school and fast cars, so I try to stay below the radar as much as possible. Plus I don't drive it in the winter, either, or in heavy rain.
     
  16. Greyryder

    Greyryder Kitbashed

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    They made almost no changes to the body work, untill the last few years of the third gen 'birds. The biggest change was to the front clip, which has to be replaced for a KITT replica, anyway. The other big changes were rocker panel extensions (which that car doesn't appear to have) and the rear wing, which shouldn't be a huge problem to replace.

    I'm presonally not a huge fan of the third gen cars, but I've always like the '87 notch backs. I think Classic Design Concepts sells a rear deck lid to convert a third gen F-body to a notch back, without the huge patch panel that GM used.
     

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