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The story of Hotpants, the Bastard 1967 Firebird Phantom

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  • The story of Hotpants, the Bastard 1967 Firebird Phantom

    This is the story of our 1967 Firebird convertible. The car was orignally a Signet Gold OHC 6, Powerglide, power black top, and black interior car. By the time we purchased it in 2003 it had evolved into a early 70's Chevy 250 truck six power with a rebuilt BOP Turbo 350 and more than one repaint (oh boy). The car still had the manual drum brakes, it was dreadfully slow, and it was that ugly-ass Gold color to boot.

    Since it is my wife's car, she named the car Hotpants due to the flames on the bottom of the spoiler. Long story short the dude who painted it puts flames on everything, and I told him if he flamed the car I'd have his ass since that didn't fit the theme I had in mind. Well, he snuck in some flames - he replicated the top stripes around the spoiler, did two little flames on the bottom of the spoiler and we like it!
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    Last edited by 99_ls1; January 9th, 2012, 04:28 PM. Reason: Barney was 2003, not 2005...
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  • #2
    The car seemed fairly solid and it didn't seem bad enough to tear up for the Wayne Due kit that I had bought the car for replacement project fodder. I had bought that kit for a different '67 Firebird 400 that I had, however that project found its demise for reasons that don't need explaining if you look at the pics. That kit installed a C4 suspension with coilovers in a first-gen FBody, but it required a good bit of cutting even on a nice body.

    I was in *way* too deep over my head, and hadn't adequately braced the body when I started, and ended up with a completely non-square and non-completable pile of iron oxide. Truth be told I'm not Super Buick Guy... and that car ended up in the local dump's scrap metal bin.

    Frankly since we were looking for another project car to put that stuff in when I bought the gold car, and I eventually decided once it showed up that it was "too nice" to cut up for the C4 stuff. Well... So that stuff is still laying around waiting for another appropriate victim... That is for another time and another project. Dynacorn body anybody? I have a complete set of Goodmark sheetmetal for the front clip and a set of doors all ready to go still.
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    • #3
      So, the second iteration of the car started. A buddy of ours had a 355, Edelbrock 64cc RPM heads, an Eagle forged bottom end with a snotty Comp XR274 solid roller and rev kit setup, and he wanted to go big block. The motor came from one of the local well-known and winning Sprint Cup shops, and was intended to be a nitrous drag motor with the loose bearing clearances and the Comp XR274 cam and rev kit that was in it. I ended up with the engine, complete from water pump and belts to crank flange, carb on a ported Weiand single-plane, MSD ready-to-run distributor, chrome 6-qt oil pan, with a set of coated Hooker Super Comps for a very good friend price.

      So for those who wonder why a Pontiac has a Chevrolet engine in it, there it is. I've got primarily chevy stuff laying around, and no Pontiac stuff. A Firebird is just a Camaro with a big chrome beak and gills, right? Go ahead, tar and feather me for not going to the hassle and expense to put it back to Pontiac. It wasn't worth it.
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      • #4
        So, the second iteration turned out as you would expect - The car ended up with the above 355, the Turbo 350 (with added shift kit) that was in the car when we bought it, a 3500 stall converter to try and make up for that cam, a Denny's driveshaft, complete Moser 12-bolt with an Detriot True-Trac and 3:42s, and an SSBC 4-wheel power disc setup. The suspension is all stock attachment points, stock lower and upper A's, the springs and swaybars were Global West 1" drop pieces, KYB shoks, new fuel system, and new wiring front to back. I also took the opportunity to install the requisite polyeurethane everywhere in the suspension and subframe, motor and trans mounts, everywhere.
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        • #5
          More Pics of the build.
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          • #6
            The car was not intended from the beginning to be a race car by any means. The car was intended to be my wife's cruiser. However, after all of this, we had ended up with a car that flexed and bent and sashayed all over due to the tired and swiss-cheese floorpans and the lack of subrame connectors. It sounded great, and ran like stink above 3500 RPM. It pulled like a freight train all the way to 5500+ when it started to lay over because of the intake - it's just a Performer Air-Gap, not an RPM Air-Gap in deference to its intended purpose as a cruiser. The brakes were snatchy because of the ultra-agressive pads I put in it, the cam was far to snotty for such a tame automatic application, and overall it just wasn't any fun to drive. And it was *still* ugly in gold. Jim Rockford we ain't.

            It was fun to take out and romp around in, but it wallowed and squeaked and the brakes chirped adn squealed and the car generally wasn't something I wanted my wife and her friends out in. The motor had two speeds as you would expect: snotty idle, or WFO. It ran quite well in a straight line, but the local constabulatory was taking notice every time I fired it up, and the parking garage at work was quite funny with all the car alarms going off every time I entered or exited the garage... Security tracked me down and requested that I no longer drive it as it was setting off the monitoring system for the campus... I had considered another fuel injection setup to tame the cam and a new exhaust, but in the end it would be better if I just went ahead and calmed the motor down with a milder cam. The big cam and rev kit already had an alternative home - the blue car in my avatar...

            EDIT: never let your 13-year old "pull it around to the shop". He buried it in the backyard down to the frame rails...
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            Last edited by 99_ls1; January 9th, 2012, 05:03 PM.
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            • #7
              So, after discussing with my wife what it would take ("I effin HATE the color") and the car basically sitting for a year and a half unused we finally resolved to do something about this delimma. I figured that we'd fix the floors. add some subrame connectors to finish stiffening the chassis, paint the car, redo the interior and top, change the cam, switch the exhaust out, and put milder pads in the calipers. Of course, it turned out to be a little bit more than that. Here is what she looked like before the teardown...
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              • #8
                Our buddy Dave took care of the floors for us. They were rotten front & back, and it's a good thing we ripped them out - the substructure was also punky where it got to the rockers. So Dave tore all that out, I got panels from NPD, and the punkiness was resolved with a couple parts I still had laying around from Barney, the purple C4 aborted attempt.

                I sent it off to another friend John's house for paint... John spent many years painting some of the most famous oval race cars around these parts in his past lives. He doesn't own a paint booth, he shoots out of the little 3-car garage in his backyard, so we knew it wouldn't be perfect, but this car is far from perfect anyways. Once John jumped into it, we found out the car had 4 heavy coats of paint and we decided to blast it to start from scratch. Well, we all know what happens when you blast a car. Yes, it turned out that the car had been hit at least three times, and was complete junk on both sides from the doors back... It appeared that the front fenders and valance were original, one complete original door on the left side, and the right side had obviously been hit and skinned. Badly one might add. The quarters had been butchered and replaced with GM Camaro quarters at one time in the way distant past, and to say that the Flintstones did the work would be a very charitable observation. The quarters were utter junk and completely non-salavagable.
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                • #9
                  So, back to Dave for quarters:
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                  • #10
                    So, after floors, blasting, and quarters the car was finally ready to be painted. John spent a few months working on it and getting things straight and once our summer temps calmed down he shot the car in GM Code 10 (Arctic White) and 1967 Pontiac dark blue to match our eventual interior and top color. Pontiac has always been the blingy cousin of Chevrolet, and there's no reason not to paint it blue and white with all the emblems intact in my opinion. It wasn't original when it came to us, and it's not worth putting it back to original so let's have some fun with it! So we added a few ersatz 1969 Trans Am details such as the rear spoiler and the front fender extractors, simply since it is a Pontiac Firebird. It's not a Trans Am, and it's not intended to be a Trans Am. It's got a mixture of custom top stripes, a hood that never came with stripes, and ersatz 1967/68 H.O stripes down the side which were masked from a real template, but the stripes never came in blue from the factory.
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                    • #11
                      More paint shots.
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                      • #12
                        After all of the love and attention that she got when she was staying up at John's she finally came home for good.
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                        • #13
                          She's not complete yet, but the evolution from an eBay 6-cyl Powerglide car to a comfortable around-town ride is on the way uphill now. The iterations and the disassembly are all done now, and the paint is complete, and the assembly has started. Hopefully we can finish the car before April when the weather is nice, the goal is to have all three of us be able to take our cars over to the speedway for the next Food Lion Auto Fair.

                          Currently the car is pissing me off trying to change out the cam. Something has gone soft in the two years since it's been run, the cam is installed correctly, straight up, and something just isn't right. This car has always fought tooth and nail no matter what we did to it. After tearing it back down and revalidating that the cam is phased correctly, the valves are properly adjusted, and everything else triple-checked I now suspect something in the ignition, either the 6AL or the cap & rotor, which will be changed out tomorrow night.
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                          • #14
                            And that takes us up to the current day. I have to stop over behind Charlotte Motor Speedway tomorrow and gather up a new cap & rotor. I have new plugs and new wires and a spare coil, so we'll see what that brings!
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                            • #15
                              great thread, love the car...I really liked the gold...does that make me weird?

                              The guy who did the patch work on your car musta been the same guy who did the patches on my Fury...brazed goodness as far as the eye can see,

                              The new work looks amazing.
                              If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

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