1967 Firebird Convertible Project
In June of 1989 I went to Harlan, KY to look at this 1967 Firebird Convertible. A friend was wanting to build a convertible and he'd gotten information on this car. We met the owner at a gas station and then rode in the owner's black Cadillac way up in some "holler" to an abandoned garage... and hoping that we would be returned to the gas station and our vehicle. We looked at the Firebird and negotiations began... but a deal was not made. Then in February of 1990 a deal was struck and the Firebird was trailed back to East Tennessee to be stored in a barn. In August of 1990 the Firebird was brought to my house to begin the project. This 1967 Firebird originally was equipped with the 326 cid, 2 bbl engine along with the two speed automatic transmission. It had drum brakes on all four corners and manual steering. The only real option on this Firebird was that it was a convertible.
|Here's the 1967 Firebird Convertible just after being unloaded in the barn... you can tell it had sat in the abandoned garage for a long time.||See all of the bondo on the rear quarter panels? The "gills" had been filled with bondo... do you think they we trying to turn it into a Camaro??|
|This was a nice 1975 455 Pontiac engine. We pulled the heads and check the cylinders and they were in excellent shape, no ridge, and standard bore!!||We pulled the front clip and kept everything together until it was time to begin working on it.|
|You can just barely see where someone had taken a "blue tip wrench" (oxy-acetylene torch) to burn a hole the transmission tunnel for the 4-speed shifter to come through. We cut a correct tunnel section from a Camaro and welded it in so the 4-speed shifter would look correct.||Someone had the bright idea to make some homemade engine mounts and stick weld them to the frame. Thankfully, they were just as bad at welding as they were fabricating so one good smack with a hammer and they broke off clean from the subframe!!|
|Here's where we began the quarter panel replacements. If you want the detailed version, go to our technical section on our website.||We did some massive surgery removing the quarter panels, outer wheel houses, trunk floor extension, etc. to repair this Firebird.|
|Pretty much ready to install the new quarter panel skin!!|
|The quarter panel skin is tacked-in and ready to finish weld. No flanging tools. Butt-weld seams only.||Here's the finished weld, ground flush, and ready for a skim coat of body filler.|
|This quarter panel is ready for some primer...||Now doesn't that look MUCH better!!|
|The doors are stripped and ready for refinishing.||Here's what a door looks like after body work and primer.|
|Subframe after sandblasting and self-etching primer.||Subframe after 4 coats of semi-gloss black acrylic enamel.|
|Now for the front suspension parts, tank straps, etc.||Fresh paint and the new ball joints have been installed.|
|Here's the original 1967 mono leaf springs and a set of 1969 multi-leaf rear springs.||With the 455 and 4-speed, we opted for the multi-leaf rear springs to keep the rear axle under control.|
|A clean firewall with new seam sealer applied.||Since this Firebird was being built as an occasional driver, we reundercoated the underbody.|
|Here's the subframe reinstalled and ready for the front suspension to be bolted back on.||Here's the completely rebuilt 10-bolt 3.08:1 positraction rear axle all painted and ready for installation.|
The 455 engine had a junk Saginaw 4-speed bolted behind it and it wouldn't even turn. We bought a nice Muncie 4-speed to go with the 455 engine. We found a set of the original 1967 over-ride traction bars that were installed on the 400 equipped Firebirds and installed them. The front drum brakes were converted to power-assisted front disc brakes. The manual steering box was replaced with a quick ratio power steering box.
We completed the bodywork on the body shell and doors, rebuilt the front and rear suspension, and painted and detailed the front and rear suspension, subframe, and underbody. Work was progressing steadily through 1994. The majority of the bodywork was completed and the suspension was complete. The owner was losing interest and the Firebird sat for several years. Then owner sold the Firebird before it was finished.