1 of 23
1 of 23
1. Tell us the story behind your ride. What made you pick this particular one? Where did you find it? I bought the car mid summer 2015, when I was 17, as a project car off of craigslist in the Cleveland area in fairly rough condition. I gained interest in cars from helping my dad work on his '65 Corvette Stingray before I could drive and wanted my own car to teach myself how to work on them. I was biased towards GM vehicles because of the impact my dad's vette had on me so I was mostly looking at Camaros and corvettes from the 70's to the 90's, but I was mostly drawn towards Firebirds because they weren't as common and used the same motor as the vettes at the time. I also had to have the notorious T tops that were so popular for those cars at the time. I've raced it stock at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio in 2016 and got high 14s and low 15s as an amateur before I installed the 4.11s in the rear end. This firebird was my in to the fantastic car culture that I have become apart of and this will be just the first of many projects I plan to take on. 2. Describe the modifications you have made. Where did you start, what’s the most recent mod and what motivated it? When I first bought it the car had a teal spray painted front bumper that was covered up with a car bra, aftermarket, nonfunctional, fiberglass ram air hood spray painted black only on top, which wasn't installed correctly, an aftermarket 2 inch Borla exhaust that wasn't tuned, the stock CAT had all of the platinum extracted from it, the transmission would grind when in reverse, and many other issues. I even checked the vin number and found out that my car was actually a '95 formula with a trans am bumper, center tail light filler, and lettering on the side. Over a year I made it my mission to restore the car close to stock first with the help of my dad, grandpa and my mechanic who has been a family friend for a while. I even drove it to Florida where my grandpa let me do a lot of the prep work before painting it at his collision shop. Most recently I replaced my stock shifter with a MGW shifter this winter, which I haven't been able to test yet. 3. Of all the mods you’ve made, which do you think offers the biggest bang for the buck? Currently my favorite modification I've done so far is either the Corsa exhaust that gives the car a nice deep rumble, or the 3.42 to 4.11 gears in the rear end. I've also read that a good short throw shifter is a great addition, but I haven't been able to test my new MGW shfiter yet. 4. How did you go about selecting the specific parts for this build? Any installation tips to share? For the most part I've decided on parts based on what the car needed most, such as a new exhaust, reverse gear, etc. After that I decided on mods that I thought I would have time for over summers, which became simpler because I went to college after I got the car restored. The only tip I have is to be patient and make sure that you don't bite off more than you can chew. It is easier if the car isn't your only way to get around so that you can take all the time you need to work on it and do things right. 5. What’s been the biggest challenge with this build? So far the biggest challenge on my build was going through the process of restoring it to near stock because of how time consuming it was. It was also my first major experience working on a car like I did. I've only ever done minor stuff before this. 6. What are you planning next? My next steps would be to pull the motor apart and upgrade it or get a crate motor to put in, but I haven't figured out my plan of action yet. I decided not to do major motor work until I am out of college and have more time around the car to pull the motor and do things right so I have been finding other ways improve the car every winter.
See whose at the top of the Wheelwell Firebird Leaderboard