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Passer-by, soon-to-be member? :-)


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Nounou7701

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Posted A week ago

Hi everyone,

 

I came across this forum and figured out it is the place I am looking for, considering my will to buy a second gen Firebird. 

 

Just to give you a bit of background, I live in Paris, France, I'm 27, strongly interested in cars, DIY (whether it is my cars, my home, etc...), Music, Movies, and dogs.

 

Having some american V8 has always been in my bucket list, especially considering that it doesn't smell good in France for classic cars (Pollution, gas price), and if I don't pull the trigger soon... I might not ever do it nor have the chance to without too much struggle. On the other hand, I'm not willing to pay 50K€+ to buy my dream car, a 1970 Dodge Challenger with the 440 R/T package (Vanishing Point enthusiasts here?). 2nd Gen Firebirds appear to be just the perfect fit as they come in plenty of shapes (early models vs later ones), have Air Con and Power Windows (so my GF will bear with me on the project  :B):), interesting displacements, and parts appear to be easily available.

 

What cars have I had? Well, in order of ownership:

 

-> 1983 Opel Manta GT (The European Camaro, I was 18  :lol:  ),

-> 1998 Bmw E36 316i Coupe,

-> 1999 Peugeot 406 Coupe (worst crap I've ever owned)

-> 2001 BMW E46 325CiA (Currently missing it a lot)

-> 2016 BMW F20 120iA Stage 1, my daily driver as of today.

 

And that's about it :-)

 

So, back to the specific reason that led me here:

 

210607031850989493.jpg

 

21060703193058887.jpg

 

210607032002128359.jpg

 

This is a 1976 Pontiac Firebird 400Ci and... There's not much more on the ad  :lol:

 

After a quick discussion with the owner, it was imported from Switzerland (Speedometer in miles and Km/h), repainted 7 years ago, lots of maintenance invoices coming with it, Odometer is not working, some paint has to be refreshed (Varnish mostly), Interior trim is fine but some stitches to be planned on the seats, runs great, supposedly has A/C but he never used it, and he told me it has the TH400 tranny  :ermm: Maybe he mixed with the engine displacement, as I thought the 6.6 Liters got the TH350.

 

I will go and see it next Sunday (June 13), and I can really use some tips from people who have the experience! Are there any specific points I should check so I don't end up with a sh*tbox / rustbucket (Battery tray, wheel arches, glazing surroundings, engine code, VIN number so I can decode it and see if it's original, etc...)? Is there anything out of place for you from the very minimalist information I have so far? (i.e body color vs year).

 

Thanks a lot for your help  :hello:


Edited by Nounou7701, A week ago.


#2 Injuneer

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Posted A week ago

Welcome to Firebird Nation ! ! !

 

Good luck with your potential purchase.  Impressive car.


1994 FIREBIRD FORMULA
FRED

 
381ci all-forged stroker (Callies Stealth, Oliver billet rods, BME 2618-T61 nitrous pistons) - 10.8:1 - CNC LT4 heads/intake - Comp Cams solid roller - MoTeC M48 Pro engine management - 8 LS1 coils - 58mm TB - 74#/HR injectors - 300-shot dry nitrous - TH400 - Gear Vendors 0.78:1 O/D - Strange 12-bolt - 4.11 Pro-Street gears - AS&M headers - true duals - Corbeau seat - AutoMeter gauges - roll bar - Spohn suspension - QA1 shocks - a few other odds 'n ends. 800HP / 800lb-ft at the flywheel, on a 300-shot. 11.5 @ 117 MPH straight motor
 
https://www.firebird...9_698_32777.jpg

 


#3 Nounou7701

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  • Engine: 350Ci
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted A week ago

Thank you  :B):

 

If I pull the trigger on it, of course a dedicated topic will follow!

 

Still looking for advice on what to check specifically if anyone knows the weak points?



#4 NOT A TA

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Posted A week ago

Look for rot in the forward section of the rear frame rails, rear window channel, feel under the bottoms of the doors for rot and look at the rear lower corners of the door jambs by the door sill plates for issues f rust or poor quarter replacement. Check the inside of the tail panel. Look at the base of the A pillars inside the windshield for rust and of course the usual places behind the wheels. Inspect the body mounts for the front sub frame. Inspect the spring pocket area at the front of the rear springs.

 

The '70 Challenger was a great looking car but the 2nd gen birds are a much better car in my opinion. Here's a pic of my drivers in high school. The Camaro spent most of the winter in the garage while the Challenger got used on rain & snow days ahahaha.

 

016.jpg?width=1920&height=1080&fit=bound


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#5 ZumpTA

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Posted A week ago

Welcome!  That looks like a very nice and clean example of a 2nd Gen.  Hope things work out for you and you join us permanently.  


"There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.
We don't believe this to be a coincidence."
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#6 GaryDoug

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Posted A week ago

You can't beat a Gen 2 for pure automotive-sexiness. I had one for about 10 years and loved it. I had to sell it when the engine died from over-mileage...and abuse... and I got a new g/f who hated it. She did not last for long.

 

The car will not be perfect by a long shot, but will sound awesome. I remember having Thrush mufflers installed at a muffler shop and hearing them "test it" as I sat in the waiting room. I had to restrain myself because there were other customers present ;-)

 

Check the freeze-out plugs at the back of the cylinder heads. Sometimes they fail and that really requires engine or head removal to replace them.

 

Be careful when "punching" it or you may find yourself going sideways quick....heavy motor, light rear end.

 

Check under the rear spoiler for rust inside the trunk lid. Some spoilers were added aftermarket and not installed well.

 

There may be an access hole cut in the right side fender well to remove the HVAC blower motor. I added mine but make sure it is well sealed.

 

And.....don't let anyone tell you that you can't pull a boat trailer and drive 300 miles each way with it ;-)


Edited by GaryDoug, A week ago.

gallery_14511_2130_2884.jpg
1998 Trans Am - LS1/A4 - all stock - one owner - driven daily - Scan9495 author


#7 Nounou7701

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  • Engine: 350Ci
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted A week ago

Thank you all for the advice, I am completing my check-list.

 

@Not A TA, Thank you for the comparison, didn't expect someone would have had both a Challenger, and at least two gens of Camaros / Firebirds. Lucky you!

 

@ZumpTA, thank you, I hope too!

 

@GaryDoug Thank you for the feedback. I believe it already has an aftermarket exhaust from what I've understood  :lol: And as for the tip on "Freeze-out plug", is it the thing that always corrodes and ends up leaking coolant? I'm sorry as I don't have all the technical vocabulary, this is what I understood after a quick search.

 

I also took time to see what mods are available, pretty amazing to see you can get bolt-on tranny with overdrive, bolt-on shift grid/pattern to match, bolt-on fuel injection, bolt-on everything... A lot of room for improvement!



#8 GaryDoug

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Posted 6 days ago

@GaryDoug Thank you for the feedback. I believe it already has an aftermarket exhaust from what I've understood  :lol: And as for the tip on "Freeze-out plug", is it the thing that always corrodes and ends up leaking coolant? I'm sorry as I don't have all the technical vocabulary, this is what I understood after a quick search.

 

 

Yes. They are on the back of the heads and are very close to the firewall. I was barely able to remove the leaking one and put in a rubber plug held on by a small plate with two bolts into unused tapped holes on the back of the head.
 

Attached Files


gallery_14511_2130_2884.jpg
1998 Trans Am - LS1/A4 - all stock - one owner - driven daily - Scan9495 author


#9 Nounou7701

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  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 5 days ago

Thanks for the DIY GaryDoug, seems pretty straightforward to make that sandwich plate with rubber plug.

 

Another dumb question... Are all the tools required to work on these cars in inches? Just so I know whether to buy a full set of adapters :lol:



#10 NOT A TA

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Posted 5 days ago

Some fasteners are metric and some are standard. 2nd gens were built during the years where the auto industry was switching to the metric system. They didn't change everything all at the same time so use caution to prevent rounding off bolts etc.


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#11 Nounou7701

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Posted 3 days ago

Alright Guys,

 

I'm just back from the seller's house... Bought it after 5-6 hours there.

 

As things turned out:

 

-> Global shape is really nice (for a 45 Years Old car). Paint has a few cracks here and there, from a what I believe a poor paint/varnish quality. I have a detailer friend who will work this out,

-> Frame is solid. I didn't see anything more than some surface rust, the kind that goes away if you scratch it,

-> A/C Compressor and according lines are missing,

-> Interior is worn a bit but nothing unexpected for a car that age,

-> They got the engine wrong and thought it was a Formula 400. Turns out it's an Esprit 350Ci, numbers matching (VIN 2T87M6N)

-> Got a 10% discount on it for the items mentioned before, although the price was already pretty low.

 

All in all, I don't know what to think about the driving. It goes straight, doesn't feel like it's wanting to kill me but feles like there's quite some body roll, and the braking... My god. Slows down more than it breaks, I definitely can't drive it the way I drive my 1 series BMW. Terrifying, but I went for it  :lol: Can be driven as is, but there will definitely be a braking system update on top of the list, plus A/C re-installation, and sort that paintjob out.

 

Still have to transfer the funds and have it loaded on a trailer back to Paris, I think I'm optimistic if I say next week-end, I hope for it.

 

Took a few pictures but I'm on the train, and the internet connection is terrible...

 

h3it.jpg

 

u1ki.jpg

 

cjbf.jpg



#12 Nounou7701

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  • Engine: 350Ci
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 3 days ago

ok4x.jpg

 

t9uc.jpg

 

mwr1.jpg

mwr1.jpg

 

 

bm95.jpg



#13 Nounou7701

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  • Engine: 350Ci
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 3 days ago

Oh yeah and there's an LSD, I believe with the wrong ratio as the speedometer was showing 40 Km/h, but in reality we were doing 60...



#14 GaryDoug

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Posted 3 days ago

Welcome to the club. There is no finesse in these vintage cars...but the brakes should be a lot better. Also, maybe check the stabilizer bars in front and back. Loose or missing ones will make it roll. If anything, this car will ride and handle a lot rougher that what you are used to and be not as responsive. That comes with the design in the 70's. My father's 1965 Mercedes was a wonder to me at the time with it's good handling. USA cars of that time were all muscle and could only go in a straight line well ;-)


gallery_14511_2130_2884.jpg
1998 Trans Am - LS1/A4 - all stock - one owner - driven daily - Scan9495 author


#15 GaryDoug

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Posted 3 days ago

Thanks for the DIY GaryDoug, seems pretty straightforward to make that sandwich plate with rubber plug.

 

Another dumb question... Are all the tools required to work on these cars in inches? Just so I know whether to buy a full set of adapters :lol:

It has been a very long time, but I don't remember having to get any metric tools for my 1970 Formula. Perhaps they went metric after that.


gallery_14511_2130_2884.jpg
1998 Trans Am - LS1/A4 - all stock - one owner - driven daily - Scan9495 author





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