October 25, 2004:
Here it is, 5 years after my search began, and a year and a half after finding the perfect block to build, and I have the Firebird to put it in. Well, I still have to build the engine, but at least I have the basic building blocks now...
I have been looking for this car for years (I am only 27, so I guess it hasn't been THAT long...), and locally, I have only found one that was in restorable condition. The only restorable '68 Firebird I found wasn't for sale. No matter what I did, the guy wouldn't sell it. It sat in his front yard, rotting for a couple of years. He said that one day, he was going to restore it. Yeah... right. It hasn't happened yet. He also said that he didn't want to get rid of it, because he used to have a '66 GTO that he ended up selling for one reason or another, and has regretted it ever since. He didn't want that to happen again.
In my on-going search for a decent 1968 Firebird, I saw many cars that simply were not what I wanted for this project. One was only a shell of a car, and looked like it had been in the bottom of a lake for 30 years. Not pretty... One car I found actually was a 1969 Firebird, and I was ready to settle on that one (even though it was a little rough), due to my being discouraged about not being able to find the 1968 that I wanted. I won't get into the story of this car, but basically, the older guy that was selling it in the crack-whore town outside of the air base acted really odd... almost like the car was stolen. In line with my better judgement, I declined this car and decided to keep looking. You can see pics of the first real possiblility for my project here.
Well, here it is, October 2005, and I finally have my car. I am SO glad that the owner of the other restorable '68 didn't sell his to me, or I would have missed out on this one. Without going into a long, drawn out story, I will just say this... I thought that the car was simply a regular Firebird that someone had dropped an 350HO motor into (I couldn't see the VIN stamping with the radiator hose in the way), and put the HO striping on the side. I mean, it's okay to think that, right? That stuff happens over the course of 37 years. Basically, I had waited so long for this car to come along, and seeing the shape it was in, I had no problem paying $6500 for it, regardless if it was a base Firebird or not.
I was tuning it up a couple of days later (found that the timing was 5 degrees advanced, and it runs hotter than hell...) and I decided to replace the thermostat and coolant hoses, and flush the radiator, just for grins (and boy, were they nasty!). Since I had the hoses off, I decided to look at the VIN stamping. Lo and behold, this thing isn't only an HO motor, but it is the same damn motor that came with it off of the assembly line! Numbers matching 350HO, with 67k original miles. Needless to say, I was pretty happy about that. I got it for a steal, really.
Over the next couple of days, I made a call to PHS (Pontiac Historical Services), and ordered a complete information packet on the car. WOW!! That is a very cool operation they have running there. I received everything they had about the car, including the dealer invoice for the car when it was first sold, to copies of the window sticker! SWEET!
From their information, the only thing on the car that isn't original are the Rallye II wheels (it was ordered with Deluxe Wheel Discs). Other than that, it was built in Los Angeles, and first sold in Sacramento (45 minutes away). THAT is a local car!
Anyways, enough of me being a giddy little schoolgirl. Here are some pics of the car prior to it's planned transformation...