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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4
    Country Flag: United States

    Default 1973 Firebird Espirit Project

    Hi folks, my name is BK. I’ve been lurking this forum for years now, gleaning knowledge and inspiration from so many contributors. Since I’ve owned my project car, I’ve met a lot of great people via swap meets, craigslist, and car shows that were interested in seeing what I was up to. Its for this reason, and the fact that I want to get any constructive feedback/advice as I move forward, that I decided to finally create a build post.

    Please feel welcome to post any thoughts, suggestions, or questions you might have, I’m all ears!

    To be honest, I didn’t get a ton done on the car for the first few years of ownership because 1. I used to fly twice a week for work. 2. I lived (and still live) 350 driving miles from the car. Now that I don’t travel so much for work, I have a bit more energy and time to make it to my buddy’s home shop to work on it during long weekends.

    January 18th 2014: I purchased this great running green 1973 Firebird Espirit in South Louisiana. The car came with a 4 inch thick folder full of maintenance records and receipts going back to 1973. The records indicated that the car spent most its life on the west coast (California and Arizona) which makes sense of the fact it was 99% rust free with only minor surface rust in a few sunbeaten spots and two 1 square inch areas on the dash/pillar area where I think leaves may have trapped water.

    Some specs on the car as purchased that I can still remember,.. not that any of that matters anymore:
    1970 Pontiac GTO 400 engine (with receipts from two rebuilds, last performed in 1995)
    4 Barrel Edelbrock
    Richmond 4 speed w/Hurst shifter
    Coy’s Wheels
    Factory 10.5” rear
    CCP Springs
    Hotchkiss sway bar
    Flowmasters Exhaust
    Headers
    Cam (don’t remember what brand/specs)
    Formula hood

    A saint of a friend of mine (pictured at our stop in Houston) drove me from central Texas to South Louisiana and followed me back, to help me get this car. I continued driving the bird from central Texas to Northwest Arkansas where it now sits in pieces. That drive was a blast, and I wish I had enjoyed the Pontiac 400 for a little while before I immediately began tearing the car down.








  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    185
    Country Flag: United States

    Default

    Looks like your off to a good start..enjoy the build..
    Jeff

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4
    Country Flag: United States

    Default

    Thanks Jeff! Its been an exercise in mental and financial perseverance.. but its definitely getting a lot more enjoyable these days!

    April 5th 2014: I pulled the body panels and found it pretty funny how many panel shims were stacked to level the fenders. Check out how many were in just the passenger side, haha!



    Friends and I started sanding via DA on the body panels. Even after using acid paint remover, that 70's paint gummed up a ton of 3M sand pads. The condition of all the panels blew my mind.. solid and rust free!. My friend (pictured below) was working on her motorcycle build and told me to come up to the shop with some panels to let her help. I was happy to let her loose to work on the fenders for a bit. Visit her instagram @kimchi_dreams21 if you want to check out completed bike build.



    After getting rid of the green paint, my buddy helped me weld up all the decal and body trim holes. He did one fender to show me how its done (below) and told me to do the other. After he laughed at me and fixed my welds, he called his wife out into the garage so she could lay down some welds to add insult to injury.



    Pictured is what the finished/corrected work looked like before grinding down.



    After grind and degrease.



    My buddy laying down epoxy (using PPG DP90LF throughout the build).





    February 13th 2016: Fast forward 2 years. My buddy built a new house and started building up an awesome shop space on his property that he graciously lets me work in with him. I also decided that I want to run T/A fenders with a Formula hood.

    Naturally I sell my awesome Firebird fenders that I put a lot of time and money into, and buy a not so great set of T/A fenders late at night (in low light) from a guy on craigslist. After my buddy and I messed with them a bit we decided they were going to take more repair work than they were worth for me to get them the way I wanted them. This is where my never-ending quest for good T/A fenders began.



    Check out my buddy's bad as GTO in the background!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4
    Country Flag: United States

    Default

    October 15th 2016: We started removing glass and gutting the interior.



    August 18th 2017: Pulled the 1970 Pontiac 400 and began stripping the subframe.





    A friend of a friend bought the Richmond 4speed manual and Hurst shifter for a Chevelle he is building.



    March 30th 2018: A friend and I spent a day trailering the bird to get it blasted/epoxied. We also worked on his 5.3 LS swap C30 truck he named "MoreDoors". He's got pictures of it and some bike build projects on instagram @jsanfor if you are interested.





    I also picked up a used tool cart and moved it and most of my tools to my buddy's shop where I am working on the bird. I completed stripping the subframe, cataloging all the suspension and steering parts I would reuse. That step was pretty easy, since I'm retaining only the stock spindles ;)





    June 9th 2018: I prepped the firewall and subframe for epoxy and under hood paint. For the under hood paint I used SEM HR010. I failed to get firewall pictures.. but you will see it plenty later on.









    My buddy laid down the paint.



    July 28th 2018: I went down to Houston TX to see some friends and pick up a LS2 pulled out of a Corvette with 14k miles. I drove it up to NW Arkansas to be with the bird while I continue to prep the front end for it.





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