Home Current Projects Car Gallery Cars for Sale Restoration Contact Us

Current Projects - 67 Firebird Convertible

1967 Convertible
Fathom blue, parchment interior, 326, 3 speed manual

This project has ballooned from a "fix a few things" to a frame-off major project. But that's what needs to happen - I can't cover up problems after I found them, and I found a few.
So, this car is now almost completely disassembled. The original engine and trans are in the garage and will stay there. I am breaking my "factory original only" rule for the first time
and replacing the 326 3 speed manual powertrain with a 428 with Turbo 400 automatic. The 326 needed a rebuild, and I came across a nice 428 and transmission for less than the cost
of a rebuild and clutch. I have a brand new front power disc brake conversion that was intended for another car that was sold 2 years ago. So...the goal is to make this a very nice driver
with big V8, automatic and brakes that stop the car without fading and pulling. All new front suspension will be done at the same time the frame is being restored. Lots of work that
wasn't planned when I bought the car, but...that's the way it worked out.

During the summer of 2010 the top framewas rebuilt, some issues with the lower firewall and rear seat support were fixed, subframe was disassembled and cleaned and painted, and
all new front suspension and disc brakes were installed. The 428 engine and trans are in the car and running, but with absolutely no exhaust system. The newly upholstered seats look
good, and new top is next.

Sheet metal is back on the car, and it looks good...piece of cake! A lot of cost and work that weren't anticipated when I bought it, but will improve the car a lot. Its sitting under the cover in
in the garage until the weather gets warmer or the spirit moves me to fire up the garage furnace and finish the car - whichever comes first.

 

Click on the images below for a larger popup image - most (but not all currently) will have a larger version. Use the back arrow to return to the original page.

  As purchased, the car actually looked very good - my neighbor came trotting across the street just to tell me how good it looked. However, looks can be deceiving. Lots of things had been 'covered up' when the work was done by the previous owner (or whoever he paid to do it).  

The engine compartment was really clean, with some fresh paint in most areas - but the clean up prior to painting was not the best..

so this one is coming apart. The only question is how far?

 
  The interior is clearly in need of help. Wrong console, seats need recovered, steering wheel is nasty, gas gauge doesn't work - nothing major, just a lot of cleaning and painting, recovering, and replacement needed.   Turns out there's a non-obvious problem with the top. Top is brand new, but power cylinders were added to a manual top frame - which bends the frame the first time the top is lowered. So - remove the new top, remove the frame and replace with a correct power top frame.  
  Interior heater box needs redone, needs new heater core parts start coming off. Frame and suspension need cleaned up...lots to do. Hidden rust discovered on lower firewall that will require some cutting and welding, core support is like new on top and very old on the bottom...   Looks much better, metal patching still to be done  
  Replacing the heater core required taking off a fender, things didn't look so pretty, then the other fender came off and things got a quickie clean up and paint - looked much better   The original 326 looks good and is all there...sometimes I think I should have rebuilt it and kept the car original. Engine and trans are in the garage, so it can always be put back to in the future.  
  After some more thought the entire subframe needed redone and I found a 428 with turbo 400 trans that I just couldn't pass up. This has become a total rebuild - pull the engine and trans, tear down the subframe and start over.   Pulling an engine by yourself can get interesting - my wife helped by taking pictures and working the hoist a few times  
  Not too bad - engine and trans are numbers matching and will get stored away just in case.   Definitely needs some work. This will be the third subframe rebuild I've done.  
  After a lot of cleaning, sanding, filling, painting the metal parts look pretty good. All new bushings, ball joints, springs and shocks are being installed.  

Also installing a disc brake conversion kit. As long as the car won't be pure stock, it might as well have modern brakes. Had to upgrade to 15" wheels to clear the disc brakes - kind of a cascading thing going here. Somebody got a good deal on a brand new set of 14" radial TAs on Rally 2 wheels that came off the car.  
The 428 is finally off the engine stand in the subframe. TH400 trans is connected, suspension, wiring, vacuum lines etc being installed. Starting to look a lot better.
Body and frame back together again.
     
The floors are solid and clean, and I had some leftover sound and heat insulation stuff lying around so in it goes. Will help with heat on the driver's feet and can't hurt for road noise, altho I doubt a 67 convertible will be very quiet.
 

September 2, 2010

After taking about a month off - it got hot and I got lazy...

Interior looks a lot better with new dash pad, recovered seats, correct console, correct 67 shifter, aftermarket wood wheel.

Front end sheet metal was installed with a lot - a whole lot - of expert help from Jeff Kish.

 

Looks as good as it is going to look. Great color combo. Now it needs a top...and an exhaust system would still be a nice thing to have. Passenger window glass is out of the bottom bracket and I hate the window mounting on the first gen cars but will have to deal with it.

 

June 2011 - The cat is happy and the factory exhaust system is installed, but I'm getting too old to do this lying on the floor in my garage. Window is fixed and I hate the mounting design even more now.