Author Topic: The Blackbird gets New Shoes  (Read 4178 times)

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Offline 72blackbird

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The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« on: January 29, 2014, 02:52:41 AM »
I saw these US Mags Bandits on Performance Years forum on a member's 67 Firebird about a year ago and knew they were perfect for my Bird. In that time I hesitated in buying them, but steered a buddy (B. Romero) in the right direction, who bought a set for his Hotchkis TVS-equipped 77 Esprit. Unfortunately his Bird sits too low to use his wheels now, so we'll have to raise his ride height to make them work on his car. We tried them on my Bird to compare ride heights.

I have an "old school" Pro-Touring suspension- H-O Racing 600 lb. front springs, 1 3/8" front sway bar, WS6 rear leafs and 3/4" rear sway bar. Not quite as new as Hotchkis, but one of the best suspensions for 2nd gen Firebirds in the 80's and 90's- too bad they went out of business. But the ride height is perfect for 275/40R18s. These are cast aluminum 1-piece 18 x 9's with a 5.25" backspace, but are also available in 18 x 8, as well as 17" sizes. US mags also makes the Bandit in a forged 2-piece design (17"-22" diameters).

The wheels looked so nice I placed my order today- get ready to see the Bandits on alot of Pontiac musclecars this summer!

Geno


Offline pancho400cid

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2014, 05:24:50 PM »
Those look great!

Did you drive it much?   Any rubs, etc?
1978 Trans Am - Brown - Current Project
1978 Trans Am - Silver - Future Uncertain

Offline 72blackbird

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2014, 09:18:54 PM »
Pancho,
The wheels in the pic belong to my buddy- I would have been more than happy to have done it, if I didn't blow my TH-350.  ;D The good news is I have a spare and it will go in once I can make room in the garage and get my Bird in there (my HOA is watching me like a hawk).

My wheels are due in 2-3 days- now I have to figure out what tires to buy.

Geno

Offline Chuckles

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 08:04:00 PM »
Pancho,
The wheels in the pic belong to my buddy- I would have been more than happy to have done it, if I didn't blow my TH-350.  ;D The good news is I have a spare and it will go in once I can make room in the garage and get my Bird in there (my HOA is watching me like a hawk).

My wheels are due in 2-3 days- now I have to figure out what tires to buy.

Geno


You mean to tell me you don't have a TH400 in that pig? Shocked!

Offline 72blackbird

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 01:51:55 AM »
Pancho,
The wheels in the pic belong to my buddy- I would have been more than happy to have done it, if I didn't blow my TH-350.  ;D The good news is I have a spare and it will go in once I can make room in the garage and get my Bird in there (my HOA is watching me like a hawk).

My wheels are due in 2-3 days- now I have to figure out what tires to buy.

Geno


You mean to tell me you don't have a TH400 in that pig? Shocked!

The TH-350 that just died was a good build I bought in Oregon over 12 years ago- it lived behind a beefed 455, and a couple of 400's. But even a stout build can't live forever when hit with 450-500 lb-ft. for years. I bought a TH-350 and TH-400 from a buddy of mine up north- both good runners from his description. It's just easier for me to bolt in the TH-350 now, and save the TH-400 for my 455 w/ CNC-ported e-heads when that combo goes in this summer.

Geno

Offline Daniel78ta

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2014, 04:37:18 PM »
Good looking new shoes Geno!   that is one mean looking ride! 
Trans Am Fever!!!

Offline 72blackbird

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2014, 05:06:56 PM »
Good looking new shoes Geno!   that is one mean looking ride! 

Thanks Dan! I'm loving the look with the steam-roller meats too!

Geno

Offline NOT A TA

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2014, 08:41:40 PM »
You're gonna love driving it with the big modern rubber Geno! I like the clean retro look centers with the smooth dish.
John Paige


Dear Not A TA,
This is Tin Indian's wife. Would you please stop posting pictures of your car? Especially ones with er, ummm, sidepipes. I'm dizzy already and have to get up early in the morning.  :-X

Offline 72blackbird

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2014, 04:37:53 PM »
John,
I almost didn't order these rims, but seeing them on the car sold me. I would have preferred to go with 9's and 10's, or maybe even 9.5's all around, but the look of these rims stays true to a Pontiac, so I pulled the trigger. I guess if I really want 10's later I can save for the US Mag 2-piece forged 18 x 10's or figure something else out.  Joe M. (67 rsrbkt over at Pro-Touring. com) and others have figured out how to mount PMD Rally II caps on their Bandits- the caps complete the look so I'm gonna do the same.

Geno

Offline JohnA.

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2014, 01:32:13 PM »
Looking good Geno

Offline NOT A TA

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2014, 10:57:37 PM »
If you want wider rears down the road after you burn off the 1st set of rear tires (should take what, 2 months? haha!) you might be able to have the rears widened.

How long before you receive the wheels?
John Paige


Dear Not A TA,
This is Tin Indian's wife. Would you please stop posting pictures of your car? Especially ones with er, ummm, sidepipes. I'm dizzy already and have to get up early in the morning.  :-X

Offline 72blackbird

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 06:01:04 PM »
Apologies to all- time flies when you're having fun. I got my rims and tires back in March and got them on the car, and got the trans replaced in my Bird too. Now that my 72 Esprit is tagged and running, I've been focusing on my 76 TA. I ended up going with Nitto NT 555's- I'm very impressed with the traction ofthese tires. Compared to the 15" Cooper Cobras I had on the car, the NT 555's are far more stickier- where the Bird would plow or kick the tail out in the turns, it now sticks and squats down through the turn. I have an older modified suspension with 600 lb. H-O Racing front springs and WS6 rear leafs- no rubbing even with aggressive driving, unless I crank the wheel over at full lock- then the tire hits the subframe. My springs are old but still feel firm- despite this I'm thinking of upgrading the PTFB GT springs and leafs. I was also impressed by Hotchkis' Fox shocks- deciding between those or Bilsteins.

John- I think I'm gonna work on getting my 455 in, as well as putting bigger brakes on the car, now that I can fit them. I'll look at wider rims at some point. But is it even worth widening 1-pc. cast rims? 2-pc. forged 18 x 12 Bandits would be very costly though- $1000/ea.

Geno






« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 06:16:44 PM by 72blackbird »

Offline Daniel78ta

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Re: The Blackbird gets New Shoes
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2014, 10:30:34 AM »
Looks fantastic Geno..!!!!!   
Trans Am Fever!!!