Author Topic: '79 Franken-Formula!!!  (Read 959 times)

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Offline nocturnal1

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'79 Franken-Formula!!!
« on: December 07, 2012, 11:02:48 PM »
Hello, all. New guy here. Here's the story of how I acquired my current project, a '79 Espirit/custom Formula tribute--and my first ever Firebird, a car I've lusted after since I was 5 years old. (I'm 38 now).

I work my tail off--rotating between graveyard shifts and day shifts weekly, and have little to show for it. I don't spend money on myself, have few "toys" (a beat up guitar and video games I don't play, not that I'd ever get a chance), and am currently funneling money to my father who's disabled and unemployed (and facing foreclosure, which I'm trying to help him avoid), sending money to my nephew's mother, because his idiot father (my idiot brother) got two DUI's in a month and has been in jail for 8 months, leaving me to be my nephew's provider, as well as keeping money on my brother's books. My wife's daughters are irresponsible, naive, MTV-heads with 4th grade educations and no ambition, products of "hip hop" culture. The sad, poor, mindless things. Children in adult bodies with horrible judgment. So, we are always catching their falls as well.

I decided about 7 months ago that I really needed my own car, and dammit, why not the late 2nd gen Firebird I've always wanted? They can be had for $1500 or less, and can be brought back to fantastic shape for much less than my wife's $13,000 2010 Chevy Aveo we are still paying on. I'd found some nice Camaros, one of which I was 30 minutes away from buying, but the seller sold it to another guy, knowing I was coming over to pick it up, the filthy bastard. So many let downs and heart breaks, I just started to get jaded and give up hope, thinking I'd be stuck in the never-ending cycle of working my a** off, struggling to keep everyone else's boat afloat whilst I watch my own slowly sink.

I even decided to start a detailing business because I knew that we could not continue to keep everyone taken care of, even with me working 7 days a week and my wife working full time as well. Somehow I figured that making more work for myself by starting a business might help me not have to work so much. My logic as you see, is a bit flawed. But Dave Ramsey, financial guru, says of those not making enough to do what needs to be done: "Get a bigger shovel". Ergo, the car detailing business.

But if I was gonna do it, I needed my own car, and it provided a good reason to renew my search for my coveted late 2nd gen Firebird. The hope is, of course, that I can make enough money with my business that I can eventually sell it, throw big chunks of money to all those around me who need it, and then put my mug directly on a milk carton. And if any of you happen to spot me somewhere after I end up on that milk carton, don't tell 'em you saw me, ok? I can dream, can't I? Anyway.....

About two weeks ago I was on the phone with my dad (an old school car guy whose been buying/restoring/selling cars for nearly 50 years.) We were talking while perusing the same local classifieds website together, looking at this and that. I came across a late 2nd gen and it caught my eye. But like Arnie Cunningham in "Christine", the car called out to me, and boy did I ever answer.

She was in rough shape, but the price wasn't bad and it didn't seem like it would be a project entirely out of my league, especially with my father's guidance, who's a master mechanic as well.



I called the wife of the seller and asked the requisite questions. Found out after getting and checking the VIN that it was born as an Espirit, not the "Special Edition Formula" they claimed it was. And that was fine with me actually because the car had what I wanted to get me going in the direction I had been dreaming about.

The car was an Espirit, but had a Formula hood with T/A air extractor fenders and a 160mph speedo. Loved it. It had a Pontiac 400 in it, and that was fine as well. Snowflakes on it are in great shape.

Never having been one to embrace the status quo, and having no care at all for purists who might threaten to key my car because I "violated an original work of art", I knew I liked where this "Franken-Bird" was headed. (And yes, I've dealt with such threats, impotent though they may be.)



The wife and I drove up north about an hour so I could take a closer look. The rust appeared to be minimal, with the only real cancer being two holes in the passenger floor pan. Wheel wells looked great, under carriage didn't appear too bad either. Some minor scale inside the quarters and in on the lower trunk pan lip in front of the gas tank--nothing my dad and I can't handle. Also gotta re-jet the carb to fit the 400, which came off of a 350.

Rear end/frame didn't look bad, but I know there's always gremlins hiding out you can't see until they jump out and pee in your Cheerios, especially with the 2nd gens.

It needs a battery too, but we hooked one up so I could start the beast and hear her growl. I ain't touched alcohol in years, but I know I must have been drunk, cuz' it was the most intimidating, bad-a** exhaust note I've ever heard. And that can't be right, can it? Bottom line: The car screams.

Interior was rough as hell, but quite fixable. I knew I didn't want a show car, but what would be (to me) the finest looking DD I could ever imagine. Taking stock of the cars' issues, I felt it would be a doable project. It needed the brake booster addressed, the passing gear cable installed (came with the car, still in package), an air cleaner base/lid, and new rear tires.













So I pulled the trigger and bought the sum'bich. I have the car stored at my brother-in-laws, and I'm currently gathering parts to get the interior into viewable shape (some members here are helping me out in that regard and I thank them), as well as the minor mechanical stuff.

I've wanted a 2nd gen T/A since I was a kid, but it just never happened. When I bought the car, a dream was on it's way to being fulfilled, and I still can't believe it.

I decided sometime back when I began my search that I wasn't going to get a T/A but a Formula, and customize it the way I wanted. I love the Formula, even more than the T/A. They are less common, I love the paint scheme, and I love those dual hood scoops, which I'll be opening up. I love the T/A air extractors as well, and this car came with them! I have the perfect base upon which to build the unique, custom 'Bird I've been dreaming of.

Here are some generic GM rally's that my dad blacked-out with a computer program he has. I love them, and they keep with the theme of a unique look:



digitally blacked out:



Thus begins a journey I've dreamed about all my life. I'll update this thread as I take my beloved 'Bird from graveyard to glory.

This is a very close approximation of the paint she'll wear, (although this one is a '76) with the exception that the "Formula" script will need to be installed on the spoiler as the '79 bumper on mine is split, with no room for it. Here's the idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX7lksKogTM

Yellow with black trim, racing stripes and partially blacked-out rally wheels. I think it will look malevolent!

I am likely possessed, and will never in my lifetime sell this car. It will be willed to someone who will appreciate it, but as long as I'm alive, it will remain mine.


I've named the car "Heretic". ;-)


"Heresy: Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs."
« Last Edit: December 07, 2012, 11:36:14 PM by nocturnal1 »

Offline NWW-79 T/A

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Re: '79 Franken-Formula!!!
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 11:50:08 AM »
Welcome to the forum and good luck with the project. You definitely have a lot of enthusiasm for it. Maybe since your customizing it, you could add a t top roof. That would be cool
Romney/Ryan 2012

-1979 Solar Gold Trans Am in Restoration-

Offline nocturnal1

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Re: '79 Franken-Formula!!!
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2012, 04:46:16 PM »
You know, I would LOVE to have a T-top car, and I only shelved the idea because (as I understand it, anyway) it would require a bit more work and expense than I can handle right now, and I've heard it vastly affects the handling of the car.

Maybe if I could address the issues properly down the road, such as bolstering the frame to combat the body flex and afford to have it done right, I would do it.

Thank you for the warm welcome. :)