1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek - Team Camaro Tech
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  #1  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:09 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SD
Posts: 303
Default 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

First and foremost I want to thank camaros.net and all the people that contribute to this wonderful site. I have learned SO MUCH from this site, Todd (6187 Camaro), Terry (cheby2), Jeff (fordpowerjoke)... these builds are what gave me the confidence and knowledge to even tackle my project. The photos, tips, and advice are PRICELESS!

With that being said, I am starting this thread with the hopes of giving a little back to the site that has given me so much! I know I can not thank all the ones before me, but maybe someone else just starting out will be able to use some photo or tip to help them get going on their project.

I know this isn't a Camaro build, but there is so much familiarity between the cars, I feel knowledge can be shared easily between the two! This also isn't a Pontiac Purists build. The beauty of the car hobby is that we all like cars, but it is our different tastes, styles and opinions that make it interesting and fun!

First off: title/name explanation:
I am a 36 year old IT Manager (Computer guy)... hence the "Geek" title... I have always loved cars and dream of building one that I can enjoy with the family and then passing it on to my kids some day.

Project: 1967 Firebird convertible

Back around 2000 I searched high and low to find a Firebird convertible. I respect and like all the Camaro's out there, but thought it would be fun to be just a bit different. Being that the car was to be build for fun... the wife and I decided a convertible would be best. I ended up placing an ad on a website looking for a "rust free"as possible car... not caring what drivetrain it had, for I wanted to choose that for myself. Ended up finding a car on the Idaho/Nevada border. (figuring it was at least not in the rust belt where I live... South Dakota) story on this... to follow!

The trip to get the car was a story of it's own...trailering it home through a blizzard.

Flash forward 11 years and I am just now starting my project. Thanks to the bank (loan) I now have a place to build it... and thanks to my family... I have been able to squeeze some time in lately to get it started.

Between me being a bit of a perfectionist... and having a family (2 teenage stepdaughters and a 7-year-old son with high functioning autism)... I expect work on the car to be a bit slow.. but hopefully steady!

I have not gone to school for this, nor have I ever done a complete car before. I will be doing most of the work myself, due to budget and the satisfaction of doing it myself. I was raised on a farm and can thank my dad for teaching me to weld/fabricate... I hope to share the little I can and get advice and tips from all of you that have already been down this road... there are some AWESOME cars on this site that I have been drooling over for months!
Here we go:

Ideas: (as of now.. I seem to change my mind after seeing some of the awesome stuff some of you guys are doing)
Engine: LQ9 408 Stroker. (was going to do a LS3... but wanted something different)
Trans: 4l80e (I know "NOT AN AUTOMATIC" but I have a wife and step-daughters that will want to drive it. Plus, they are damn near indestructible)
Suspension (front): Speedtech full subframe (Bang for the buck... can't beat it... Plus, these guys are AWESOME to deal with! THANKS Roger)
Suspension (rear): Speedtech torque arm (compared all the competitors... easy decision... GREAT PRODUCT!)
A/C: Restomod A/C - Haymaker System (There stuff is AWESOME... quality - look - design)
PLUS.. then some GEEK stuff... on-board computer... etc...




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  #2  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:11 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SD
Posts: 303
Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

The previous owners added some "NICE" touches...

they removed the fan shroud so I am guessing it didn't cool enough... SOLUTION: add a custom electric fan! (notice the wiring... it actually looped back directly to the battery.

]
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  #3  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:17 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

The next "upgrade" the car had in the past was the stereo guy... need to add some speakers... NO PROBLEM... I'll get my torch!
He actually torched the GM doors...


cut and bent in the inner rocker panel braces to fit some speakers (I already bent it back)...

cut (by drilling hundreds of little holes) the back seat panel.
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  #4  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:29 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

Thought I would share the banks and my "Shop" where we will be bringing this thing back to life...have been working 7 years (just on the building) to get to this stage... (I will need to work until I am about 95 years old to pay this all off it seems)....



Yes... there is a HUGE mess on my benches...

I was able to get the lift used from the dealership I work at (came out of another dealership we purchased)... It is AWESOME addition...
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  #5  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:33 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Location: SD
Posts: 303
Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

Here is my helping crew...
My son (even with his autism, I wouldn't change a thing)... he is my pride and joy along with my wonderful stepdaughters...

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  #6  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:35 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

Tear down begins... worked most of last summer on getting it down to the skeleton. Mostly new parts going back on... so most of these will never see the car again!


Tired old 350 getting ready to be pulled out...



This old subframe will not be coming back... decided on a Speedtech complete replacement... Roger and the crew over at Speedtech have been WONDERFUL to work with. They take the time to actually help you decide on what you need and offer tips and advice were they can. Customer service is #1!!!

subframe is in bare steel... so I just rattle canned it silver to see what it would look like until I get it powder coated.

It is amazing to see the welding and fabrication difference between the stock subframe and the Speedtech... WOW.
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  #7  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:37 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

So off comes the subframe... but I wanted a way to still be able to move the car around without re-attaching it... so I build this caster system that bolts up to the subframe mounts... out of 2" square tubing and some casters I had.



Works great!!
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  #8  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:39 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

So I was looking into bracing the car...

Car has SOLID:
-rockers (both inner and outer are very good)
-rear frame rails look to be in very good shape

Jig?:
I know many on this and other sites build a body jig to hold the car to factory specs while building. (I was hoping to avoid this for I don’t need to do some of the structural changes they needed, Plus… time (with a wife and kids) is hard to come by, and the jig would take more of it. That and the fact that with the cost of all the steel, I can buy more parts for the car. (Unfortunately I am under a budget)

2-post lift:
I do happen to have a 2-post lift and would like to utilize it for the replacement…figuring I could get underneath easier to do the welding and adding the convertible braces back on the complete floor.

PLAN: Weld 2” square tubing down the side of the rocker panels… (this way when I pick up the car with the lift it is spreading the pressure along the entire rocker, not just front and back)… then weld 1” tubing across (from the 2” tubing) to locate and lock into place the rear frame rails. Plus, possibly do the same to locate the subframe nuts so as to have a reference when the new panel is in place. (kind of a welded in place jig)

Example photo:


Here it is:




There is a little bump at the rear of the rockers that would not let the 2" tubing sit flat against the rockers and still sit straight on the car... solution was to weld some flat iron spacers on the rockers then mount to the 2" tubing. This way everything is level.



I used some tubing and a flat washer and centered the subframe bolts into the existing floor location then welded 1" tubing to attach these to the 2" side tubing... this way I should be able to lay the new floor in and if I can thread the bolts... I should be in the exact same location as the old floor.



Next welded 1" tubing to the frame rails to keep them in place during the floor removal and replacement.


In the rear I bolted on some casters that allow me to still move the car... plus, I added some tubing up to the rear frame rails just to make sure they don't move during the trunk floor removal.
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  #9  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:42 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

Well with everything braced up... it was time to start cutting things off...

I originally didn't think I would be cutting that much off the car... but it seems the more I tried to remove rust from here and there, the more panels started to come off.

I knew I wanted to go with a complete floor pan, but figured I would only use a partial trunk pan. But the more I looked at the back seat brace in the car... the more I feared how much rust was sitting underneath that thing... if you look at the photos... it didn't look that bad... but wait until later... there was some seriously hidden "rot"



Doesn't look like anything bad... but wait until later, and see what was under this section...

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  #10  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:44 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Posts: 303
Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

Out comes the plasma cutter... I am sure there may be better ways to get this rear seat brace out... but this is what I did.

I drilled out all the spot weld I could find that held the brace to the floor the the car....

The car had lots of undercoating in the wheelhouses... I heated and scrapped as much as I could out... I know I would not be using the inner housings, for I am going with DSE minitubs. With all the gunk in the wheelhouse, I could hardly find the spot welds... so I figured I would just plasma it out of there...




Then used a air hammer to remove the leftover wheel house skin.



Well after all that the rear seat brace was still fighting me... so I decided to remove the rear part of the brace, so as to only have to deal with on panel at a time.



Finally it was out...



Remember what I said about hidden rot... look what was hiding behind that brace. Looks like it going to be a Full Trunk pan now! (see the list keeps growing!)



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  #11  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 08:57 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Location: SD
Posts: 303
Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

Look inside... Looks like a full trunk pan was a wise choice.


Had to get a little crazy with the plasma cutter to get in here...
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  #12  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 09:03 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Posts: 303
Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

As you can see the trunk floor was in need of replacement anyway. Original plan was to just to a partial trunk floor, but after all the rot uncovered under the seat brace... it was decided to do a FULL trunk pan.


And a few minutes with the plasma... look at all my trunk room now!
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  #13  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 09:05 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Posts: 303
Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

Next was the Tail panel... after finding these beautiful repairs under the bumper... I knew a new tail panel would be easier than to undo all the wonderful bodywork.



Off it comes... I must say, knowing I wasn't going to use any of the metal under the tail panel made it WAY easier to remove than if I had to hunt down all the spot welds and surgically remove it. It was a bunch of air-hammer time!




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  #14  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 09:08 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Location: SD
Posts: 303
Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

Moving on to the quarter panels... This car is one of those examples of what you can hide with paint and bondo. I started by sanding down the paint in a few test areas to see what I was dealing with.... looks like a classic quick fix.



So I started to sand down to the metal, so the plasma cutter could ground enough to cut... DAMN this guy must have used a gallon of bondo per quarter.



This is a 67 Firebird... but someone sure wanted to make it a 68... look at the beautiful job they did making the Pontiac emblem cutouts in the quarters.


Finally got them ready for the Plasma... I will be removing the entire quarter, but just started with the center first.




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  #15  
Old Dec 5th, 12, 09:12 AM
Firebird-GEEK Firebird-GEEK is offline
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Jarrod
 
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Default Re: 1967 Firebird Convertible - Firebird-Geek

Look at the hidden treasures I found under the quarter panels,in the wheelhouse area. Looks like "more is better" was the approach to the bondo situation.



Looks like on the passenger side he couldn't get the bondo to even build up enough... had to use some mesh in there to hold it together!

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