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First time adventure

2015 Views 23 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Emiles
I want to start off by apologizing for a couple of things. One, I have been a member here for quite a few years and used to have a 67 Camaro. I sold that car and have not been active on the forums. Two, I finally decided to do my first full build and decided to go 2nd gen, BUT I ended up going the “other” route and decided to go Pontiac 😳😳! I am starting this thread in the hopes that some guys here may be interested in a 2nd gen restore from the other side of the fence and to be honest for general advice on processes etc as I go along. I have searched all over the internet and this is without a doubt the best group of guys and gals out there for builds/advice/general knowledge and

Anyways; I found myself with a lot of downtime and started plugging into the motor trend shows probably way too much. And, long story short they are good at convincing you that you can do. Restore on your own! Lol. Truth be told: I know this is a massive undertaking and I am planning a year to two year process depending on which way I go on certain parts etc to stretch the budget over time. I want to take my time and do this right and have a really nice end product that I can be confident in every day as I am driving. Part of the reason for this is that I have owned a couple of classics and it seems I would always find one or two “hidden” things that I did not appreciate that seemed like cutting corners that could be real reliability problems and big money projects added to the mix down the road. So, I thought to myself, “self, if you want something done you might as well do it yourself from the get go so you know exactly what you have when you’re finished”. I have mulled over this decision for a couple of years and finally decided what the hell, I am going to do it. I am excited to learn some new skill sets by way of skinned knuckles bumps bruises and bruised ego from bad decisions needing to be reworked and fixed etc etc. I am certain this will all be part of the process, but I am hoping that I find the knowledge in this vast group will help guide me to learn from others more often than not.

Anyhow, on to the car. I have fallen in love with 2nd Gen cars and decided that my project was going to be something from that era, and as I started looking I ended up not being able to suppress my inner ******* child that always had an affinity for the trans am 🤣. I spent some time really trying to find a project car that would be as original as possible. My thinking on this is the less molested/re sprayed etc etc, the easier it should be to find structural issues and major rust and rot. I ended up finding a car and inspecting it for a couple of hours and pulled the trigger on it. It’s not a beauty queen by any stretch of the imagination but what I found underneath seems to be a fairly solid car. I went all over the frame rails even tapping with a hammer to see if I would get any flaking rust to fall out of them (it seems the subframe and rails are just carrying surface oxidization and are solid). All of the underside seems original nothing painted or POR 15’d over and no nightmare silicone. All I could see was factory metal and seams with normal weathering from Father Time, the areas in front of and behind the leaf spring mounts are good with nothing appearing to be rusting through or rotted. I am encouraged. I did not want to tear the car fully apart in the mans driveway so after inspecting the big parts that would scare me off (I am looking for as minimal large metal work structural jobs as I can) I decided to make a deal on the vehicle and have it sent to my home. Amazingly, it has its original 350 and it runs and drives fairly nice but, alas it was on the other side of the country from me.

I got the car home, and have begun the process of taking out the interior. Original carpet and factory insulation🤮. Aside from being nasty and dirty from 45 years worth of time I am presently very encouraged by the condition of the rear floor pans and the trunk. I am getting ready to go out this afternoon and get the rest of the front interior out and inspect the inner rockers and front floor pans and fingers are crossed that the front looks like the back! 🤣. There’s a lot of factory interior adhesive and what appears to be silicone on the seams ( I am guessing GM was more interested in speed of manufacturing than looks cause it’s a bit sloppy). I am guessing I need to strip all of this out of the interior and my plan is to find anything that needs to be patched or welded and do that 🤞. Then epoxy prime the entire interior pans and re seam seal to protect the interior shell as I tackle the rest of the car. Any advice on what I should use to strip the adhesive? Orbital sander? Wire wheel?

The car is a 1976 Firebird Esprit 350 2bbl, it was born in Norwood and currently remains in its original Bavarian Cream paint. The plan is to take it all down and address any metal work, re condition the subframe and underbody spray and protect it, and then build back up into a ‘76 “trans am”. It will get new front end suspension and steering, a larger engine either 400 or 455, thinking a 5 speed tremec and a 12 bolt rearend. Anyways, thanks for reading through this so far; hopefully there is some of you out there who are interested in this and happy to give input. Don’t be too mad at me for trading teams! 🤣. I’ll get some pictures up of the car as well.
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I have a huge soft spot for 76 as my second car was a 1976 Trans Am. I miss that car. My vote is to get with a guy on TAC who sells a conversion kit for Poncho motors for a 24x crank and 1x cam sensors. Then buy a Terminator X EFI system with an EFI intake and you have a sequential port Pontiac motor with CNP spark.
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