Ron Mancini Rochester, New York
I've waited 20 years to finally purchase my high performance Pontiac dream car. Got bitten by the Firebird bug when I was 15 years old, the day my dad brought home a 1968 Verdoro green 350 hardtop as a second car. One drive and I was hooked on the power and muscular good looks that little 350 possessed. I believed then, as I do now, that Pontiac had the best looking vehicles on the road. I vowed that someday I would own one, but mine would be a convertible with 400 and a ram air hood.
Fast forward to December 2000. Browsing the want ads and Internet, I came across a '68 convertible with a 400 engine, and Ram Air hood and tach. I flew to Michigan and test drove it, made the purchase and had it trucked to my garage. I caught a break in the weather, the western New York snows had not fallen yet, so I lucked out with no salt on the roads.
The engine is not original; it's out of a 1977 Trans Am that was bored .030 over, align bored, decked and balanced. Other features are 6X heads, Edelbrock Pontiac Performer intake, Edelbrock 750 cfm carb, Mallory Hy-Fire ignition, headers, Turbo 350 tranny, and rebuilt Safe-T-Track 10-bolt rear. One mod I made was having subframe connectors welded on. The interior is all redone; I had a new set of Auto Meter gauges installed. Li'l Bandit runs great!
All the car needs is paint, a future project. I have tremendous fun with it, and get lots of compliments. This one is a true survivor, though probably not show material, nor an original Firebird 400. But that's okay with me. It's a pistol, and not by any means a trailer queen or simply parked in a garage.
After researching my VIN tag, I found that the Bird's original color was Verdoro green and it came from the factory with a 350. What are the odds of that? It's the same color and engine of the Bird my dad brought home when I was a kid.
I can't explain the feeling I get when cruising with my beautiful wife around town and country, with the top down. Knowing that I have a piece of Pontiac Performance under my feet, I feel proud as a peacock in this black Bird! There's nothing better than the open road, with a full tank of gas, looking for Camaros to challenge. I put a lot of time and money into the Bird. We love spending time together, my Pontiac and me.
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