The 350 H.O. was rated at...
The 350 H.O. was rated at 325 hp at 5,100 rpm and 380 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. It features the big-valve #48 heads of the 400 engine, 10.5:1 compression, and an 067 cam inside, and wears chrome valve covers and the standard 400 engine air-cleaner assembly outside.
In order to absorb the pulse...
In order to absorb the pulse of the pavement and restore the original ride characteristics, this Bird rolls on the optional Goodyear Polyglas F70x14 bias-ply tires. The original 14x7-inch Rally II wheels (code JK) were restored and feature N.O.S. trim rings and center caps.
Comfort features abound in...
Comfort features abound in the interior, including the optional power antenna and power convertible top.
As the old clich goes, "patience is a virtue," but how patient is one expected to be, especially when it comes to Pontiacs? How long should you have to toil away to get the Pontiac of your dreams? For some, it may not come easy, others may search for a lifetime. For a lucky few however, the wait may be lengthy, but the reward can be breathtaking. Such was the case for Nick Price, who discovered the Pontiac of his dreams before it was even built.
He explains: "Before the Firebird ever left the Lordstown, Ohio, plant on Christmas Day of 1968, I was enthralled by it as it was ordered as a demo for Butch Steward, a friend and employee of Griffin Motor Company in my hometown of Monroe, North Carolina. Unfortunately, once delivered, the fully loaded convertible was completely out of my price range.
"As it turned out, an older gentleman purchased the Pontiac for his dying wife so that she could drive it to the beach and enjoy the sun and water during her waning days. After her untimely passing, the Bird was then sold back to the dealership, who in turn sold it to Mr. Jimmy Williams.
"As an acquaintance of Mr. Williams, I let him know that I was interested in purchasing the car. I tried on and off through the years, but ultimately, he decided to give it as a gift to his teenage daughter when she was old enough to get her license. The teen had no interest, so Mr. Williams called me up in 1987 to come take a look at it and make an offer.
"When Roger Belk, my brother-in-law, and I went over to the house, the convertible was parked under a large oak tree in the front yard. To our utter shock, the squirrels had decided to take up residence in the car, and both the convertible top and interior were completely ruined. After striking a deal for $2,500, the Bird was towed to Roger's garage where the cleanup began. We liberated over five gallons of acorn shells from just the doors and quarterpanels.
"After an initial clean-up, the oil was changed, and a fresh battery was installed by Roger and his father, Albert. The Pontiac started right up, but within a few miles on the first test drive, the engine developed a knock and had to be limped home. A subsequent inspection of the engine revealed metal in the oil pan, later confirmed to be a spun rod bearing.
"Thankfully, Roger agreed to restore the Firebird, while his father took on the task of rebuilding the engine. Since parts were scarce for the '69 convertible, the Pontiac sat in Roger's garage almost six years before the body restoration began."
Reclamation, Ponycar Style
After stripping the body down to bare metal, Roger discovered that rust had invaded the lower portion of the front fenders, quarterpanels, and outer wheelhousings. To top it off, the damaged convertible top had allowed water to seep in, destroying the floorpans. If that weren't enough, it seems that the mischievous squirrels had dined upon the interior and engine wiring harnesses, necessitating a complete restoration of the wiring and interior as well.
Roger proceeded to pull the engine and painstakingly catalog each part and factory marking. Following stripping of the body, the arduous process of sheetmetal restoration began with Roger welding in reproduction YearOne floorpans and a trunk floor and repairing the cowl.