What good is all the go power and handling upgrades if the car is saddled with stock 9.5-inch drums? To ensure stopability commensurate with go power, Pro-touring brakes from Wilwood featuring 13-inch rotors and four-piston calipers were bolted in at all four corners.
The subframe was somewhat...
The subframe was somewhat less than pristine as well.
As expected, the interior...
As expected, the interior was trashed. Is that a manual trans brake pedal?
The Firebird takes on a menacing...
The Firebird takes on a menacing stance from the rear.
The finishing touch came where the rubber meets the road with Budnik Fontana 17x8 and 17x9.5 wheels wrapped in Kumho Ecsta MX 245/45ZR17 and 275/40ZR17 exotic rubber. With 4.75-inch backspacing in front, and 5.25-inch backspacing in the rear, these rims bolt right on and do not rub.
The flawless paint and bodywork on this Firebird is complemented by its breathtaking custom interior. Fiero front seats and stock rear seats were re-covered in aircraft-quality cream-colored leather installed by Levin Horton of Aerotech in Daytona Beach, Florida. The seats are accented with aircraft seatbelts, built by Aircraft Belts of Kemah, Texas. Aerotech also designed the custom door panels, the remainder of the interior and the trunk area.
Horton told HPP, "Mr. Baril brought us a Firebird with basically nothing in it. There were no seats, panels, or dash. We had to fabricate all of the panels and supply the foam for the sculpting of the custom design in the panels. We color-dyed the interior pieces to match the leather covered front seats and we installed all of the billet handles, the Bird emblems, the gauges, and the shifter console. Even the headliner was dyed to match the leather. We have 180 hours into the interior work. When it was done, we were impressed. He had a vision of what he wanted and it turned out very nicely."
Doug Baril is the proud owner...
Doug Baril is the proud owner who brought a basket case Bird back to life.
Like most Pro-Touring conversions, the sound system is also incredible. The design of it is competition-quality and was conceived entirely by Baril. It features a Pioneer Premier head unit with Orion 6.5-inch speakers housed in hand-built custom fiberglass enclosures up front and in the rear. The trunk holds two 12-inch subwoofers and three Orion amps, all hidden underneath a Baril-designed false bottom floor.
Doug Baril is proud that, "I built it primarily by myself," as his Firebird has won numerous awards in different categories in Gainesville-area car shows. In fact, every time it has entered a show, it has come away with an award. Because he is a real estate agent and works on the weekends, Baril hasn't been able to get his Firebird to national shows. He is confident that his Pontiac can be a national contender in the highly-modified classes.
Baril's courtship with his near-death Firebird has never stopped. "I'm totally in love with the car. I love the body style, the paint, the interior design, the engine combo, the way it handles and the looks I get when I drive it. The attention I get over the car is almost uncomfortable. It has really taken a lot to get used to that. Even though I don't want to be the center of attention, I sure am with this Firebird." A five-and-a-half-year odyssey for Baril and his Bird has indeed resulted in a Pontiac that represents his best efforts and is "better than it was before. Better, stronger, faster."