The block was bored 0.030 over to 359 cubes and fitted with the reconditioned stock cast 3.75-inch-stroke crank, 6.625-inch rods, and flat-top Sterling pistons with Speed Pro moly rings. A Pontiac/Butler windage tray, a Melling high-volume pump, and a Milodon oil pan ensure proper lubrication. RaceKrafters specified a Comp Cams 218/224-degrees duration at 0.050 hydraulic flat-tappet cam with 0.462/0.470 lift when mated to Harland Sharp 1.50:1 roller rockers.
Jason has recently installed...
Jason has recently installed an NOS two-stage cheater, 150-250hp nitrous system, but he hasn’t made any passes or dyno pulls with it yet.
The original No. 17 heads were milled to an 80cc chamber size to yield 9.01:1 compression. They were treated to mild porting, screw-in studs, a trick valve job, oversized Manley SS 2.02/1.66-inch valves, and Comp Cams dual valvesprings. The result is 224/196-cfm flow at 0.600 lift.
Providing fuel and air are an Edelbrock 650-cfm carb on a 1.00-inch open spacer and a Performer RPM intake, with fuel delivered via a Holley Billet 170-gph fuel pump set to 7.5 psi. An MSD Pro-Billet distributor lights AutoLite No. 86 plugs with aid from an MSD Blaster SS coil and MSD 8.5 mm wires. Total timing is 31 degrees.
A set of Hedman 1.75-inch primary Hedders with 3.00- inch collectors passes the spent fumes through a Pypes 2.5-inch X-type pipe en route to a pair of Flowmaster single-chamber mufflers and 2.5-inch tails.
Jason had the Turbo 350 rebuilt during the downtime. However, he also had RaceKrafters rebuild and upgrade the stock Pontiac 10-bolt with an Eaton posi, 3.90 gears, and Moser axles. Needless to say, highway rpm was too high with the Turbo 350 and 3.90s, so he installed a Gearstar 200-4R Level 2 transmission with a PTC street/strip 2,200 stall converter. He also added a Hayden trans cooler, a B&M Quicksilver shifter, and a Strange chromemoly 3.00-inch-diameter driveshaft.
Jason; his wife, Ann; and son, Andrew, travel to many shows with the Bird. Jason reports, “I tried to keep the Firebird true to its era, yet add mild mods to make it more eco-friendly, with dyno tuning and an overdrive trans for mileage. It’s at home on the highway doing 65 or 70 mph and is averaging up to 22 mpg at those speeds. Handling is much improved with the new springs, bigger sway bar, and urethane bushings. It accelerates very well and has a strong pull through its entire rev range.
“My son and I tried to cover all bases building her, and in my eyes, we did exactly that.”
The stock pieces are original...
The stock pieces are original except for the carpet and headliner, which were sourced from Ames Performance.
Father and son performed the...
Father and son performed the interior mods that include installing Auto Meter Phantom gauges; a Pioneer CD, MP3, stereo system with six speakers and hands-free controls; Dynamat throughout; a new wiring harness from Painless wiring; a custom console, heater control plate, and dead plate; billet pedals; auxiliary fan control; and converter lock-out control.
With help from neighbor Glen...
With help from neighbor Glen Brady, Jason and Andrew lower the hot 350 with the Turbo 350 trans into the Firebird. (The latter would soon be replaced with the 200-4R overdrive trans.)
Jason (left) and son, Andrew,...
Jason (left) and son, Andrew, installing the front inner sheetmetal.
Talk about your Pontiac becoming a calling card. The owner of a private collection of musclecars saw Jason’s Firebird outside his place of work and stopped to speak with him about it. After Jason told him that he had 15 years of auto tech experience, he was hired to do some side work, which lead to a full-time position tending to the collection that is housed in a 17,000-square-foot, two-story garage with a classic-themed showroom. Not to worry—even this good fortune hasn’t reduced his seat time in his own classic Pontiac.
Jason explains, “This Firebird was built to drive and I drive it three to four times each week to work, then to shows on weekends—in the rain, cold, even the hottest days. I love people’s responses to it when they see it on highways in traffic or when we take it shopping. There is always someone waiting to talk with us.”
The current mileage is 70,655 and it’s climbing at a steady rate thanks to this family who enjoys its Pontiac for exactly what it was built for.