The real Pennsylvania plate is a nod to an engine-build series HPP did on the Bird’s 350.
Jason Korb has accomplished what most of us just talk about—building a Pontiac that is not only quick and pretty, but also able to transport its occupants across any Interstate or down any back road in comfort.
Its built 350 will snap your head back on launch, it gets 22 mpg on the highway, and this Bird handles and stops to its owner’s liking. It also participated in the 2006 Hot Rod Power Tour; 2007 GoodGuys Hershey, where it won the Flowmaster American Thunder Award; 2009 GoodGuys Pocono, where it won Best Ride on Intro Wheels; 2010 All-GM Nationals in Carlisle, where it garnered Best Firebird and was a Celebrity Pick by Dave Anderson, driver of the GeeTo Tiger; 2011 Camaro\Firebird Nationals in Frederrick, Maryland, where it took First Place in its class; and Motorama Harrisburg 2010, and again in 2011—and it’s never been trailered.
Jason confides, “Some judges pick it apart for its road rash, wear, chips, and scratches. Don’t get me wrong—I love looking at a well-done restoration, but in my mind, the urge to go for a 100, 200, or even 1,000-mile drive and not worry about chips and scratches is the best way to enjoy a Firebird.”
The next time you think your garage is too small, look at this photo. Here is where this F
It’s a healthy attitude for the 43-year-old auto technician. The Firebird, on the other hand, wasn’t always so healthy. When Jason towed it back to his Middletown, Pennsylvania, home in 2005, it was an unfinished father/son project. The Bird was originally Midnight Green with a black Cordova top and green interior. It came with the factory 350 engine, Turbo 350 trans, and 10-bolt rear. Deciding this F-body would be a Korb family father/son project with his son Andrew, Jason set up shop in a small garage and the team got to work on the body and paint, and building the chassis.
Body and Paint
Owner Jason Korb says of finding his ’69 Firebird, “Even though it was far from finished w
Media-blasting stripped the body of its original paint, new rockers and rear quarters were welded in, and the fenders and doors were repaired. Multiple coats of DuPont primer were shot and block-sanded. A coat of DuPont sealer was applied, followed by three coats of single-stage Super White Dupont Centari. Wet-sanding with 1,500- and then 2,000-grit paper followed. 3M buffing HD compound was applied, then Meguiar’s Diamond Cut 2.0; next came a light compounding, a swirl remover, and finally a glaze.
To improve handling and provide a more aggressive stance, Hotchkis 2.00-inch-drop front springs are paired with Hotchkis 1.00-inch-drop rear springs. Polyurethane bushings are used throughout the suspension, KYB gas shocks are at the corners, and a Hotchkis 1.125-inch stabilizer bar is up front.
Jason designed and applied the custom graphics. He purchased black vinyl from a sign shop,
Intro Billet Retro wheels marry the vintage and modern themes, and measure 17x8 front and 17x10 rear with 4.50-inch and 5.00-inch backspacing respectively. Kumho 225/50R17 Ecsta ASX tires tuck into the front wheelwells, and 255/50R17s fit the rear. The stock 11-inch front disc brakes and 9.5-inch rear drums have been upgraded with Hawk pads and shoes.
Engine and Drivetrain
At first the 350 was retained in stock form. It was in such great shape at only 60,000 miles that Jason simply resealed it, cleaned it up, and installed it with the Turbo 350 and the stock rear.
The 359ci Pontiac engine features Ram Air Restorations billet pulleys, a K&N air filter, a
Not long after, a big burnout resulted in a blown engine. Jason says, “Long story short, we were out ’til midnight, out of town, and my wife yelled at me the whole ride home in the tow truck. The driver gave me a break knowing what trouble I was in.”
The hurt powerplant was sent to RaceKrafters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Here is where this 350 story may sound a bit familiar to long-time HPP readers, as we covered its buildup in the June through Sept. ’08 issues in a series titled “Little Big Chief,” in which RaceKrafters rebuilt and modified it for serious power without sacrificing driveability. What was originally a 265-horse code-YJ 350 engine put out a stout 342 hp after the buildup. We covered the engine build, and engine and chassis dyno tuning.
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 an NOS two-stage cheater, 150-250hp nitrous system, but he ha
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.
On the Road
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 except for the carpet and headliner, which were sourced from
Father and son performed the interior mods that include installing Auto Meter Phantom gaug
With help from neighbor Glen Brady, Jason and Andrew lower the hot 350 with the Turbo 350
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.