Log manifolds and a Y-pipe lead to the cat, but the exhaust was mildly modified after it with a W72-style layout featuring split pipes with two resonators connecting to the tailpipes.
The 400 Pontiac engine was rebuilt with a hotter 744 cam prior to Brian purchasing it. He
Brian paid special attention to the Formula’s original Turbo 350 trans. He tells HPP, “It was rebuilt to ’77-’79 W72 package specs using transmission components from a W72 engine/tranny combo out of a parts car. I have a document that lists part numbers of specific items for the W72 tranny—shift points were increased from 4,200 to approximately 4,850 rpm.” He also installed an original W72 converter and explains that the stock torque multiplication was around 2.0:1 ratio, but with the W72 converter, it was 2.5:1. At the far end of the driveshaft is the stock code-PJG 2.41-geared 10-bolt.
The previous owner had already replaced the wear items in the suspension and the factory disc/drum brakes were rebuilt. Specifying the GR70-15 steel-belted radials (in this case, code QCY—white letter) on the order form also netted the Trans Am’s 1.25-inch front and .812-inch rear swaybars on this Formula. The 15x7 Rally II wheels are now shod with BFG 245/60R15 tires.
On the road, “My Formula accelerates smooth and quick right from the start.” Brian relates. “There’s no lag anywhere in the rpm range as it runs up through the gears, but the rear-axle ratio keeps it from really getting going. Handling is precise and the suspension is tight.”
The Formula was restored to compete in stock classes and received a ’12 All GM Nationals Class Award of Excellence at Carlisle, where HPP photographed it. It has also won at several local POCI chapter events, First Prize in class at the Ban-One car show in Atlanta, Winners Circle award at the 2nd Annual Ban-One show in Atlanta, Best GM at the North Carolina Collector Car Autofest Fall 2006, and Best in Class and Best Interior Overall at the F-Body Beach Bash in Myrtle Beach.
For the second month in a row, we have a feature car that was built in the same week as the current owner’s birthday—I wonder if a trend is starting. (Last month it was Basil Morales and his ’68 GTO. Brian’s Pontiac reveals a build date of 10E on the cowl tag (10=October, E=fifth week of month). He was born on October 28, 1975.
Here's Brian (right) and his dad Dennis on Brian’s wedding day.
The biggest reason this Bird has an emotional attachment for Brian, however, is because it’s the last one he and his father restored before Dennis passed away in May of 2009. “I owe him special thanks for teaching me his motor skills, attention to detail, and perseverance with restoring Birds our way,” Brian says.
The show-winning results of this father/son collaboration provide a fitting tribute to Brian’s dad.
Here’s what the Formula looked like the day Brian bought it.
Though the engine had been rebuilt, the engine bay needed serious TLC.
Does this look like the future winner of a Best Interior award? Note the Buckskin-painted
Here’s a look at the aforementioned rear window rust.