Solid Second-Gen Chassis
The Second-Gen Firebirds handled well for their time, but by today's standards, they're antiquated. Factory chassis use a rubber-mounted front subframe that flexes under load, and the suspension employs late-'60s technology. Schwartz Extreme Performance has incorporated several improvements into its new bolt-in full frame for Second-Gen Firebirds.
Built from 2x3-inch DOM steel tubing with 2x2-inch square- and round-tube crossbracing, Schwartz says its new chassis eliminates flex by "spreading the load among key structural points along the entire length of the frame and body."
The suspension has been redesigned also, employing revised geometry that, according to the company, "virtually eliminates bumpsteer while maintaining optimal camber gain and roll center." Additional components include rack-and-pinion steering; tubular unequal-length control arms; splined-end sway bars; and in the rear, a triangulated four-link with spherical rod ends. Also available is a 13-inch six-piston Wilwood big-brake kit; a complete full-floating, aluminum-center, 31-spline, posi-equipped Winters 9-inch rearend with owner's choice of axle ratio; high-spec QA1 Teflon-lined rod ends at all suspension points; and readily available screw-in ball joints.
The Schwartz all-steel frame benefits from increased strength, yet sheds more than 60 pounds compared to the stock setup. Best of all, it's a bolt-in with no cutting or welding required. For full chassis features and options, visit the company website.
A bare frame can be had for $3,695. The chassis with only front and rear suspension arms and sway bars starts at $7,714, and a powdercoated chassis with complete suspension and brakes costs $17,900. The company recommends you call for a quote, however, so it can provide a chassis with the equipment to best suit your buildup. The photo provided illustrates some standard and optional equipment. Schwartz Extreme Performance, 6205 Lou Ave., Crystal Lake, IL 60014; (815) 455-2230; www.schwartzperformance.com.
Smoother shifting can be had for your vintage manual-trans Pontiac thanks to Keisler Automotive Engineering's new Hydraulic Clutch Kit. Engineered to replace the stock mechanical clutch linkage, the kit works with factory clutch pedals, as well as aftermarket ones having integrated master cylinders.
Claiming to be an advancement over current aftermarket designs by eliminating bleed-down due to poor sealing and providing a preload spring to improve clutch release and thwart bearing noise, the system boasts a proprietary OEM-design hydraulic release bearing rated for 7,000-rpm and 1,000,000-cycle durability. It utilizes a single high-pressure stainless flexible line with integrated bleeder, a forged-aluminum housing, a silicon dust boot, piston wiper seals, and blow-out stop protection. Included are a Wilwood pressure die-cast master cylinder, a fluid reservoir, a high-pressure line, a hydraulic bearing, a Keisler vehicle-specific clutch-pedal installation mounting kit, and all hardware.
The price is $650. Keisler Engineering, 2250 Stock Creek Blvd., Rockford, TN 37853; (888) 609-0070; www.keislerauto.com.
With the holiday season right around the corner, it's time to think about the perfect gift for the gearhead in your family. If that Pontiac lover likes to know what time it is, consider Collectible Sign and Clock's new 14-inch '68 GTO wall clock, which is made in the U.S.
It uses a single AA battery to power the 22-watt fluorescent bulb, which is controlled by an on/off switch on the cord, and the quartz crystal movement ensures accuracy.
The price is $100. Collectable Sign and Clock, 835 W. Peralta Ave., Mesa, AZ 85210; (480) 755-7497; www.usclock.net.
Christmas Tree In Your Pocket
Making a great pass on the dragstrip doesn't just come down to the performance of your Pontiac; it also weighs heavily on the driver's skill. A commonly overlooked attribute of a great driver is his or her ability to react quickly. Cutting a good light in a late round can mean the difference between going home with all the glory or empty-handed. Now PROFORM Specialty Auto Parts gives you the option of practicing your reaction times from the comfort of your own home or in the pits between rounds with its new pocket-sized Perfect Launch. It features a remote thumb trigger, 0.4- and 0.5-second pro and full Trees, and an adjustable delay box, bump down, and rollout. Pro racers and amateurs will love this convenient, hand-held practice tool.
The price is $80. PROFORM Products, P.O. Box 306, Roseville, MI 48066; (586) 774-2500; www.proformparts.com