The Early Days...
I have had a thing for 1st Gen Firebirds since my early teens. I think it all started when I was
around the 12-13 in the early 70's. There was a young guy who lived down the street from my
grandparents with a 67 or 68 firebird. It was a really cool shade of blue, had a big old engine
in it, made an incredible racket and all the kids on the block, including me, thought it was the
ultmate ride. I think he even took me for a ride in it one day. That was my first experience with
the cars and was the seed that stuck in my head for the day I had the time (and maybe the
money). I have no real pictures of that car or the kid who had it, but the image was in my
When I was around 19-20 and looking for a car in the early 80's I bought a 1977 Trans Am.
Not a 1st gen but it was a firebird. A very nice car and the used car dealership let me trade
in my 750 Honda motorcycle as a down payment . With a reluctant but faithful cosign from
my wonderful grandfather, I was on the road in a very cool car with my first set of car-loan
payments. Here are a few old snaps of that baby. Yes, those are Thrush Side Pipes. All the
rage in the early 80's. Put them on myself with some flex exhaust tubing, a hacksaw, muffler
clamps, and some screws. I loved the looks people gave you when you tromped the gas. Nice
low rumble at idle and look out when the pedal dropped. I have no idea what was up with the
"Ligier/Gitanes" thing on the windshield, but I thought it looked different enough to be
interesting. My father used to call all these things "Tennessee go-fasters"
above. My Brother and I working on our firebirds in the driveway. He had a very nice '75. Gotta love
those big ol amber fog lamps filling in the grill beside the headlights and the chrome mesh
headlight covers over the Cibies.
above. My car in front of a Lambourghini I believe it was, in Banff, Alberta. look at the vintage
boats all over on the streets behind it.
above. rear shot with view of the chrome slapper bars, chrome diff cover, chrome
mudflaps, trunk mount CB radio antenna and flat black aluminum louvered rear
window cover. TOO Cool. It was the early 80's !
Bumper decals- B&M (Quicksilver ratchet action shifter) Thrush (sidepipes)
and AMA CAA auto club (tows and boosts...)
Fast Forward now through a lot of years in the Arctic, Marriage, University, raise
two great kids, 15 years as a Shop Teacher, Honda Civics, Dodge Mini vans,
SUV's and it is time finally to find a First Gen to get started on building something
fun to drive again.
I posted a wanted ad on "First Gen Firebirds". this is a great site and one I have
gone back to hundreds of times for reference and advice. In a few weeks I got a reply
from a guy in Calgary, Alberta who thought he had something I might be interested
in. Lots of pics and lots of emails later I was a proud owner of a 1968 firebird.
Here is what the Pick up Day looked like...
It was in a parkade under a condo, covered in dust, no front seats, chrome rollbar,
small block chevy, battery in the trunk. Nasty to anyone else, but beautiful to me.
ya, that's me with the proud grin on my face.
my wife, my good friend Stan, and his family helping load the beast.
On the trailer and still lookin pretty good I'm thinkin.
Home and tucked in the 1 car garage. tight squeeze with all my other "stuff"
the front. more amber fog lamps. must be something about the amber fog lamps...
down the Passenger side... Note the sunroof. that would become a bigger problem later on.
Oh and the Camaro quarters sans louvers..
down the drivers side...
started tearing into it right away... and keep finding more rust, and more goofy wiring. car had a
1st generation car phone with million wires, and an aftermarket cruise control also with a million
wires, and I believe the fellow never saw a gauge he didn't like. wires everywhere. and rust,
did I mention the rust?
but on the good side.. that is a muncie 4 speed under that shifter which will be going into my current car. :-)
and the engine bay. It was a 327 chevy. some good parts here and there (Cal custom valve covers,
holley dbl pumper, holley street dominator intake, but then all downhill after that. Note the multi
coloured hues of the previous paint jobs appearing after a little scraping. Car had been originally
Autumn Bronze when it was born but then things got scary, Hugger Orange, Lime Green, Resale red,
then it's current shade of pewter. which the previous owner said was to stop drawing Cops like flies
as the previous colours did. Also note more of the wiring from hell.
yes that is a large diameter Chrome 4 point roll cage in there. I still have it although not sure why.
some day it will make a cool retro sale item at a swap table I am planning... and more previous
paint colours peeking out.
I stripped, grinded, cleaned for over a year and a half. The list of what the car needed was huge.
ten times longer than what it actually had on it that was saveable.
We moved into a bigger house with a bigger garage. I finished the garage with my firebird project
in mind. Welder, Big Air Comp, electrical everything. that took close to a year and the 68 sat...
and then to make matters worse I bought a parts car. a 1967 that had a decent roof, some front
seats, and as I found out, not much else. Pretty isn't it?
I think I found the only 1st gen actually uglier than my 68 .
Then along came the answer to my problems. My brother had a white '68 that he bought at the
Classic car auction in Calgary. He had also bought an even nicer 69 on Ebay from Manitoba. The
69 had spun the crank on the drive back from Manitoba ( and was he pissed, as I would have been)
and he was going to transplant the 350 out of the 68 into the 69. He made me a decent offer on
the roller 68 and there was a very good chance I could finish it and actually drive it before I was 50.
Thanks again to my good friend Stan and his trusty trailer and I was now the owner of 3 1st gen
birds. Someday I am going to buy a car that will actually be driven home...
I listed my 68 and the 67 parts car as a package deal in First Gen Firebirds and got a call from
a guy in Lethbridge who bought them both for a giveaway good deal, but he still complained.
But that's a different story. He later sold the grey car to a friend here in town for double what
he paid me and without the folding rear seat, the parts car, and chevy engine parts.
You live and learn, right?
Now time to leave the past and get started on the real Project...