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 Rockford project begins: 1974 Firebird Esprit 400
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2017 :  12:17:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I decided to start a new thread to cover the Rockford project rather than add to the initial one from last year where I was just gathering some parts.

Last week I delivered the 74 Esprit to a small, local body shop along with a new passenger side quarter panel. Upon examination by the shop owner, I was advised to also purchase a drivers side quarter panel. I ordered an AMD quarter from Tamraz and it was delivered today (ahead of schedule despite the nor'easter and heavy snow here yesterday). I'll be posting updates as the project progresses for anyone who may be interested.


Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 16 Mar 2017 12:18:38 AM

Blued and Painted
Chief PONTIAC

USA
3405 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2017 :  12:09:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cool.
What color was the Rockford car.


Bull Nose Formula/ 461/ Q-Jet/
TH400/ 3.08 8.5 / R44TS.
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rkellerjr
Many Feathers

USA
1260 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2017 :  2:02:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice

Rich
1975 TA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR86YT69yeY
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2017 :  2:43:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The first year (74) it was a Denver Gold Esprit 400. Subsequent years got new Formula 400's redressed as Esprits and painted a custom studio color. Thanks to a fellow Rockford enthusiast and owner of a 77-78 version, the Universal Studio color formula is known. That is the color I am going with because, in my personal opinion it is nicer than the 74 Denver Gold. It was also used from 75-80 for continuity in the show and is much more recognizable.

The interior is a match here too and I only need to replace carpet (new but wrong earth tone), front seat vinyl (horse collar), rear sail panels which are dried out and headliner which had been replaced with the wrong/later cloth/spongy type by the previous owner.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 16 Mar 2017 5:18:30 PM
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67drake
Sitting Duck

Azerbaijan
1501 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2017 :  08:04:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice car Phil.
A non car guy I work with is a Rockford fan. He has asked me a few times how much a Firebird that looks like the TV show bird would cost him. I'll send him a link to this thread!


71' GTO Original 400 M20 3.23 posi
13.95@102.1 MPH on street tires
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Blued and Painted
Chief PONTIAC

USA
3405 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2017 :  11:12:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Could not find an esprit music video.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pruex3pgX1g -


Bull Nose Formula/ 461/ Q-Jet/
TH400/ 3.08 8.5 / R44TS.

Edited by - Blued and Painted on 17 Mar 2017 11:20:05 AM
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2017 :  12:31:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys, I've been chomping at the bit to get this project moving. The biggest hurdle is finding a competent body man which is key. But I have to say, posting pictures with photobucket is such a PITA these days. They've managed to ruin that site and make it incredibly frustrating. What are you guys using these days for photo hosting?

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5335 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2017 :  12:58:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I literally just avoid posting photos. image shack changed and was slow, i hate dealing with FTP software and hiding them on my business website. I just haven't seen anything good lately.
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rkellerjr
Many Feathers

USA
1260 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2017 :  1:52:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I usually post photos with my account over at Trans Am Town. They have a gallery there you can use with your account. Very easy to use.

Rich
1975 TA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR86YT69yeY
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67drake
Sitting Duck

Azerbaijan
1501 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2017 :  6:10:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I still use Botophuket,but yes,it is a PIA these days.


71' GTO Original 400 M20 3.23 posi
13.95@102.1 MPH on street tires
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 17 Mar 2017 :  11:52:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah. Photobucket is virtually unusable in their phone app.
So, today I took the new AMD Drivers side quarter to the shop and we opened up the box. I have to say this is a quality piece. I compared it to the standard (unknown brand) generic passenger side quarter I had previously dropped off there and the AMD was noticably heavier and overall of higher quality. Since my thinking is that the excavation and not the pipe is where the real money is spent, tonight I ordered a Passenger side AMD quarter panel from Tamraz.

I'll post some photos once the old quarters are cut off. Dont forget guys, 74 is a bastard year so no 74 quarters are reproduced as far as I know. So the sail panels must be preserved in order to do this. I'm using 75-81 quarters for this project. IF my sail panels were shot I'd have to either find OEM cutoff sail panels with these quarters or also buy 70-73 quarters just to hack off the sail panel/window areas.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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phil400
Cochise

Canada
456 Posts

Posted - 18 Mar 2017 :  5:35:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice! Love it.

78T/A 4-SPEED Marty blue 400/milled 6x-4's/268H,comp roller tip rockers/ performer Q-jet/RA manifolds 2.25" exhaust with x-pipe/ mine since '99 3rd & final owner as long as I'm alive
"sometimes I do what I want to do,rest of the time I do what I have to"
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 18 Mar 2017 :  5:58:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Soooo, the TH-350 must have been rebuilt by the local moron in whatever hick town this car came from. So I've already located and picked up a nice running 200-4R from an 87 Monte SS. Of course some of you guys KNEW I would find an excuse to "200-4R-ize" yet another classic Pontiac. I just can't bring myself to swap to a Turbo 400 even though that's what was in the original Rockford 74. If it already had the 400 and it was in decent shape I'd consider keeping it....no I probably wouldn't.

The 2.73 gears will end up going too in exchange for a set of 3.23's or 3.42's and adding an Eaton L/S while in there. It's going to make Jim Rockford proud.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Blued and Painted
Chief PONTIAC

USA
3405 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2017 :  12:51:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What about the bell housing?


Bull Nose Formula/ 461/ Q-Jet/
TH400/ 3.08 8.5 / R44TS.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2017 :  08:55:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
200-4R is a bolt in for a TH350. Only the mount on the crossmember is further back. The vast majority are unibell with some very early ones (few) being BOP only. My first one I ever owned was a BOP only in the 80's. I believe it was a first year production trans @1981.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 22 Mar 2017 :  06:55:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Upon examination of the rear window channel, there is a small amount of rust perforation in the upper right corner while the rest of the channel at all other points appears to be in great shape. So, as I had hoped (and planned), we can leave the OEM 74 sail panels in place, repair the rust perforations in the channel and cut the new 75-81 quarters to fit the 74 sail panels. I'll be taking more photos and posting as soon as the new pass. side quarter arrives and I take it to the shop.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 22 Mar 2017 06:56:02 AM
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 06 Apr 2017 :  11:55:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
More progress on the drivers side quarter. Inner and outer wheelhouses are solid. Trunk drop is rotted (as expected) so I ordered both sides, assuming the pass side will be the same or worse. Passenger quarter showed up this week as well as new rocker panel trim, hardware and 4 new wheel wheel moldings and GM screws.







Rear tail panel is in excellent condition and solid, whew!



Window channels are solid but need to be cleaned up obviously. the top right corner has a few small holes that will be cut out and replaced with new metal.









Structure under trunk lid behind window is in remarkably good condition considering these cars usually have standing water here when not being driven!




Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 06 Apr 2017 11:59:08 AM
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 03 Jul 2017 :  9:21:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well it's been almost 3 months and nothing new to report. The Esprit has been setting in the body shop garage while other things have been going on there. This is the price we pay these days for having these old cars that virtually no body man wants to work on unless your putting his kid through college.

In the meantime, I'm working on "other things".

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Bill Boyle
Horse Feathers (Charter Member)

USA
4794 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2017 :  06:29:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bill Boyle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Phil, I think it's hard for many shops to slow down from the fender bender "bread and butter" insurance work to progress on a "classic," notwithstanding the check given to them to work on it initially.

If my TA had to have had the extent of body work shown in your picts, my car would still be sitting, as there is no restoration shop in this part of Florida. My car would have go north to find a reputable restoration shop. A sizable check would be required as well, I'm sure, to keep them interested, and motivated, if that's possible.

"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

----
400 bored +.030, forged TRW pistons, ported 62 heads, Hedman headers, 2.5 SS dual exhaust X Pypes, Comp 276AH10 cam, Scorpion 1.65 RR, 850 Q-jet, stock intake & tuned HEI; original owner.
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cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5335 Posts

Posted - 04 Jul 2017 :  08:42:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
On the FB body work groups, i see guys complaining about insurance adjusters, being forced to fix parts they want to replace, being forced to use certain brand parts. The only ones that seem to be mellow are the restoration shops.

I still sub some stuff out to a local shop or two. Giving them small, clear bites, not paying until it's done, usually makes quick work. I had a small rust bubble starting on my hood on the GTO, and the tire tweaked the fender a little when the lower ball joint came apart. I sent that to a chevy dealership bodyshop and they're working on that now. (The car is also a lighter metallic and i don't feel confident i could have matched or blended it.)

A month ago before i started the 56, i sent it to the same shop to do rust repair on the two, back door lower inner corners. They did a good job, and with the crazy contours there i don't think i could have gotten it as good looking.

So, if you have only a bad spot here or there, most shops will quote it and knock it out in a week. A whole restoration, it's easy to get lost in because the average person is terrible at managing large projects, and guys working these shops are no exception.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 05 Jul 2017 :  10:56:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All good points guys. My problem is this is a retired body man who only works on one car at a time in his one car shop. So basically I am his only customer. Kind of like the Corleone Family being the only client of Tom Hagen.

I've seen his work however and he does nice stuff. But its kind of like my lifelong inability to get tire shops to properly balance tires. I seem to have other lifelong problems too such as local transmission shops who do amazing work but barely show up to even open the shop. Same with body shops, my GTO set at a shop for 6 years before it was done. There were days those guys were just goofing around with an old wheel barrow or playing with a saw cutting limbs on a non-issue tree.

I just laugh now...

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 05 Jul 2017 9:46:16 PM
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Blued and Painted
Chief PONTIAC

USA
3405 Posts

Posted - 06 Jul 2017 :  01:36:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Once when i was a kid, a major ice storm had knocked out power. We struggled thru 5 days using the pot belly stove for cooking and heat. So Dad, with a thermos of coffee and sandwiches went out is search of a repair crew. Within and hour the power was restored.

So send a couple of Hookers over to see your body man.

--



Bull Nose Formula/ 461/ Q-Jet/
TH400/ 3.08 8.5 / R44TS.

Edited by - Blued and Painted on 06 Jul 2017 01:46:03 AM
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cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5335 Posts

Posted - 06 Jul 2017 :  09:41:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
This is sage advice. I know i get work done faster when i have a couple of hookers to help with prep and masking.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 06 Jul 2017 :  09:44:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Lol, or maybe I'll try the thermos of coffee and sandwiches first. Then I can apply the Hooker money toward the new interior.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Bill Boyle
Horse Feathers (Charter Member)

USA
4794 Posts

Posted - 19 Jul 2017 :  08:52:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bill Boyle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hey Phil--anything new with the project? Is the body man on the job?

"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

----
400 bored +.030, forged TRW pistons, ported 62 heads, Hedman headers, 2.5 SS dual exhaust X Pypes, Comp 276AH10 cam, Scorpion 1.65 RR, 850 Q-jet, stock intake & tuned HEI; original owner.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 23 Jul 2017 :  10:47:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bill, I've been wanting to go and check on it the past couple of weeks but it's been crazy busy here. However, this week is showing promise and I will be posting any progress.

This will also force me to deal with the Photobucket issues. I'll be looking for a better alternative before I can post more progress photos.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 07 Aug 2017 :  09:58:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Progress! Finally had a chance to go to the shop and the new drivers side quarter has been fitted to the body, including the earlier (70-74) roofline. It will be welded up soon and then work will begin on the installation of the new passenger side quarter. Also installed was the new trunk drop. The feedback from the Bodyman is the AMD repro pieces fit very well with no issues. I was already pleased with their visual quality and heavier than OEM gauge right out of the box. So the positive feedback regarding fitment is most welcome.

[url=https://postimages.org/][/url]

[url=https://postimages.org/][/url]

[url=https://postimages.org/][/url]

[url=https://postimages.org/][/url]

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.

Edited by - Phil on 07 Aug 2017 10:04:35 AM
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 07 Aug 2017 :  10:10:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just realized I never posted the photos of the AMD trunk drops:
[url=https://postimages.org/][/url]

[url=https://postimages.org/][/url]

[url=https://postimages.org/][/url]


Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Bill Boyle
Horse Feathers (Charter Member)

USA
4794 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2017 :  09:58:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bill Boyle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Progress! Anything that wasn't like it the minute, hour or day before is progress--no matter how little it is. Sometimes progress is like trying to nail Jello to the wall--very elusive.

Before you know it Phil, the sheet metal will be solidly in place.

Bill


"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

----
400 bored +.030, forged TRW pistons, ported 62 heads, Hedman headers, 2.5 SS dual exhaust X Pypes, Comp 276AH10 cam, Scorpion 1.65 RR, 850 Q-jet, stock intake & tuned HEI; original owner.
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cortcomp
Coyote

USA
5335 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2017 :  12:55:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit cortcomp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Before you know it you'll be driving it, and most of this effort will be just a brief memory. Keep at it!
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2017 :  07:41:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Cort, I'm fairly patient though as long as the outcome is as expected. But in the meantime, something new showed up to distract me.
[url=https://postimages.org/][/url]

[url=https://postimages.org/][/url]


Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Blued and Painted
Chief PONTIAC

USA
3405 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2017 :  11:10:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh Snap, your getting closer to a 4 gen.


Bull Nose Formula/ 461/ Q-Jet/
TH400/ 3.08 8.5 / R44TS.
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Bill Boyle
Horse Feathers (Charter Member)

USA
4794 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2017 :  2:03:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bill Boyle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nice. Is this another project to be announced?

"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

----
400 bored +.030, forged TRW pistons, ported 62 heads, Hedman headers, 2.5 SS dual exhaust X Pypes, Comp 276AH10 cam, Scorpion 1.65 RR, 850 Q-jet, stock intake & tuned HEI; original owner.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 09 Aug 2017 :  5:31:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks guys, no. This one just needed a few ancillary things like a pop-up headlight wasn't working, power antenna not working and a few other bits of nonsense on an otherwise original 36,000 mile TTA. This thing is 100% bone stock including the original cat. Very unusual to find one that has not been monkeyed around with in all this time.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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70 bird
Tribal Scout

19 Posts

Posted - 10 Aug 2017 :  12:35:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for posting this project! One of these days I need to hang new quarters on my 70.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 16 Oct 2017 :  9:01:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
When it rains, it pours. Now I have a McQ project in the making. This WAS going to be taking place AFTER Rockford but one cannot predict when a suitable candidate will surface. Photos will be posted once it is delivered.

Oh, and Rockford has been sidelined at the body shop while another (shorter term) project is underway. Hey if I complain it'll cost me $$$.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Bill Boyle
Horse Feathers (Charter Member)

USA
4794 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2017 :  05:50:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bill Boyle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Mustang. Where are you going to stash all these cars Phil?

"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

----
400 bored +.030, forged TRW pistons, ported 62 heads, Hedman headers, 2.5 SS dual exhaust X Pypes, Comp 276AH10 cam, Scorpion 1.65 RR, 850 Q-jet, stock intake & tuned HEI; original owner.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 17 Oct 2017 :  9:31:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Actually I bought the property across the street and it happened to have a 4 + 1 car garage. Thankfully the timing and the price was great.

Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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Phil
The Great White Buffalo

USA
7215 Posts

Posted - 18 Nov 2017 :  12:50:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome McQ project! She's already stashed away in a corner of the garage for another day. I'll start a separate thread once underway. Seller was top notch, honest and car was actually better than expected. A craigslist anomaly...
[url=https://postimg.org/image/kyszexk11/][/url] [url=https://postimg.org/image/vye6qjpvp/][/url]




Bowties are for Pee-wee Herman. "Chevy": even the name sounds cheap, but not as cheap as your Pontiac will be with an LS transplant.
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