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Sitting Bull

157 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2013 :  05:06:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello all, I am Jim. In a few short days I will turn the big 4-0. I am married to my high school sweetheart and I have two children, a daughter that is eight and a son that is nine. In 1990, when I met my now wife, I drove a silver '77 Trans Am with a 400 and a 4 speed. I really loved that car! I drove it whenever the weather permitted and every time I went out on a date. Sadly, I ended up having to sell the car for parts a few short years later when the rear frame rails rusted through and broke apart.

We both really enjoyed the car and the memories that we made in it. One of my favorite memories was when my wife said "That's really cool when the thingy moves", talking about the shaker. It was first fast car she had ever been in and I was never easy on it, either. I always let off the clutch fast when I shifted into second and would often bark the tires. The guy I bought it from said it "had some work done to it" and I took it to the track a few times too. The best I ever ran was 13.56 on street tires. No, it wasn't a "barn burner" but it was fast enough for a teenager... .

Fast forward to 2008, we are now married and have two small children. Money is tight and I am working two jobs to make ends meet and keep food on the table. A co-worker of mine stops by my house and asks me if I know of anyone that would want to buy his project car. I tell him yes, I know of a few people and ask him what it is. When he tells me its a '78 T/A I about died. I told him the story of the one I had and how we missed it. He said, Jim if you would want the car I will make you a good deal on it and the rest is history. We bought the car that afternoon even though we had no clue how long it would be before we would be able to afford to do anything with it.

The interior was complete and in rough shape, however, the body was in decent shape and the little bit of rust was cosmetic. The tranny was shot, but it wasn't the original anyway. The car ran and it had 7K3 heads on the original long block, headers, a worn out Hurst aftermarket shifter, a cobbled up 750 Q-jet, and a Summit Racing "2802" camshaft. The original 6X-8 heads, the original Q-jet, and the original shifter did come with the car. I knew when I bought her that a buddy of mine had a '79 Grand Prix sitting behind his barn so we took the 350 Turbo out of it and put it in the T/A to make her mobile again. However, with the huge camshaft, stock 2.56 rear end gearing, and a stock torque converter the car really wasn't fit to drive on the road. It was also in dire need of control arm bushings (the drivers side upper cracked and fell completely out), coil springs and ball joints. So it has sat since that summer, patiently waiting for some much needed attention. My wife and I hope to be able to put the car back together, slowly and over time, and to one day be able to give it to our son.

Over the last few months I have spent a lot of time doing research and have done a lot or reading on PSP and finally decided to create a username. We hope to be able to use some of our income tax return this year and get the car back on the road so we, as a family, can enjoy it. We are anything but a typical family and this car will surely become a family project. My son hangs out in the garage with me all the time and so does my wife and daughter.

I had the stock Q-jet rebuilt and converted to electric choke. This weekend we put it on, changed the spark plugs, set the timing, and changed the oil. The steel tubing that runs between the fuel pump and carb had been cut when the other carb was put on so I added an in-line filter there to catch any rust or junk that may be in the gas tank. The car now idles fairly smooth at 1000 rpm and will tolerate being put into gear without stalling, like it did before the tune up and carb change. If I idle it down any lower it will stall when put into gear.

When we get our tax return are going to trailer the car to a buddy's garage who is wanting to help get us started. He is going to change the front end bushings, ball joints, and coil springs for us. We could do it here, but he is wanting to help as he would love to see us get her on the road this summer... I work out-of-town Monday through Friday and I am only home on weekends so putting this car together will be a painstakingly slow process, but we will get it done......eventually.

Here is what she looked like when I bought her back in '08. I have since took off the rims and tires that came on her as they were just too big for the car. The rear were 275/60/15s and would rub if the air shocks weren't blown all the way up. Any and all comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks, Jim.

78 WS4, L78, M33

Edited by - KyHeadhunter on 11 Feb 2013 12:18:08 PM

Ye Olde Webmaster

855 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2013 :  08:41:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome to PSP.

The 78 TA is a great car to restore. While you may have to take your time to do that because of your work schedule and budget, the time you put into it will eventually be rewarding. Having another car you adored to drive around and polish will keep you young.

Getting the suspension and driveline in good shape is a good place to start for sure. If the project doesn't start with a good foundation it won't be a good restoration.

I see the rear quarter panels are rusted badly behind the rear wheels so new sheet metal is probably in order so the rust doesn't return there.

Well Jim, good luck with your Firebird project. While I can't speak for everyone on this board, we look forward to seeing your progress and will be here to help you through it. Feel free to ask questions as many of us have "been there, done that."


"Dedicated to keeping the classic Pontiac engine alive."

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Blued and Painted

3505 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2013 :  11:01:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
WOOoooo, white one. Nice. Welcome Jim.

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

46 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2013 :  11:45:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome, Jim.

Nice intro; so nice to hear about a family project car!

Take your time, do it right.

Good luck with it; sure looks like a fun project!

Keep your head up and your stick on the ice.
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Sitting Bull

157 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2013 :  1:01:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you gentlemen, for the warm welcome! We are very excited about our plans. A couple years back I came across a 1975 455 long block for $75.00. I bought it but I haven't taken the block and crank to the machine shop yet to see if it can be rebuilt. I figure build the car first, then add the power. At this point we are primarily concerned with getting her safe for the road. The exterior rust and the interior will come last as they will not be a problem. We are in an area where road salt is used and for its age, this car is in great shape. I found the factory build sheet under the back seat and the car was sold new in Florida so maybe that's why. I am sure that I will ask all the stupid questions and will certainly appreciate all the replies!....LOL!! Thanks again, Jim.

78 WS4, L78, M33

Edited by - KyHeadhunter on 20 Jan 2013 12:04:29 AM
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Sitting Bull

80 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2013 :  12:07:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
13.56 is a decent et for a daily driver .
Have fun with your car.
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Many Feathers

1339 Posts

Posted - 02 May 2015 :  10:43:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice looking ride Jim :) and welcome. Hey, better late than never right?

1975 TA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR86YT69yeY
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Howling Wind

1808 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2015 :  08:47:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christ's Homepage  Reply with Quote

welcome to the site bunch of great guys and gals here with a lot of knowledge.

btw all I am still around life has just taken off and wow my time is very limited

be good all
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