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Old 12-21-2008, 04:59 PM   #1
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1971 Firebird

Just figured I'd start a thread on the 71 Firebird i just picked up. Big thanks to Matt (mc73nova) for helping me get it to my place. I was really looking for a split bumper camaro but i couldn't pass up this running 71 firebird for $1500. From the numbers I was able to pull off the block it looks like the motor is from a 73 firebird and its a poncho 400. It has a 3 speed manual.

Today was my first day with the car and I was curious to see how the floor boards were so I gutted the interior except for the dash. I pulled two full bags of old carpet and glued down material that easily weighed over 50lbs. I happy to say that it doesn't look too bad. Only 2 actual holes on the passenger side (see pics below) and a soft spot just under the clutch. Everything else seems to be nice and solid for the most part.










I was able to think about what i wanted to do with this car and I think I decided to have this as a weekend worrier that is also street-able. I dont think ill ever own a truck let alone a trailer to move it so it has to be street legal/pass inspection, but i don't really want to fully restore to original condition seeing as its only a base model/non number even close to matching car. 2 seats, a steering wheel, and some gauges. No bling, prob stay matte black or semi gloss (always wanted a road worrier-esk older car and 4th gens just don't look good in flat black)

Only thing to decide is how to handle the rear frame rails - tub/back half it or just get the reproduction frame rails? Either way I'm months away from saving up to do anything major and will prob change my mind several times. I am prob going to try and sell the white interior that came with the car. It has some green over spray on it so im not sure if its even worth anything.

Any thoughts, comments, ideas, all welcome. I'd like to know what you'd do with this car.
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Last edited by usp55; 12-30-2008 at 01:17 PM. Reason: Updated info
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:17 PM   #2
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Looks like you got yourself a good deal!

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Old 12-21-2008, 08:42 PM   #3
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Good find, I love the early 2nd gen Firebirds. If the rear rails are bad, look into the Comp Engineering rails and subframe connectors. They move the leaf springs inboard, so you can keep the stock suspension but fit some more tire. Connectors Rails
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Old 12-21-2008, 09:19 PM   #4
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http://ecom.goodmarkindustries.com/c...ll%20parts

Excellent Resto parts. Most, if not all, the sheet metal you will need is available.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:05 PM   #5
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Do a lot of homework before you buy your 1st part.
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The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand. Or so I have read.

Feather-light suspension, Konis just couldn't hold. I'm so glad I took a look inside your showroom doors.

Hey everybody, it's good to have you on the Baba-too-da-ba-too-ba-ba-buh-doo-ga-ga-bop-a-dop
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Old 12-21-2008, 11:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by NJSPEEDER View Post
http://ecom.goodmarkindustries.com/c...le=All%20parts

Excellent Resto parts. Most, if not all, the sheet metal you will need is available.
Most of the resto parts are made by one company, and reboxed by Goodmark, etc. I have the number of a guy in Millstone who has the same quality parts for a good deal without ridiculous shipping. He has a lot of metal in stock, saved me a ton so far on the stuff for my 67.
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Old 12-22-2008, 12:16 AM   #7
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Hell of a deal man! Congrats on the pick up and good luck on the rest of the build!
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:57 PM   #8
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Most of the resto parts are made by one company, and reboxed by Goodmark, etc. I have the number of a guy in Millstone who has the same quality parts for a good deal without ridiculous shipping. He has a lot of metal in stock, saved me a ton so far on the stuff for my 67.
Care to share?
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:09 PM   #9
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Bernie
732-580-6612
classicrestorationparts@comcast.net

Found him from some other 1st gen owners who bought parts.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:48 PM   #10
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Thanks for the sites and info guys. I got a 500page catalog from classic industries that has most every part including all the sheet metal(wish they just sold the front sections separate), but its always nice to compare prices. I have so many questions i don't know where to start so i guess i have a lot of research to do.
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:29 PM   #11
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Bernie
732-580-6612
classicrestorationparts@comcast.net

Found him from some other 1st gen owners who bought parts.
Thanks.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by usp55 View Post
I have so many questions i don't know where to start so i guess i have a lot of research to do.
Looking at the floors and the fact you said the framerails need work, you might want to consider the full replacement floor section and rear framerails. Start with that as your focus for a sound foundation. Talk to a couple of the sponsors and see if one of them might be interested in doing the work. It might be a good learning experience for everyone. The shop doing my 69 Z28 showed me the full floor section he is putting in another JL8 car(that I used to own) and it's a really nice replacement part with much better structural support than doing any partial work will give you. The car doesn't look too bad, but as soon as you started replacing more than 1 floor section the full floor is a much better option.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:47 PM   #13
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Thanks.
+1. I will be calling that guy soon
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:23 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by JL8Jeff View Post
Looking at the floors and the fact you said the framerails need work, you might want to consider the full replacement floor section and rear framerails. Start with that as your focus for a sound foundation. Talk to a couple of the sponsors and see if one of them might be interested in doing the work. It might be a good learning experience for everyone. The shop doing my 69 Z28 showed me the full floor section he is putting in another JL8 car(that I used to own) and it's a really nice replacement part with much better structural support than doing any partial work will give you. The car doesn't look too bad, but as soon as you started replacing more than 1 floor section the full floor is a much better option.
Yeah, I had a really good experience with my full floor as well.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:22 PM   #15
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sweet deal collin. if you are going weekend warrior. why dont you opt for the collector car insurance. no inspection req. youll get a exempt sticker. only downfall is it can only be driven like 3500 mi. a year or something like that. i loved my 72 ta. it was one of my lost treasures. good luck.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:24 PM   #16
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sweet deal collin. if you are going weekend warrior. why dont you opt for the collector car insurance. no inspection req. youll get a exempt sticker. only downfall is it can only be driven like 3500 mi. a year or something like that. i loved my 72 ta. it was one of my lost treasures. good luck.
He must go QQ.

http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/Inspectio...clesExempt.htm

Car must be less than 25 years old to qualify for collector reg
http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/Vehic...Car_Status.pdf
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The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand. Or so I have read.

Feather-light suspension, Konis just couldn't hold. I'm so glad I took a look inside your showroom doors.

Hey everybody, it's good to have you on the Baba-too-da-ba-too-ba-ba-buh-doo-ga-ga-bop-a-dop
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:44 PM   #17
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so 25+ for QQ but i cant find any restrictions or qualifications for QQ tags. Millage, modifications, etc.

whats the benefit if QQ - no inspection?
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:47 PM   #18
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no inspection. I think there is a usage limit (to/from an event or repair), but no mileage. As long as you aren't driving it daily you'll have no issues. I drive mine to work a lot, and just aimless cruising.

But a 71 is also an easy inspection. No smog to speak of.

You are also a long time from that.
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Vent Windows Forever! ... My junk ... NJ Camaros and Firebirds

The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand. Or so I have read.

Feather-light suspension, Konis just couldn't hold. I'm so glad I took a look inside your showroom doors.

Hey everybody, it's good to have you on the Baba-too-da-ba-too-ba-ba-buh-doo-ga-ga-bop-a-dop
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:55 PM   #19
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You are also a long time from that.
Why don't you kick him in the nuts while you're at it?
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:57 PM   #20
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Why don't you kick him in the nuts while you're at it?
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Vent Windows Forever! ... My junk ... NJ Camaros and Firebirds

The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand. Or so I have read.

Feather-light suspension, Konis just couldn't hold. I'm so glad I took a look inside your showroom doors.

Hey everybody, it's good to have you on the Baba-too-da-ba-too-ba-ba-buh-doo-ga-ga-bop-a-dop
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:26 PM   #21
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ah its ok Bonzo is just trying to be realistic

So bonzo your saying inspection would be to had to pass? I would think it would be a pain in the ass to get this engine through inspection because of emissions and such. If thats the case than ill just get it on the road like any other car so i can actually enjoy it and drive it more than 3k a year.


Got some work done today on the bird. Got the front end and fenders off. Took a timing light to it with my father and learned how to do that and he taught me all about the distributor and the points and what not. Got her to run really nice with just the timing adjustments. Idles is nice and smooth. My carb is leaking and i cant tell from where. There is a spacer on it so im guessing one of those gaskets is the problem. Could the leak be from any other place but the gaskets? Also im taking the spacer off as the hood dosnt fit with it on and im not racing with this engine so i just want it to fit under my hood for now, ill sacrifice the 5 or so hp the spacer might give me.

Also does anyone have a cherry picker in south jersey? I might just buy one but i thought id ask. Gone pull the engine, replace motor mounts, POR-15 the front frame rails and cross member.

I got to figure out how to get the A-arms off so i can clean them up or even upgrade them while im in there. Any advice to get the off?

The driver side where has a spun stud and the lug wont come off, no idea how to get it off but not a big deal as i have plenty of room to work now.





I don't know about u, but I'm loving the factory color. Prob wont paint it that color but every time i walk past it it grows on me.
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:16 PM   #22
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3000 miles is a lot of miles. My cars gets lots of miles and probably does not break 3000. Insurance may help make your decision if you get collector car insurance.

I'm sure you can find a hoist down there somewhere. I have one if you can't find one closer.

Another note - you might not want to sell or trash any parts until you are done with your project.

Take a lot of pics, tag & bag all bolts. Too many is better than not enouhg - a bag for each fender & shims, etc.

Go to year one and order service & assembly manuals. The code "NASTY15" will get you 15% off online puircahses, courtesy of nastyZ28. Best buy you will make for your project.
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Vent Windows Forever! ... My junk ... NJ Camaros and Firebirds

The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand. Or so I have read.

Feather-light suspension, Konis just couldn't hold. I'm so glad I took a look inside your showroom doors.

Hey everybody, it's good to have you on the Baba-too-da-ba-too-ba-ba-buh-doo-ga-ga-bop-a-dop
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonzoHansen View Post
Another note - you might not want to sell or trash any parts until you are done with your project.

Take a lot of pics, tag & bag all bolts. Too many is better than not enouhg - a bag for each fender & shims, etc.

Go to year one and order service & assembly manuals. The code "NASTY15" will get you 15% off online puircahses, courtesy of nastyZ28. Best buy you will make for your project.
Baggin each thing is good advice if you plan on doing a resto. Just buy a lot of Zip loc bags and get some permanent markers. If you dont care too much about factory resto then it wont matter. I just throw all of them in to a coffee can or what ever. I plan on replacing a lot of them with stainless where I can and then (for camaro at least) they have a master bolt kit you can buy. Its like $200 for the RS kit.

I wouldnt buy too much from year one as they are already overpriced so 15% off overpriced is about what it should be but you can shop for better prices.

What is the code and name for the original color?

Also I would recommend taking the front suspension apart with the sub frame still on the car and the engine in the cradle. My cousin recommended that at the very least you do the a-arms with the engine in the cradle so if you pop a ball joint the frame doesnt flip over. May not happen but that engine weight will work in your favor.

Also FYI it looks like your floor is very close to my 71RS so if you cant find a floor pan for the 'bird you may be able to get the camaro one to work if you are not going to patch and want to replace. I need a LH side floor, if you need/want I can try to take detailed pictures and measurements on mine so you can see if yours is close

Last edited by PolarBear; 12-30-2008 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:13 PM   #24
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trust me, even if you do not plan on reusing a bolt, bag & tag anyway. For reference. And shims. you can always throw them out later.

Manuals are basically the same price everywhere. Buy them today.

Taking a-arms out is easy even with car apart. To get the srping back in w/o engine weight you have to use a spring compressor.
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Vent Windows Forever! ... My junk ... NJ Camaros and Firebirds

The looser the waistband, the deeper the quicksand. Or so I have read.

Feather-light suspension, Konis just couldn't hold. I'm so glad I took a look inside your showroom doors.

Hey everybody, it's good to have you on the Baba-too-da-ba-too-ba-ba-buh-doo-ga-ga-bop-a-dop
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:26 PM   #25
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Already have the manuals, already have about 10 snack size zip lock bags full of labeled bolts; R fender, L fender, hood, etc.

But keep the tips coming.

I'm going to order the bolt kit for my car, about 200.
They sell the full floor pan correct for my year without the hump for the cat converter that the later model 2nd gens needed.
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