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Another cheap car: Third gen Firebird

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    Another cheap car: Third gen Firebird

    Story time. Feel free to skip the wall of text if you just want pics or whatever.

    Couple of weeks ago I was sitting around the house on holidays browsing FB while the Mrs worked and I watched the kids. Spotted an add for what seemed like a good deal on an 82 Trans Am. Not a massive fan of Trans Ams, but do have a thing for turd gens and F bodies.
    The add says the car is stripped down, but all parts are there. Has all new bushes underneath.
    The add has only just been listed so I think I'm probably the first on it. I message the guy who says it's still available, and I said I just need to confirm when the Mrs gets home in an hour that I'd be free to get it in the morning (it's 4 hours away). After 10 minutes thinking about it I realise it's too good a deal and I probably shouldn't leave it hanging and just message him saying I'll take it. He doesn't reply for a bit so I started to panic.
    I FB stalked old mate, and it turns out we have a mutual friend (too_much_boost). Anthony calls them up for me, and pretty much locks it in. Got his number and called him up. It's good I did too, because I'm pretty sure he was in the process of doing a deal with someone else. I loaded up the trailer that night ready to head out first thing in the morning.

    The car was in a shed on a property near Cowra. Steep enough that I nearly got stuck on the driveway with the non LSD 2wd Hilux. We rolled the car out, steering by forcing the front wheels to turn as there's no steering wheel of even steering shaft. The car is pretty much completely stripped. The inside is completely full to the roof with the interior, bumpers, lights etc. It's also good I was in a Hilux as the rest of the car was in boxes.

    The story of the car as I'm told was this:
    It was his sons car. He dailyed it for a few years, then had kids and bought a family car. The Trans Am then sat in a paddock for a few years. His dad (the guy I got it off) didn't want it to go to waste so towed it to his place. The plenum in front of the window had started to rust, so he paid someone to cut the rust out and repair it. The car was then put on a rotisserie, the entire underside was cleaned and painted (they did a great job) and all rubber bushes replaced. Every bolt is still left loose as he was told to do up all the bushes once the weight of the car was on the ground.
    He fully stripped the engine down. It had no issues but apparently had a lot of leaks. Fortunately he kept all of the engine bits marked and sorted well.
    ​​​This is where it ended and sat for a few more years until now.

    We had a good chat while they helped me load it which probably took an hour or so. They were super nice, invited me in for coffee but I was keen to get back on the road because it was a long drive home. I went a slightly longer way home to avoid the twisty country roads as it's a bit sketchy to tow with the gutless Hilux.

    Here's the first pic, I'm gonna grab a beer and start on the next few pics because this is a punish to type out on the phone inserting links and whatever:


    Can't be a Trans Am, it has no chicken on the bonnet! Haha looks like a good buy. I look forward to the next instalment


      Here it is sitting where the HG was. Not quite 1 week having an empty space in the shed :D It was actually pretty damn hard backing it in here on my own while trying to roll it over the belly lift. The torque arm is still attached to the diff underneath which made it difficult. Everything is wet cause it rained for the last 2 hours of the drive.

      Here it is from inside the shed. Condition is decent. Clear coat is gone off the top, front guards have some decent scratches probably from when it was stored.

      So the guy didn't like the wheels it came with. He found a set of IROC wheels for only $90.

      But I actually like the wheels it came with. The rears are 15x8-0, fronts are 14x8 (can't remember offset) and they're genuine Japanese 3 piece AME's in pretty good condition. Score!

      I forgot to get a pic of the inside fully loaded. But here's the inside after I emptied it out. There was no carpet.

      I'm pretty familiar with the smell of rat piss. This had it in spades. I assume that's why he had already binned the carpet.

      The rear carpet is still there. I vacuumed out all the rat shit, opened the false floor and found their secret stash.

      Still has the original spare and can of goop.

      Last pic from the first day, little feather homie who comes to hang out sometimes:


        Didn't get a lot of time in my last week of holidays to do much with it. I bolted on the rear bar and tail lights to free up a bit of space as my shed is quite full now. The front seats are taking a lot of floor space up also, so I'd like to get them in. But the carpet is gone, however there was a box of sound deadener and a roll of unmolded carpet supplied. He had already put a bit of sound deadener up front:

        So I cleaned up the floor as best I could with wax and grease remover and put in the rest of the sound deadener that was there. I cut it to size and molded it to the floor with the ball pien hammer.

        I really want to have the carpet in so I can get the rest of the interior in. I've never attempted to mould flat carpet and I'm not sure I have the patience or skill for it. I could buy a molded set from the US but I'm trying not to sink more money in to it than I have to.

        Last edited by Do the safety dance.; 12-01-21, 08:25 PM.


          Not my cup of tea, but you can't go wrong.
          " Racing cars don't have doors. Toilets have doors" : Keke Rosberg


            Split second bad decision on a rolling shell?

            Count me in!


              So with the motor... This thing has the 305 "crossflow", absolute nugget of an engine. Has dual TBI, and all the bullshit emission control that was the fashion at the time.
              The obvious answer is an LS swap, but again, I'm trying to not spend bulk coin on this thing when I have other projects on the go already. The guy supplied brand new headers which opens it up a bit too, the factory ones have that air injection bullshit. As long as it sounds good I'll be happy, it's just going to be an occasional cruiser.

              I measured the bore, crank etc and it's all still stock sizes with the original bearings. I'm absolutely not the sort of guy to just "replace it while I'm in there" but given the cost of parts from Rock Auto, I'm doing it all anyway. The only bearings that actually need replacing are the cam bearings (because Chev). So now I've just dropped nearly $300 but have all of the following only a few days after ordering: all bearings, gaskets, seals, welch plugs, rings, lifters, oil pump, head bolts, timing chain, gears. Small block stuff is so damn cheap. Could have got pistons too but I can't be fucked swapping them over on the rods.

              I'm going to assemble the engine at work and bring it home as it's just easier that way. Today I cleaned down the trans and the block as they were filthy. Engine came with the stand too, think I've got like 5 now haha

              I gave the water jacket a quick blast with air, I think this might be the first time I trial running a coolant filter

              I didn't mention it but the box is a TH200. I opened it up to put a filter in and found quite a bit of metal in the pan. More than I'm used to seeing anyway. Have a look at the pic and you can see the filter actually didn't have a gasket between it and the valve body.


              ​​​​​​Also the output shaft has a lot of play. A LOT. I've never actually seen a TH200 before now so I don't know what's normal. But I'm gonna run it and if it's fucked I'll just rebuild it, parts are cheap.

              That's where I'm up to as of today.


                I'm trying to think of another engine more underwhelming than a TBI 305, but I just can't. Surely you can stump up $200 for a 350?


                  Originally posted by richzx View Post
                  I'm trying to think of another engine more underwhelming than a TBI 305, but I just can't. Surely you can stump up $200 for a 350?
                  Yeah I know. But it's all here I think, so I'm gonna run it. I think I'd rather swap the Crown before this thing though.


                    I hate Camaro and Firebirds... Except 3rd Gens! Too much Knight Rider viewing as a kid, I'm sure of it. So, I think this is cool. I personally would have had to LS it but understand your reasoning for sticking with what you have already. Looking forward to seeing the final results.


                      I actually have a weird appreciation for these (when they aren't done full Confederate chicken style). Love the commitment to such a project!
                      BMW E21 Racer

                      ATCC & V8SC Results, Data, Statistics and Discussion from 1960 to now


                        So.... KITT conversion?
                        Previously known as Lobster, Chuss's brother's anus, Chuss's brother, Lobsook, Lobstersock, Socks, Sockz, MissAmericaImportGirl, ClutchCLobster, Clock Lobster

                        CJM 4 Life yo!


                          Cool pick up. Is there room for a turbo in front of the engine?

                          Are these like a 350 where you can open ring gaps and send it with a better cam/springs/rockers?


                            Super cool, and totally agree with sticking with what you have. Sure the 305 will be gutless but it'll make all the right sounds punting around in a weekend.
                            wheels are a nice score.


                              If you decide to use the Crossfire Injection stuff and need help, let me know. I've been mucking around with it for almost 20 years.
                              It's not nearly as bad as everyone says. It works well enough in my Corvette to run low 12's at 114mph.