2020-B1-4

Author Topic: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)  (Read 31212 times)

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« on: November 01, 2011, 02:06:05 PM »
I've been meaning to start a thread over here on my car for a number of years, but never got around to it.  If anyone is interested, I can post the complete history of the car some time.  Its actually quite interesting.  But here’s the short version.  I bought the car back in 1986 with a NOM 455, repaint, missing some parts like the HO carb, heads, exhaust manifolds, shaker solenoids, etc, but overall in good driver condition for $1,900.  I went through a few iterations of engines and played with the car for several years at the local drag strip.

About 10 years ago, I finally decided I should bring the car back to its original glory some day and started accumulating correct HO parts including a SR block, heads, mint dashboard, correct interior parts, etc.  About 6 years ago, I started disassembling the car and rebuilding items as I went along.  To date, the transmission, engine, front subframe, front suspension, and some other little parts have been rebuilt.  I obviously still have a long way to go.  Starting this thread will hopefully keep me moving forward on the project and finally getting her back on the road again.
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2011, 02:11:53 PM »
Pics of the '71.

Here she is on the trailer being moved from my parents house to mine after sitting there about 5 years:


In my garage with the front end in pieces:


The engine (I know its not the correct blue and there's a Holley carb on top of the intake, the braided fuel line is not installed either)   :P


The subframe removed and in pieces:


The subframe being reassembled:


I've got more pics I'll post later.  I need to upload them to photobucket. 
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

Dreamn2

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2782
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2011, 08:11:10 PM »
Looking great so far chief! I will probably have to do mine the same way.
79 Fire Am
76 Fire Am
1972 Formula 400

Aldo

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3662
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2011, 04:22:18 AM »
Awwww very nice another 71 ,you car looks clean ,this one should go smooth,im looking for a 70to71 project and i hope to find something close to being clean like yours.keep us posted.(your engine looks bad a$$)


Aussie 1977 Trans am

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 839
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2011, 05:16:01 AM »
The 71 model is starting to grow on me 2nd to the 77 this looks a great project and we at tac love a good resto and lots of pics
Good car to resto by what we have seen so far
ED
Regards Edward
Melbourne, Australia
1977 Trans am TA  Olds 350 Th350 A/C Snow Flakes 15 x 7 8 track, Fisher T-Tops

LeighP

  • Jedi Council
  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20704
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2011, 05:24:33 AM »
71's are cool....but maybe I'm biased?
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1968 Pontiac Firebird 428 5 speed coupe

Former Firebirds -
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


ryeguy2006a

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5011
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 05:29:10 AM »
I would love to hear the whole story behind the car. That is one thing that I wished I could get on my car. All I know about mine is when the guy that I bought it from, bought it for his daughter because she wanted a smokey and the bandit car, but when she saw it was a 1976 she didn't want is so he parked it for 10+ years. His loss my gain.

Nice build though. Looks like you have all the parts to get it back together.

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro LS6, T56, Speedtech, Hotchkis, DSE, Z51 13.4" front brakes, LS1 rear disks, etc.
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

70_71_78

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 305
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2011, 06:20:56 AM »
Got one of those too, Drag strip history, original drive train gone. Started going road race custom route, stalled. Considering dumping the whole automotive hobby at this point. All projects/tool are in storage 15 miles from where I live. Never have enough time to work on them with an hour round trip travel to do do so, I get there just i time to leave. Have photos, any interest?

Aussie 1977 Trans am

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 839
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2011, 06:22:58 AM »
Yeah start a post we are always interested in the history of cars it's what makes them what they are.
Regards Edward
Melbourne, Australia
1977 Trans am TA  Olds 350 Th350 A/C Snow Flakes 15 x 7 8 track, Fisher T-Tops

green-hornet

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 320
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2011, 01:16:03 PM »
More pictures  :P 8)

Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2011, 01:16:03 PM »

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2011, 01:52:52 PM »
I'll try to post more, plus some history tonight.  :D
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

mrbandit

  • Jedi Council
  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9291
  • TAC Webmaster
      • http://www.transamcountry.com
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2011, 02:00:04 PM »
Got one of those too, Drag strip history, original drive train gone. Started going road race custom route, stalled. Considering dumping the whole automotive hobby at this point. All projects/tool are in storage 15 miles from where I live. Never have enough time to work on them with an hour round trip travel to do do so, I get there just i time to leave. Have photos, any interest?

I would ask that you post in the classfieds section of TAC before interest in your car hijacks this post.  Either "What's it worth" or "Car for sale" would be appropriate. 

Thanks,
TAC Mod Staff
1979 Firebird v6 3spd manual (they do exist)

78TransAm

  • Jedi Council
  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4802
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2011, 02:56:47 PM »
Glad to see you start a project post on this car, I am jealous boy wouldn't I love to find one of those.
Mark Haynes
TAC Moderator
Warner Robins, Georgia

1974transam.blogspot.com/

www.MarkHaynesArt.com




1974 455 Trans Am
1978 400 Trans Am

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
History of the '71 (Part 1 of 4)
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2011, 03:20:01 PM »
Background history of my ’71  (at least from about ‘83ish to 2011)

I had just moved to Phoenix from Tennessee back in ’86.  I had sold my much beloved ’68 Dodge Superbee before moving out to the desert and was seriously missing the power of a good old American V8, having a ’77 VW Scirocco as my daily driver.  I had friends back in Tennessee who owned a ’73 firebird and a ’74 firebird and I always had loved the Trans Ams.  So I started looking for a TA.  My first choice was a ’70-‘73 with my second choice being a ‘77-‘79 4 speed car.  I had about $2,500 to spend, but that also included money for registration, insurance and any maintenance the car might need.  At this time Trans Ams were still very reasonably priced, especially the early cars.  I found several to choose from, with a ‘71 lucerne blue automatic TA being listed for sale at $2200, a ’78 4 speed Martinique blue TA for sale for $2,500, and a ’71 Cameo white 4 speed TA listed at $3,500.  The $3,500 car was out of my price range.  To bad, because it was the nicest of the three and from what I remember was numbers matching and a 4 speed!  All of these cars had around 100k miles on them. 

I opted for the blue ’71 since the price was right having negotiated it down to $1,900, and it was road ready with new tires, brakes, non-original rebuilt 455 under the hood, maintenance records from the owner and only minor visible rust around the rear wheelwells.  The interior was clean, ableit a bit worn from age and the Arizona sun.  When I got it home I started digging into the records to find out what had happened to the original engine.  It appears the previous owner had the car for about 5 or so years.  According to the receipts and work orders he provided, he started having issues with the car running correctly.  The first thing to go was the carburetor, which was replaced with a local parts store rebuild.   If only the guy had simply had his HO carb rebuilt at the time instead of swapping it.  Next was a complete tuneup of plugs, wires etc.  Apparently this still didn’t fix the issues as the next remedy was replacement of the entire engine with a remanufactured engine from Lopers performance in Phoenix.  Of course what they put under the hood wasn’t anything like what they took out.  The replacement engine was a 2 bolt main, big car 455 with small valve 1.96/1.66 heads, probably cast number 98 .  I don’t remember the cast number or year, but did look it up back in the day recall it being like a ’71 to ’73 block.   Luckily the aluminum intake was still on top of the engine, although it had been stripped of paint. 

I came to one of two conclusions.  The first conclusion being far less nefarious, than the second.  Given that the muscle car boom hadn’t started quite yet, and the fact that people back then often simply replaced their blown engines with “crate” type replacements, perhaps the previous owner simply chose the most expeditious route to getting his beloved Trans Am back on the road.  He may not have understood the significance of the HO under the hood, and figured a 455 was a 455.  Couple this with a repair facility that probably looked at a “new” engine from Lopers as a selling point and we have an engine swap for what was probably a perfectly rebuildable 455 HO.  For some reason I can just see the core coming into some rebuild shop somewhere with some guys eyes lighting up looking at a 455HO with round port heads and factory exhaust manifolds sitting on his shop floor.

Of course my gut feel is that the previous owner wasn’t a car guy, and had no clue what he had.  Given this, I’m almost betting his repair shop decided to help themselves to this guy’s 455HO, including the block, heads and exhaust manifolds.  I really can’t fathom any other explanation.  Even back in ’83, when the engine was swapped, I knew exactly how rare a 455HO was compared to D-port big car 455.  So I have a hard time believing a mechanic wouldn’t have at least looked into it.  But then again, perhaps a run of the mill auto repair shop might not have known the difference.
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
History (Part 2 of 4)
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2011, 03:21:54 PM »
I enjoyed the car in the as bought condition for a little over a year, using it as a weekend and occasional weekday fun car.  The interior was clean, but with typical Arizona sun damage like a cracked dash and some door panel damage, but overall pretty nice.  It even had the original AM/FM stereo.  Since the AC compressor was missing, the car didn’t get much attention during the hot Arizona summer months.  One day while beating on it a bit with a high speed freeway blast (speed not given to protect the innocent ;)) one of the freeze plugs had corroded through and started spurting coolant out of the side of the block.  Rather than simply replace the freeze plug, I was ready for a real build up of the engine, as its performance seemed a bit lacking to me. 

I tore the engine down with my brother and found a number of issues with the block.  Keep in mind, this was a budget build-up, since I was a struggling college student at the time.  First it had a crack down low in one of the cylinder bores that had been stop drilled.  Also, one of the pistons was cracked between one of the ring grooves.  So much for the “remanufactured” engine replacement.  I had the block cleaned and checked, and upon the advice of the machine shop, reused the block even with the stop drilled crack.  I replaced the one damaged piston, traded my small valve heads at a local cylinder head rebuild shop for some ’71 cast number D-port 96 heads with 2.11” intake and 1.77” exhaust valves with screw in studs, bought a basic rebuild kit, bought a Holley 800cfm spreadbore carb and added some headers.  To my amazement the original 068 cam was still in the block.  Granted, it might not have been the original one from the car, but a correct part numbered 068 cam resided in this particular block.  I reused it after having it micced by the machine shop too.  All of the bottom end pieces checked out ok, and they were also reused.  When we got everything back together, the car ran fantastic.  It felt like it had gained 100 or more hp.  I was ready to hit the drag strip. 

I had only driven down a ¼ mile race track once before in my life.  That was with my ’68 superbee and it was an untimed run on a closed track.  My first pass with the TA was a bit disappointing running a mid 15 second run, after having spun the tires all the way through 1st gear.  I found I couldn’t get into the secondaries of the carb in 1st gear without the tires going up in smoke.  With some practice and a little more tuning, I was able to get her down to the low 14’s at over 100mph.  Traction was still a major issue.  I never ran the car with drag radials or slicks, but have no doubt it would have been deep in the 13’s with better traction.   Granted these weren’t spectacular times, but then again this was the 80’s and my 14.19 had me running faster than the vast majority of street cars at the track.
After one of these track trips, I was driving home and just happened upon something that seemed like it was right out of the movies.  As I approached a light on a relatively empty road, there was an ‘86ish vette in one lane and a 911 Turbo in the other.  The road was 2 lanes wide in each direction, widening to 3 lanes at the next light.  I thought to myself, this is going to be interesting.  At first I resisted the urge to play on the street, but come on, how often does one find themselves in a situation like this.  I decided I would take my cue from the other two drivers.  Sure enough, the 911 and the vette pull away from the light fast.  I track right behind the 911 and keep pace with him as we both put a little distance between us and the vette.  After about a 75+mph blast we all three slow down for the next light and I moved into the middle lane.  I really wish I had a video camera with me back then.  There I was representing the pinnacle of American muscle next to a Euro supercar and the best modern American performance car of the time (ok so the GN was a bit faster in the 1/4 :p).   All three of us left on the green, with the 911 and me pulling away from the vette fairly fast.  I actually got a fairly good launch but avoided hitting the secondaries until I was nearing the top of 1st gear.  I slammed 2nd (B&M Mega shifter installed) and got a bit loose on the 1-2 shift, but didn’t lose distance between me and the 911.  The 911 was even with my front fender, with the vette falling at least 2-3 carlengths back.  I kept 2nd gear a bit too long as I revved the engine into the red shifting into 3rd at about 6000+RPM.  It’s a stock bottom end 455, and really shouldn’t have been up in this range, but she was still pulling and I didn’t want the 911 to get the W.  As I hit 3rd, I started to put distance on the 911, slowly but steadily.  Of course by this time we were getting well into the triple digit speeds and I decided it was time to let off.  When I did the 911’s front fender was about even with my rear ¼ panel.  I have no doubt he would have closed the gap at the top end and probably kept on going by me, but as far as a ¼ mile run, the big 455 took the W!

Now the bad part.  My victory had come at a cost.  At the next light, the three of us gave each other thumbs up.  But by now I realized I had damaged my beloved Trans Am.  The oil pressure was dropping on the gauge down to about 20psi or less with the engine revving.  I was starting to panic.  I didn’t want to be stranded, as I was still about 15 miles from home.  So I nursed her back home, cautiously listening for any engine noises and keeping an eagle eye on the oil pressure gauge to see if it fell further.  I had no clue what had happened, but initially suspected a spun bearing.  I removed the engine and again tore her down once more.  What I found confused the heck out of me.  There were no spun bearings, no scored bearings, no scored cam, no evidence whatsoever of damage from lack of oil.  I was happy but confused.  (BTW, I immediately hooked up a mechanical oil pressure gauge when I first got home to confirm it wasn’t simply the electrical gauge or sending unit).  It turned out to be a piece of cleaning brush bristles had somehow been left in the engine by the machine shop.  This became lodged in the oil pressure bypass valve where the oil filter mounts, causing it to stick open.  I guess even though the pressure dropped, there was still enough volume to keep the engine well lubed.
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

History (Part 2 of 4)
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2011, 03:21:54 PM »


2020-B1-8


chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
History (Part 3 of 4)
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2011, 03:23:37 PM »
At this point, I was ready for more power, so I built engine number 3.  I had found a service replacement HO block in the paper for $100.  This block is strange, and I really need to revisit the casting numbers again.  It appears to be date coded for 1972, it has SR stamped on the block but also is stamped with WM.  The block has had a lot of machine work with the lifter galley polished, all areas deburred and cleaned up, etc.  It was time to open the Performance Automotive Warehouse catalog and get to work.  I ordered reconditioned rods with ARP bolts, TRW forged pistons, rings, bearings, etc.  My plan was to reuse the heads that I had.  I also ordered new hooker headers, a complete exhaust system, rhoads lifters, new rocker arms, pushrods etc.  This time I was planning on building the engine right.  The local Supershops became the second source for stuff.  In the mean time I picked up an HEI distributer and a new erson cam with 230/230 duration at .050 lift and a .470” lift with 1.5 ratio rocker arms.  This engine build took a bit over a year.  I finally got it reinstalled in the car, got her buttoned back up and got her running once again.   Then I graduated from college, got a real job, met my wife to be and ……..

The car sat.   It was moved from under its covered spot on a concrete pad out to the back of my dads yard to make room for his boat and my brother’s ’88 mustang GT.  My brother had been assigned to Germany and left his car with my parents.  Of course at this time the TA still didn’t have the value a new GT did, or I surely would have protested more vehemently against the move.  Besides I was out on my own and it was their house to do what they wished with it.  I made the fatal mistake of not regularly starting and driving the car during this time.  Sure I would go over every few months and tinker with it, turn it over, and run it for a bit.  After a couple years of sitting, my brother had been home on leave one time and he ended up breaking the ignition switch trying to start it when the steering column lock was twisted out of place.  So now I had no way to start it anymore.  Two or three more years passed and my wife and I had moved out of the apartment we were living in and bought a house, so I decided it was finally time to bring it home.

I started by dropping the gas tank, cleaning it out and replacing all of the rubber fuel lines.  Then I started inspecting the engine.  The timing cover had corroded so bad that It had a hole in it.  Also, somehow, water and moisture had managed to find its way into the engine.  I’m thinking it was due to mouse urine or other critters that had somehow made their way through the intake manifold into the engine.  I was devastated.  What I thought would be a simple fuel system clean up turned into a nightmare rebuild.  And now folks, engine number 4.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 05:21:45 PM by chief poncho »
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
History (Part 4 of 4)
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2011, 03:24:40 PM »
I barely had 100 miles on this engine.  I was upset with myself for becoming that guy.  The guy that had a classic muscle car sitting in his parents back yard rotting away promising to restore it some day.  I rented a uhaul car hauler and brought her back to my home.  After another year, I got around to pulling the engine.  The rust damage in the cylinders wasn’t that bad, but the machine shop recommended an .060 overbore to ensure it was cleaned up.  The other alternative was to resleeve a few of the cylinders.  I opted for going .060 over.  I have yet to find out if this is going to cause me any overheating problems in the future.  I obviously needed new pistons, so I figured it was time to go all out.  I picked up a set of cast number 197 HO heads off of Ebay for $800.  Added another $1,200 for a high end street porting job and rebuild with stainless valves, new springs etc.  They are currently milled to 100cc for a small bump in compression.  I purchased a set of SCAT h-beam forged rods and had a set of new forged pistons installed.  The block was also zero decked.  All of this went back into the 455HO 4 bolt block.  The nodular iron crank was still good to go as were many other parts.  I did manage to get a GM timing cover before they discontinued them.   The engine took about a year or more to get back together with a lot of down time waiting for various machine shops to complete work.  Then I moved to a new house….this was 2005.  

Obviously with a new house certain things take priority, and the car took a back seat to landscaping, new furniture, the usual stuff.  Within the last 4 years though, I got back to work on it.  I regularly turn the engine over by hand and oil the bores to ensure no issues there.  I’ll probably open it back up and replace the cam I selected with a roller cam, and should be able to ensure everything is still good before installing.  I’ve since completed the refurbishment of the subframe assembly with a Pro-touring suspension kit, had the subframe blasted and powder coated, installed remanned calipers and new lines from inline tube, as well as new bushings, springs, etc.  In about 2007, I had the transmission completely gone through, and its sitting ready to go back in with a 2400RPM hughes stall converter.
The plan over the next two months is to drop the rear end and go through it.  Install new leaf springs (also from pro-touring) and prep the body for the paint shop.  The remaining interior parts will be stripped out, front and rear glass removed, wiring removed etc.  If I stay on track it’ll be ready for body work in December.  I haven’t had any real quotes yet on the work, so it’ll be interesting to see what some of the more reputable shops come back with.  

Of course, then there is the matter of reassembly and redoing the interior.  I have a near mint dash removed from ’71 TA purchased off of ebay a few years back, good used rear valance panels, etc.  I’m debating sending my door panels and console off to Just Dashes to be restored or ordering repop parts, at least for the door panels.  My console is actually in pretty good shape, except for the center glove box lid.  I’ll still need all of my AC components refreshed as well as a million other small things, that we all forget about when tackling a project this size.  I’ll start posting more pics as I make progress and hopefully between my own self motivation and feedback I get from here, I’ll stay on track this time and no longer be “that guy”.  We all know him right…the guy with the old musclecar that’s going to be restored some day.  
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 06:49:35 PM by chief poncho »
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

LeighP

  • Jedi Council
  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20704
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2011, 11:01:50 PM »
The main trick is to have somewhere thats dry and secure to work on the car....do a little when you can, and it'll get done in a good time.
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1968 Pontiac Firebird 428 5 speed coupe

Former Firebirds -
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


Ben

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2443
Re: History (Part 4 of 4)
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2011, 07:28:50 PM »
I’ll start posting more pics as I make progress and hopefully between my own self motivation and feedback I get from here, I’ll stay on track this time and no longer be “that guy”.  We all know him right…the guy with the old musclecar that’s going to be restored some day.   
That is exactly what I did and I followed LeighP's advice too on my '72.  It went from a garage denizen never seeing the light of day to being something I'm proud to jump in and drive anywhere at anytime.  Just keep making small progress over time and you'll be there too =)
Trans Am-less at the moment...

Home of the Mess

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2011, 03:37:56 PM »
Just picked up my PS pump and PS gear box today.  They look great.  I went with a 12.7:1 "firm feel" upgrade to the steering gearbox.  Also ended up getting a new urethane coupler (rag joint) to go with it.  I had benchworks steering out of Scottsdale, AZ perform the work.  They also had the rubber boot in stock for replacing the intermediate shaft boot.  Total cost was $569.00, and turnaround was quick.  Unfortunately, it'll be awhile until I find out how the new steering box is going to feel on the road.  I'll post some pics tonight.
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2011, 03:37:56 PM »

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2011, 12:46:40 AM »
Here's a pic of the steering box, just set in place on the subframe and some pics of the intermediate steering shaft I just started to rebuild.  So I looked all over for the replacement boot for the shaft, and luckily benchworks steering had a kit actually for a jeep that is a near perfect replacement.  The only difference is the clamp for the boot.  I'll take some pics when I get it all back together.  Here are a few tips.  First, getting the clip that holds the boot out is pretty easy, but you may find removing the boot a bit more of a challenge.  It took a little prying to get it out of the end of the shaft.  After I got it apart, I was stuck with the conundrom of how to install the new boot over the top end of the shaft.  A little research on the web indicated the shaft will separate into two pieces.  I thought it was pinned since there were small pin like holes in the shaft.  But that's not the case, it actually has two plastic pieces that act to hold the shafts together.  I used a socket extension and knocked the smaller shaft out of the bigger one.  Now it's cleanup, blasting, painting and reassembly time.  Here are some pics of the disassembly.  The boot kit was from Crown with a pn 8121299k on the package.

Jeep coupling kit:
   

Shafts being seperated:


Top end coupler:



Steering box:
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

LeighP

  • Jedi Council
  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20704
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2011, 02:42:46 AM »
Just for the info.....these intermediate shafts (early and late 2nd gen) are now available repro.
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1968 Pontiac Firebird 428 5 speed coupe

Former Firebirds -
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


ryeguy2006a

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5011
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2011, 07:28:34 AM »
Very cool story, thanks for sharing. I tried to find out what happened with my car but was never able to get a hold of the original owners. From what I gather the person that owned my car before the guy that I bought it from died and the parents sold the car? I wanted to know more, but no luck.

Don't look at your car as one project, but as hundreds of little projects and just tackle one or two projects at a time and the car will get done before you know it. I bought my car in 2005, and I am still not done, but on a college budget, I have to consider it lucky I was able to keep it the whole time.

Nice project, look forward to the build.

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro LS6, T56, Speedtech, Hotchkis, DSE, Z51 13.4" front brakes, LS1 rear disks, etc.
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2011, 10:46:38 AM »
Quote
Just for the info.....these intermediate shafts (early and late 2nd gen) are now available repro.

I saw that Leigh, thanks for the info.  By the time I'm done refurbing mine, it probably would have been easier to buy a new one.   :?
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

LeighP

  • Jedi Council
  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20704
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2011, 01:40:00 AM »
I had about three shafts here for my project, none really any good. I was going to make one of the three...then my friend told me he'd repro'd them...so I have a nice one in the box. Gotta pull it out and paint it while the car is at the paint shop.
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1968 Pontiac Firebird 428 5 speed coupe

Former Firebirds -
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


rad400

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 897
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2011, 06:49:44 AM »
Wow nice T/A good story too. good luck with the car.
Conrad
"Nitrous is like a hot girl with an STD, u wanna hit, but ur afraid of the consequences." Brian Hedrick

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2011, 12:00:44 AM »
Cleaned up and sandblasted the intermediate shaft tonight.  Should be painted and ready for reassembly tomorrow.

1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2011, 12:35:06 AM »
Some more pics before I completly took the front end apart.  And one circa 1987 or so.  Note that custom painted stripe!  Not sure when the car was repainted, but at least once in its previous life before I bought her.  The yellow mirrors were off a '75 TA I bought for parts (with a 455 4 speed no less).






« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 01:34:16 AM by chief poncho »
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

rycher

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 86
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2011, 06:38:40 PM »
I was sitting here at work dreading another 12 hr graveyard and the boredom to follow, when I found this thread. Cheif, I've really enjoyed your story recounting all the history you've had with this car. Reminds me of fond memories of my 78 I had in my late teens (mid-late 80's). Unfortuneatly, I sold my 78 in 1988 to get something sensible since I was getting married. I sold that car to a friend of mine but it eventually got sold and I have no ideal where "Flash" is today, but I sure wish I had done as you and at least kept it to restore someday. Even my "practical" wife says she wished I'd never sold it. A little over a year ago I purchsded a 79 (after a 22 yr hiatus from American muscle) and while I don't have the time or $ to turn it into a trophy winning show car, I hope to soon enjoy her as a very nice "driver". Anyway, love your car and story behind her. I'm looking forward to reading more on your progress. Keep the pics and updates coming.

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2011, 03:26:20 PM »
Rycher, thanks for the feedback.  Sometimes its much better to drive and enjoy them than tear them down and have to wait for them to be put back together. 

Completed the steering shaft this weekend.  The cast metal paint I used is a little darker than I expected, but it came out looking pretty good. 

1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2011, 03:26:20 PM »

LeighP

  • Jedi Council
  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 20704
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2011, 07:54:34 PM »
Looks great to me.
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1968 Pontiac Firebird 428 5 speed coupe

Former Firebirds -
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2012, 03:23:16 PM »
Crap!  Its been over a year since I posted on here!!  Then again its been a year since I really did much to the car.  One thing about Arizona summers, they sure aren't the best time to spend time in the garage. 

Anyway, I'll be tearing into the rear suspension over the next few weeks and will post pictures of the progress.
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

ZEFF

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 437
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2012, 01:14:37 PM »
Time to get with it, Chief!!!  :D   seriously, it looks great!    my 71 project is running neck and neck with yours- since im not that far away, let me know if you need anything (little parts, photos, reference) 
1971 Firebird 350
1968 Firebird 400 4 speed convertible
1967 Firebird 400 4 speed
1994 Formula Ram Air
1994 Dodge Viper

*previously owned*
1967 Firebird 455 convertible
1994 Firehawk

1OLDBRD

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 626
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2012, 10:09:39 PM »
Boy...I'd love to paint that car!

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2012, 11:33:30 PM »
Where are you located?  I'm looking for a good body man and painter.
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

1OLDBRD

  • Active Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 626
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2012, 08:08:03 PM »
I'm in Rapid City, SD riding with about a 3-year backlog.

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2012, 11:33:39 PM »
I'm looking to keep the paint and body work local, so I can keep tabs on the work and progress. 
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2013, 05:11:05 PM »
I've chipping away at again.  Not making near the progress I had anticipated and I need to remember to bring the camera into the garage when I'm working on it.

Additional progress:

Started removing the rear end to replace the leaf springs etc.  Of course 5 of the 6 bolts holding the front leaf spring mounts had to break loose from their captive j-nuts.  That required me to cut them off to get them loose.  What should have been a few hour job turned into several days and I still haven't gotten back around to removing the rest of the rear end. 

I'll post some more in the weeks to come as I really want to get this thing ready for paint by the end of spring.

1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

Jack

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11098
  • 1971 Esprit TA Clone W72 1972 Formula 68 350 HO
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2013, 09:05:10 PM »
I just completed the rear end work, I got a complete leaf spring installation kit including shackles, all bushings, pads and hardware. I had the leaf springs re-arched and I'm very happy with the results.




Regards, Jack

chief poncho

  • Oracle Forum Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1900
Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2013, 05:25:33 PM »
Holy crap!  Its almost August and I finally got the rear end removed!!!  Talk about slacking.  I really need to stay on a regular schedule or this thing is going to take another 20 years to complete. 

Pics will be posted over the next few days for the before shots. 
1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am (455HO, Automatic) - currently my project car.
Previously Owned TA's/Musclecars: 2002 Pewter WS6/M6 Trans Am, 1968 Dodge Superbee 383/4speed,  1975 TA 455/4speed, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/5speed, 1980 TA Indy Pace Car, 1977 TA 400/Auto, 1989 GTA 350TPI, 1990 GTA 350TPI, 1986 IROC 305TPI, 1989 Mustang LX 5.0/Auto, 1993 Mitsu 3000GT VR4 (and probably a few I've forgotten about)

Re: 1971 Lucerne Blue Trans Am Resto - (20+ years worth.....)
« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2013, 05:25:33 PM »
You can help support TAC!

 



2020-B1-3