Author Topic: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!  (Read 2932 times)

Old Chicken

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1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« on: January 30, 2018, 08:32:31 PM »
Please, no heat that I'm tearing up a perfectly decent Esprit.  Lol, these things are hideous. No offense. So here's my story, found this nice 1973 Esprit on CL with only 32,000 original miles. Some old lady in Iowa bought it new, and when she passed a guy bought it at the estate sale. His wife made him sell it, so that makes me the third owner. The car is mint, no rust anywhere, spare tire and jack and never been used, owners manual still in the glove box. My goal is to turn it into something that resembles a 1973 Brewster green Trans Am. It's going to have an LS1 engine, 4L65e transmission, 4-wheel disc brakes, etc.  I like the modern running gear, but couldn't see cutting up a nice actual Trans Am. Blasphemy. So anyway I'm going to post up some pictures and catch you guys (and gals) up on where this project is so far.  Funny side story, most of the original parts I don't need I sold to a guy who's fixing up an actual Brewster green 1973. Anyway...
9667 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20170613_210526 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20170613_210358 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

First thing I did was get some wheels... Had some dual exhaust put on it and drove around for the summer. Hit a couple of car shows but the poor thing never got a second look.

20170621_180122 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

Picked up a wrecked 2004 GTO, and harvested the motor and automatic transmission. Parted it out the rest, which covered the cost of the car so that worked out pretty well.

20170723_133120 by tallguy2088, on Flickr



« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 09:55:20 PM by Old Chicken »

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2018, 09:28:16 PM »
Tore off that vinyl top, and started fitting the rear spoiler...

20170915_182802 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

Then the Danko flares. I had some trouble getting these to fit, heating the front left helped but the right rear is gapping pretty hard. That flare is twisted so I still have to heat and work with that some more but it's pretty close. I'm not saying there's anything better out there, I guess everything needs some work with these old cars. Not happy about the wait to get but that's another story.

20171217_173626 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

Out with the old...
20180114_112247 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

Then tore out the interior. The nice thing is the seats, dash, and everything else is really like new in there. That'll make it easy compared to a lot of projects I've done

20180121_094224 by tallguy2088, on Flickr


« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 09:40:48 PM by Old Chicken »

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2018, 09:37:55 PM »
It's off for paint now, this is pretty much where it's at. Will be dropping the subframe for sandblasting this weekend.

20180128_141204 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

The "new" hood...

20180128_124244 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

So that's about it, will post up as progress is made. Want to say a big thanks to all those who make this form awesome, there's so much good information here and have learned a ton!
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 09:46:02 PM by Old Chicken »

Hutchman

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2018, 10:21:55 PM »
Outstang project.  Ireally like these "hybrids!"

If I was able, I would find a nice 80 or 81 TA with a 301 and do the same thing.

FormTA

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2018, 10:52:48 PM »
Sweet project. I'll tell ya. My all original 79 TA wheel flares fit like gari too as do my side urethane spoilers. I too have found a heat gun can really help make the fitment much better. I just spent the last few hours making my pieces fit better. It can be done but takes time and my never be perfect as the car never was..

Looking good, nice project.
79 Trans am 301 (work in progress) LS swap n progress
79 Formula 301 (Work in progress)
67 RS Camaro (Work in progress)
See the recurring theme???

Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2018, 10:52:48 PM »

Box

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2018, 01:00:37 AM »
I bet there was a certain sense of satisfaction in ripping off the vinyl top and throwing it in the trash.

1996 Pontiac Firebird Formula hardtop 6-speed

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2018, 06:41:06 AM »
I love that you are starting with such a clean car! Nice find.

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 12.8" Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, 17" Aluminum Rims, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro with 6?.?0?  5.3 w/ Z06 cam/T56
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

nas t eh

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2018, 10:06:08 AM »
That interior sure looked nice, I’m wondering why you aren’t changing to T/A fenders with vents? Or did I miss that part.
current
73 T/A 4speed
past birds
75 T/A 455 4speed
75 T/A 400 4speed

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2018, 10:55:23 AM »
Tearing the vinyl off did feel good, every step does really.

That interior sure looked nice, I’m wondering why you aren’t changing to T/A fenders with vents? Or did I miss that part.

I'm working on the fender vents, will post some pics soon on that step. 

Grand73Am

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2018, 08:23:36 PM »
Fun project  :-) .
Steve F.

MNBob

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2018, 03:48:47 PM »
Quote
That interior sure looked nice.

Ditto, the seats are wonderful!
1979 TATA Extreme TKO .64
Hedman elite; Pypes 2.5; Borla XS; MSD 6A; Edelbrock intake; open scoop; modified Q-jet; Powermaster 150; 4 core radiator/Mark VIII fan; RobbMc mini starter; subframe connectors; solid body mounts; fiberglass rear springs; poly sway bar and link bushings; 81 master; D52’s; Blazer disks; 225/60 & 235/60 17's TrueContact's; relays for PW, PDL, lights; keyless entry

Jack

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2018, 04:03:49 PM »
I keep going back to that first picture... and the interior.




Regards, Jack

Box

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2018, 05:13:46 PM »
I keep going back to that first picture... and the interior.
I know right, hideous. :P

1996 Pontiac Firebird Formula hardtop 6-speed

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2018, 08:20:19 PM »
Tore out the subframe out today for sandblast and rebuild, David at  PTFB is sending my front rebuild kit, and subframe connectors, should be here tomorrow. Also stripped the firewall for paint, going with a new HVAC fan and heater core as well. Might as well get that done while it's apart...

 20180204_134254 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180204_154008 by tallguy2088, on Flickr


Here's the color, not really Brewster green but I like it better, lots of metallic, it's the new Corvette color lime rock green.  It's so fun seeing the color now, can't wait...
20180204_123757 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

Box

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2018, 09:57:04 PM »
Nice colour choice, things are coming along quickly.  That'll look good with the original interior if you decide on reusing it to save some money and trouble.

1996 Pontiac Firebird Formula hardtop 6-speed

Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2018, 09:57:04 PM »



tlucas03

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2018, 01:33:07 AM »
Great start and thanks for sharing with us....sigh....someday when the stars align I hope to be in your shoes.  My desire is a 73 TA, but given the market I would be surprised if I could ever afford one, and besides I want one that I can drive when I want, not have it sit on a lift in the garage. So my hats off to you for making your own.  On a side note, there’s someone on this forum that is restoring his white ta and it has a black vinyl top, and I think it looks great, and makes it look different than the norm.

Bayou_Flyer

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2018, 06:46:06 AM »
Awesome project! LOVE the color choice...I am still amazed t how nice those seats are! Ya don’t see the cloth deluxe seats very often!
1975 Formula 350/4spd
1979 TA, Blk/Carmine, W72 400/4spd, WS6
1971 Firebird, Red/Blk, 350/Auto
1977 TA, Goldenrod/Buckskin, W72 400/4spd

squirrel

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2018, 09:14:16 AM »
that color is great.  you going with the green bird decal kit.  will that car be for sale or is it a keeper.
Dan from Cincinnati Ohio

1978 TA W72/WS6 Brown/Black
1976 Mustang Cobra II 4 speed

hakitup

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2018, 10:47:07 AM »
Great color and spray job, not easy to get that shine and no runs in that area :)

Tom H
"I don't know what you call it, I only know the sound it makes when it lies!!"

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2018, 07:56:24 PM »
I'm going to use the interior just like it is, looks too good not to. Only question I have is some of the interior panels are faded, do you think I should paint them or just run them as is? More in the back seat area, the armrest pieces and the sail panels.  To answer squirrels question I am going to run a bird on the hood, probably the green and yellow rooster type decal, also plan on keeping the car for a while. I can only work on this in the evenings, but got a few things done. Stripped the front end and dropped it off for blasting, along with the wheel wells and core support.   I should be able to blast the smaller stuff in the cabinet.  Of course one of the best parts of doing a project is buying new tools, the plasma cutter made quick work of the shocks, upper ball joints, and other stubborn parts. Plus I don't know how I ever lived without this OTC spring compressor, it's a heavy made piece and I've never felt so safe pulling springs out of car.

20180205_202240 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180205_181731 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180205_181712 by tallguy2088, on Flickr
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 07:58:53 PM by Old Chicken »

scarebird

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2018, 08:24:28 PM »
That interior should go excellent with the green...

Box

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2018, 09:21:59 PM »
That interior should go excellent with the green...
Indeed, something about green and tan/beige that just really goes together well.  I blame the British for pointing it out.

As far as the interior panels, may try cleaning and conditioning them first before going through the hassle of painting them.

1996 Pontiac Firebird Formula hardtop 6-speed

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2018, 07:13:28 PM »
So with the fenders, been waiting because I was scared to screw them up. I cut a starter hole, then got everything where it needed to be... trimmed and started welding.  Had my body guy check them out, now I'm ready to finish welding it and start on the other side. I used a softer wire so that I could hammer the welds to prevent warping.  Having a hard time learning this new wire, I'm not that great of a welder anyway. The welds don't puddle very well, need to work with it a little more.  Oh, and the subframe is sandblasted and primed, along with a core support and inner fenders. A local trailer builder knocked them out for me in a couple days.

20180211_112409 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180211_205114 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180212_175511 by tallguy2088, on Flickr




« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 07:49:56 PM by Old Chicken »

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2018, 07:23:02 PM »
I need to get the subframe put together in back under it soon.  When i ordered all the parts, David at PTFB said they would ship that Friday or Monday, and everything was in stock.  I called the following Thursday to see where everything was and he said nothing had shipped yet it, they were still waiting on the subframe bushings, but that everything else was boxed and ready to go. Friday he said everything but the bushings already shipped. A box did arrive this Monday, but now subframe connectors and bushings are still missing.  He wouldn't answer his phone today and the voicemail is full. I know he said he was heading back to Illinois today but that the bushings should ship.  Hopefully they will be here next week, cuz everything will be ready this weekend for them.


20180212_175458 by tallguy2088, on Flickr
 Getting closer...
20180212_175452 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

13329 by tallguy2088, on Flickr
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 11:10:10 AM by Old Chicken »

4wheeling79

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2018, 11:09:27 PM »
Awesome progress looking good!

mereness

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2018, 06:31:19 AM »
I'm going to use the interior just like it is, looks too good not to. Only question I have is some of the interior panels are faded, do you think I should paint them or just run them as is? More in the back seat area, the armrest pieces and the sail panels.  To answer squirrels question I am going to run a bird on the hood, probably the green and yellow rooster type decal, also plan on keeping the car for a while. I can only work on this in the evenings, but got a few things done. Stripped the front end and dropped it off for blasting, along with the wheel wells and core support.   I should be able to blast the smaller stuff in the cabinet.  Of course one of the best parts of doing a project is buying new tools, the plasma cutter made quick work of the shocks, upper ball joints, and other stubborn parts. Plus I don't know how I ever lived without this OTC spring compressor, it's a heavy made piece and I've never felt so safe pulling springs out of car.

20180205_202240 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180205_181731 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180205_181712 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

I will be dropping my sub-frame in the next few weeks.  Besides the OTC Spring Compressor......do you have any tips to ease the removal and breakdown of the sub-frame?  Also, where did you get the OTC Spring Compressor?
1979 TATA (Restoration has just begun)

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2018, 07:51:42 AM »
Was part number OTC 7045, I got mine off Amazon but the price is pretty much the same everywhere. There's no real trick to that subframe, it's just bull work. The usual advice...soak everything really well with penetrating oil, have a couple floor jacks on hand,  jack stands for safety.  Once you disconnect all the hoses and stuff there's only four bolts that hold that thing on.  I got lucky though, none of my cage nuts spun.
As far as taking everything else apart? I disconnected the sway bar... took out the shocks, compressed the spring thru the lower shock hole and removed the lower control arm first. The rest was just nuts and bolts, I would recommend taking pictures of your alignment shims on the upper control arms before you take them off as a starting point for when you put it back together.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 07:56:28 AM by Old Chicken »

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2018, 08:04:49 AM »
One final thing, that picture with the spring compressed... On the other side once I had the compressor connected I rotated the long bar and screwed that top pad further up into the spring hole so that I could compress more of the spring. That worked better, there's a lot of spring up there that you can't see.. The big thing is that you have all the tension off the spring.  You'll be able to look up there with a flashlight and see if there's a gap between the top of the spring and the frame, then you'll know.

cal30_sniper

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2018, 09:32:26 AM »
My all-time favorite 2nd Gen interior. I wish repro parts weren't so hard to come by for it, or I'd do that interior in my 73 Formula.
'73 Formula 350
'88 Trans Am GTA L98
'86 Suburban C20 454/NV4500

Formula build thread: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=75375.msg705571#msg705571

Hutchman

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2018, 08:16:06 PM »
I'm really enjoying your build. 

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2018, 09:58:13 AM »
Making some great progress! Great job on the T/A fender conversion.

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 12.8" Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, 17" Aluminum Rims, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro with 6?.?0?  5.3 w/ Z06 cam/T56
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

LeighP

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2018, 03:22:26 PM »
Nice job, always helps to start with the best car you can find.
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe (project)

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


Grand73Am

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #32 on: February 15, 2018, 09:54:58 PM »
  Also, where did you get the OTC Spring Compressor?

I bought mine on eBay a couple years ago for $160 with free shipping. It's great! Ebay was where I found the lowest price at the time. Prices vary quite a bit. Here's another one for the same deal as mine, and is currently the best deal on eBay: 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/OTC-Tools-Equipment-Front-Coil-Spring-Compressor-7045B-New/282802324836?epid=1707967090&hash=item41d8550564:g:7ggAAOSwwVpZzEJP
Steve F.

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2018, 11:46:59 AM »
The front is almost back together, my PTFB kit was missing the sway bar links so waiting on those, also the solid sub frame connectors do not fit thru the frame or core support in front so will just use the rubber ones.  I was expecting to modify the core, but was surprised to see they are around 1/4" too big for the frame.  Also got the calipers and brackets blasted and painted, so will hit it again this weekend and see how far I can get on this stuff, plus the heater core.  Not looking forward to that heater core.

20180225_135125 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180304_161752 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180304_161745 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180225_134339 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180305_173718 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180306_101229 by tallguy2088, on Flickr
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 11:51:00 AM by Old Chicken »

ryeguy2006a

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2018, 01:21:57 PM »
Looking good. Are those the CPP spindles?

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 12.8" Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, 17" Aluminum Rims, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro with 6?.?0?  5.3 w/ Z06 cam/T56
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

jmb36TA

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2018, 02:19:20 PM »
Wow, you're making quick progress with that build! you're fortunate to find such a clean car to start with. That definitely helps with the progress. Can't wait to see it finished. Good luck!
68 Firebird 350 auto
69 Trans Am Tribute 400 auto (currently own)
78 Trans Am 455 auto
78 Trans Am 6.6 4 speed
88 Trans Am 5.0 auto
02 Trans Am WS6 LS 6 speed (currently own)

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2018, 02:51:11 PM »
Looking good. Are those the CPP spindles?
Yep, but using the new C7 bearings instead of the C5/C6, they are supposed to be far more durable and only 100 bucks each.

Wow, you're making quick progress with that build! you're fortunate to find such a clean car to start with. That definitely helps with the progress. Can't wait to see it finished. Good luck!
Thanks, I did get lucky with this one...still haven't found a rust hole on it...even in the core support and lower closeout panels. 

firebird freak

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2018, 07:22:30 PM »
Man, you found a great car to redo. Nothing like my rust bucket. Lol.
1975 Firebird (sold a long time ago)
2002 WS6 TA (sold)
1979 10th TA (crushed by a tree)
2002 WS6 TA(sold)
1973 TA Brewster green 455(sold)
1973 SD455 Brewster Green (sold)
1998 WS6 Trans Am M6 BPM (sold)
1979 Trans Am 403 Platinum and Blue (sold)
1976 50th TA 455 T-tops
1977 SE Y82 TA 400
1975 TA 400
1971 Formula 400
1973 Firebird esprit (rust bucket)

Box

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2018, 08:44:29 PM »
At least now is the perfect time for replacing the heater core though. :P

1996 Pontiac Firebird Formula hardtop 6-speed

Old Chicken

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Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2018, 10:53:17 AM »
At least now is the perfect time for replacing the heater core though. :P
Yep, did that too, was lots of fun.  Almost ready to come back home now...

20180509_182050 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180509_182038 by tallguy2088, on Flickr

20180509_182102 by tallguy2088, on Flickr




« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 10:57:38 AM by Old Chicken »

Re: 1973 Cloneing Experiment. Beat It Purists!!!
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2018, 10:53:17 AM »
You can help support TAC!