Author Topic: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not  (Read 328 times)

Bottom Feeder

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1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« on: July 22, 2021, 04:18:55 PM »
I wanted to post this just to get some feedback from you Pontiac guys.  I know from being in the hobby for a long time, "build what you want and what makes the owner happy".  I've had seven 79' t/a's, all 4 speeds and fairly rare.  Well, I have a 70' Formula I bought about a year ago.  I've always wanted a 70-72 Trans Am but couldn't afford one.  I set out to find a good builder car (Espirit, Firebird) to do a 70-72 T/A clone.

Long story short, I found a real formula by luck or accident.  It needs a good bit of sheet metal work (one qtr, floor, trunk pan, drop offs, and rear tail panel).  That's just what I can determine before taking down to bare metal.  Anyway, I sent off to PHS and got the info back which is kinda left me on the fence in terms of what to do with the car. 

I was going to just do a 70-72 t/A clone.  Then I saw some of you guys doing the Formula with the T/A fenders (which I thought looked great).  Well, I pretty much knew what I had but I didn't know if the car was a ram air car.  The original engine is gone; however, I have two engines, 1) 1968 400, 4 bolt and a 1972 400, 2 bolt but pre-drilled for 4 bolt.  I have some 69' performance heads (62 casting number 2.11 / 1.77 valves), neither engine has been bored, good builders and heads look good if I decide to stick with iron heads. The guy told me these were Ram Air 3 heads and they are date matched.

So, I have the original 400 turbo and the 12 bolt.  The car is Canyon Cooper,/ Castillian Bronze with Sandalwood interior.  The car is a true ram air car with ps, pw, and a/c.  I have the original ram air hood in great shape. From what I've read, the color combo is fairly rare.  I have the title.   

I'm kinda leaning towards bringing her back to it's original start.  If it wasn't a true Formula and I didn't have the matching trans and 12 bolt , I'd probably do a T/A clone.  No, it's not a numbers matching engine, but I could build it darn close to the original.  Kinda leaning towards a bad ass 461 stroker and maybe drop a 5 speed in it anyway. 

So, I guess my question is this: You guys that have Formula's, when you go to the shows and drive the car.....do you regret not doing a T/A clone that perhaps that was what your intentions were in the beginning or are you happy with your Formula?   Thanks for your insight.   
   
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Jack

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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2021, 05:55:38 PM »
Being a 70 Formula I would restore it, but at the same time you can remove the fenders and replace them with a T/A fenders, you can do the same with the hood and now you have a Trans Am that can always be converted back to a Formula.




Regards, Jack

nas t eh

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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2021, 05:18:34 AM »
There were not a lot of 1970 Ram Air Formulas made. That and the fact that it is the only year for a bunch of stuff will make it fairly difficult and expensive to restore if you try to get all the one year only parts that you don't have. But because of that, it is also far more important you preserve it, if you can.

But is it a 1970 or a 1971, because to me that is a large difference, I would have no issue cloning a 71 Formula 400 into a T/A.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 05:22:13 AM by nas t eh »

71455formula

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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2021, 07:19:05 AM »
I wouldn't clone it, but I maybe bias cause i have a 71 Formula. I see so many Trans Am's real and more and more clones making seeing a Formula cooler to see. However, it is your car. If you want to keep it a Formula do it or make a TA clone, go for it.
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roadking77

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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2021, 07:27:34 AM »
I know you asked for formula owners which I am not, but I would build the car to original. I think those early Formulas look as bad%%% as the trans ams do. You will have the same performance and a unique car.  Another consideration, and not everyone thinks about resale, but it will likely have a greater value as a 'restored' formula than a t/a clone to the next guy down the line.
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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2021, 07:27:34 AM »

Jack

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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2021, 08:10:33 AM »
Or you can do what I did with my 72, replaced the fenders and kept the hood. No flares as I like the cleaner look of a Formula (equally to a Trans Am). If you keep your fenders the next owner can always replace them. The after market flares also do not require holes on the side of the fenders, so you can also install those if you like and take off in the future.

If I remember correctly the Formulas came with wood grain dash but had the Formula wheel and rally gauges, you should be good there but can also replace the dash bezel if you wish (another reversible item).




Regards, Jack

Bottom Feeder

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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2021, 08:54:07 AM »
Thanks guys for the input.  It is a 70.  I also bought a 71 for parts.
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NOT A TA

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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2021, 04:28:37 PM »
If it was my project I'd build it as a TA with a Formy hood. It's my understanding that the Formula hood was originally intended for use on the TA's. I'd keep the car bronze with sandalwood although rather than going with what the stock sandalwood looked like I'd mix it up a bit by making the color of the vinyl parts match (like the factory SHOULD have done) and use a black carpet. Sandalwood probably would have been more popular if GM had done a better job with it.

70's have things later cars don't (or are different) and I'd make sure to keep some of those things in place. The plastic eyebrows that are screwed to the base of the windshield trim is an example, one year only.  Formulas didn't have rear spoilers but if adding one I'd use the early look end caps that are shorter than later ones (later ones can be modified). Have a (long) read through this thread http://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=580525

So I guess I'd make the exterior look like what Pontiac would have if the Formy hood was used on TA's and TA's were offered in that color.

I'm going to disagree that a restored Formula without the original engine would sell for more than one modified with a more powerful engine, 5 speed, TA flares and fenders and maybe some other things like a TA dash bezel. The Formys were quicker in the 1/4 compared to TA's with the same drive train when new because they weighed less and had lower drag but that was really their strong point. Most of the stock ones I saw back then were just kinda like a base car with a better drive line and some suspension bits. I remember seeing them with 14" wheels, no gauges, column shift automatics, regular steering wheels, etc.  I just don't think there's a lot of people (buying finished cars in the price range) that would rather have a stockish Formula with the wrong engine, but I could certainly be wrong! If it was rare and ALL original with low mileage it would be more of a collector car and fetch a higher price but chasing down original carbs etc. to get close to matching what it came from the factory with excluding the block gets very expensive very quickly.
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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2021, 09:32:58 AM »
Thanks "Not a T/A".  Great insight!!
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Re: 1970 Formula Ram Air - To clone or not
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2021, 09:32:58 AM »
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