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Year: 1970 Firebird
Owner: John P.
Location: Florida
AllGenTransAms Member: NOT A TA

John writes:

The 14 Car was purchased in 1992 from a lady for $190.00. No there's no typo there! It had been parked in her back yard for 17 years. Her husband had purchased the 1970 Firebird Esprit new and drove it to work. He got in a fender bender with it damaging the right front and bumper. Thinking his kids would be old enough to drive in a few years he bought himself a new car. Then found a parts donor, repaired the Esprit, and parked it out back for the kids.

When the kids could drive they shunned the Firebird wanting the popular imports of the 80's and the bird just sat in the backyard. By this time a small tree had started growing on each end of the car just far enough under that the mower couldn't reach it. Meanwhile the dad passed away and the car just sat there with the trees having grown large enough to create a giant umbrella over it. The thirsty trees kept the ground very dry so the frame and floorpans were in good shape considering it'd been outside since the repairs were made. There was some rust in weird spots caused by the decaying fallen leaves but not the type we're accustomed to so areas like the rear quarters are original with no rust repairs.

The lady put an ad in the local trader that read "1970 firebird for parts $190.00. call Lillian xxx-xxxx" A quick phone conversation with her revealed part of the story and she said she couldn't find the keys but that it said 42,000 miles on the odometer. While the car was really dirty from being outside so long an inspection revealed the condition of the car and there was no haggling over the price! The only stipulation was that the trees couldn't be cut! A decision was made to leave the car in position and wait for the ground to freeze. Within a week on a very cold evening the car was dragged sideways from out of its resting place between the trees that were now 9-10 inches in diameter.

A carefull patient awakening was performed on the engine. First the cylinders were filled with Marvel Mystery Oil and allowed to sit for days. Then a breaker bar on the crank bolt gently rocked the engine internals eventually allowing slow rotation of the engine. Then a couple more days of soaking. A battery was hooked up and it was time to see if it would start. Troubleshooting indicated a bad condenser. Five dollars for a condenser from a buddy at the local garage and it fired up with 17 year old gasoline. The 350 2 barrel stayed in the car for about another 15,000 miles before it was retired for the current 400.

The initial plan was to paint the car, put some Crager SS wheels on and drive it daily. So much for that plan!! A deal with a buddy selling TA parts netted all the body parts to resemble a TA. Since there was never any intention to decieve anyone the car was shaved of all the factory emblems and a lot of modifications made. Then the license plate "NOT A TA" was installed removing any doubt.

After all the TA parts were installed and everything was painted, the car was used sparingly as a driver on nice days, an occasional midnight blast, and a few vacation trips. Longest trip was 4000 miles.

Meanwhile as soon as the paint work had been completed the upgrades started. Over the years the car has evolved into the car you see here. It's been run at several drag strips, the East Coast Timing Association top speed events in NC, and road courses such as Lime Rock, Road Atlanta and Palm Beach International. Current upgrades are in an effort to be legal for, and able to perform 200 MPH passes at land speed racing events as well as lowering lap times on the road courses. Just need a lot more power!

Additional Car Specs Can Be Found Here.

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