HotWheelsKid
HotWheelsKid New Reader
2/19/19 9:59 p.m.

So lately I've heard a lot of stories from my father about his blue 77 firebird he had at my age and how he wrecked it and sold the car afterwards for $600. As of the time at which Google Maps took a picture of the area in which the car was located, at the house of the person who bought it from him, it could be seen sitting in a field. By the time I found this out, it is quite possible that it could have been moved by now, but on the other hand, I feel it might also still be there since it had been there 20 years before at the least, if not 30. I was wondering if you guys thought it would be worth a 5 hour trip to go see if the car is still there, and if its in a restorable condition, if you guys could give me a rough estimate on costs for renting a trailer and buying the car. From what I know, the frame was twisted once he wrecked it and the car still ran, but since 30 years have passed, it is very likely that could have changed in very many ways. What do you guys think the likelihood of it being there could be? What kind of condition if its been sitting at the edge of a field in Pennsylvania for 30 years? Do you think its likely that it might have been parted out so that only sections of it are left, or is it more likely that the whole car either be there or gone. And how might the frame damage back then have affected the car up until present day? I have a friend who is a mechanic, but he is out of town a lot and it'd be hard to find a time for him to go with me to look at it, if it's still there. Any input about this is greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Eric Johnson

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
2/19/19 10:59 p.m.

Ok, I hope I can help you out a bit here without sounding too negative.

1) I restore cars for a living.

2) I used to buy and sell a ton of 2nd gen T/A cars and parts.

To be brutally honest with you, unless you have an absolute emotional attachment to this car, you're much further ahead to buy a finished one or a car that needs the last 10% of the work done.

2nd gen cars don't have a frame, they have a bolt-in front subframe. IF the subframe is twisted, no big deal. Just get another. If the body is twisted out of whack, you're better off finding a pristine one.

If it's been sitting in grass, it has no floors by now.

If it has T-tops, it has no floors by now.

If it's a Trans-Am, it's worth money. If it's a Special Edition (black and gold) it's worth more (thanks Paramount!)

If it's a Formula it's worth a little less.

If it's an Esprit, it's worth a lot less (girl car)

If it's a base Firebird, it's worth a lot less.

If it's a 1977 Firebird Bluebird, umm... 

If it's a base Firebird or Esprit, it might have a 250 I 6 or a Pontiac 350 V8

If it's a Formula or T/A it will have some flavour of Pontiac 400 or Olds 403. If it has a manual gearbox, it has a Pontiac 400. 

If it's a T/A and the shaker says "T/A 6.6" then you have a Pontiac 400 If the shaker says "6.6 Litre" then you have the Oldsmobile station wagon engine.

 

If you really must your father's Firebird, then go for it but it will probably cost you.

If you want a Firebird or Trans-Am, go buy the nicest one you can afford and have fun with it.

 

From my experience, if it's been sitting this long, it has been pillaged for parts, had rocks thrown though the glass and been target practice for some drunk redneck. 

It's probably a parts car.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
2/20/19 6:01 a.m.

In today's world it should not be too hard to get an address and contact name for the landowner. Send a note and see if he is receptive.

Everything ShawnG says is true, you can buy a driver for 15k or restore this one for 35k or more and 1500 of your free hours. If you farm the work out, it gets a lot more pricy. 

I consider myself a project enabler,and I have done a lot of work to get people over the obstacles along the way, but I always start by trying to talk people out of doing a car project since so few ever get finished. 

 

Pete

HotWheelsKid
HotWheelsKid New Reader
2/20/19 7:15 a.m.

Ok, that helps, that's sort of what I was thinking, its most likely just a parts car. Sure it'd be really neat to have, but it'll be a while yet before I have the resources to actually take on a project of that size, so I'd at least like to go out to see it, despite its condition, and if they have no intention for some reason of getting rid of it at any time, then that'd be they're decision and I'll respect that. I know my father kept the spoiler he had from it, he uses that Bluebird picture to say what color it was, but I've never heard of him say that it's a Bluebird, and he also has the tail lights from his black firebird that he used as a parts car for the blue one. He would have been able to fix it himself, but he sold all the parts of his subframe on the black one, two weeks before he wrecked the blue one, so that when he wrecked it, that was the only thing he couldn't fix. Personally, the parts we have of it now are enough for me, but it'd still be nice to go out to at least see it, and maybe take it off they're hands at some point if I have the resources and the price is right.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
2/20/19 10:32 a.m.

I'm sure the car is not worth saving, but road trips like this are always worth it, especially when you are young enough to get away with it.

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
2/20/19 10:35 a.m.

Listen to Woody.

Have a road trip, check it out. Maybe bring a part of it home to hang on your wall as a memento.

HotWheelsKid
HotWheelsKid New Reader
2/20/19 10:33 p.m.

Once again, thanks for your input, that's kinda what I was planning to do, bringing the whole thing home would only be an absolute best case scenario, which I highly doubt will happen.

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
2/20/19 11:08 p.m.

You're welcome. 

I hope you have a great time of it.

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan UltraDork
2/20/19 11:15 p.m.

Oh yeah. Road trip. My recent one Google said get off the interstate due to a bad wreck on the way home. Took me on a scenic route that was way cool. smiley

Cotton
Cotton PowerDork
2/20/19 11:16 p.m.

I would try and get the car.  

About 20 years ago I got my grandfather’s truck from my Dad.  My grandfather had bought it new in 1975,  then it went to my dad, then to me.  It was ROUGH,  but ran and drove with some work and my wife (then girlfriend) and I dated in it,  took it camping,  took it to the drive in, etc.  I did not have the means to restore it,   but wanted to and eventually decided to take it on myself.  It took well over a decade for me to realize I wasn’t ever going to finish that truck on my own.  I was also finally in a position to pay for a top level restoration,  so that’s what I did.  Before it went to the restoration shop it would have been classed as a parts truck,  and not a very good one.  It was in many pieces and most of the work that had been done needed to be redone due to age,  higher standards,  etc.  

I have way more money in it than it’s worth,  but it is the truck I grew up in with my grandparents,  my parents,  and my sisters,  as well as my now wife.  It was worth the money. 

My Dad also had a 66 GTO and if I ever find that one I’ll do the same thing.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
2/21/19 1:37 a.m.

In reply to Cotton :

While I certainly appreciate why you chose to restore your truck, I’ll counter with my own story. 

My grandfather died of cancer in February of 89. He wanted grandma to have a new vehicle before he was gone, so he bought a brand new 88 Silverado 1500/305(never mind the fact grandma had a 72 Catalina in the garage with only 26,000 miles on it that she rarely drove).

Anyway, grandma wasn’t really able to drive, so my parents ended up with the truck. My (now) wife & I dated in it, and after mom died in 04 I ended up with it. I borrowed it numerous times for band gigs, and probably put more miles on it than my parents did. It had ~130k, was on its 2nd engine, and I installed its 3rd trans a couple years later. There rear wheel wells & bumper were already rusting by that point too. 

I kept the truck until 2013, using it occasionally. The final straw was when I drove ~2 hours to pick up a parts car & about 5-miles before I got there the rear brake line blew out. Undeterred, I loaded up the car, only to hit a bump 2-miles from the seller’s home that ripped the 2 rear hitch mounting bolts through the rusty frame. 

I had originally planned on making it a “forever” truck too, and like you I had neither the time/space/money to deal with it at that time. Ultimately, despite all my memories with the truck, I realized I never actually enjoyed it, nor did it really meet my needs, and I’m still glad I sent it on down the road. 

Cooper_Tired
Cooper_Tired HalfDork
2/21/19 5:40 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

You make a great point.

 

 

Woody
Woody MegaDork
2/21/19 6:32 a.m.

In reply to HotWheelsKid :

You’re chasing after your father’s memories, not yours. Go make some of your own.  

SEADave
SEADave HalfDork
2/21/19 7:55 a.m.

If it's there and you can find it, see if you can buy the nose.  It can be taken off complete with grills and lights and is pretty much the coolest part of a 77 firebird. 

Cotton
Cotton PowerDork
2/21/19 9:37 a.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett :

This definitely wasn’t a meeting needs type build.  I have newer trucks that are better at truck stuff and other 4x4s that would be better for off-road  stuff.  This was just a build I wanted to do for a long time and was finally able.  I’m a big square body fan,  so being a short bed 4x4 square body was an added bonus.

HotWheelsKid
HotWheelsKid New Reader
2/21/19 12:48 p.m.

Cotton- That's generally the idea I was thinking about, but after all, since it is my father's, I'd be doing it for him, and maybe I'd get it later on in life, but I'm still doubtful I'd have a chance to get the car simply due to monetary reasons and no way to really put it anywhere, and the practicality of the idea, it's still nice to hear a story like that to know I'm not completely crazy for thinking that.

SEADave- I've always thought the nose was amazing on those Firebird/Trans Ams, that's definitely one of the parts I'd like to have, if possible, along with possibly the tail lights, although my father already has the spoiler from it, and tail lights from another 77 Firebird he had, they'd definitely make nice pieces to hang on a wall or something, in my opinion at least. If I were able to recover the front bumper/nose, would you think that it would be better to leave it as found, or to fix it up and restore it to quality condition?

akylekoz
akylekoz Dork
2/22/19 8:47 a.m.

I know my father kept the spoiler he had from it, he uses that Bluebird picture to say what color it was, but I've never heard of him say that it's a Bluebird, and he also has the tail lights from his black firebird that he used as a parts car for the blue one.

So maybe it was a Bluebird?

HotWheelsKid
HotWheelsKid New Reader
2/22/19 12:43 p.m.

Possibly, I'm not entirely sure what make it a 'Bluebird' but it's definitely a possibility.

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
2/22/19 2:07 p.m.

Sorry, got my terms mixed up, it's "skybird"

Skybird = sky blue paint, colour matches wheels and trim, sky blue interior, filigree pinstripe swallow on the sail panels instead of the usual screaming chicken.

 

HotWheelsKid
HotWheelsKid New Reader
2/26/19 1:04 p.m.

Ok, that makes sense, thanks! I asked him, and it wasn't a skybird, just a firebird Esprit, but the paint wasn't original.

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