Based on a post I made in the 1968 TransAm season discussion, Jon mentioned I should put some info about my old ‘68 Firebird in this category. This car never made it to the TransAm races so it doesn‘t have an important race history, but maybe it will trigger some race car memories from those of you who were involved way back then. So for what it’s worth, here you go.
Unfortunately I only found a few old pictures that aren‘t really helpful, but then again, I always sucked at photography which is why I don‘t take many pictures. A couple shots are from the early 70’s, and a couple from the later 70’s when I was getting ready to install yet another drivetrain in it. Hopefully the pictures show up in this post.
This car started out life as a silver ‘68 Formula 400, which the original owner/builder of the car (whomever that was?) attempted to build into a TransAm race car. Since this car was from Marin County, it was probably just a well-to-do private entrepreneur that wanted to go racing? I doubt if the car was ever street driven when new based on the condition of the OEM spare parts that came with it at the time of my purchase (early 70’s) and the fact that the speedo cluster only had 35 miles showing on it, but who knows.
As I was told when I acquired the car, it was never finished supposedly due to some rule change in the 68/69 time frame that caused the owner to give up on it. I didn’t really believe that story because it was set up with a Corvette Independent Rear Suspension, which I always thought would never be eligible for any sort of TA racing. When I read the recent posts in the 1968 TA discussion about potential use of an IRS, it prompted me to mention this oddball car.
Early on, I tracked down the speed shop that installed the rear diff (also in Marin) and the shop owner told me his client provided very specific details as to what was installed and how to do it. They cut out the trunk floor for the fuel cell, rerouted brake and fuel lines, installed the IRS per his design, and also completed the manual 4 wheel disc brake combo. So the rolling chassis was “done”…
I believe the steel rear flares were added after the IRS, because the rears were completed but the front fenders only got cut and never finished. The cut front fenders were the original Firebird fenders, but the car came with a 68 RS Camaro front end as well so maybe the owner didn’t like the Firebird look and decided to change it midstream? Either way, that seemed to be when the project died off. The interior was partially gutted and the roll cage was started but never finished, and as the pics show the firewall wasn‘t chopped up yet.
It previously had a 302 engine with a real M22 which ended up getting installed in my ‘67 Z. Those were the days when I would swap engines between cars just about every weekend and never cared about what was original or correct, only what was more fun. I installed a spare 427 Corvette engine in this car and drag raced it at Sears point for a while. It was known as the “Vettaker” (Ok, stop laughing now). By the 90’s I ended up installing a SBC and setting the car up for street use. It still had the Camaro RS front end when I sold it, which was always good for starting conversations.
Anyways, if you happen to be that rich guy from Marin and have been looking for your old Firebird, it’s probably still cruising around Sonoma County getting strange looks…
Thanks for the letting me share! Charlie