EXCLUSIVE: A THUNDEROUS PHOENIX RISES – MEET THE 1968 PONTIAC FIREBIRDDate: 2018-04-26
Prepare to have your mind blown! .
.. Possibly your earholes too. Introducing the perplexing 1968 Pontiac Firebird from All American Muscle.
For those of you who were at our SXdrv SUPER SUMMER event in November last year will remember the car that, without a doubt, stole the show – yup, this is the one! We simply couldn't resist the opportunity to do one wicked feature on this beast.
We contacted the nice chaps at All American Muscle to see if they would be keen on having a feature done on their Firebird and their answer was nothing shy of "Hell Yeah!". So, off to the drawing board we went, and finding a location had to have been the most tricky part. An incredible drag racing machine like this deserved to have a spot that comes naturally to what it was built for. We managed to organise Tarlton International Raceway all to ourselves for the day, so, with a 6am call time, we got the most amazing sunrise! It was the perfect start to an amazing day
Just laying eyes on this heavily modified Pontiac, you can see the level of quality work that went into its production. Not necessarily just the performance but even the more subtle changes that all come together to make it a real piece of motoring art. Per example, the eye-catching purple colour which is a unique pearl vinyl wrap, so good in fact that most people are staggered that it isn't painted!
With that said, we had some questions:
Q: Make and model?
A: It's a 1968 Pontiac Firebird.
Q: And it's a beauty. When and why did you choose this specific car?
A: We got the opportunity to purchase the car in 2015 and set out to build something awesome.
Q: Well, you guys have done a hellava job. Tell us about the modifications.
A: The engine is a normally aspirated 509CI Big Block Chevy with a Powerglide 2 speed transmission, although it's soon to be upgraded with a TCI 6 speed transmission. It's got a Custom Strange Diff 4.11 Ratio with Vari Racing Brakes – Only the best! There's also custom ladder bar rear suspension and custom/mod front suspension, and the exhaust was done by The Mad Scientist over at M7Performance... And all the other stuff; 10 point Roll Cage, Line Lock, Transbrake, Electronic Ignition system and more.
Q: That's quite a spec sheet! Is there a history behind the original car?
A: Yes, the Pontiac was bought around 1997 from a backyard in Croyden (Edenvale/Kempton Park, South Africa) where it had a Ford 302 butchered into it. The owner at that stage had dreams of restoring the car, but his wife had other ideas... and she politely persuaded him to sell the car. The car was sold and the buyer at that time had the idea of turning her into a drag racing car, but the car stood for nearly a decade till around 2007 when he started with the ladder bar suspension development etc... Unfortunately, yet again, the car stood for a good couple of years. In late 2015, All American Muscle got the opportunity to purchase the Pontiac and finish the car we envisioned.
That’s when the fun started!
Q: I believe it has been wrapped, why did you choose this specific colour?
A: Yes it was wrapped by Ink Monkey in Centurion. We decided to go with this specific colour as we were the first in South Africa to wrap a vehicle in this gloss flip and we wanted the car to have a lasting impression.
Q: It's very cool indeed. Where do you get hold of those tyres and what profile/compound are they?
A: We import all our own parts, tyre included; specs: 31 x 114 x 15 Hoosier Drag Slicks.
Q: Tell us about how it is to drive, and what reactions do you get from your passengers?
A: Driving her is Great Fun! All our passengers go through the following phases:
- I WANT ONE!
Q: Haha! Somehow, we're not surprised! What figures are we looking at in terms of kw/hp and NM?
A: That would be 750hp and 800NM of torque.
Q: That's quite something. How long have you owned this car for and do you still see yourself racing her for the next few years or is a replacement in the pipeline?
A: We have owned her for three years but she is currently on the market...
Busy with her successor as we speak, watch this space.
Q: Exciting stuff, we can't wait to see what you do next. Money aside, what would the ultimate drag car be in your opinion?
A: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda with a Blown Alcohol 572CI Hemi, that would be nice!
Q: The girls in the office would like to know if you get lots of attention with this car at shows/races?
A: She attracts a fair amount of attention... which is always good.
Q: Nice! For those who are starting off in the drag racing scene, have you got any advice?
A: Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish – buy the right part first time around.
Q: That's a good tip right there. Any thoughts or tidbits you'd like to tell us?
A: Anybody that is serious about getting a muscle built, imported or just require big horsepower upgrade on their American V8 should come visit our workshop! Check us out on Facebook for more.
Q: Super stuff, we thoroughly enjoyed shooting with you guys, we hope you did too!
A: We had a great time with the SXdrv team! Can't wait for the next shoot!
Check out more incredible footage from the All American Muscle 1968 Pontiac Firebird here, and don't forget to leave us a comment below.