Monday, January 30, 2012

Repairing One Man's Disaster

The previous owner performed a real hack job when it came to installing his aftermarket radio. I have never seen such a poor wiring job. Not only did he manage to break or damage most of the console and trim pieces, but he left unused hot wires exposed behind the radio. I am just lucky these did not short out on the drive home...or did they? The mysterious headlight behavior when I first got the car back into town suddenly has a possible cause. Here is a before shot of the wiring mess.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Feeling Nostalgic?

With all the information you can dig up, you really have to love the Internet and Google. I was able to put together a collection of sales literature, articles and photos pertaining to the early 3rd generation Firebirds (1982-84). I have converted these to PDF for your viewing pleasure. I won't apologize for the quality of these pieces as it is amazing to me still that I was able to find them at all.

It's All In The Code

Learning all you can about the history of your car is an important step in the restoration process. The Vehicle Identification Number is great, but it can only tell you so much about the vehicle. I was able to learn the following from the 17 character VIN on my car:

Build Country: USA
Manufacturer: General Motors
Make: Pontiac
Restraint System: Non-Passive/Manual Belts
Carline/Series: Firebird Trans Am
Body Type: Coupe - 2 Door Plain Back
Engine: LU5 5.0L (305 CI) V8 TBI (Throttle Body Injection)
Model Year: 1983
Plant: Van Nuys, CA
Build Sequence: 234580

This was great for starters, but I wanted to know more. Many of the cars prior 1984 had what is called a Body Tag that was stamped and affixed to the cowl of the car at the manufacturing plant. This tag contained much of the same information as the VIN, but also provided Regular Production Option (RPO) codes for body, trim and features included on the car. I snapped a picture of the Body Tag on my Trans Am and went to work researching and decoding its RPO codes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

If You Are Going To Do It, Do It Right

This recent severe drop in temperature has been a quick reminder of what a typical South Dakota winter is usually like. We have had such mild winter weather thus far that it was easy to pretend winter just wasn't coming. Needless to say this cold is not very conducive to working on the car in a non-insulated garage. However it does allow ample time for research, which is what I have been doing this past week.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Goodbye Sunshade!

We removed the awful black sunshade! Unfortunately there is some etching on the glass I was not able to see before. I am not sure if there is a way to remove the scratches, but they are very light. I am going to research it and if I find anything I will post it. Here are the before and after pictures.

Now I Can Open The Passenger Door!

When I bought the car the passenger side door was inaccessible from the outside. It appears someone tried to break in to the car and managed to break the door handle and severely bend the metal latch assembly. Although there is nothing I can do for the door handle, Sara and I were able to make it functional again by removing the door panel and straightening the latch assembly rod.

My First Accessory

I figured if I wanted to park my Trans Am in the garage, it would be nice to be able to open and close the garage door. Since I only had one garage door opener, and that one belongs in our other vehicle, we made a trip out to Menards for a universal garage door remote. Sara programmed it while I started on the passenger door...

My Trans Am!

I purchased a 1983 Pontiac Trans Am from a Ford dealership in Redwood Falls, MN yesterday. The car runs good, but is in serious need of a engine and transmission tune up. It sports a 305 V8 LU5 with Cross-Fire Injection. It does have the WS6 package and 15" wheels although they are not Turbo Cast wheels. The body is in excellent condition with only minor (hail type) dents and scratches.

Friday, January 6, 2012

KITT, Can You Hear Me Buddy?

Every respectable KITT replica is going to need one, right? Well Mark Puette has taken it upon himself to create the most screen accurate Knight Rider Comlink the hobby has ever seen. It is nothing short of awesome, and thanks to Sara I now own one! For Christmas this year she gave me one of Mark's Comlinks with its own Knight Industries leather display stand and his 'KNIGHT' & 'Knight Industries' license plates.