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January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Old 12-31-2016, 02:51 PM
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January 2017 COTM **WINNER**



Right out of the gate for 2017, we couldn't have asked for a more perfect COTM Winner. Congratulations, QwkTrip! You and you're '89 Firebird deserve every bit of love that was shown in this month's voting.

Your sleek machine is (at least) a six-layer threat.
First Car Love: check.
Base Model Transformation: check.
Flawless Exterior: check.
Flawless Interior: check.
Seamless Retrofit: check.
Dangerous Sleeper: check.

Perfect representative of what Third Gens can do.











This 1989 Firebird is the first car I ever bought and I still have it 24 years later. This is not a restoration and not a low mileage puff ball. It is just a good old car that has recently developed a roaring attitude.

Basically you’re looking at a snapshot frozen in time. This is what I wanted the car to look like in 1999 when I pulled the 2.8L engine to do a V8 swap. Then the car just sat… and sat… and sat… until 2016 when I got it on the road again. These are the same ROH wheels I bought in 2000 for the project! Same goes with the rear axle and most the suspension. A lot of the “new” parts on this car aren’t even sold any more.

The body is original, and a fantastic 22 year old paint job still steals looks today. The only modification in the looks department is a set of wheels and some leather seats to class up the interior. Honestly, I don’t think this Pontiac needs much help beyond that. I still use the crank windows and the original cassette radio and I have no plans to do anything different.

Under the hood is a whole different story and I did not follow the original script from 2000. I traded in the silly supercharged big block for a rowdy 427 LS that thumps at idle and has a horsepower curve that is still climbing beyond 7000 rpm. Engine management is Holley HP EFI. This car is about racking up “smiles per mile”, not quarter mile, so the TH400 is gone and replaced by a T56 manual with RTrack dual disc clutch inside a Quicktime housing. Underneath is a fully adjustable suspension, Ground Control weight jacks, Hawks Sinister torque arm, C6 brakes, and many other modifications. The car was not built for drag racing but still joined the 11 second club with ease at 125 mph.

Pictures don’t do justice because the sound brings it all together to create a lovely kind of nasty. This is a cool old car! I attached a couple videos below. This Firebird brings back memories and I smile every time I drive it. Everything is familiar, I know the car in and out, and I’ve had it so long that it is uniquely mine.
The Back Story

Purchased as my first car in 1992, this Firebird served as my daily driver until 1999 when the head gasket failed on the original 2.8L. I was young and had a dream of doing a V8 swap and eagerly ripped out the engine. The project escalated from ZZ4 350 to a supercharged 468 BBC, and then it all came to a grinding halt when I moved across the country for a job, got married, and became a responsible man. The Firebird was not on the agenda any more. It would be a total of 17 years before the car would see the road again.

Fast forward to 2011. The car has been garaged the entire time but has years of dirt literally bonded to the paint, and the interior is full of mouse poo and urine with nests and dead bodies on the seats and in hidden places. My wife says, “Finish it or sell it!” I think she was surprised when I immediately began to clean it up and order parts!

In 2013 the car was nearly destroyed by a 200 mph tornado. My wife and I huddled in the basement as nearby houses were leveled. By the grace of God there was a shield of mercy over our heads and our property was untouched in the midst of the powerful chaos.

I finally got the car on the road this year (2016) and it has been a BLAST driving it again! I was okay with a basic engine swap but this project turned into a “big build” real quick; and I won’t lie, it was a struggle for me at times in terms of knowledge, skill, and motivation. Really happy now to be at the stage where it is a fun driver that I can do small projects as it suits me.

Here is hours of reading if you are further interested in the build. That thread is active and the car will continue to evolve in 2017. There is already a pile of parts waiting to go on the car this winter. https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/ltx-l...-qwktrips.html (What ever happened to QwkTrip's car anyway?)

Last edited by Linson; 05-11-2018 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 12-31-2016, 03:15 PM
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Car: 1 Owner 1986 TA with a WS6 package
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

QwkTrip,congrats.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:42 PM
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Congratulations!
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Old 12-31-2016, 08:32 PM
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Car: '89 Firebird
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Thanks, folks! I appreciate the recognition and nice words. Always makes a guy feel good to know other people like what you've done. And it is a pretty neat way to wrap up the year after getting it on the road again!
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:20 AM
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Congrat's QwkTrip well deserved awesome ride!!!!!!
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:51 PM
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Great story and very nicely done!
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:45 PM
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

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Old 01-03-2017, 04:03 PM
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Car: 89 IROC/89 Vert/87 Vert/89 GTA Vert
Engine: 5.7/5.0/5.0/5.7
Transmission: 700R4
Axle/Gears: 9" 2.77/9" 3:23/9" 3:42
Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Congratulations. Beautiful work
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Old 01-06-2017, 07:16 AM
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Car: 1991 Camaro Z28
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Great job, looks good
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Old 01-07-2017, 11:15 AM
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Congratulations to QwkTrip

And on another note, I was wrong in my view that cars owned by company owners, cars as a calling card for advertising a company or cars that were built by professional shops would dominate the competition and not give private individuals a fair shot at winning.
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Old 04-16-2017, 07:32 AM
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Congrats, I just saw this. I finally got my car going in March, only to watch the new owner drive it away:-) Your car is awesome it was fun watching it kick my butt at the track lol.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:04 PM
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Car: '89 Firebird
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Hey, Dave!

Yes, but I get to look forward to getting my butt kicked next month now that you have the Whipple on that Mustang.
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Old 06-22-2018, 07:54 PM
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

sweet car and definitely worth the wait,i wish i kept my 5.0 berlinetta .oh well,at least i found a clean t/a
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Old 02-17-2019, 05:54 PM
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Car: 1989 Firebird GTA
Engine: Motown Aluminum 427
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Wow. Your car checks so many of the boxes. It's red. It's clean and subtle. It's so well kept. It walks softly and carries a BIG stick. I really like it. I want it.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:43 AM
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Re: January 2017 COTM **WINNER**

Thank you! That's a huge compliment knowing what you've done with your car.

Things have changed some since then. Right now I'm swapping engines for a LS7 with a Mamo top end package. About a +150 Hp jump over the LS3 headed stroker that was in the car. I've added a "fat man street friendly" 6 point cage. And I've added more underbody bracing and reworked the torque arm for more ground clearance. Still all in the same base-model wrapper though.

Oh, and I was rear ended by a Mercedes since then too. I removed all emblems and the door strips while the repairs were being made.

Last edited by QwkTrip; 02-18-2019 at 07:49 AM.
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