The 1967 Pontiac Firebird Dragster was bought around 1997 from a backyard in Croydon with a Ford 302 butchered into it.
WHERE DID THE LOVE FOR DRAG CARS AND MUSCLE CARS COME FROM?
We have had a passion for Muscle Cars for as long as we can remember and it is more than just the cars. It is what “The American Muscle Car” stands for. The history behind the cars, the lifestyle that goes with them, and the rarity, especially in South Africa. These days they are no longer just a “toy” and something you can drive, they are also a great investment. So a Muscle car is the best of both worlds. It’s something you and your family can enjoy while it increases with value every year… and the love for Drag Racing (with Muscle Cars) grew from there!
WHERE DID THIS PONTIAC ORIGINALLY COME FROM?
The Pontiac was bought around 1997 from a backyard in Croydon (Edenvale/Kempton) with 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. This is when Wolfgang Giesinger bought the car and had the idea of turning her into a drag racing car.
The car stood for nearly a decade till around 2007 when Wolf started with the ladder bar suspension development. 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!
WHY DID YOU WANT IT TO BE A DRAG CAR?
Wolf bought the Firebird with a lot of the interior and trim missing, so it made sense to turn it into a race car in 1997, there was little to no demand for these cars and you couldn’t even give them away.
WHERE DID THE MOTOR COME FROM?
The motor and transmission came out of Dalmein Perdichizzi’s previous race car, a ’68 Chevy Nova which ran a 10.43-sec quarter mile @ 208.77km/h on 09/08/2012 at Tarlton Raceway. This was the perfect power plant for our Firebird.
HOW BAD WAS THE BODY?
The body of the Pontiac was not bad at all. There was no rust and no previous accident damage. In hindsight, this car should have been restored, but with that being said, when the transformation from street car to drag car began, these cars weren’t popular nor worth much.
WHAT EXTRA WORK HAD TO GO INTO THE BODY?
This vehicle is referred to being a “Back Half Car”, meaning the back half of the car’s floor was cut out to accommodate the ladder bar suspension, roll cage and big wheel tubs. The rear quarter had to be modified to fit the 32 x 14 x 15 Hoosier race slicks. Extensive inner sheet metal and non-functioning parts were removed and replaced with Aluminium sheeting for weight reduction.
The front-wheel inner fenders were dumped to accommodate the massive Chevy Big Block 509ci racing motor with Fenderwell headers and to complete the 12-point roll cage.
WAS IT HARD MAKING EVERYTHING FIT?
Making everything fit and come together was a challenge, but with our skilled
labour and strategic planning, everything came together beautifully.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES WHEN BUILDING A RACE CAR?
One of the biggest challenges we faced in building this race car was time, as we built this car after hours…
WHO DID THE ROLL CAGE?
The Roll Cage was built by Dean de Lange, our trusted coded welder and
fabricator employed by All American Muscle. The cage is built with SABS-approved tubing (Mild Steel) 42mm x 3mm fully MIG welded to ensure strength and durability.
HOW DID IT DO ON ITS FIRST RUN?
We took her out for her maiden run on the 4th of June 2017 at Nitro Raceway where we did an 11.02-sec quarter mile @ 202km/h and took first place in our exhibition class.
The car performed very well and exceeded our expectations with reliability
and unbeatable consistency!
WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Future plans include keeping her normally aspirated (….for now) and fine-tuning the suspension setup and diff ratio to break the 10-second barrier.
ANYTHING INTERESTING ABOUT THE BUILD YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD IN?
Something unique about the car is the fact that the nose cone including the grille surround is a one-piece fibreglass unit. This was done for a more aggressive look and also to accommodate a smaller fibreglass lift-off hood.
The rear bumper is also moulded out of fibreglass which was cut and tucked to hug the body for a more streamlined look.
SOME TECHNICAL SPECS
She has a Chevy Big Block 509ci with an Edelbrock Victor tunnel RAM Intake with 2 x 500 CFM Edelbrock Carbs. That has been set up by All American Muscle, to produce maximum horsepower.
Heavily Modified Power Glide 2 Speed Automatic Transmission with Trans Brake and JW Ultra Comp 8” torque converter
GM 12 Bolt Housing, Strange Spool, 31 Spline Summit Racing Axles, LTW Ultimate Aluminium Diff Cover for strength, Richmond Crown Wheel & Pinion 4.1:1
Mallory Hi-Five 6 Ignition Box, Mallory High Voltage Coil, Auto Meter Sport-Comp Gauges Hurst Shifter with Shift Solenoid, ATS 6 Point Safety Harness, Vintage Racing Seats, In-house fabricated all aluminium fuel tank, radiator and battery box.
Thanks to Wolf Giesinger, All American Muscle Team, Anel & Marius from Ink Monkey Wraps Design Factory, Fabio from Trueway Panelbeaters, Giel Nel from Battery Centre, Clint Spoolander & Anthony Perdichizzi from First Road