The Roaring Season Advertising 1
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 34

Thread: First Generation Pontiac Firebirds With Chevy Motors

  1. #1

    First Generation Pontiac Firebirds With Chevy Motors

    OK, a question. In 1968, Craig Fisher and/or Terry Godsall convinced the Sports Car Club of America that Pontiac Firebirds were sold in Canada fitted with small block Chevy motors, thus allowing them to race Firebirds in the Trans-Am series fitted with Chevys. The SCCA appears to have believed them, as there were Firebirds racing in the Trans-Am in 1968 and '69 fitted with Chevy motors.

    I've researched this quite a bit, but have never found evidence that first generation Firebirds were fitted new with Chevy motors. So, its likely I've missed something, and that Firebirds were actually fitted with Chevy motors. Or, porkies were being told to the SCCA, who either believed what they were told on face value, or never bothered to research the facts.

    Can anyone shed light on this?

  2. #2
    Hi Steve

    Hopefully this link may clear a few things up - scroll down untill you come across the headline in orange that reads "Pontiac Special Projects Group creats the 967 PFST"

    http://musclecarfilms.com/1969_Fireb...ng_Cars_1.html

  3. #3
    Great stuff, thanks Homer. I'll take a read of that.

  4. #4
    Steve, I've been talking to some guys that were working for Terry Godsall, during the race seasons on the cars, and before, when they e ranks at GM,worked in his dealerships or on his own car collection. Terry was a good friend of John Delorean, who was coming up through the ranks at GM.
    Terry's family had several business' including selling Euclid heavy equipment, another company built truck trailers and equipment, and a Kenworth dealership. Terry was also later part owner of Lake Chevrolet, but for the purpose of getting the Firebirds accepted for the Trans Am series, they took a brand new '68 Firebird, and replaced the Pontiac engine with a 327 Chevrolet. This is very simple as the frame mounts and engine mounts are all that need changing along with the actual engine. There was enough BS by the dealership to the SCCA that it was accepted that since a reputable dealer had a brand new Firebird with a 327, it must have been legit.

    The car was later put on the sales lot and sold, maybe as a used car as it is possible that it did some ice racing. Whoever bought that car may have never known it wasn't factory fresh.

    Bruce.

  5. #5
    Thanks Bruce. Thats really interesting! Those SCCA guys got all worked up over the Penske Camaros running vinyl covers on their roofs, but let Firebirds race with Chevy motors! I love it!

  6. #6
    Penske was trying every trick he could think of, and it was paying off, The SCCA wanted more manufacturers in the series, as it was the manufacturers that got the points, not the drivers. If Pontiac had been a threat they would have been taken down, but it is very possible that it was Chevrolet (and the inter marque rivalry within GM) that saw that Z/28 powered Firebirds time end. There were instructions at Chevrolet that no one was to sell performance parts to the T/G team, but they had a way around that.

    Bruce.

  7. #7
    So the reality is, NO gen 1 Pontiac ever came with a Small Block chev engine from the factory that was sold to the public and the Canadian build 350 Chev engine Firebird was just smoking mirrors!!

    Dale M

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce302 View Post
    Penske was trying every trick he could think of, and it was paying off, The SCCA wanted more manufacturers in the series, as it was the manufacturers that got the points, not the drivers. If Pontiac had been a threat they would have been taken down, but it is very possible that it was Chevrolet (and the inter marque rivalry within GM) that saw that Z/28 powered Firebirds time end. There were instructions at Chevrolet that no one was to sell performance parts to the T/G team, but they had a way around that.

    Bruce.
    Bruce, do you know if T/G Racing ever attempted to run their '70 Firebirds with Chevy motors?

  9. #9
    Will do some research, but a mate had a Firebird with 400 small block in it way back then, and it was not played around with, all standard. Did Pontiac have 400 as wel as Chev. Remember a couple of the plugs were a trick to get too.
    Last edited by Rod Grimwood; 07-15-2012 at 07:51 AM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Holmes View Post
    Bruce, do you know if T/G Racing ever attempted to run their '70 Firebirds with Chevy motors?
    T/G Racing had 2 cars (70 model) that after Jerry's death, were run as BFGoodrich TireBirds. One was later converted to a Camaro an of course run with the Chev engine.
    I will dig out a pic or two.
    Bruce.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Grimwood View Post
    Will do some research, but a mate had a Firebird with 400 small block in it way back then, and it was not played around with, all standard. Did Pontiac have 400 as wel as Chev. Remember a coouple off the plugs were a trick to get too.
    Yes Pontiac had their own 400 cubic inch engine, but there were virtually no interchange parts with the Chev, except carb and nearly starter motor.

    Bruce.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwiboss View Post
    So the reality is, NO gen 1 Pontiac ever came with a Small Block chev engine from the factory that was sold to the public and the Canadian build 350 Chev engine Firebird was just smoking mirrors!!

    Dale M
    That is correct Dale, but the Firebird was homologated to run with the Chev engine, but had to run a 68 front grill.

    Bruce.

  13. #13
    Here is a pic of the Camaro bodied and Chev powered "Tire Bird" after a little incident in warm up.
    By this time the SCCA were firm on the cars having the correct corporate engine, hence the Firebird being changed to a Camaro so they could run the Chev engine.



    Bruce.

  14. #14
    Wow, amazing photo Bruce! Its obviously a Camaro here. Is this the car that now competes with the Historic Trans-Am group? http://www.historictransam.com/Drive...ceCanepa3.html

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce302 View Post
    T/G Racing had 2 cars (70 model) that after Jerry's death, were run as BFGoodrich TireBirds. One was later converted to a Camaro an of course run with the Chev engine.
    I will dig out a pic or two.
    Bruce.
    Thanks Bruce, T/G Racing appears to have entered just a single Firebird in most Trans-Am races in 1970, with David Hobbs, Jerry Thompson and John Cordts driving after Titus was killed. The motor was said to be the cars achilles heel, because of its weight, being based on a 400 block. But I was just wondering if T/G Racing had ever tried to convince the SCCA to let them use Chevy motors in 1970?

  16. #16
    The Pontiac engine was not very reliable, the Chev of course was well developed, but the game was up. They had to run the Pontiac engine in the Firebird, and if they wanted to run the small block Chev, they had turn one of the cars into a Camaro. BF Goodrich liked the Tire Bird / Firebird tie up, so the Firebird lived on, for a while.

    I'm not sure which chassis is the one under the car that Bruce Canepa has.
    Here is a pic of two T/G Firebirds, Hobbs and Cordts driving.


  17. #17
    I guess it comes back to your earlier post Bruce, the SCCA wanted manufacturers in 1968 when they first let the Firebirds run with Chevy motors. By 1969 they were a serious threat for outright victories with Titus on board. They probably wanted to get the Pontiacs running the correct engines before that happened, otherwise they'd be opening a whole can of worms. Love the photo!

  18. #18
    There are some that are convinced that it was the Chevrolet division who convinced the SCCA that Pontiac were not being entirely honest about Chev powered Firebirds. There was actually a 303 Pontiac powered all race ready at the Wolverine T/A race at Michigan in '69, but wasn't allowed to run as there were not sufficient production 303 powered cars to homologate. There was 6 Chev powered Firebirds in the race. So while they were ready to use the 303, the 302 Z/28 engine was vital for continued participation.

  19. #19
    This was one of the early Titus/Godsall Chev powered Firebirds. It was built by Southern Californian Jon ward, a quick privateer and talented car builder. The car was converted from a Camaro by T/G Racing, and it was very competitive right away. This is Jon Ward in the car at Daytona where he co drove with Jerry Titus.


  20. #20
    Bruce, this photo would be from 1969 wouldn't it? That car still exists. Does anyone know what happened to the other '68 T/G Firebird?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •