In Nov. 8 IssueBy Ron Cowell, Columnist
Some of the coolest cars start out as little more than a pile of scrap in a junkyard. This is exactly what a friend of mine, John Bowman from Oregon Ohio did when he first began working on his 1970 Firebird.
John spent a lot of his childhood running around his Dad's car lot and transmission shop. He learned at an early age to repair cars and work on transmissions. Back in the late 70s John saw a 70 Firebird parked on the back of the lot. It was one of the cars his Dad had stored back there for a customer and it had been parked there for several years. The car was is very rough shape both body wise and engine.
He took it upon himself to contact the owner and see if he wanted to sell the car. At first the man said no he was going to fix it up himself. Well, several years passed by and one day John got a call from this man. The owner of the car said, "If you want that car you can have it". The owner had been out and looked at the car and decided it was to far gone for him to even mess with it.
John's love for that body style came from riding and driving his Dad's 1969 Camaro and he found a love for GM cars at an early age. Now that he had his dream car, even though it was in rough shape, he was ready to get started rebuilding his 70 Firebird.
When he got the car it was a rusty faded green and no interior in it either. It was just a big mess. Despite being a lot of work, John knew this was going to be a good car to restore. In the back of his mind he was thinking also,, I want to build this car and make the original owner see just what he missed out on.
John had been working for his Dad at the garage for several years and saving money. He now had his car, some money in the bank and the drive to get this car in shape. He was ready to get greasy.
He started on the car with the front subframe. He pulled out the stock piece and had it painted before he added the polyurethane bushings. He lowered the front end by one and a half inches with a set of racing springs and shocks. Every suspension part was new on the car besides the control arms and the subframe. With the Firebird's upgraded undercarriage finished, it was time to move on to the engine.
He installed an after market cam, Holly Carb and an Edelbrock intake manifold. After rebuilding the engine, John started to focus on the interior. He did all the work on the car himself and it took him five years to get it to where it is right now, a beautiful, sweet running 1970 Firebird.
The only thing he didn't like about rebuilding the car was he only used extra money he had, (and some he didn't have). Because of this it took longer to complete than he expected. He does not regret a thing and loves driving around in his car. He likes taking it to shows and talking with other car buffs. One thing he is really proud of is the fact that he built his car from the bottom up and just didn't go out and buy a car all finished. When he wins a trophy at a show now he can say,, I earned this trophy, I didn't buy it.
In John's free car he has a little more than $15.000.00 invested in it. He told me there is still plenty more to do and now he knows what people mean when they say when they told him, "I don't think you are ever really finished with a car.
John has worked on and helped rebuild and repair many cars, but this project is his pride and joy. He worked on it from start to finish and now he says,, I have the car I always wanted.
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If your Club or church or group is having an event and you would like to display some classic cars at that event let me know at least two weeks before the event. I will put you in contact with one of the clubs that will gladly bring their cars out for display.
Until next time... Keep Cruisin !