A National Firebird and Trans Am Club featured car is the ‘68 Firebird 400 of Gary Thomas. Here is his story:
In 1967-1968, I had ordered a GTO. I could not take the car I got called to active duty with the Army Reserve at Fort Ord, California. I spent the summer of 1968 in basic training. When I returned the dealer had the Firebird in showroom. I liked the car and purchased it.
The car was my daily driver until about 1974 and I put approximately 133,000 miles on it. After a divorce, I moved to an apartment complex. I came out for work one morning and the car was gone. I eventually got it back with some damage to the trunk. They had pried it open and hit something with the right from wheel. I decided to get the car out of Baltimore and purchased an Opel. The Firebird was moved to my family’s home in Cumberland, Maryland for safekeeping. When my sister moved to San Antonio, my father became the car’s caretaker. It had been sitting in a garage in Cumberland, Maryland for about 40 years. My father kept it running.
I had always dreamed of having the car restored but had no place to keep it and lacked the funds to do a restoration. In 2002, we purchased a second home in Ocean City, Maryland for eventual retirement that has a 2 car garage.. Both me and my wife are now retired. Since I am unable to do the work myself, I began to look for someone to do the restoration.
Several friends have taken their Corvettes to Bill Cannon’s Garage doing business as Awesome Engines in Selbyville, Delaware. This is about a 20 minute drive from my home. After talking with him at length, I decided he would be the one to do the restoration. A plus for Delaware is that there is no sales tax. The photos represent 22 to 24 month of work. With the exception of the transmission, gas tank and Safe-T-Track 3.36 rear axle, practically everything on the car has been replaced. We have put in A/C, four wheel disc brakes and power assistance. It has a stroker engine going from 400 CI to 468 CI. It is estimated to have 450″ horsepower. We are still running the original manifold and the Quadrajet carburetor. Hooker headers and a Magnaflux exhaust system have been added. The torques is off the map. Bill Cannon has mentioned that Pontiacs are torques monsters. The entire suspension has been replaced with a Hotchkis system and Bilstein shocks. The interior is original except for the carpet.