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Back in Black!

 
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Jess
Administrator


Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 416
Location: Mount Vernon, WA

1988 Pontiac Formula

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:36 pm    Post subject: Back in Black! Reply with quote

Well after over a year of looking for another Firebird I am once again the owner of a black 88 - this time a Formula. Factory TPI 5-speed combo (no peanut cam here!) with t-tops. Finding a 5-speed car seemed about impossible for a while and I found this one on Craigslist in Virginia. Bought it sight unseen (not fun) and had it shipped across country to its new home. The new bird is my 4th Firebird, 3rd Thirdgen, 2nd 88 and 1st Formula.

Would never have considered the car if it werenít for the fact that it checked all the boxes for the ideal car: Black on gray, Tuned Port factory 5-speed, rear disc brakes and the 3.45 Posi 9 bolt rear. Add to that the kicker: the car only had 72,698 miles on it (I am now the 4th owner). The paint is a little rough and it does have some surface rust on the roof, but overall in really good shape. I even really like how the Cragars look (have the factory wheels in my garage), though I have never been one to care for aftermarket wheels on f-bodys. Could be a subconscious deal there as my Dad has the 15Ē version of the Cragars on his 67 Mustang.

It has been a while since owning and driving a thirdgen, but the initial impression is the Formula definitely feels stronger than my old GTA did. The combo of higher factory horsepower, lighter weight Formula and the better gears registers on the butt dyno vs the memory of the old car.

Have to give credit to my wonderful wife here, we had been talking about getting rid of our Saturn (that has been my get to work car) off and on for several years and on a trip to Idaho to visit her sister and the nephews/niece the subject of Saturn replacement came up again and she commented: what about another Firebird? A car you would really enjoy driving again? That got the wheels turning and started my quest for an 88-89 5-speed Formula.

Plans for the new Bird are to start with the easy/less expensive upgrades first: STB, Wonderbar, SFCs and probably LCAs/Pan Hard bar. Already installed my Christmas/Birthday gift: Pro 5.0 shifter and the black anodized aluminum shift knob with the phoenix bird engraving. Future plans include new paint job, maybe new seats and (if finances allow) an LS1/T-56 transplant.

The New Bird:
1988 Firebird Formula

Ready to take the older kids on their first ride:
Car seats in the back of a 1988 Firebird Formula

New shifter/knob before install:
DSC_8189

Nice thing with my drive into work being only 3.5 miles, Iíll be able to drive the car all the time and be lucky to put 3,000 miles a year on it. Which will probably take 8-9 years to hit the 100,000 mile marker.

On a side note, does anyone still drive and/or work on their cars anymore around here?

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"If you're flammable and have legs, you're never blocking a fire exit."
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Dewey316
The Lama


Joined: 08 Jan 2004
Posts: 7291
Location: Bringing the tech

1990 Chevrolet Camaro RS

PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome Jess!

It's been pretty quite around here. with FB and other things, not many people check in here very often.
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Jess
Administrator


Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 416
Location: Mount Vernon, WA

1988 Pontiac Formula

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've noticed there isn't much going on here, been checking the forums fairly regularly during my search to see what was happening. Going to double check my mileage/calculations on the next tank and hope my first calculation is off, or I am barely getting 10MPG in town...
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izcain
9sec Club


Joined: 09 Sep 2006
Posts: 1301
Location: Port Angeles WA

1983 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im still here! Very Happy

Great looking car!

Still working on the car and making it ever faster lol

I wish the forums were much more active then they are! I still hold on though and I fly my Crew Banner on the back of the racecar! Still have people come talk with me at the track about it lol

Facebook the social decay of society

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1983 Z28 383 + 201ci more = New Heart for this season!
9.17 @ 148
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Jess
Administrator


Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 416
Location: Mount Vernon, WA

1988 Pontiac Formula

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

izcain wrote:
Im still here! Very Happy

Great looking car!



Thanks! Not a show queen yet, but sure is a blast to drive.

izcain wrote:

Facebook the social decay of society


Amen to that! Wonder if the forum was mobile friendly if that would help boost participation? The new version of the software we use supports mobile responsiveness and I've pulled copies of the database and was going to do some offline testing when I had some time.
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Dewey316
The Lama


Joined: 08 Jan 2004
Posts: 7291
Location: Bringing the tech

1990 Chevrolet Camaro RS

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I have a copy of the database as well. I had phpbb3 running at one time in a test mode.

I wish there more activity, I think between a drop off in the long time members projects, and moving on in life, and not getting new members, things just got stagnant. and there is the FB stuff now. Who knows. I'm actually surprised the site is still up, I haven't paid the bill for this year.
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Schultzy89GTA
M.R.A. (11sec Club)


Joined: 08 Jan 2004
Posts: 4412
Location: Dumbasscus

1989 Pontiac GTA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome! Nice formy Jess. Great to hear from you!

-Schultzy
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Jess
Administrator


Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 416
Location: Mount Vernon, WA

1988 Pontiac Formula

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! After almost 11 years of no Firebird, can't tell you how nice it is to be behind the wheel of one again. How's the Red Sled these days?
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QwkTrip
11sec Club


Joined: 17 Feb 2004
Posts: 3936
Location: Peoria, IL

1989 Pontiac Firebird

PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's neat! There's something about a Formula that just oozes muscle car. I really like them!
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Schultzy89GTA
M.R.A. (11sec Club)


Joined: 08 Jan 2004
Posts: 4412
Location: Dumbasscus

1989 Pontiac GTA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sled is doing good. Refinished the wheels and polished them last year. Just got the TKO faceplated and back in the car. Now I am freshening things up... New seat covers, carpet, seals for ttops doors and hatch, new tires, etc. She should be back better than ever in a few weeks.

-Schultzy
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Jess
Administrator


Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 416
Location: Mount Vernon, WA

1988 Pontiac Formula

PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

QwkTrip wrote:
That's neat! There's something about a Formula that just oozes muscle car. I really like them!


I totally agree! Of course, as a younger man the Formula was never on the radar, as I had to have the Trans Am (once I was able to afford the insurance on the V8 car that is). But man, the Formula just looks aggressive.

Schultzy89GTA wrote:
Sled is doing good. Refinished the wheels and polished them last year. Just got the TKO faceplated and back in the car. Now I am freshening things up... New seat covers, carpet, seals for ttops doors and hatch, new tires, etc. She should be back better than ever in a few weeks.

-Schultzy


Sweet, your car has always been a killer GTA. Bust up the TKO pretty bad?
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Schultzy89GTA
M.R.A. (11sec Club)


Joined: 08 Jan 2004
Posts: 4412
Location: Dumbasscus

1989 Pontiac GTA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The TKO has handled everything I have thrown at it. The synchros in the TKO not so much Wink. They don't tend to like higher RPM shifts which is pretty common in the original 3550 models.

Been through 3 or 4 replacements. Was flirting with going T56 Magnum or faceplating the TKO. There were so many other components that would need to be swapped out going to the Magnum that I decided to try the faceplate route and if I don't like it, I will have a fresh TKO that I could sell.

Have only taken a few drives with the new tranny. There is a price to pay which is a solid 'thunk' in gears 2-3-4 but boy oh boy, when you hammer this thing down and shift at WOT there is no delay, hesitation or issue... that thing drops right into gear!

Can't believe your kids are that old already. Time does fly!

-Schultzy
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Jess
Administrator


Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 416
Location: Mount Vernon, WA

1988 Pontiac Formula

PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schultzy89GTA wrote:
T
Been through 3 or 4 replacements. Was flirting with going T56 Magnum or faceplating the TKO. There were so many other components that would need to be swapped out going to the Magnum that I decided to try the faceplate route and if I don't like it, I will have a fresh TKO that I could sell.


Can't believe your kids are that old already. Time does fly!

-Schultzy


3-4 complete transmission replacements, or just syncro sets? Either way, ouch! I miss the 6 speed from my old 95, lumbering along the freeway between 1200-1700 rpm vs 2200-2600 or so with the 5 speed was always so nice. If I had a big power engine, I would love a built f-body ratio T56 vs the Magnum since you have to get the 2.97 first to get the .50 6th with the Magnum.

Crazy how fast the time goes by with the kiddos our youngest (3rd) just turned 2 a couple weeks ago!
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Schultzy89GTA
M.R.A. (11sec Club)


Joined: 08 Jan 2004
Posts: 4412
Location: Dumbasscus

1989 Pontiac GTA

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syncro sets.

-Schultzy
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