After all the hours, all the painstaking labor, all the fine details– not to mention the social hari kari– it does the heart good to see the fruits of the labor coming together. So, like Beethoven with an impact wrench, one man has labored to produce a pretty bitchin’ set of wheels.
And we’ve finally come to the eighth installment of the Harbor Freight Tools 1967 Firebird Restoration Project: Putting the car back together.
Recapping — HFT invited former Rod & Custom editor, Jeff Tann, to restore a First Generation Firebird using only products from Harbor Freight Tools. The car is all original with a 400/325-hp V8 engine, so he’s approaching the project from scratch.
- In Part 1, we were given a tour of the original vehicle, inside and out, and presented Jeff’s challenge.
- In Part 2, we followed the body-dismantling process and introduced the U.S. General 700 lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Rolling Tool Cart, which housed the Pittsburgh Professional 301-Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit. Also in this segment, we saw how Jeff made quick business of the job with a Central Pneumatic 3/8″ Professional Air Ratchet and 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet Wrench.
- In Part 3, Jeff lifted the engine using a 1-Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane and then removed the tranny from it with a Central Pneumatic 1/2″ Twin Hammer Air Impact Wrench before he mounted it on the Central Machinery 1000 Lb. Engine Stand, and proceeded to take it apart.
- Part 4 took us to the exciting first step of transformation– sanding and priming the car. For the stripping, Jeff used a Central Pneumatic 6″ Dual Action Air Sander and the Jitterbug Orbital Air Sander. He then laid down the primer like a rock star, using the Central Pneumatic Professional HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun.
- Part 5 involves the pressure-washing, sandblasting and undercoating of the Firebird. Using a Pacific Hydrostar 4 HP 2000 PSI Gas Pressure Washer and a generous amount of heavy-duty degreaser, he heavily coated the underbody to break down over 45 years of grease, oil and dirt, and then washed it off with water using a high-pressure nozzle. Once the underbody was scrubbed clean, he sandblasted the rust spots with a Central Pneumatic Portable Abrasive Blaster Kit, using highly efficient Medium Grade Armex Soda Blast Media and, as a finishing touch, covered the surface with Rustoleum Professional Undercoating Spray.
- In Part 6, we come to the meatiest phase of the Firebird restoration to date– the engine rebuild. The Pittsburgh Professional 1/2″ Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench is pretty much the star of the show, a multipurpose tool utilized throughout the footage. That said, check out the great details and tips employed in this installment. Chances are you’ll see a thing or two you’d like to adopt for your next project.
- Part 7 shows Jeff advancing to the painting stage. The primer already on, he picks up the Central Pneumatic 2-pc. Professional Automotive HVLP Spray Gun Kit, along with a 33 Oz. Gravity Feed Paint Cup to spray two coats of red paint and three coats of clear. After which, he color-sanded the body with dish soap & water, 1200 Grit Sandpaper, using a 4-7/8″ Soft Rubber Sanding Block to knock off the “orange peel.” Following this, Jeff buffed, using a Chicago Electric 7″ Electronic Polisher/Sander With Digital Display, and then with the waxing, delivered the classic car to an incredible mirror gloss finish!
We now come to the muscle car’s reassembly. For Part 8 we treat you to a slide show of all the parts coming together, until we have a beautifully restored ’67 Pontiac Firebird, better than it was when it came off the assembly line.
Whatever your labor of love, if it has to do with tools, Harbor Freight Tools has got what you need– and sends you home with extra cash in your pocket!
Next time– the final result, inside and out!