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1967 Pontiac Firebird - Dumb Luck

Photography by Wesley Allison

Car Craft Q&ACar Craft: There's a classic story behind your acquisition of this car. Did you ever expect you'd own it someday?Frank White: The car was parked in an alley next to the shop I ran my stock car racing operation out of. It had ratty black paint and was pretty rough looking, but one day I noticed it had a four-speed and that got me interested in it. I asked the old man if he wanted to sell it, but he said no. Eventually I moved, but several years later I stopped back to see how he was doing, and he still wouldn't sell it. But about three or four months later he called and asked if I still wanted to buy it. Actually, I wasn't really interested at the time, but I discussed it with my wife, and she said, "Go for it." So I did.

CC: Is yellow the original color?FW: Yes it is. The car was special-ordered in Marigold Yellow, and we verified that when we stripped the car down to repaint it. The areas on the firewall under the fenders were yellow.

CC: The Firebird originally had a 400, but you upgraded to a 455. Why?FW: At first I didn't know it had a 400 because the original owner had all the emblems removed by the dealer when he bought it, and I didn't realize the dual-scoop hood meant it was originally a Firebird 400. The 400 was pretty tired, but the uncle of a guy who used to work for me at a machine shop I ran had a 455 he'd built for his Trans Am. The cam was too radical to run with his automatic trans, so he rebuilt the stock 400 and the 455 sat for five or six years. I got it for less than the cost of rebuilding my 400.

CC: You told us you built a T-bucket in the early '70s but got out of the street machine scene for a long time to race stock cars. That's a different world, isn't it?FW: It sure is. I raced dirt-track cars from 1981 to 1987 and then went pavement racing until 1990. It really changed my attitude about cars-they're not holy. They break, and you fix them. You wreck them and you just fix them.

The DetailsOwner: Frank WhiteCar: '67 Pontiac Firebird 400Engine: 455ci Pontiac V-8Heads: Pontiac Ram Air IV, cast-ironInduction: Holley Street Dominator single-plane with 750-cfm EdelbrockPerformer carbCamshaft: Engle hydraulic flat-tappet, but "nobody remembers the cam specs"Power (est.): 425 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 410 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpmTransmission: Muncie M21 close-ratio, stock 11-inch clutch, factory Hurst shifterRearend: Pontiac 8.2-inch 10-bolt with 3.43:1 gears and Safe-T-Track limited slipFront suspension: 2-inch drop Eaton coil springs, 111/44-inch antisway bar, KYB shocks, polyurethane bushingsRear suspension: De-arched multileaf springs, KYB shocks, polyurethane bushingsBrakes: GM 11-inch disc, front; GM 9.5-inch drum, rearWheels and tires: 17x8 American Eagles with P215/45ZR17 Daytona radials,front; 17x8 American Eagles with P245/45ZR17 Daytona radials, rearBody mods: Emblems removed by original ownerPaint: Original special-order Marigold YellowCost to build: $15,000

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Car Craft