When you purchase a car from an individual, you never know what you’re getting. Obviously, the person wants to sell the vehicle and will only tell you the right things in hopes that someone will buy it. When you obtain a car from a good friend, you generally have a good idea of what the car went through.
Recently, a lifelong friend of mine, who I’ve had some ridiculous times with, reached out to me to purchase his 2000 Pontiac Firebird WS6. I was a little apprehensive about buying it, but not because I was worried about him changing the oil. He was always very meticulous at detailing his vehicles and maintenance. Notice I said “was,” more on that shortly. Rob loved to drive the wheels off of everything he owned, and I know for a fact with stories from mutual friends that this car was no different. However, this is a scarce ‘Bird being a WS6 and one we couldn’t pass it up.
For those who don’t know, the WS6 is a very rare performance package for the Pontiac Firebird. In fact, Pontiac only produced 233 WS6 Firebirds in 2000. What makes this car even rarer is that it’s not a Trans-Am (T/A) even though it has the Ram-Air hood, and it doesn’t have T-Tops. From what we can gather, this car is one of 32 built in this configuration. And while we would prefer the T/A package at first, the simplistic Formula trim and Ram-Air hood are growing on us.
Rob decided to sell the car because it’s to the point that it needs a lot of maintenance and some TLC. The WS6 was way down on power, and he didn’t have the time to mess with it, so it just sat. After we talked about the car, Rob sent me pictures and a price. The next thing I know, Chase, my son and I, are loaded up and headed south to purchase the WS6. After three hours on the road, we caught a glimpse of the Pewter Metallic ‘Bird parked in the street. As we walked up to the car, I noticed that this thing was dirty. Like, really, really, nasty. Rob is in the military, and everywhere he went, the Firebird went. So when he got stationed in Hawaii, the car went too.
I’m sure it was fantastic to have the Firebird in the Aloha State, but it came with some consequences. You see, all of that crap that’s on the car appears to be sand, and it won’t wash off. It’s etched into every crevice, every wheel, the trim, even in some areas of the paint. Even when we popped the hood, it was more of the same. All of the black paint had given way to the salty air from the ocean. The elements had taken their toll on the poor WS6, and that’s how Project Dirty Bird was born. This name was just too fitting for the poor car, and Chase and I still laugh about it every time we wrench on the pitiful thing.
So you might be thinking, “What’s the plan for the crusty bird?” In short, we’re going to drive it. And just like my friend Rob, we are going to beat the brakes off this car. We have plans for auto crossing, drag racing, and drive it to and from work daily. Too often, we have taken a car and built it to the point that it’s no longer enjoyable for a commute. That will not be the case with this machine. Who knows, if everything goes to plan, we might even drive it out to LS Fest next year with the air conditioning on, I might add.
The first step will be to address the suspension because everything is worn out. The shocks, springs, and bushings all need some help. After we take care of all of that with BMR Suspension’s help, we will stiffen up the body with subframe connectors and a few other components. From there, it will be more of the same with the addition of a Monster Clutch Co. S-Series twin-disc clutch and tires and wheels. After the car is roadworthy once again, the mods will continue. But, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here. It’s going to be a long road. And when we say we’re getting our hands dirty, you better believe that’s the case with Project Dirty Bird.