Street Bird: Big Upgrades For Art And Sonny Girard’s 1972 Firebird

Art and Sonny Girard wanted to build a radical Pontiac-powered machine using a 1972 Firebird as the canvas. After they selected a car, they discovered there were some issues with it; they also wanted to update the Firebird. To get everything straightened out, they reached out to Clayton Murphy, owner of Chassis Engineering, to make sure the Firebird would have strong enough wings to fly as fast as they wanted while being as safe as possible.

When the father and son team decided they wanted a powerful Pontiac-based engine, they went to Kauffman Racing Engines to get their mill. The team at Kauffman built a 530 cubic-inch poncho powerplant for Art and Sonny that’s topped off with a set of stout Butler Performance prepared heads. To take advantage of all that air flow available, a ProCharger was selected to be the power-adder. Since the Firebird will be driven on the street, a Turbo 400 transmission was added, along with a Gear Vendors overdrive unit.

The Firebird needed a beefy chassis to harness all the horsepower it would have on tap and that’s where Chassis Engineering comes in. A full chrome-moly roll cage, chrome-moly Top Gun 4-link rear suspension, Top Gun anti-roll bar, and chrome-moly rear end housing were added to the car.

Art and Sonny also wanted to shed some pounds from the Pontiac, so Chassis Engineering got to work making that happen.

“To save weight, we used one of our lightweight steering column kits and steering wheel. These are great because they don’t sacrifice strength for weight. We also built a set of custom aluminum back-half panels and a custom aluminum fuel cell for the car,” says Curt Perry, sales manager at Chassis Engineering.

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When Chassis Engineering is done, this will be one slick Firebird that will be a dream to drive on the street, and it will be capable of laying down some impressive passes at the track.

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About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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