Mentioning Harbor Freight Tools around a bunch of gearheads is like saying “Macy’s has a sale on shoes” to our significant others. They love shoes, and gearheads love tools. Harbor Frieght Tools is well known for their vast selection of affordable tools, whether you’re doing something mechanical, body work, or electrical work, chances are your local Harbor Freight is going to have what you need.
Most people that shop at Harbor Freight are well aware that they can find just about anything there, because most of us have come home with an impulse-buy set of socket wrenches, screwdrivers, or some other tool simply because “it was on sale, and we really needed it.” Honest, we did. Just like our significant others needed another pair of red shoes. We get it.
So, when Harbor Freight set out to restore an automobile using nothing but the tools that they sell, we were intrigued. Yes, we knew they had a lot of tools, but could they really complete the restoration with tools and equipment that any one of us could buy? They sure could, and we decided to share each episode with you here, as they restored a 1967 Pontiac Firebird by pulling the tools off their own shelves.
Phoenix Rising: Bringing This Firebird Back To Life
The Pontiac Firebird: as an F-body, it shared a twin-like relationship with the Chevy Camaro from 1967 until 2002, and while ever-dwindling, these first-gen, coke-bottled beauties still hold a golden place in American history as quintessential muscle cars.
The Firebird and Camaro were born competitors. Following the advent of the Ford Mustang in 1964, the higher-ups at GM realized a little too late the appeal of a “pony car” to an American public, and began developing the Camaro and Firebird as their answers.
The legendary engineer John DeLorean, hot off the success of the GTO, attempted to use the concept Banshee by Pontiac as his basis for a pony car, but was denied on the grounds that it would detract from sales of the Corvette.
Instead, DeLorean was forced to use the popular yet 5-month-old Camaro design, but he made sure it stuck out with the distinctive Pontiac split grill and engine options.
Of the first generation, over 100,000 were built in either a coupe or convertible design (the latter of which are extremely rare, as less than 10,000 of them were made), and could be purchased with one of seven engines.
Included in these were the 230 6-cylinder 2bbl or 4bbl carb, 326 V-8 with 2bbl carb, or the GTO’s 400 cubic inch V-8. The models offered were base, Sprint, 326, 326 High Output, and 400.
When Harbor Freight began this project, they solicited the skills of Jeff Tann, a car enthusiast and former editor, to conduct the project. The Firebird, as it stands, is an original 400 V-8 model; the paint, engine, interior, drivetrain, etc., are all original.
The odometer shows just 44,105 miles, and the seats look pretty good too. All in all, it’s in fairly decent shape for a 46-year-old car. Outside, the car will require very little bodywork, with only a few dents and dings as well as some surface rust.
With the full repertoire of Harbor Freight’s tools to use, the sky’s the limit with what Jeff and company can do. Check back in a couple of days for the next installment, when the crew begins the disassembly process. The plan of action has been set into place, and confidence is high. How often do you visit Harbor Freight to see what they have on sale?