Discovered 1967 Pontiac Firebird stored in a warehouse for 15 years

Yes, believe it or not, legitimate barn finds are still out there. Whether it’s tired old junk that was left somewhere and forgotten decades ago or a beloved and preserved family heirloom that no one knows what to do with, automotive gems can be found everywhere—especially in someone’s backyard. Mike Finnegan has never seen a real one himself, but he’s always heard of them through friends, connections from his time as an automotive journalist, and the exploits and adventures of automotive archeologist Ryan Brutt. But now, his day has come!

While filming the social-distance budget-build grudge-match against Tony Angelo (Roadkill Episode 111), Brett from Paradise Dragstrip, “The guy who pretty much runs the place,” asked if Mike had seen the junkyard yet. Finnegan has been to Paradise a couple times this year, for the second episode of Faster With Finnegan and the previously mentioned episode of Roadkill, and was curious about what the small, private junkyard had to offer. The forest around Paradise had plenty of cool old junk sitting around, but the barn was the piece de resistance. Inside was something Mike Finnegan was not expecting—a Pro Streetstyle 1967 Pontiac Firebird big-tire drag car. So, of course, he had to buy it.

1967 Pontiac Firebird Stored In A Barn For 15 Years

The scene couldn’t have been more perfect—rusty old cars with trees growing through them spread around a faded and run-down looking barn, surrounded by the North Georgia forest, and only 300 yards from the local eighth-mile dragstrip. When the bay doors were opened, yet another perfect scene—cobwebs, barn treasures, rat poop, vintage speed parts and (drum roll) a perfectly preserved 1967 Pontiac Firebird big tire drag car.

Otto, deceased former owner of Paradise Dragstrip, built this Firebird as his personal drag car. It hasn’t been registered for street use in 20 years and Otto’s wife says it was parked in their barn 15 years previously. Unlike many a rediscovered piece of automotive history, Otto’s old Firebird was well built, well maintained and well preserved. Other than the fiberglass hood, the body appears to be rust free and 100 percent steel. The paint is clean, the engine bay is clean (and full of built big-block Chevy), even the fuel cell was bone dry with intact foam! This isn’t some cammed junkyard big-block full of goopey oil and gasoline-turned-varnish dying on a set of cracked cheater slicks. This a fully caged, tubbed and tuned Pro Streetstyle race car that, in its day, ran mid-low 6s in the eighth-mile. The tires are actually cracked, dried out and flat-spotted, though—this thing is still a barn find.

Before packing the Firebird up and taking it home, Mike had to revive it and run it down the ‘strip at Paradise just one more time. A very un-Roadkill amount of care went into pulling the Pontiac out of the barn, going through everything, and firing the vintage drag car. The old-school Holley Dominator carb was pulled and completely cleaned, the heads and bores were inspected for wear, the fuel system was gone through and cleaned and the oiling system was primed—very out of the ordinary for a show that would normally just strap in a new battery and spray starting fluid down the carb with reckless abandon. But this also isn’t you average clapped-out piece of Roadkill.

Reviving A Vintage Firebird Drag Car

008 roadkill 1967 pontiac firebird barn find vintage drag car

A few hours of effort and rainstorm later, and Mike Finnegan is successfully lighting up the old, dead rear tires—with Otto’s widow sitting passenger, no less! But if you think Finnegan was just gonna make the one, slow pass and we wouldn’t see the Firebird again for years—you’re wrong. Back at home, it’s time to fully revive the Firebird and make a pass in earnest at Paradise.

Off go the fried spark-plug wires, in goes an MSD Digital 7 ignition tuner. Off come the cracked old tires with some fresh, sticky meat replacing them. The old front suspension and drum brakes are getting the heave-ho, an all-new coil-over set-up with front disc brake conversion and a new master cylinder get bolted on. Roadkill does actually care about safety, sometimes. And now back to Paradise to see what the 1967 Firebird can do! Did we happen to mention Finnegan’s new Firebird is a dead ringer for the Crusher Camaro? Beware, Mr. Freiburger, the gauntlet will be thrown down soon—just, you know, after Finnegan gets his barn-find Pontiac dialed in.


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