Kevin Newcomer's 1969 Pontiac Firebird
(from Volume 14, Issue 152)
In the mid 80s, a dream took shape from a Verdoro Green machine, with oxidized paint, two spun crank bearings, and more bondo than a used car lot. This hidden gem of American muscle was exactly what a high school students budget and imagination was looking for. For a mere $500 the keys and cash exchanged hands, and a course was set.
In short order Kevin Newcomer, the owner of this 1969 Firebird, replaced the base 350 power plant and tendered enough TLC on the Poncho to make it road worthy and safe. Several years of reliable service and a few road trips later, the project fell victim to an especially aggressive electrical gremlin that hobbled the F-body for a number of years, during which it was subjected to the elements as it sat under a mango tree and awaited resurrection. This Firebird was destined to rise from the ashes again.
The rebuild began again in the mid 90s, and during this interval, the project suffered numerous set backs at the hands of dishonest mechanics and life events. Eventually, Kevin located a professional restoration service of some notoriety and work began in earnest late in 1999. What followed was an extended harborage in yet another unscrupulous money trap that nearly killed the project.
While the bird languished in this restoration prison early in 2001, Kevin stumbled upon a web community called Pro-Touring.com. This community strongly influenced the build focus of the project and later lead to its salvation in late 2004. At the end of his financial rope with no end in sight, Kevin sought advise from his fellow Pro-Touring.com members. Help arrived when Kevin met Prodigy Customs in the Body Shop forum at Pro-Touring.com. After discussing the project, Prodigy Customs offered to save the project and Kevins sanity by rescuing the car. Prodigy Customs finalized the build, rectifying several butchered portions of the restoration. The stunning Firebird was met with rave reviews at its official debut at SEMA 2006 as Twist Machines feature vehicle.
Prodigy Customs knows a shop is only as good as its team. Besides Prodigys in house team, some special subcontractors acknowledged throughout the story contributed to this project to make it one of the nicest Firebirds in existence. A special thanks goes to GPSuperStore.com whom provided nearly all the components at Group purchase pricing to build the awesome Firebird.
What started out to be a rebuild and hopping up off an original 71 455 HO motor snowballed into a bit of a monster. Under the hood now resides a Prodigy Customs built 455 four bolt Pontiac power plant with aluminum Edelbrock heads and a F.A.S.T XFI fuel injection system designed by Prodigy. The 8:1 compression ratio takes advantage of the atmospheric pressure enhancement which is the responsibility of a D1SC ProCharger using custom designed bracketry to the motor by Prodigy Customs. Stainless Works (StainlessWorks.com) provided the 3 blower tubing, and John Parsons (www.iimuchfabrication.com) did the gorgeous welding of the pieces. Toby Weeks did the precision machine work on the Original 1971 HO motor. Mike Norris of Norris MotorSports handled the dyno tuning of the potent package. The power translation to the ground is performed by a Shrifter (TwistMachine.com) paddle shifted controlled 4L80E automatic, connected to a Fab 9 rear with Strange internals. The 335/35ZR18 Pilot sports are neatly tucked under the rear quarters thanks to a Detroit Speed & Engineering minitub, leaf spring relocation kit and a narrowed stainless steel Rock Valley fuel tank. Controlling the inertia generated by the sum of these parts is left to four Baer Brakes 13 disks at the four corners and C4 Corvette suspension mounted on the Wayne Due front sub frame.
The exterior of the car is finished in Sherwin Williams Arrival Blue metallic. Killer 18 X 12 and 18 X 10 true three piece chrome Forgeline ZX3P wheels (Forgeline.com) were supplied by GPSuperStore.com and really brighten the exterior.
The interior of the project was very important to Kevin and is truly one of the highlights of the car. Prodigy assembled a team specialist to do the interior taking advantage of each persons special talents. Prodigy built the dash and full front to rear console using custom real Burl wood accent pieces giving the bird a real Euro luxury treatment. William Fonseca built the killer door and side panels also using custom real Burl wood accent pieces all supplied by Wabbits Woodworks (Wabbitsww.com). To drown out the exhaust note of the 650hp monster, William also installed the concert quality JBL sound system. Using a trick head unit with the original 1969 Firebird face and Infinity speakers, the 2000 watt sound system is fantastic. The C5 Corvette front and rear buckets were sewn by Tim Bible. Electric Life Power windows, a Vintage Air A/C system, and IDidIt Column using a Wabbits Billet steering wheel complete the comfortable interior.
Eternity has been chosen to name this project and represents the long, hard road taken to bring it to fruition! But it appears now the healing has started and the pain may have been worth it. Prodigy Customs will hold onto the car for a while and show it at selected events and send awards home to Kevin if he is unable to attend these shows with his busy schedule. Eternitys next big outing will be Goodguys in Jacksonville later this month, with many big shows scheduled for a aggressive 2007 show season.
You can see more of the build, and other prodigy Customs projects at www.ProdigyCustoms.com. Look for Jagarangs 1969 Firebird in the current projects section. CN