The Old Car Detective – Bill Sherk

Pipestone Flyer

1977 Pontiac Firebird with one 

owner 29 years

    Darren Pike of Hamilton, Ontario, writes:  “Good day, Bill, I’m sending pictures of my 1977 Pontiac Firebird that I have owned for 29 years.  I bought it in 1984, when it was only seven years old, and put 2000 miles on it before the motor blew.  That’s what I get for buying a car ‘as is.’

    “So I went out and bought another engine, a 350 Chevy V8 from my friend’s dad for 300 bucks and with only 49,000 miles on it.  All’s well that ends well.  I’ve had that motor in my car ever since.  It’s been a very reliable car and now has 160,000 miles on it.  Fresh paint and body work was done nine years ago.  From that day on, it’s been my boy toy and never sees rain.”

    Ten years before Darren’s 1977 Firebird was built, General Motors was having a milestone year with the launch of the Chevrolet Camaro and, a few months later, the Pontiac Firebird.  Both these new cars rode on a wheelbase of 108 inches, and with their sporty good looks and choice of engines were designed to compete head-on with the Ford Mustang.  Darren’s ’77 Firebird also rides on a 108-inch wheelbase. 

    The first generation of Camaros and Firebirds came in two body styles: a 2-door hardtop and a 2-door convertible.  The second generation models appeared in mid-1970 with low-slung European styling and one body style:  the 2-door hardtop, of which Darren Pike’s ’77 is a beautiful example.  

    A Chevrolet 350 V8 has powered his Firebird since 1984.  That small-block Chev V8 can trace its origins back to 1955, when Chevrolet brought out a V8 engine with 265 cubic inches, its first V8 since 1918 (yes, Chevrolet had a V8 in 1917-18 but it was too far ahead of its time and was dropped).  In 1957, the “265” that came out in ‘55 was punched out to 283 and cranked out horsepower as high as 283 if you had the Super Ram-Jet Fuel Injection engine.  Another boost came in 1962 when the small block V8 was boosted to 327 cubic inches.  The next boost came in 1967 when the small-block Chevy was punched out to 350 cubic inches, an increase of 85 cubic inches from the engine introduced in 1955. 

    The Chev 350 V8 was a favourite engine for street rodders for the past 40-plus years.  They are powerful yet compact, and can be made to fit into almost any engine compartment.

    Darren Pike poses with pride alongside his 1977 Firebird.  His plates read CB.NFLD because he comes from Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

Just Posted

Mulhurst Daze coming up at Pigeon Lake Aug. 4

Parade, show and shine, market and more at Mulhurst Bay

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff’s vehicles were also involved in the collision that closed down one lane

Questions before borrowing for the farm

Every farmer has a different tolerance for debt

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate theft of almost $140,000 value in Millet

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to past break and enter at a rural Wetaskiwin property

Writer says ‘New Debt Party’ needs to come back to reality

New pipeline projects doomed to failure if government involved

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

WATCH: Chuckwagon races wrap up at Westerner Days

Reed Rosencrans was the 2018 champion of the chuckwagon races in Red Deer

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Stettler hosts antique tractor pull

Participants come from across Alberta

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

WATCH: Joe Hittel is the number one fundraiser in Northern Alberta for Rope for Hope

Hittel of Red Deer raised $14,000 for Make A Wish event

Ex-Raptor DeMar DeRozan says goodbye to Toronto on Instagram

The guard was traded to the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Most Read