This ’69 Firebird is owned by Sid Tracy, and was built by Troy Grudge from BBT Fabrications, with design help from Ben Hermance from Hermance Designs.
Sid wasn’t sure how people would respond to the changes they made to the cars nose, the Challenger headlights, and the ground effects. They’ve gone over well with Pontiac enthusiasts, but there was one Dodge guy who didn’t like that they used Dodge headlights.
The nose of the car is certainly unique. The Firebird’s stock chrome grill was replaced by a flush split grille with modern black egg-crate mesh, and the 2011 Dodge Challenger headlights. This radical change was the starting point of the build, when Sid decided that he wanted a modern interpretation of the car.
Once the front end was finished off with a lower valance and chin spoiler, Troy continued the road-race look around the body of the car. He added aluminum side skirts, a rear diffuser under a molded-in bumperless back end, and a small lip spoiler integrated into the decklid above.
The bird is powered by a Mast Motorsports upgraded LS3 engine boasting 540 horsepower at 6,700 rpm, and 495 lb-foot of torque at 4,800 rpm. The Mast mill is 376 ci and is a bit sportier than stock, thanks to a custom-ground cam and spring package. Mast fuel rails and EFI control the engine, and Troy says that the ease of laptop tuning was another check in the LS engine’s favor.
Pop the hood and you’ll also immediately notice the gorgeous hand-fabricated Detroit Speed stainless steel headers, and the Vintage Air front runner system (a package that uses a compact water pump, steering pump, alternator, pulleys, ATI harmonic balancer, and custom bracket so it’s easier to swap modern engines into older machines like this one). Exhaust tips exit through the rear bodywork to vent the 2-1⁄2 inch Borla X-pipe.
Detroit Speed was also the source for the hydro-formed front subframe, a gorgeous aluminum piece that changes the front end to a suspension design very similar to the C6 Corvette, utilizing tubular upper and lower control arms up front, and coilovers on all four corners.
Power is sent to the rear end by a Tremec T-56 Magnum 6-speed transmission. The rear end has been completed with a Moser 9-inch 3.73-ratio axle connected to Detroit Speed’s Quadra Link suspension setup. Plus there are Detroit Speed antisway bars front and rear as well.
Take a peek in the rear wheelwells, and you’ll also notice they’ve been mini-tubbed to make room for the 12-inch-wide center lock Forgeline ZX3P wheels, and 335/30R18 BF-Goodrich rubber. With big Baer brakes added all around, Sid’s definitely got a track-ready Firebird on his hands, not to mention an absolutely killer stance for the streets.
Beneath the black Italian leather, are hand-formed aluminum panels from the dash to the roof skin. A six-point rollcage is fully integrated into the body of the cockpit. If you look through the photos, you’ll see where the roll bar is integrated into the A-pillars.
Along with covering the cage, shaped aluminum forms the dash, which houses custom-machined gauge clusters done by Jesse Greening at Greening Auto. The door panels and the handy center console surrounding the Tremec six-speed are also Troy’s metalwork.
The MOMO steering wheel, push-button start, and modern navigation system screen complete the modernization process.
This definitely looks like a fun car to drive!
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Tags: 1969 Firebird Metal Mani