78 Firebird Racer – Neville Day

I’ve now owned ’78 Firebird Racer for nearly six years now, having taken part in the first 2002, 2003 and the complete 2005 season with the Historic Sports Car Club’s (HSCC) 70’s RoadSports Championship. I bought the car as a standard ’78 firebird, with all the preparation being done by Robin Gray of Autopontiac, who has also had a go in the car when i wasn’t driving it!

This is a historic track racing series, a the name suggest for production sports and GT cars from the 70’s. Cars must remain road legal, and only limited modifications to engine, brakes and suspension are allowed – creating a fun, fast competition, but limiting the expense for everyone involved.

Engine uses the required standard Pontiac 400 block and heads and Rochester carb, but with suitably heavy secondary jets. Cam is free, so i’m running a Ram Air 4 with appropriate lifters and racing timing gear and chain. Forged pistons are a must, given the constant hammering the engine undertakes. Electric fuel pump is fitted and sits next to the battery in the boot.

Transmission is via the standard ’78 Borg Warner T10, although as luck would have it, the car came fitted with the close ratio version – ideal for track racing. Im running a 3:42 diff ratio, which will give a top speed of 153mph if the engine is revved up to 6,000rpm – although i generally dont take the motor past 5,000rpm at the moment. Fastest ive managed on a track so far is just over 135mph coming out of folly at Castle Coombe.

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