I would…

So I saw the perfect car today. Seats 5, convertible, good performance, good color (dark green), and not too small. Drawback? It’s a Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am. Late model body, so probably only 2-3 years old.

Nothing says hick like a Firebird, even if it is a new one. But man, it would look so good with a flame job…

Kick me, I want a redneck convertible…

About Kevin Sonney

Kevin Sonney - who, contrary to popular opinion was NOT raised by wolves - grew up in central North Carolina. He fell into the technology field by accident in 1991, when he gave up the wild and crazy lifestyle of an on-air AM radio DJ to become a mundane technical support monkey. The technology industry has never really recovered from this. Kevin has worked for such names as IBM, Red Hat, webslingerZ, and Lulu Technologies (we won't mention the ones that didn't survive the experience). He currently works as a Linux Administrator for Apptio. In his spare time he rescues stray animals and plays video games with his two sons. His wife, we're sad to say, helps him get past the really hard bits. Kevin is still not very mundane, he just got better at hiding it.
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19 Responses to I would…

  1. shannon_elaine says:

    *Kick* Kick* Kick*

    Now go buy the car!!!

  2. alchemist says:

    …but I’m between commission checks right now and can’t afford the down or a trade-in. Plus there’s still the matter of Mrs, Alchemist….

    Although it’s not a motorcycle, so she won’t divorce me *grin*

  3. katzj says:

    You hick.

    When do you purchase the rocking chairs and shotgun for the front porch?

  4. alchemist says:

    Well, the directions to my house do include the words “turn onto the next paved road…”

    I was looking for you earlier to see if you had a copy of logjam 4.4.0 that’d run on FC2 and/or current rawhide-ish systems. It no longer compiles for me….

  5. z_kungfu says:

    You’ll be needing a mullet to drive that thing. All in all though they aren’t to awfully bad. There may be some dealers that still have some even though they are no longer in production..

  6. katzj says:

    Which means that they include “turn off of the paved road” :)

    And http://people.redhat.com/~katzj/logjam-4.4.0-3.src.rpm should work I believe

  7. bitslapper says:

    isn’t the “seats 5” portion of that reliant on none of your kids ever growing very tall? i’ve never known trans-ams to have all *that* much in the way of leg room in the back… now, i’m hardly the authority on them, but that would be a concern for me, at least… my child, though, is growing taller by the millisecond… yeesh…

    Nothing says hick like a Firebird
    or a Camaro… a good friend of mine called her silver ‘ro “the Redneck Roller” for a number of years…

  8. alchemist says:

    Firebird is the Pontiac name for the Camaro. Gotta love GM – Same car in different brands == different names.

    I figure the kids will eventually grow, but by the time they reach the point where they’re too big for the back seat, I’ll either need a new car, or they’ll be asking to borrow it.

  9. alchemist says:

    …I’m not taking the depreciation hit when I drive it off the lot. If I can pick up 2-3 years old for half the price of new, I’m going to, you know?

    And I don’t have the hairline for a mullet…anymore.

  10. alchemist says:

    Actually it’s all paved to the driveway, and I plan on paving that in the next year or so.

    Thanks for the .src.rpm – it gets past the xml error I was seeing, and you forgot to put in the xmms-client bin. I’ll send an updated spec in email.

  11. bitslapper says:

    i *think* i knew that the Camaro and the Firebird were the same vehicle, essentially, but wasn’t positive… thanks for that clarification…

    see, i guess it’s my parents’ car habits that have me thinking that way… they were [still are, really] the sort who buy a car and drive it ’til the wheels fall off, so i don’t usually think of the “by the time my kids get old enough, i won’t even have this anymore” mindset…

  12. alchemist says:

    Well, in all honesty, I usually do that too. But I never start with new (except on the Kia Van). *grin*

    The Honda is probably going to cost me some bucks in the next year or two. I can feel the clutch slipping, and I think it needs a tune up. I expect some other issues as it gets older too. I’d rather put the money into smethign newer, but you know how it goes.

  13. fuzz3 says:

    Be sure you check on the whole “seats 5” thing… I know the LT1 camaros has a huge hump in between two bucket-ish seats in the back… Very very very uncomfortable car to ride in the back seat…

  14. alchemist says:

    Well, it really needs to seat 4 unless mrs. alchemist decides to veto my “stop at 2” decision *grin*

  15. clued says:

    Camaro, Firebird, & TransAm are all F-Bodies. Thats “F” for the vehicle body style letter code in the VIN number. I think ‘Vettes are Y-bodies but I forget. Many GM models share parts. In fact if you look at the most stolen listings, those crappy Buicks and other such Olds(people)mobiles are so wanted because over 68% of their parts are GM generics. Chop shops can make a killing on cannibalizing them for parts. Now older 3rd gen. F-bodies handle better than their 4th gen. twins but 4th gen’s have more HP (unless you overclocked it with your own rat motor, the mounts are stock and will take upto a 455).
    Some earlier 4th gens had issues with plastic t-tops flexing and popping off at 60+mph, check with f-body.org or the f-bodies listserv list for details. There’s an annual national meet in Memphis where the org rents a track and everybody can race their ride wide open without fear of DA MAN.

    The body is a 2+2 design. You can fit two adults in the back but not for long trips as there is no real leg room. Its a muscle car (or whats left of them) and not for a growing family. However its great for daddy’s private toy in lieu of a Vette. But it would be too redneck for a post-college man to be sporting a base model. Go with the new LT1s, The ProAm’s, or IROC’s. They are far superior structurally with functioning versions of all the trim that ricers glue onto their hondas and pretend about. The convertibles have extra lower frame strengthening members since you lack a top. Still they do flex a bit more than hard or t-top’d ones. There are at least 2 aftermarket body frame members that you can add to reduce flex, get the ones that weld on instead of bolting on, they’re much better. Do that for any make of convertible you get.

    The one you saw could be up to 10 years old by now. GM swiped the money used to restyle models every 2-3 years from the 3rd generation to start the Saturn line with. So 3rd gen’s ran with the same compatible body parts from 82-93 or so. That was a very rare long term of parts compatibility which detroit dislikes cause it makes it too easy to fix up old rides instead of trading them in for new ones. The 4th gen was suppose to get more regular redesigns but the muscle car market is in decline & the 3rd gen example’s savings let them get greedy and stretch out the trim changes a bit. I don’t think there will be a 5th generation so you will have a lot of parts compatibility and maybe some resale potential when they become “classic” rides. You need to check the tail lights for year numbers on them, consult your bluebook, and decode the VIN number first.

    Oh yeah, buy used. I got my 1986 IROC in ’88 from the dealership. TWICE rednecks had went pavlovian for it and later had to turn it back in when practicality set in. Very low miles and maxed out in options. I think it retailed for $18K. I got it for the loan amount due of $12K when a new baseline Camaro stripped with a doggy v6 cost $14K. No depreciation and the dealer was happy just to move it. It lasted a long time. I even had Mr. Engine drop in a new 305 (350’s not available till late ’87) that come hand crafted and blueprinted from a NASCAR racer’s own speedshop. Talk about a cranker. Eventually I sold it to Dave Fischer who cleaned it up a bit and is driving it down in Texas today. Now I drive a Jeep and just paid it off. There is nothing like the feeling of having your car completely paid off and still a decent ride. Cherish the moment before taking on car debt again. Have you given any thought to classic Mustangs instead? Go see Carolina Mustang in Cary sometime. The 60’s models were classified as sub-compact but you can seat SIX in them with room to spare. Seriously, I’ve done it before and they are the icon of convertibles.

  16. alchemist says:

    …that it’s a ’90 – at least I think that’s what said. I might call and see what the milage is on it, general condition, and price. Not that I really need another car that’s >10 years old (the Honda I use now is a ’92), but hell, if it’s in good shape and priced right I might just be able to cut a check for the full amount and own it outright.

    I drive by Classic Mustang every day on my way into work. No way in Hell will I get a Post-60’s Ford again – the problems Dad had with his ‘Stang as it aged, as well as the issues with the Tempo my sister had have pretty much burned me on a Ford right now. Yeah, a classic Mustang Convertable would be the shit, but the price on it would probably be more than what I can afford right now. Plus upkeep is an issue on those – almost as much as on ’90 GM *grin*

  17. clued says:

    I wouldn’t know anything about a post 80’s Ford but the 70’s ones held up ok in my family. The ’66 Stang I had only cost me about 3 or 4 grand and it was in good shape. Its was a hardtop straight 6 cyl 200cid but it got 27 mpg, cheap insurance costs, tons of room and made an ok daily driver to the office which is what I got it for.

    Convertibles would be more de$ireable but you have to remember that even mine would sell for almost $10K on the west coast so you have to look around and make sure the seller isn’t using left coast inflated prices as his guide. I’d think about $5-6K for one in good shape in NC but then its been a few years since I’ve looked. Upkeep can be an issue for sure but there’s not much there to go wrong. You can replace the brakes with disc brakes from 1979+ Lincolns (or buy an aftermarket kit) and slap in an electronic ingnition since those are the two biggest PITAs. Also I think the V8’s took less maint.

    Looking at a parts catalog for one is amazing, every single piece is still made today. You can literally have just a title paper and a metal VIN number tag left, rebuild the car with all catalog parts, and still get it grandfather exempted. Oh yeah baby, NO SMOG TESTS! I notice that buying all the little chrome trim pieces is more costly than the big sheet metal pieces. A new hood is about $100 but you can almost match that buying the F O R D letters and chrome edging to put on it. But likewise, junkyards are your friend. Plus all that steel is very safe. You can hit a tree and still drive home and not mess up your alignment too. Don’t try that in a new ride where its $1,500 for kid on a bicycle hitting it in the yard. Plus it will last 20 years and by then it will keep your son out of trouble tinkering on it instead of running the streets. ;-)

    I wonder about the mileage on a 1990 but the bird looked clean and very nice shape from the photos posted. Check your car insurance, it would probably be best to PIF (Paid In Full) it up front and save more on the insurance costs. Not that great for
    big family trips but taking the kids to the beach shouldn’t be that bad for the 10 years or less that you’ll have it. After that its the kids ride and you’ll get something else. The nice thing about GM keeping F-Body styles the same for so long is that people can’t tell an older car from a newer car within the style’s run. That can buy you an extra 10 years nowadays before people start staring at your ride. And at 25 years, it swings the other way and they call it a “classic”.

  18. clued says:

    Who cares how small the back seat is, instead get a convertible Mini-Cooper and be swinging baby…
    It needs that Union Jack striped paint job though.

  19. alchemist says:

    Actually the bird turned out to be a 2000, not a 1990. She’s clean and in *GREAT* shape. I love this car, and it moves really nice. Although for some reason eveyone wants me to drive to lunch now….gonna have to start asking for gas money *smirk*

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