Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Midwood Camel-Bird

Spring has sprung and the bike rides are turning up all kinds of goodness with which to fire up this dormant blog. I've been extremely busy and will continue to be in the near future, but when I find the time I'll post some rides as I have dozens waiting in the wings. Speaking of wings, how about a 'bird?
I was way out in the hinterlands of Midwood in Brooklyn when this brown bird caught my eye. I've loved these cars since Smokey & the Bandit so I went in for a closer look.
Oh boy it's starting to look a little mealy up close. What we have here is a 1978-1980 Pontiac Firebird Esprit. The rumpled front isn't much of a surprise as it's made of hard rubber with a metal framework acting as a skeleton. This was the Endura bumper, the likes of which could be found on the fronts of various Pontiacs since the '68 GTO. 
This particular schnoz has seen some rude parking attempts in its day. The rubber was prone to cracking when hit, followed by drying out and becoming even more brittle. This one has even had the grills replaced with some generic mesh you can pick up at any hardware store.
With the amateur bodywork and repeated touch-ups I'm taking a shot in the dark, but I think the original color on this ride was Dark Camel. This is all up to debate however as someone took a can of rust colored paint and brushed it on. Paint wasn't really GMs strong suit in this era regardless; the Van Nuys plant in California used a water based paint on cars it built in 1981 with predictable results. Most of those cars had paint jobs that failed so spectacularly that they were repainted at the dealers expense.
*Something I'm only noticing now is that yellow eyesore rolling by in this pic. This is the Chevrolet SSR; a retractable hardtop convertible pickup truck built between 2003-2006. I consider it one of the ugliest and least-neccessary vehicles of all time.
The lines of these Firebirds still look great to me even in this rugged state. Notice the lack of a hood scoop on this beast. The Esprit version was the luxury edition so more show than go was in order.
She still wears her original wheels.
That Coke Bottle Styling is evident from this angle where the quarter panel has a noticeable haunch. This basic design was one of the most successful and long-lived in Pontiac history with the main body remaining unchanged from 1970-1981.
That rear window and side window interplay is identical to the Camaro of the same decade.
A rear wing and full-width taillights make for a pretty sporty ride in looks at least. Chances are decent that this was built with the lowly 301 V8 motor which wasn't very quick at all.
That proud Firebird symbol still hails from the sail panel where a spot of Dark Camel remains.
Firebird Esprit calls out from a whirlwind of brush strokes. I can't say it enough people; if you're going to paint your car, tape off the chrome and windows and get a can of spray paint! This just looks terrible.
Well we'll leave this frumpy chicken to roost on its Midwood perch. L.A. Rob recently sent shots of a truly beautiful showpiece so stay tuned.

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