Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1982 Pontiac Firebird Coupe
The Pontiac Firebird is a classic American 'pony' car, a sporty 'compact' car with an exotic look, and lots of power. It was a direct rival to the Ford Mustang and went for the same long hood, short deck look, and a performance-orientated image calculated to appeal to a youthful market. But just like the Mustang, (and it's GM sibling the Camaro), it was as tame as an actual pony in more affordable trim levels, and popular with anyone who wanted to look cool, even if they weren't interested in going fast. Check the options right, and you could get bigger engines, better trim levels and special editions, as long as you were willing to make the payments.
These MSE cars were created from '82 '85 by Dennis Mecham, of DKM Macho T/A fame. He started Mecham Racing Inc. (MR) located in Glendale, Arizona and Tacoma, Washington. MSE stood for Motor Sports Edition. MSEs got a full width front spoiler, a low resistance "aerotail" rear spoiler, and emblems proclaiming it a Mecham Racing Machine. On the sail panels behind the doors are either MSE emblems or a big olive branch-wreathed letters MR, with Mecham Racing, USA, and SCCA champions underneath. There may be additional numbers/emblems on the driver's side headlight door, fenders, rear spoiler, or rear bumper depending on the year. MSEs also got special MR center caps and a MR hood emblem. 500 were built in '82, 150 in '83, 50 in '84, and only a few in '85. And now there is one gracing our hallowed halls.
Looking pretty much like a mild mannered 1982 Firebird all bathed in white paint, but only after a thorough stripping down of all steel panels, then rebuilt and resprayed. With its neoprene body matching bumper and mild beak, the dual openings in the lower front grille and the thin black line created by the hood meeting the bumper that houses the signal lights add a menacing look. The bottom of this car is encircled in black paint, and a thin accenting stripe, blue in front then a thin red band is added in for the sides and back of the car. A long pony car hood with a thin rear facing scoop and hidden headlights with an MSE badge on the driver's headlight covering leads the way. Door gaps are looking good and straight, as is all the rust-free steel that is covering the car. On the back a large curved greenhouse glass covers a storage area and a big spoiler is attached to the lid on the way back. On the back panel are the ribbed taillights with a matching horizontal ribbed black center trimming. Turbine style wheels are wrapped by raised white letter tires on all 4 corners. Note, is another MSE badge in the B pillars.
A litany of broadcloth, carpeted and molded plastic add ons, makes up the door panels. All is black plastic and power windows and locks are seen within the door confines. Moving inside, more charcoal gray and black for the broadcloth velour seats in a warm and cool gray two tone, with gray piping. Seats are in excellent condition, nice and tight, and no tears or soiling. The original black vinyl dash is showing off nicely and all readouts are in working order. Seen between the buckets is a square and rectangle console with the shifter, a glovebox and a few toggles. Near the center of the dash are some added in gauges for a tachometer, fuel and oil, battery charge and water temp. Just below are the climate sliders, and below that is an aftermarket JVC stereo. Black carpeting is on all the floors, and in back is a bucket seat 2 plus 2 seat setup. The headliner is black felting and is fairly tight above.
Within the very clean and all buttoned up engine bay is a turquoise painted block and valve covered 305ci V8 and its numbers matching. A 4-barrel carburetor is on top, and a T10 4-speed manual transmission is on back. This pushes power to a 10-bolt, 3.23 rear axle. Consignor notes in 2013 the engine underwent a rebuild, and at this time was bored over 030. Also, a new clutch, carb and headers were also replaced, and the A/C blows cold.
A quality restoration has led to a very nice looking solid undercarriage with no rust. Floor tubs, rockers and wheel wells are all clean and green. Suspension is independent/coil spring upfront, and torque arm with coil springs for the back. Power disc brakes are on all 4 corners.
All worked just fine on this modified car, and it holds its own on the test track. Nice acceleration, good handling, and bias free panic stopping. A fun driver for sure.
Only 500 were made in 1982, and as we ramp up to '85 the production numbers dropped exponentially. So, a rare find, with this MSE modified and badged car in its Firebird form from 1982.
87-2 Door Coupe
H-305ci V8 4bbl 145hp
L-Van Nuys, CA
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