Astre Formula Advice

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Astre Formula Advice

Postby astreformula77 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 1:03 am

Greetings,

I've been roaming these forums for awhile, first a few years back, and lately the past month or two, with a little more money and will than back then. I have a black Astre Formula, and have been trying to do all the research I can on here, but most of the relevant posts are from years back, with dead links, missing images, and no longer active users. So I'm looking for a little first-hand help. If you have any relevant documents, sites, or advice, I'm all ears.

More about the car: it was my dads, I don't recall whom he got it off of, but he had his fun with it years ago, it got too rusty to pass inspection, so he parked it with a few other car's out behind his mothers, to patch up/restore at a later date. Like many projects, that later date never came...years down the road, his mother passed, the house needed to be sold. I had to have been early teens at the time, so I don't remember the details too well, but we went back there with the wrecker, and it wasn't too pretty. The car had sat down quite a bit into the dirt by then, so let's just say the rear axle didn't come with the car when we pulled it... Long story short, and fast forward to 2021, she needs a donor car for sure, but all the formula pieces are there: steering well, spoiler (it's a hatchback, not the ultra-rare wagon), et cetra. I'm not sure how well any of the handling components have survived, but my dad seemed pretty convinced at the time they were fine.

The plan: find a reasonable condition Astre or Vega, and make one car of the two. Obviously a standard 77 Astre would be the easiest, but they're not the easiest to come by. The goal isn't 100% original, but rather 100% enjoyable, and respectful to the original car. Definitely want it to look the part. Mine has the hood decal, but I'm on the fence about whether I'd do that on the restore, both due to difficulty in replication, and it's kind of loud and flashy for my taste... I think I saw a non-bird Formula had "Duke" stripes? But the one in CO up in the Classified now doesn't seem to? I'm not planning on keeping the little iron duke in it, but I think all the LS swapped Vegas are...a little much? That big of an engine in that little car is probably great for drag racing quarter miles, but I'd like something a little more balanced that you can lay into a bit on back roads. I think I saw someone do a Buick V6 swap, and also saw an Ectotec 2.4L in a Cosworth Vega on BAT, and that's more along the lines of what I'd go for. My dad has a few GM...engines...of some sort...laying around that he mentioned as potential replacements, but I don't remember any details there. Definitely would cut down on cost, he's probably not going to use them on anything of his at this point, and if he's held on to them through the moves, they must've been worth it. Conversely, if if I find a donor car that's had a swap done fairly well, then that'd be fine by me. When it comes down to it, time and money will be the real bottlenecks. My dad's an amazing mechanic, and 60's & 70's GM is his thing, so though my knowledge is rather limited, I know he's got the know-how and was equally interested in this project. But I'm a college student, so despite going to a fairly cheap school, I don't have a ton of spending money. I do work nearly full-time while in school though, so pouring some dough into the project is possible and fully expected. Time-wise, I'd mostly just like to get cracking on this while I'm still home during the summers, and my dad's not too old for all this.

Any advice from those who've been down this path already? I can also take some pictures if anyone's interested.
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby jpb04619 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:27 am

i would like to see photos john b
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby astreformula77 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:45 pm

I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to attach them to this post, all the images are too large. Here's a Google Drive link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JGp14ZAxel7kKvaIDpkPg_wZjVgnQy4s
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby DarthVega » Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:18 am

I have a 75 Vega for sale, has the rear in it but if you’re looking to swap and want a little stronger rear I would search for a V8 Monza rear it’s a direct bolt on if I’m not mistaken, I was initially gonna use one but the shipping was too costly, so in other words I went for a 2wd blazer rear with a bonus of rear disc, as for engine the 3800 series 2 or a Vortec V6 was in my list before I decided on a bored out 283, I wanted to go a little different than most, even considered the Chevy 292 inline 6, but some firewall fabrication would have been involved. Sorry if I’m not much help but the guys here are masters of these cars and they know what you’ll need to do no matter your decision, OH! BTW I will have a 6.5 rear although I doubt you’d want it :lol:

Good Luck

75 Chevy Vega SS SBC 302
78 Oldsmobile Cutlass future Rocket 455
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby cammerjeff » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:31 pm

What info are you looking for? I have owned a total of 3 Astre Formula's, and still own 1. Your Fathers car looks to be a real Formula (the only way to tell for sure is look for the numbers 66 in the second row of the underhood data plate). It has all of the features & required options a Formula Astre, it has blacked out Grills & head Light Buckets, Sport Mirrors, the Rally wheels have the bright trim rings on the 4 slots only found (on Pontiac's at least, they were also used on Olds & Buick H-body rally wheels) Formula Astre & Sunbird's. It also has Rally Guages, Formula Steering Wheel with the correct arrowhead emblem, tilt column, and I assume power steering (both were manditory options to get the Formula Wheel) And the 3 piece fiberglass rear spoiler.
The couple of odd things are the Gold rear tail light panel, they are usually flat black, but as Black was the main body color it very well could have been painted Gold from the factory as a contrasting color. The cars I have owned were White, Silver, & Yellow the other 3 colors available and they all had Flat black rear panels. I never owned or have seen in person a Black version before. And the other oddity is the bright molding around the side glass, but my Yellow car also had it applied over the flat black painted sections of the window surround.

As for the Monza axle being a drect swap in to a 1975 Vega or Astre Body shell, that is not quite true, 1975 Vega's & Astre's still used the 4 link rear suspension, same as 71-74 Vega's (Cosworth's excluded) and the 76-79 Vega Bodied cars used the 75-80 3 link or torque arm rear suspension.

I think it would be a nice project, and you seem to have all of the expensive to get parts on the car already. As for the Hood Flames, those big decals were optional, just like the Screaming Chickens were optional on Trans Ams of the era. But most cars had them. My White & Silver cars originally had them, my yellow car did not. I had the smaller decals reproduced by a show near me several years ago, they still may be able to make them at a reasonable cost. The hood decal would have been very expensive if I had wanted to do it.

Any other questions just ask, I will answer them if I can.
Jeff R

78 Sunbird Safari Wagon, 3.8 N/A, 1971 Catalina Freeway Enforcer
77 Astre Formula, some day soon powered by a 215 Buick V-8
1973 4-speed Lemans Safari STOCK!!!!! 1978 Catalina Safari
1969 Firebird Sprint 301 ci OHC6, T-5, 4.10 12 bolt posi
2006 Mallet Solstice, 6.0 LS2, 6-speed manual
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby flyingdragracer » Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:26 pm

Can anybody comment with fact if the 78 chevy Monza/vega wagon was sold with factory V8. Thanks Mitch
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby DarthVega » Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:36 pm

The only Vega’s that had factory V8s were concepts, Monza hatchbacks came with V8s don’t know if the Wagon did but I would say more than likely
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby flyingdragracer » Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:41 am

Thanks darthVega,I was aware that Vegas didnt have V8s I used the Vega name to denote that the 78 Monza wagon was just a regrilled Vega. I may have found one with a factory installed V8 if they ever existed of which is why I was looking for proof of the options. Thanks again.
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby cosvega76 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:13 am

According to the brochure I found on lov2xlr8.no, the largest engine you could get with the Monza wagon was the 231 V6.


Chuck
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby astreformula77 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:12 pm

@DarthVega, thanks for the pointers. I'll keep that in mind about the I6 though, definitely not worth the effort to put that in there! :) As for the axle, the issues run a little deeper than that... It's been in New England for most, if not all of its life, so the rust runs deep. I'm not sure if it's obvious in the picture, but there's a hole where the door handle used to be; after sitting a few decades, neither door would open, so a hole had to be made to spray enough PB blaster everywhere to get the door handle mechanism to move again. This project will definitely be taking another vehicle, a making that the Formula. I know that's frowned upon by some people, but it's the most practical/possible course of action, and I'm sure not a far cry from what Pontiac was doing at the factory anyway.

@cammerjeff, I forgot to take a picture of it, but I have checked the plate to verify it's a Formula, though that list helps tremendously. I didn't know the mirrors were different, or about the headlight buckets. Do you know what else the "handling package" consisted of? I wasn't sure if that was just a few sway bars, or something more elaborate, and I'm most worried about that, as anything underneath the car is up in the air as to whether or not it's survived. In addition, do you know if any of those parts were used on other Pontiac vehicles as well?

I do believe the rear taillight panel was golden colored from the factory, I didn't see any other layers of paint in the spots where it rusted, and I don't think any of its previous owners would've cared to make such a specific change. I believe I've seen pictures of another black one online somewhere, as I do recall confirming the color was correct. Looks nice with the golden formula graphics either way, IMO. Also, I may be looking into something from too long ago now, but do you still have the document from this thread?: http://h-body.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=32675 The original poster looks to no longer be active. Thanks again for all the info!
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby DarthVega » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:34 pm

astreformula77 wrote:@DarthVega, thanks for the pointers. I'll keep that in mind about the I6 though, definitely not worth the effort to put that in there! :) As for the axle, the issues run a little deeper than that... It's been in New England for most, if not all of its life, so the rust runs deep. I'm not sure if it's obvious in the picture, but there's a hole where the door handle used to be; after sitting a few decades, neither door would open, so a hole had to be made to spray enough PB blaster everywhere to get the door handle mechanism to move again. This project will definitely be taking another vehicle, a making that the Formula. I know that's frowned upon by some people, but it's the most practical/possible course of action, and I'm sure not a far cry from what Pontiac was doing at the factory anyway.

@cammerjeff, I forgot to take a picture of it, but I have checked the plate to verify it's a Formula, though that list helps tremendously. I didn't know the mirrors were different, or about the headlight buckets. Do you know what else the "handling package" consisted of? I wasn't sure if that was just a few sway bars, or something more elaborate, and I'm most worried about that, as anything underneath the car is up in the air as to whether or not it's survived. In addition, do you know if any of those parts were used on other Pontiac vehicles as well?

I do believe the rear taillight panel was golden colored from the factory, I didn't see any other layers of paint in the spots where it rusted, and I don't think any of its previous owners would've cared to make such a specific change. I believe I've seen pictures of another black one online somewhere, as I do recall confirming the color was correct. Looks nice with the golden formula graphics either way, IMO. Also, I may be looking into something from too long ago now, but do you still have the document from this thread?: http://h-body.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=32675 The original poster looks to no longer be active. Thanks again for all the info!



I have the 75 Vega on EBay for sale $900, both doors need little work but are very solid, plenty of interchangeable parts in good condition as well, will post some pictures below
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Re: Astre Formula Advice

Postby Monza Harry » Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:47 pm

Darth Vega/AstreFormula77, Brian Jackson still visits us from time to time try sending him a PM or take a peek on Facebook (I'd try one of the Pontiac/Sunbird or one of the H-Body groups,. I'm sure I have seen him around lately, just don't remember when/where. Harry
I'm not a hoarder I'm a preservationist 78 Monza Spyder (Soon To Be 2+2 with Spoilers)
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