Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

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Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby marco_1978_spyder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:53 am

Hello, and welcome to my 1980 Sunbird project thread. Some info about it... This Sunbird is perhaps the 'Newest' Sunbird in existence. It was built late into the 'Extended' production run, during the last 3 week's. (1st week of November 1980) H body Production ceased just before Thanksgiving break, Nov 26, 1980.

An interesting thing about the car for me, and one of the reasons I bought it is, it's exact in appearance to the Very first H body I owned that my folks had brought home new in 1980. That one was built even closer to the end of the run by 6 days.

That bring's me to why I bought the car. I just happened one evening to be compelled out of the blue to type "Sunbird" into craigslist. (never do this if you like your money!!). Immediately this Sunbird caught my eye. I clicked on the ad, and my jaw dropped... not only was this car the spitting image of my much missed first Sunbird, but it looked surprisingly rust free, and the price wasn't totally out of reach. It also was within a reasonable driving distance, locatated in the big hill's near the PA border at Allegheny St. park.

I went to see it and made a deal. Before I saw this ad I thought I'd been done acquiring H bodies. With this one it kind of makes sense that I should wrap up my collection journey with the same one I started with. #1 Gold 2.5 Auto Sunbird Hatch
#22 Gold 2.5 4spd A/C Sunbird Hatch.

So I have the car home. I've had it for a few week's and have started down a project list, that ranges from basic cleanup and TLC, to a series up upcoming upgrades that this blog will be about.

Some final detail's, I dug out some pieces of the buildsheet , which provided me the original dealership.. "Fiora Pontiac" in Altoona, Pa.

Here's some pic's starting with my 1st one from way back. #1:
Attachments
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My 1st one @1989
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My 1st one @1983
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1978 Monza Spyder V8 4speed, posi
1978 Sunbird Formula V6, 5 Speed, Hatchback
1980 Sunbird Hatchback 4cyl, 4spd.
2006 Chevrolet Aveo 5 speed Hatchback
Yes, you can refer to me as Mark
Please visit my blog... http://chevymonza.blogspot.com/ Follow if you like!
Featuring special guests; Carl Beraytor and Ray D'atore

My Red spyder now has a youtube channel please Like and Subscribe!!!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzzSR ... ISuing7KLA
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Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby marco_1978_spyder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:14 am

New one, as-found in late Aug '17.

As found: As, you'll see...there's no way I could pass this up.... impossibly clean for a Northeast car.
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1978 Monza Spyder V8 4speed, posi
1978 Sunbird Formula V6, 5 Speed, Hatchback
1980 Sunbird Hatchback 4cyl, 4spd.
2006 Chevrolet Aveo 5 speed Hatchback
Yes, you can refer to me as Mark
Please visit my blog... http://chevymonza.blogspot.com/ Follow if you like!
Featuring special guests; Carl Beraytor and Ray D'atore

My Red spyder now has a youtube channel please Like and Subscribe!!!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzzSR ... ISuing7KLA
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Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby marco_1978_spyder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:43 am

SO whats verdict the Condition of the car?

Rust: Very little. Underside is clean and free of major scale. Will post some pic's soon. as you can see, body need's tlc on some chipped paint but it's free of major rust. Took a video of inside the rocker panels using my cell phone to check for debris. I got a pile of pine needles vacuumed out, and they look very clean inside.

Paint: Paint is baaaad. seem's to have had chemicals spilled on it, had also dried and cracked on the roof. I can make it look ok, but the car really needs a new paint job. I'm partial to this color. I do love gold Pontiac's.

Interior: Not bad. Cloth seat's. Not ripped except for a tiny tiny one on the drivers side. Pic's soon. Major dog hair removal, as returned them to nice shape, however there is a bit of grease staining on the front driver's. Foam headliner stripped off. I fixed the visor's. Dash pad is decent. only minor discolor above the gauges. Dash panel is basic (no tach) and warped so it will be replaced sometime soon. No console. A/C.

Exterior.. Spruced up. Tailpanel replaced with last existing stocker known to man, for however long it will hold together. Dent's, twist's. The car does show evidence of some past abuse. There are some noticeable dent's, wrinkles, and old repair's visible on close inspection. They don't ruin the car, but they take it away from eligible for a quick economy repaint.
Because of this, the direction I might pursue is to street rod the car, and add on the go-fast spoiler's and such, but with a 'driven' theme... not a Garage Queen.
1978 Monza Spyder V8 4speed, posi
1978 Sunbird Formula V6, 5 Speed, Hatchback
1980 Sunbird Hatchback 4cyl, 4spd.
2006 Chevrolet Aveo 5 speed Hatchback
Yes, you can refer to me as Mark
Please visit my blog... http://chevymonza.blogspot.com/ Follow if you like!
Featuring special guests; Carl Beraytor and Ray D'atore

My Red spyder now has a youtube channel please Like and Subscribe!!!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzzSR ... ISuing7KLA
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Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby marco_1978_spyder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:15 am

Here's some pic's to catch you up to what I've done to it since Aug...
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Returning to stock:
As you can see, I added a set of snowflakes, (have a better set getting swapped on soon).

As well as, Rear tailpanel, Front bumper fillers, Lower front valence, Hood release cable, Missing orange-sun insert added to the S on the driver's side Sunbird emblem, and correct gas cap.

Paint touchup's. RPO #63 'freemont gold'.

Interior chime, with headlight warning, donated from dismantled 80 monza.

Car came with new door lock's uninstalled. They've been added.

Now time for some upgrades option's! more to come..
1978 Monza Spyder V8 4speed, posi
1978 Sunbird Formula V6, 5 Speed, Hatchback
1980 Sunbird Hatchback 4cyl, 4spd.
2006 Chevrolet Aveo 5 speed Hatchback
Yes, you can refer to me as Mark
Please visit my blog... http://chevymonza.blogspot.com/ Follow if you like!
Featuring special guests; Carl Beraytor and Ray D'atore

My Red spyder now has a youtube channel please Like and Subscribe!!!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzzSR ... ISuing7KLA
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Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby marco_1978_spyder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:54 am

If you notice the car has a very taught and upright stance. A really good look for the car, but of course, stock these cars sat a touch lower, and the rear ends drooped down more as they got older. I found out after getting the car home that this one is being perched up by adjustable "spring helpers", on all 4 spring's. That was a disappointment. It looks good and handles ok as it is, (for a 4cyl, car with no front sway bar). So I think I'll keep it in this band aided state while I run it as a stock 4 cyl.
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rsz_20170924_163932.jpg
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1978 Monza Spyder V8 4speed, posi
1978 Sunbird Formula V6, 5 Speed, Hatchback
1980 Sunbird Hatchback 4cyl, 4spd.
2006 Chevrolet Aveo 5 speed Hatchback
Yes, you can refer to me as Mark
Please visit my blog... http://chevymonza.blogspot.com/ Follow if you like!
Featuring special guests; Carl Beraytor and Ray D'atore

My Red spyder now has a youtube channel please Like and Subscribe!!!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzzSR ... ISuing7KLA
User avatar
marco_1978_spyder
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Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby marco_1978_spyder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:18 am

Many upcoming project's.... here's a picture of some upgrades I have for the car.

I find it quite coincidental that some of the options I have tucked away in storage, are for this exact color car...or are reasonably color matched like this formula steering wheel...
rsz_20171001_172401.jpg
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or the gold rear formula spoiler that I don't have a picture of.

I'm honestly enjoying the clean simple hatchback the car has now, so I'm holding off until the hot rod project I detail in a future post begin's.

Also on deck... a stock delay wiper switch and controller.

Front seatbelt upgrade to an older (1978) 'ratcheting set' from a recently dismantled '78 Sunbird. This will return the good black cover's to the belt's as well.

Tilt wheel, and a gauge package dash cluster.
1978 Monza Spyder V8 4speed, posi
1978 Sunbird Formula V6, 5 Speed, Hatchback
1980 Sunbird Hatchback 4cyl, 4spd.
2006 Chevrolet Aveo 5 speed Hatchback
Yes, you can refer to me as Mark
Please visit my blog... http://chevymonza.blogspot.com/ Follow if you like!
Featuring special guests; Carl Beraytor and Ray D'atore

My Red spyder now has a youtube channel please Like and Subscribe!!!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzzSR ... ISuing7KLA
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Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby RedFiveKBS » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:45 am

Sweet score! Did you paint the inside of that tail panel? I'm wondering why they failed. I'm thinking that its UV light causing them to crumble but if they are painted that should have given them some level of protection...like sun screen. Or...the plastic/urethane simply dries out and they crumble. Again...maybe a good coating will protect them?
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1980 Pontiac Sunbird Formula

Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby marco_1978_spyder » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:13 am

I didn't paint the inside. I had thought about some protective coating a while back. I suspect it's U/V related as well. It's a very strange material. I examined some broken off chips on mine and it looks dark grey as opposed to the lighter yellow urethane used on most everything else. Hopefully by the time this one starts to crumble, I'll have saved for a fiberglass replica if one exist's.
1978 Monza Spyder V8 4speed, posi
1978 Sunbird Formula V6, 5 Speed, Hatchback
1980 Sunbird Hatchback 4cyl, 4spd.
2006 Chevrolet Aveo 5 speed Hatchback
Yes, you can refer to me as Mark
Please visit my blog... http://chevymonza.blogspot.com/ Follow if you like!
Featuring special guests; Carl Beraytor and Ray D'atore

My Red spyder now has a youtube channel please Like and Subscribe!!!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzzSR ... ISuing7KLA
User avatar
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Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby RedFiveKBS » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:03 pm

I have the Fiberglass one for my car but I have not test fit it yet. The rotisserie is in the way.

I do have an original one but it is pretty beat. Still flexible but it is scaly.

It wasn't cheap but where else are you going to find one?? :(

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1980 Pontiac Sunbird Formula

Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby knitch237 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:52 pm

I believe the urethane will crumble in time regardless of UV light. The noses of 73-75 Grand Ams were made of the same urethane. My dad has a 1973 Grand Am that he bought new-- it only has 26,000 miles on it and has been garage kept since day 1. Since 1990, his car has sat in a dark storage building with no windows and has not moved. The nose of his Grand Am broke into pieces many years ago just sitting there.

My parents bought my 1980 Sunbird Formula brand new. I bought it off them in 1986. It has always been garage-kept and has been stored in a climate-controlled garage and only driven a couple times a year for the past 15 years. 15 years ago, the tail panel was in great shape. Last year, it cracked into many pieces and fell to the ground just sitting in the garage.

I'm convinced that eventually this urethane will fail solely due to age regardless of the environmental conditions.
Troy

1980 Sunbird Formula 231 V6, 4 spd
1987 Camaro IROC-Z 305 TPI, 5 spd
2006 GTO Impulse Blue, LS2, M6
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Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby RedFiveKBS » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:14 pm

knitch237 wrote:I believe the urethane will crumble in time regardless of UV light. The noses of 73-75 Grand Ams were made of the same urethane. My dad has a 1973 Grand Am that he bought new-- it only has 26,000 miles on it and has been garage kept since day 1. Since 1990, his car has sat in a dark storage building with no windows and has not moved. The nose of his Grand Am broke into pieces many years ago just sitting there.

My parents bought my 1980 Sunbird Formula brand new. I bought it off them in 1986. It has always been garage-kept and has been stored in a climate-controlled garage and only driven a couple times a year for the past 15 years. 15 years ago, the tail panel was in great shape. Last year, it cracked into many pieces and fell to the ground just sitting in the garage.

I'm convinced that eventually this urethane will fail solely due to age regardless of the environmental conditions.


The tail panels are made from vampires. That is why they crumble in sunlight. I'm certain of it.

I'm in the process of rebuilding my 1980 Sunbird Formula; viewtopic.php?f=20&t=44948

Let's see some pictures of yours!
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1980 Pontiac Sunbird Formula

Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby knitch237 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:39 pm

Sunbird Formula.jpg
Sunbird Formula.jpg (132.82 KiB) Viewed 396 times
Troy

1980 Sunbird Formula 231 V6, 4 spd
1987 Camaro IROC-Z 305 TPI, 5 spd
2006 GTO Impulse Blue, LS2, M6
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Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby RedFiveKBS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:41 pm

Droooooooooooool... Wow!
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1980 Pontiac Sunbird Formula

Re: Project, Gold 1980 Sunbird.

Postby marco_1978_spyder » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:02 am

So sweet! Like the rim's, I'd have to go with snowflakes with green inserts.
1978 Monza Spyder V8 4speed, posi
1978 Sunbird Formula V6, 5 Speed, Hatchback
1980 Sunbird Hatchback 4cyl, 4spd.
2006 Chevrolet Aveo 5 speed Hatchback
Yes, you can refer to me as Mark
Please visit my blog... http://chevymonza.blogspot.com/ Follow if you like!
Featuring special guests; Carl Beraytor and Ray D'atore

My Red spyder now has a youtube channel please Like and Subscribe!!!
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOzzSR ... ISuing7KLA
User avatar
marco_1978_spyder
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Posts: 5275
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