With the success of the bonnet sticker application still fresh in my mind I thought that I'd have a go at something else I've been putting off forever. Fitting the boot spoiler.
From my own perspective I have always thought that the tail end of the second generation Pontiac Firebird looks a bit odd without the boot spoiler. The other thing is, that this being a Trans Am, it should have a boot spoiler, infact it should have all sorts of things that this Trans Am just doesn't have, like for example, bodykit, and bonnet scoop, but it doesn't. I think that over time it has had a new front, and I'm pretty sure that it's also had a new rear quarter panel too, as I can't imagine it was fitted this badly in the pontiac factory back in 1980. But anyway, I can overlook the lack of bonnet scoop, and even the lack of bodykit, but what I cannot overlook is the lack of boot spoiler.
So I managed to track one down in the USA, and have it shipped over to the UK. It was in pretty poor shape, so before fitting it I had it fixed, and tidied up a bit. After it was ready I made up a template which I thought would make it a lot easier to fit to the car rather than try to measure up the mounting points, and then transfer the measurements.
Following a trip to the Poundshop I returned home with a load of masking tape, and masked up the rear of the car ready to drill.
I then placed the three piece spoiler onto my freshly masked rear, and drew around it in order that I would them stick my template onto it and hopefully drill the holes for the mounting bolts in the right place.
Template stuck on, I was ready to drill!
I had marked all the places on my template that the spoiler would need to be drilled. I'd measured it, double checked it, and measured it all again! I was certain that the markings for the holes were all in the right place, but the thought of drilling the bodywork and getting it wrong stopped me from actually doing it.
It was no good, it had to be drilled! I've got a similar spoiler for my Mustang, I've had it since the car was about two years old, it's all painted and ready to go on, but I just cannot bring myself to drill the bodywork! I'm so concerned about messing it all up and drilling it in the wrong place, that I just don't put it on! I decided that it was time to get out the DeWalt Disney, and have a go! I figured that this would be the practice run for fitting the one to the Mustang! Five minutes later...
Well it's too late now! All the holes were drilled. I started to peel off the masking tape that had now been on the car for about twenty minutes...
So what did we learn? Well, Poundshop masking tape it rubbish! Not only did it stick like pooh to a blanket, but it just came away in shreds as I tried to peel it off! I would've understood this if it had been on there a week or so, but it had only been twenty minutes! After about an hour of peeling off tiny shreds I had got all the bits off the bodywork that wouldn't be under the spoiler, and as for those bits, well, they can stay!
I also decided that I would hide one of my little stickers under the spoiler too. I must admit I wonder if it will ever be found. My feeling is that unless this thing undergoes a full on restoration at some point in its life it never will get found, but we all know it's there!
Because the spoiler didn't have all of it's fixings when I got it, I decided that I would remove them all then put in some new ones. Now the original fixings has a very coarse thread, like a woodscrew on one side, and a machine thread on the other. The woodscrew style side screwed into the fibreglass spoiler, then the machine screw side would be used to go through the bodywork, and get fastened with a nut. I didn't have anything like these fixings, and so I bought some M8 nuts, washers, and bolts, and made my own fixings. I put the M8 bolt into my vertical lathe (pillar drill) Then, with the pillar drill going I took my angle grinder to the head of the bolt until I had machined all the edges off the head, and was just left with a round head on the top of the bolt. I repeated this process until I had enough bolts for the spoiler. Then I cut a small notch in the head of the bolts on either side. I then turned my attention to the spoiler its self. I drilled out the mounting points until my rounded head bots would fit in snugly. Once I had done all of the holes I half filled them with epoxy resin, and eased the bolts into the holes. As I pushed the bolts into the holes the epoxy resin oozed through the slots I had cut into either side of the bolt heads. I then topped the holes up until they were full. Much like the masking tape it was cheap-ass Poundshop epoxy I used. So, although it said to allow a couple of hours to harden fully, I was not suprised when it was rock solid after about twenty minutes! This worked for me, and so, clutching the three pieces of spoiler I headed eagerly back out to the Trans Am.
The big bit that went on the boot, or trunk should you be reading this in Americaland, was a piece of cake to fit. It couldn't have gone on easier if it had tried. I thought that I'd try the drivers side quarter panel piece next. I figured that if any of the pieces were going to cause trouble it would be this piece. The reason for my concern about this side was that I'm pretty sure this is a new wing, and it's not fitted particulalry well, I don't think it's quite in the right place.
But I got the piece on, and all looked good... Until I closed the bootlid! Now that doesn't line up well!..
Nope, that doesn't line up well at all! It's only held on by two nuts, but I put it on and off, and on and off repeatedly for ages!! After an hour or so of jiggery-pokery, faffing around with shims, and elongating the mounting holes a little it was starting to look a lot better.
There now, it almost looks like a professional had done it... Almost! I must admit it's not perfect, but unlike Liberace, atleast it's straight! I tuned my attention to the other side and wondered if this was going to be a pain in the buttocks too...
It wasn't. The passenger side just fell into place, and with only two nuts holding it on, it was soon tightened into posistion. Perfect!
I stood back to admire my handiwork, and I've got to say that I was pretty impressed. Like I said before, I don't need the bonnet scoop, and I don't need the bodykit either. But the boot spoiler is a must on the second generation Firebirds for me. I decided that as it was still warm, and light that I might just go a little further.
Well, seeing as I'd managed to get the screamin' chicken on the bonnet so well I might as well have a go at the spoiler sticker too.
It went well...
Very well infact! Since putting the decals, and now the spoiler on I am feeling a bit more love for the Trans Am. I am quite suprised by this as I never wanted the screamin' chicken on the bonnet in the first place. But every time I look at it now I find myself thinking... Damn!! That looks freakin' cool!
I decided to put on the Trans Am logo onto the front wings too! I was on a roll!! However I decided not to put the small screamin' chickens on the 'B' pillars. This was because it already has some on the 'B' pillars, I think they're possibly third generation Firebird decals, and they're the wrong colour, but they look ok. The other reason I didn't want to change them was that I was concerned that when I peeled off the ones that were there I thought I might take some of the paint with them. I might change them at some point, but right now I can live with them as they are!
So this is where we are now. Having put the decals, and spoiler on it I have changed how I feel about it. I still don't love it, but I do think it looks so much cooler than it did before. It could still do with a little tweaking, especially in the interior, but from the outside, for me its a hundred times better to look at. Infact, it looks so good to me right now that I think I may well just dig out my stick-on moustache, put on my red shirt, and take it out for a little late night cruising tonight. Best keep an eye out for them Smokeys!