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 my 1977 Astre Formula Project

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cammerjeff

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PostSubject: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:55 pm

I know its not a wogon, but it is what I have been working on the last 2 years.

Joe inspired me with his 68 GTO, so I thought I would add my odd little Pontiac Project also. I bought my 77 Astre Formula that came from Northern Texas in the spring of 2010, no engine or trans, fairly solid Body in Original Paint with the original Graphic's still on the car. Beileive it or not I Have owned 2 other 77 Formulas (out of the estimated 500 built) but both had much more severe rust issues, and had cheap repaints obscuring the graphic's, so this car was a much better starting point.
These shots were taken when the car came home in the spring of 2010, the read Astre Formula in the background has donated many parts to the Yellow car.
The following are pic's of the car after being stripped, and had the minor rust repaired on the drivers side floor pan, spare tire well, and the worst unknow was the area arounf the rear hatch hinges. The rear hatch was also replaced with a rust free example.
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buickestate
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:04 pm

looks good Jeff
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:38 pm

A nice ecotec turbo would make it go but is there a modern suspension that would help with the
handling and stop?Guess you could find a totaled Solstice turbo and swap everything over to your
Astre?Sure is lite enough to be made wicked fast without going the SBC route!
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toomanytoyz

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:53 pm

That's pretty damn cool! I've never seen one of those. Is that the Pontiac Vega? Too cool! I didn't know they had one too! I love it! Very Happy

And Hellz Yeah! Jim's onto something... Ecotec tarbo! Very Happy
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jayoldschool

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:01 pm

The Camaro/CTS/ATS V6 would be perfect in this thing. 300hp six speed... hello!
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toomanytoyz

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:03 pm

^^^^Yes.

That's a pretty friggin good idea, too! Very Happy
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:24 am

I worked in a fab shop,waaay back when, we used to add cages to v8 vegas and astre's
Many times i,ve put them on 3 jack stands and the 4th one didn't touch.

Nick
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JoeT

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:36 am

jayoldschool wrote:
The Camaro/CTS/ATS V6 would be perfect in this thing. 300hp six speed... hello!

phantom 309 wrote:
I worked in a fab shop,waaay back when, we used to add cages to v8 vegas and astre's
Many times i,ve put them on 3 jack stands and the 4th one didn't touch.

Nick

Put these two together and make an awesome little screamer.

We've got that LY7 V6 in our G8 and I love it.

If you could pick one up out of an early CTS or Camaro with a manual trans, that car would yield many smiles per mile.

Cool project, Jeff!!!!
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JoeT

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:47 am

OR, you could build up that Iron Duke...

Remember the Indy Pace car Fiero with the SD 2.5?
You can still get parts to make one from Kansas Racing Products:
http://kansasracingproducts.com/Kansas_Racing_Products/Welcome.html

The Pace car engine was rated at 232 HP and there were GM Performance kits for 272 HP and 320+ HP versions...

I'd love to build an Astre wagon some day, but they are hard to find and usually are all cobbled up with a poorly done SBC conversion.
Seems like most of the decent Vega family (H body) cars have been made into drag cars.

Yours is a very cool little car, Jeff!
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:17 pm

Turbo V6 from a Buick would easily fit and give big performance. Just say it came out of a Turbo TA and keep it all Pontiac Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:52 pm

JoeT wrote:
OR, you could build up that Iron Duke...

Remember the Indy Pace car Fiero with the SD 2.5?
You can still get parts to make one from Kansas Racing Products:
http://kansasracingproducts.com/Kansas_Racing_Products/Welcome.html

The Pace car engine was rated at 232 HP and there were GM Performance kits for 272 HP and 320+ HP versions...

I'd love to build an Astre wagon some day, but they are hard to find and usually are all cobbled up with a poorly done SBC conversion.
Seems like most of the decent Vega family (H body) cars have been made into drag cars.

Yours is a very cool little car, Jeff!

Kansas Racing makes some awesome stuff but you could build all aluminum LS V-8 for the kind of money KRP wants for the parts needed
to build a Iron Duke to make comparable power.
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cammerjeff

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:16 pm

Thanks for the ideas, I am sorry I got interupted by actually having to do work last night!!!!!

As for a engine, I went thru the following sequence of Idea's. SBC as it would be the easiest using stock V-8 Moza parts, and actually bought a 79 Olds Starfire Firenza parts car. But then after getting much grief from my fellow Pontiac fanatic's, I then switched to the Idea of a turbo V-6 Buick, but the Turbo would not fit under the hood ithout a scoop, and I like to keep my hoods stock. Then I thought of a 2.0 liter turbo echotech, even found a Saturn Sky that ad been rear ended. But the $6000.00 price tag stopped me. (In retrospect that would have been a deal) I never even considered going with a SD Iron Duke as they are just to $$$$.
I finally decided that I was looking for 200 to 250 HP and I opted to go Old School and install a 1963 Aluminum Buick 215 V-8. The engine will fit neatly in the small engine compartment, and is 90lbs lighter than a N/A Buick V-6, and 60lbs lighter than the stock Iron Duke.
This shot shows the 215 before rebuilding, and with the Rover 4.0 Valve covers, and short Tri-Y headers that I pland on using.
These shots show how we "Pontiacised" the rover valve covers by engraving an arrowhead, and PMD and then powdercoating them semi gloss black.
The engine has been rebuilt, and has had a short waterpump and a later Buick V-6 oil filter adapter installed to angle the oilfilter forward to clear the stock K-menber.
I also used a slightly modified rover 4.0 liter 6qt Oil pan with matching Dip Stick, I think the valve covers Dip stick, Buick 350 HEI make it look period correct. And visually I am going for a stock appearance if they actually would have installed it at the factory.
The engine has a CR of 10.4 to one, ported heads with enlarged valves, cam, Edlebrock intake, and dyno'd at 218 HP net with an exstreamly rich carb, on a conserative engine dyno.
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toomanytoyz

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:13 pm

Ok, that is pretty awesome. Nice choice, man! Very Happy

Nice work on the covers, too!
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buickestate
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:36 pm

I like the buick/rover v8, they have a nice rumble with the right exaust.
will it be ready for the Dreamcruise?
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JoeT

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:02 am

Oooohhhh, pretty!
Great choice, Jeff.
I didn't even think of the 215.
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:09 am

Jeff,you rock man!Those valvecovers look awesome too.
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phantom 309

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:18 am

very cool,.
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cammerjeff

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:13 am

Thanks Guys! I am hopeing to have it on the road by July so in time for the Dream Cruise, and also Norwalks Tri-Power weekend.

I also got Lucky when talking with a longtime SCCA Buddy of mine who has been racing his Cosworth Vega for 30 plus years, he decided to return his CV race car back to stockish street form, so he is reinstalling the original rear axle and the stock brakes on all 4 corners. So I was able to get the modified Vega front control arms, set up to run Corvette C3 spindles and disc brakes, and the Dana 44 axle Modified to Fit a 76/77 Vega Chassis.
The Axle Solves one of the issues with these cars, weak 7.5" GM 10 Bolt, and the 4 lug wheel pattern. It is a direct bolt in with the 5 X 4 3/4" bolt pattern. The downside is it had a 4.88 gears with Locker carrier. I was able to get a 4.10 gear installed and still keep the 5 series carrier. We will see if I can live with that gear ratio on the street.

This is the only shot of the Front suspension/Brakes that I have on my HD. This coupled with the cars light weight of 2600 lbs, and the T-5's 0.62 OD Ratio even with the steep rear it should be a nice all around package.
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toomanytoyz

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:46 am

That thing is gonna friggin awesome! Very Happy
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Olds Weighty Eight

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:45 pm

I see the torque arm mount there on the diff. Reminds me of my '76 Skyhawk. The unibody cracked on mine where the panhard rod connects by the rear wheel well.
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:48 pm

Olds Weighty Eight wrote:
I see the torque arm mount there on the diff. Reminds me of my '76 Skyhawk. The unibody cracked on mine where the panhard rod connects by the rear wheel well.
Those were the good ole days of high quality cars that ran great and made plenty of power.Bought a 75 Monte Carlo brand new and
I took it back to the dealer twice because of no power.They gave me another Monte to drive and it was as gutless as mine was.Needless
to say,it was put up for sale within a few months and I went back to driving used cars from the late 60s and a bunch of 70 model cars.
Even their performance suffered when the gas turned to crap!
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81X11

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:04 pm

Back in high school my then-friend Clare inherited her aunt's '77 Sunbird coupe. She called me to come check it out, and being a Pontiac person I was excited to see it. Jumped in my blue '79 Bonneville and ran to her house. Got there, and it looked just like the car below, except it was dark brown with brown cloth interior. Same colors as my recently-departed 79 Electra.



This was around 1990-91, and this was New Jersey. Considering the age of the car and where it had lived, it was gorgeous. Not the styling, the condition. Smile I liked the look of the front end, clearly a Pontiac, but the notchback roof was a little odd-looking...the fastback version of these looked worlds better.

It was clealy and old-lady car. Had that musty-perfume smell inside, but it was clean, had clearly lived in a garage, and with 87K miles showing on the odometer was in nice shape. It car had no rust, the paint shined, it had the nicer LJ interior with cloth high-back bucket seats that looked like something from a Firebird. Wood trim on the dash. The curved automatic shifter stuck out of a box below the dash...odd looking thing. The parking brake was a chrome lever that sat on the bare floor between the front seats. The dash had two big round gauges for a speedo and a fuel gauge. The rest were idiot lights.

Clare wanted to go see a movie in Morristown, and she handed me the keys to the Sunbird with a smile. On sitting in the car, I was surprised how small it was. The doors were long and heavy, but the roof was low, and we were nearly shoulder-to-shoulder in the car. The dashboard sat up really high too, making you feel like you were sitting on the floor. It had a fixed column, and the steering wheel sat really high...if ever a car needed a tilt, it was that one.

The next curious thing was the steering column itself. It had the same round GM steering column we all know so well, but the lock cylinder where you insterted the key was angled downward a bit, like the column had not been installed straight...but the turn signal lever sat level...so this was by design....weird.

I turned the key, and the entire car shook to life. Shook...A Lot. This was my first meeting with The Iron Duke, the famous 2.5 4cyl GM used though the 80's. It has a square 2-jet carburetor, and when cold it barely idled.

I pulled the odd-angled automatic into reverse, felt the shaking grow worse, and backed out. Pulling into traffic the engine was noisey and rough. Buzzy and course. It felt slow too, but was ok until I got on the highway headed north. The engine smoothed out at speed, but the car was just totally gutless....LOUD, and beyond 55 it felt/sounded like I might actually be hurting the car. It was flat not happy above 55.

It had the stock Delco AM/FM in it, no cassette. I turned it on and the sound was horrible...tinny and hollow. It distorted if you turned it up where you could actually hear it over the engine. After a while I just shut it off.

We got to the movie and back. Clare, not knowing any better at barely 17, asked me what I thought of the car. I told her it was in really nice condition and it was nice of her aunt to give it to her, and left it at that.

I did check under the hood to make sure all the plug wires were attached that night. Everything was fine. It really just was that loud, weak and course. All I can say is it's amazing how BAD some of the cars from the 70's were. That Sunbird sure had a spud of a motor, and I never did get used to the odd interior packaging.

She drove that car a year...I personally never drove it again, we took my Bonny. She finally sold it when her Mom found her an '84 Delta 88 a friend was giving away. It only had a 3.8 V6 in it, but it was WORLDS better than that Sunbird.

-Mike
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cammerjeff

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:50 am

I understand the pain of driving an Iron Duke equiped car!!!!!! My mother had a 78 Pheonix with a 2.5 auto and every option known to man at the time, thank the Lord that the speed limit was 55 MPH at the time, as I think 63 MPH was about all that car could manage, but it did get 25 MPG and that was great at the time. She only drove it for a few months (between totalling her 76 455 powered GP and getting the 78 301 4-speed GP she had ordered, yes my Mom always like to shift her own gears!!!!!)

Some shots of the steering wheel I just finished, The Formula Steering wheel was part of the Astre Formula Package, but believe it or not who ever ordered my particulare car actually paid $18.00 extra to not get a Formula Steering whell, and got a 3 spoke Delux wheel, as seen in the interior pic's. I did have a fairly nice Tan Formula wheel that someone had Dyed Red!!!! So the project was to remove as much of the red dye as possible, without damaging the rubber material
After asking alot of opinions about cemicals or sand paper, someone suggested using a "magic Eraser. It required quite a bit of elbow grease, but it removed the dye without damaging the wheel. And after redying it Camel it looked like this
The worst part of the wheel is the horn button, it is pretty dry rotted, but it will work for now. The next step was to find a center emblem to fill the spot that the T/A's Screaming Chicken emblem was. My choices were a very damaged Sunbird /Astre emblem, a repo 70-72 GTO Emblem for $90.00 or as Luck would have it this summer while junk yarding I ran into a early 80"s T-1000 Sport!!!!! That had this emblem for the steep price of $1.00
Next are some shots of the car being stripped of parts and paint.
And Finally of the Base Yellow on after all the Visable metal interior panels are painted the proper shade of Camel.
Now with the Yellow applied, and getting the Charcoal Accent panels applied.
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JoeT

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:20 am

That car was clean! where did you find it?

It looks great, Jeff.
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81X11

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:49 pm

Pretty wild to find one that solid. And yes it's funny that it had the "fancy" wheel. The T/A will look MUCH better. Did you use SEM to make it tan? I like their stuff.

-Mike
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cammerjeff

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:42 pm

Yes I did use SEM vinyl paint to color it, We will see how well it works on a steering wheel.

The reason I bought this car was it was so clean, it came from the Dallas Texas Area, and was originally Sold in the Pan Handle area of Texas. And I think I found the perfect Vintage Michigan Plate for the evil little car.

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:48 pm

Cant believe how good the Astre looks underneath but it is a texas car.Whats wrong with the steering column in the top picture?Was it on fire or wrapped with something.That plate is almost
perfect for the car by the way but FRM666 for Formula would be more fitting for that bad boy.Keep the pics coming please.
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:51 pm

Very cool Jeff, Nice job so far.

Mike
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:54 pm

cammerjeff wrote:
Yes I did use SEM vinyl paint to color it, We will see how well it works on a steering wheel.



I've done several wheels with SEM and they have held up fine. The current wheel in my car is going on several years now and showing no signs of wear. I prep them for paint by cleaning them with alcohol, sanding with 100 grit paper, cleaning with alcohol, more cleaning with alcohol, letting dry for several hours then painting with lots of light coats.
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cammerjeff

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:22 am

I dug out the final Pic's of the cars current state. All the Vinyl Stripes and Decals installed.


So doing reasearch on this car I found out some odd things, My car was built on the 1st day of Astre Formula Production Dec 18th 1976, and has some things that are not consistent with the Option Package. As stated the Paper work shows the original owner ordered a "Delux Steering Wheel" actually paid $18.00 extra not to have the Formula Steering Wheel. And the fact that the Sport Mirrors on this car were painted Body Color, and all the litature and the other 16 cars I have documeented all have the sport mirrors Painted Charcoal like the lower accent panel and tail light panel. With the exeption of the 1 Black car we have found those mirrors are body color, and the charcoal areas are painted Gold.

The formula Package consisted of the Astre/Vega GT Blacked out Grills and head light buckets, RTS Suspension that includes front and rear sway bars, and Rally Wheels with Formula only wheel slot bright trim. The Accent package included the charcoal panels, stripes, formula Decals, and for $66.00 extra you could have the Giant Hood decal that actually started on the Header Panel. My car did not have this option. You also got the Astre GT Gauge Package, and this is were the option started getting costly, the Formula steering wheel is part of the package at no extra charge, but to get the Wheel you had to buy the Tilt Column at $94.00 and the Tilt Column required Power Steering that added $116.00 to the final bill. So if you added a Auto Trans, A/C. Delux interior, AM/FM Stereo withh the second Speaker the final bill was more than a base model 400 4-speed car!!!!! I know if I was buying a peformance car at the time what I would Buy!!!! And it would not be my Astre!!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:00 am

Small Update,
I was looking for a "stock" appearing air cleaner assembly that would look correct for the year, and fit under the stock hood.

Well after much waivering I decided that a late 70's Corevette Duel Snorkle Air Cleaner just might work. So I started searching CL for a good example. I found this one for $75.00 and it is un very nice original shape.
This one is still in original paint, no pitting, and is complete. Even the Chrome on the lid is very nice.

After a test fit last night on just the engine I discovered that it will need to be reclocked about 45 degrees so that the left snorkle points directly to the front, and the Rt one will point at the passenger side fender. This will have to be done to Clear the Buick 350 HEI that I decided to use. Oh well.
I think it will keep the "period correct" look I am shooting for going.
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:02 am

Nice find and will look good.

Tom
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:11 pm

Are you going to run the under-bumper cold air intake option from the 66-67 olds 442 ram air?
Went to school with a girl that had a 442 with those air intakes under the bumper,always thought they looked very functional and kinda cool!
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:31 pm

Very nice start!!
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toomanytoyz

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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:47 pm

Dude, that thing looks wicked pissah! Smile

I can't wait to see further progress pics! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: my 1977 Astre Formula Project   Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:29 pm

Interesting build. I had never heard of that model until this thread.
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