Dan Steward (pinballdan) wanted a 1969 Firebird and checked around. He looked on Ebay and found one. Not to let it get by him, Dan drove to the seller and wound up buying it before the auction ended. The Firebird had new paint and was pretty much rust free. The car, however, was sporting a mild 350 Pontiac engine and a 350 THM. It needed work so Dan set out to do so maintenance and perform minor upgrades. Out came the AC and the front end was completely rebuilt. Temporarily satisfied with this arrangement, Dan drove the car for about a year. He wanted more power and found a badly damaged '68 Firebird in Richmond, Virginia with a 400 engine and 400 THM.

With more displacment, this engine was sent off to a locale machine shop. They installed Eagle rods, forged TRW pistons and Edelbrock 72 cc aluminum heads. This engine was short-lived and spun a bearing at 1000 miles. Dan was beside himself and was convinced Pontiac engines were junk. He thought the car would be better off with a CHEVROLET engine! Dan was very familar with Chevrolet power and believed them to be more reliable.

Having some doubts on what to do, Dan conducted an Internet search of Pontiac engine builders. He checked out Jim Butler Performance and inquired about purchasing a crate engine from them. The wait was going to be too long for Dan so he searched further and came across Central Virginia Machine Service. He made contact with the shop and after talking with Jim Lehart, Dan opted to go with a new rebuild. Dan shipped the 400 block to CVMS and upon inspection it was discovered to have sustained more damage than what was originally believed. It was beyond hope for any performance upgrade. CVMS found another 400 block and Dan decided on building a larger displacement stroker engine. Why did Dan go that route? Dan wanted an engine that would power his Firebird into the 11s.

After delivery and installation, Dan soon discovered that his new PONTIAC engine was too stout for various drive train parts and broke many of them. During the Pontiacs in the Park event held at Virginia Motorsports Park in late May 2008, Dan's Firebird stumbled on each pass. Frustrating as it was, the culprit was Dan's weakening transmission. It finally quit. All is well now. The resulting drive train components reflected in the technical specs have proven to be tough enough to handle the torque of Dan's 463 cubic inch classic Pontiac engine.

We are pleased to have Dan's engine in the 1 to 1 Club. It powers Dan's 3850 pound Firebird which runs consistent 11.5s at 118-119 mph in the quarter mile. His 1969 Firebird is a street-strip car. See burnout. 1 May 2009 Update: Dan's car is putting more power to the ground. His Firebird is closing in on a 10 second run. With a recent ET of 11.1432 @ 121.20 mph a 10 second run is quite foreseeable. Way to go Dan.

Block 400
Bore/Stroke 4.155" x 4.25" (463 cid)
Deck Height .000 (zero)
Heads Edelbrock 72 cc, ported, 2.190" intake/ 1.77" exhaust. 10:1 compression
Rocker Arms Harland Sharp 1.65
Pushrods Comp Magnum
Lifters Comp Cam solid roller lifters
Crankshaft Eagle 4.25" stroke/ 3.00" journals
Balancer Pioneer SFI approved
Piston Rods 6.8" Eagle H beam
Pistons BRC custom dished pistons
Rings Speed Pro plasma-moly file fit
Bearings Clevite H Series (rods); Federal Mogul (mains)
Camshaft Comp Cam XE Solid Roller; 236/242 @.050" .620" lift with Harland Sharp 1.65 rockers
Timing set NA
Intake/Carb Edelbrock Torker II, port matched/ AED 850HO
Fuel System Holley 150 electric with Fram filter
Gaskets Felpro
Water Pump stock
Exhaust Doug's 1 7/8" primaries w/3" collectors; 3" Flowmasters in and out
Ignition MSD distributor MSD 6AL and 7,000 rpm limiter pill
Oil Pump Melling 60 .lb high volume
Oil NA
Transmission 400 THM with fully modified manual valve body and 3600 Continental converter
Rear Gears Moser FAB 9" with 35 spline axles with Detroit Locker and 3.89 gearing
Fasterners ARP bolts and ARP block studs
Chassis Mods NA
Suspension Caltracs
Tires/ wheels 275/60-15 M & H Drag Radials or Hoosier Slicks 28-9-15
Brakes Front discs and rear drums
Car Weight
3850 lbs. with driver
ET/MPH Best ET to date: 11.1432 @ 121.20 (1 May 09 Update)
New valve covers.
Copyright © 2009. Bill Boyle. All rights reserved.