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A Poncho Legend!

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April 2012 Feature Car


The year 2010 saw the untimely end of the Pontiac division of General Motors, a brand that had been around since 1926. 2010 was also the model year GM reintroduced the Chevrolet Camaro. The death of Pontiac also meant the demise of any chance GM would also reintroduce the Firebird. However this did not prevent Paul Censner from fulfilling his dream of having a 2010 Firebird. He took matters into his own hands and created this fantastic Firebird recreation. Paul tells us how this awesome 'Bird was created:

 

Ive always been a car enthusiast ever since I was a kid. I learned to drive by the time I was 12 years old. We lived in a farming community, so there was lots of ample opportunity for me to drive everything from tractors to pickup trucks thru the fields.

I bought my first car, a 1949 Pontiac at 13 or 14 years old. I picked it from an old fellow in town who was too old to drive anymore. He sold me the car for a whopping $10.00

When I turned 16 I left school and joined the work force. Within 3 months I had purchased my first new car, a 1974 Pontiac 350 -4 speed. I drove the hell out of that car for 10 years and now as it turns out I was now hooked on Pontiacs.

A few years later I got married to a wonderful woman and we had 2 beautiful girls. As a result of raising 2 young kids and having a family, Pontiacs went on the back burner for a long time. We ended up selling the 4 speed in order to get a family car and then eventually the mini van.

Fast forward to when the kids were older A friend of ours who owned a Pontiac Trans Am was at our house one day for a visit and mentioned she might be selling her Trans Am. Because I had always liked the Pontiacs and the Firebirds in particular, I told her I would be interested in buying it. She said I think I am going to sell it so I said how much? We agreed on the price and the next day I owned a 1980 Pontiac Trans Am. My wife thought the car was great, which it was, and she enjoyed driving the car as much as I did. 

The following year I decided we should get another Trans Am so we could have His and Hers Pontiac Trans Ams. I began a search and found a 1978 Trans Am, without an engine, that was priced right. I bought it and then the search was on for an engine which resulted in us buying another Trans Am as a parts car because it had a good engine in it.

Fast forward another 2 years I had the 1978 together and running well by this time and had taken up Street Class Drag racing at Grand Bend. Since my first trip to Grand Bend Dragway resulted in me bringing home a First Place Trophy I was hooked on Drag Racing for quite some time. After one successful night of racing I got home to find out that the rear frame on the car had crapped out partly due to Pontiac torque, but mainly due to rust. At this point a major full restoration began on the car that lasted for 3 years. Because of this more parts cars were bought to help with the restoration. It so turned out that some of these parts cars were just too good to tear apart and destroy, so I bought more parts cars and more parts cars and more parts cars.

At this point the Firebird addiction was well on its way. There were many more cars to follow over the years. Some I have kept and some were sold. At this time I own one Pontiac Firebird of each Generation.

The Pontiac Firebird was killed by GM in 2002, and in 2009 they killed the Pontiac name totally leaving me thinking that the Pontiac Firebird was gone forever.

GM reintroduced the Camaro for the 5th Generation but the Pontiac Firebird however was not part of their plan. So it appeared that there would never be a 5th Generation Firebird.

Since my passion is Pontiac Firebirds and GM wont make a 5th generation Firebird, I came up with some ideas from scouring the web and from attending a SEMA show last year.

In 2010 I bought a Camaro with the intension of creating a 5th Generation Firebird. I have spent the last year converting the Camaro into my version of a 5th Generation Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 

The making of my 2010 Pontiac Firebird

After getting my ideas together and planning out what I wanted to do the search was on for a doner car to begin the project. I scoured ebay, local lots and Kijiji etc and finally came across the perfect doner car ..a 30,000 klm 2010 SS\RS loaded Camaro with a 2300 Magnusson Supercharger increasing the HP to 640. What a score ! This would be the perfect car for the project.

This is how she looked after bring her home in December of 2010.

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I began the conversion process in the winter of 2010. That winter I tackled the interior by removing the complete stock interior and installing a new light blue interior mocking the 69 Firebird Blue interiors that were available in those years. I had the seat rests embroidered and the center console was color co-ordinated with the same materials. Other interior mods included adding covering the door panels and the horizontal dash trims with a Blue houndstooth design colored vinyl.

I removed the steering wheel air bag and ground off the Camaro letters with a die grinder.

I then customized an original 1978 Trans Am steering wheel center cap to fit onto the steering wheel air bag. Blue accents were added to the dash and console areas of the car interior to carry the blue theme throughout the car. Some other touches were adding lighted custom door sill plates, chrome accents to the radio knobs and climate controls etc. Interior floor lighting (which is non-existent in newer vehicles) was added and all interior bulbs were changed to blue. I added a Trans Am decal and a Bird emblem form a first generation Trans Am to the dash.

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In the winter of 2010 I also added the Lambo doors as seen above and below. These doors work both ways. They open normally but also lift for the lambo effect. The fenders had to customized to make this kit work.

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In the summer of 2011 I drove the car as a Camaro on the exterior and a Firebird on the interior.

In winter of 2012 I began the exterior conversion. The first step was to get everything I needed together for the conversion. I ordered a body kit from a company located in Michigan whom is the injection molding business. As an aside to their regular duties they came up with a body kit that is meant to resemble the 77 78 Firebird Trans Am. The kit is a bare bones kit that you add your own touches to in order to make the finished product what you want. The kit has all the basics neededto build your own Pontiac.

As you can see in some of the build pictures below the car was stripped down tobare bones which included removing the front nose totally, the rear fascia completely, the front fenders, the hood, and all the small miscellaneous things associated with these areas.

As you can see in some of the pictures the main body needed to be modifiedsomewhat for the new parts to fit properly.

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The hood was a bit of a challenge because of the Supercharger. The Supercharger left little hood clearance and therefore no way of fastening the shaker to the motor. I took a 1978 Trans Am shaker and customized the shape of it a little and then mounted it to the underside of the hood instead of the motor which is where they are usually mounted.

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After getting al the pieces together that were to form the front and rear fascias, the hood, and the fenders etc everything was trial fit.

At this point, for some reason, I quit taking pictures as we progressed.

Anyway once we had adjusted everything and had the trial fit we were happy with, we removed everything and sent it to the paint shop for painting. I kept the exterior the same color as the original car.

After getting all the arts back re-assembly was relatively easy as we now knew how everything was to go. At that point all the finishing touches were added.

I changed out the wheels and added some TSW Vancias because I believe they somewhat resemble what a modern Snowflake wheel should look like.

I made my own center caps by mating the old with the new. I removed the Camaro decals on the brake calipers and painted them blue. I then added Pontiac decals to the brake calipers. The nose of the vehicle needed some Pontiac ID so I made a 1978 Firebird nose emblem fit the new nose.

I had a set of decals made to add the TRANS AM name to the car. Decals were added to the rear, the fenders and the hood. The decals are dark blue fading to light blue on the rear and fenders and the hood bird caries both the light blue and the dark blue in its design. The hood bird which was designed to resemble the 1978 hood bird was reconfigured to fit the new different size hood.

The engine bay was cleaned and then detailed by painting all areas under the hood that were unpainted. Adding some chrome here and there brought the engine bay to life. Engine covers were put together and painted to cover each side of the engine at the Supercharger. Custom decals were applied to the cover.

A wiring harness was added so that the driving lights stay on even when the headlights are on. The blue tinted headlight halos are now on with the driving lights that had the bulbs changed to a bluish color bulb.

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There are a lot of other little changes and subtleties that were added for person touch.

Here are a few pictures of the finished product. As far as I know, it is the only one in Canada. There are several versions of what I have done in the USA but all of them were built by large companies and corporations. I did this at home in my garage.

I may even start doing this as a sideline.

Anybody want one?

 

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Many many years of Firebirds and still counting

 





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Todd
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Guru

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Awsome car. What a job well done. A natural for car of the month.



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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this car is a great creation and ultra cool. Great job! When do they go into production!

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http://canadianponcho.activeboard.com/t51640378/timbuks-first-invader/ http://canadianponcho.activeboard.com/t63146560/timbuks-second-invader/  vancouver island



Poncho Master!

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A huge congrats and a very beautiful creation , it takes alot for someone to start cutting up a new car. I love it!!!

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BEAUTIFUL!!!! Great workmanship.



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Great thought into your car and congrats on your final result. I have a feeling you could keep yourself building some more of these if you wanted too. Looks great.

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Jerel


Poncho Master!

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wow, great job!! very impressive! next time i get back to canada hopefully i can see it in person

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1959 El Poncho!!


Uber Guru

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Awesome! Love that hood scoop. Today's kids don't know what they missed!

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"So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think... The good outnumber you, and we always will."  Patton Oswalt



A Poncho Legend!

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Very good choice    Congratulations  

Love the car    and the owner is very nice too  (Thats important)



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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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ill bet that car would blow burt renolds toupe off in a hurry!

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http://canadianponcho.activeboard.com/t51640378/timbuks-first-invader/ http://canadianponcho.activeboard.com/t63146560/timbuks-second-invader/  vancouver island



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Nice surprise for FC this month, great job Paul.



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Ray White, Toronto ON

1973 LeMans 454 "Astro-Jet"

Built March 9, 1973 - Oshawa ON

 






A Poncho Legend!

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Wow.

The fact that YOU did it is the absolute neatest part of all.

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1966 Strato Chief 2 door, 427 4 speed, 44,000 original miles



Poncho Master!

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Words fail me. If there is something beyond stunning individual work of (automotive) art [with mechanicals to match!], you have done it.

Thanks for showing the build details and the finished New Trans Am!

Dave

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56Pontiac  1956 Pontiac Pathfinder 2dr sedan, 496 - dyno'd 545 hp, stick shift, 4.11 posi - Hot Rod

  1964 Acadian Beaumont SD convert, 283 - factory 195 hp, Powerglide, 3.08 10-bolt - Cruiser

  2012 US-built crew cab truck - Daily Driver and Boat Trailering



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Looks great!

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1957 Pathfinder deluxe 4 door wagon
1961 Pontiac Parisienne bubble top Traded for a Harley sorry guys.

2007 Grand Prix Gxp

2009 Pontiac Montana SV6

Winnipeg MB 



Guru

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Now That's a CAR, beautiful, congratulations (I'm still ticked at GM)

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1967 Beaumont Custom

Canadian Poncho Supporting Member



Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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Super cool! A ton of great work there!



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Prince Edward Island

'64 Parisienne CS "barn find" - last on the road in '86 ... Owner Protection Plan booklet, original paint, original near-mint aqua interior, original aqua GM floor mats, original 283, factory posi, and original rust.



Poncho Master!

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Absolutely amazing car. Love all the little details and the interior that really make it a 100% conversion to a T/A. Great job!

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Member

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Wow , thats is fantastic ! i think it beats the camaro look front and back !!! congrats !

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A Poncho Legend!

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I agree. The back end treatment looks tougher than the Camaro.

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Todd
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Poncho Master!

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i gotta admit he sure did a good job on it now the firebird is back for 2012



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Addicted!

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Thanks so much for all the kind words guys... 

I think the liitle touches throughout are what make the car what it is ..

And yes I am quite seriously thinking about taking some of the offers I have had from others wanting me to do one for them. We will see as talk is cheap !

 



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JJ


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Your craftsmanship is far from cheep...What you have here is one heck of a cool car. Make two more Rare Birds. YOU DA MAN!!!

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Canadian Poncho Superstar!

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nice



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Poncho Master!

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Love it... is that a flip down front plate?

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1968 Beaumont 2dr Custom

1968 Beaumont 4dr Custom

1968 Beaumont 4dr (Parts Car)

 



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JUST frickin AWESOME PAUL !!!!!!!!!

top notch !!



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later...rog

AADD supporting member !!
I'm a collector...not a builder!!Located in sunny central Saskatchewan at the lakehead!
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