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Cars Without Coffee: Mike Kidd Likes Firebirds

The Pontiac Firebird had its run from MY ’67 to ’02. While its platform-mate the Camaro endures, there are those who find the Firebird more compelling
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Mike Kidd has worked at Tier 1 supplier Brose North America, since 1999, when he joined the company as an engineer. Today he is the engineering director for the doors team, which means that he and his colleagues deal with things like all of the parts that go inside a door, from glass runs and wiring harnesses to speakers and latches.

Kidd is also keenly interested in what’s inside his Pontiac Firebirds, of which he has three: a 1997 that he bought new and a 1969 and 1970, both which he’s worked on in his garage far more extensively than the ’97.

“I’ve always been a Pontiac guy,” Kidd says. He suggests that this is probably based on the influence of his mother, who’d had a ’68 LeMans and an ’86 Firebird.

Firebirds and Camaros are fraternal twins, but Kidd says that he likes the styling of the Firebirds better. And he adds, “They are certainly a lot less common.”

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1970 Firebird
1969 Firebird

(Images: Mike Kidd)

What They Are: 1970 Pontiac Firebird and 1969 Firebird (being prepped for paint)

Why They Are Cool: Kidd got the ’70 when he graduated from high school. He says it is a street car—but he also liked to drag race it. Then he decided he wanted to run it on road courses, too, so he modified the suspension and added discs all around. He replaced the flat stock seats (“If you go around corners, you hit the console on one side or the door on the other”) with Sparco seats that look vintage but have big side bolsters. There is a 478-cubic inch engine under the hood that produces just over 600 hp. It has a an overdrive transmission—“Unfortunately, it is an automatic”—but he says it allows him to smoothly cruise at 85-90 mph. “I’ve pretty much touched every part on that car through the years.”

Kidd bought the ’69 from a friend last year and he plans to transform it into a Trans Am car, swapping out the entire powertrain such that he’ll have about 550 hp under the hood and a Muncie four-speed transmission to handle the torque. He says compared to the ’70 “it will be a little more subdued.” He’s modified the suspension of this, as well, and put discs all around. “It is still a work in process.”