BBT Fabrications 1969 Firebird
From Dakota Digital
The versatility and functionality of hot rod builds the past several years has increased dramatically. Thanks in large part to modern technology and manufacturing processes that have improved substantially. Better quality of parts, stronger and more reliable, dependable, and appealing to the eye as well. It’s not uncommon to find a quality built machine putting on 2,000 plus miles on a single road trip or sight seeing adventure in a matter of a week or 10 days. Some of you, don’t put 2,000 miles on in an entire year on your toys!
When Troy Gudgel of BBT Fabrications in Mahomet, IL and his customer Brad Sather got together with this 69 Firebird 6 years ago, I don’t think versatile and functional were part of the drawing board conversation, but what was on the top of the list for Brad was, 200 mph! Some have their sights set on a trophy, some are looking at a nice comfortable Sunday driver and some just want to go fast! Down in Blytheville, Arkansas, the East Coast Timing Association features sanctioned, paved land speed racing, similar to Bonneville Salt Flats, just no salt, and half mile or full mile times instead of the 9-mile course at Bonneville. Oh, and one other thing, this all starts from a dead stop.
Murphy and his always present “Laws” attended the races with Troy and Brad in April and October of 2022 also. Fighting a 30 mph head wind on some passes, and dealing with an all-aluminum 1,400 hp, 482 cubic inch Pontiac engine that liked to eat head gaskets were just a few of the high points on their trips down south. Troy did tell me they clicked off 203 mph just past the traps on one run however, he’s pretty confident the head gasket was out at that point too. This Firebird is literally breathing fire, and it’s got 200 mph in it all day long. They’ll get there.
There is a long, long list of modifications that come with this Firebird. The one-off machined parts alone is a chapter all in of itself. In the cockpit is a custom machined bezel that Troy provided the computer rendering of to Dakota Digital where the Custom Shop fitted a one-off custom built HDX gauge system into. That along with our Holley interface module for the Dominator ECU, made the integration seamless. The analog speedometer sweep goes up to 200 mph, the digital TFT screen will take Brad past that all the way up to 255 mph!
To add to the stress of trying to hit 200 mph last year, in July of 2022 at the Good-Guys Nationals in Columbus, OH, the ‘bird was crowned Good-Guys Street Machine of the Year. This Firebird is a true, “show and go” car.