When you last saw our Project Snowball (September ’10 issue), the third-gen Firebird had its floorpan remodeled to safely accommodate a race seat and its six-foot-tall driver. An S&W rollbar was then installed to give some roll-over protection during open track days, and to safely mount harnesses. Prior to that we had installed a BMR Fabrication suspension, front and rear, but before we could re-install Snowball’s LT1 we had some high-tech upgrades for the interior. Some time in the last 22 years our ’89 Formula received a state-of-the-art stereo and alarm system, and by state-of-the-art, I mean steaming pile of wiring fail--combined with cracked connector housings, corroded terminals, and bad grounds. We knew we needed to fix this.
Since it’s hard to get motivated to restore a 22-year-old harness, we decided a couple of minor mods were in order--we are going to ditch all of the OEM wiring and switch over to an ISIS Multiplexing system, fundamentally changing the way we modify and use the Formula, allowing upgrades like push-button start or even letting us use an iPhone as a key fob. The side benefit is that this system will also help reduce weight and increase the reliability of the electrical system. The factory instrument cluster is getting tossed to make room for a multi-function display, which will further simplify the under-dash wiring allowing us to monitor a full suite of parameters without taking our eyes off the track. Heading into uncharted territory, we are working with Vintage Air to switch out the entire OEM HVAC system for a Vintage Air Gen IV Magnum, which will reside completely under the dash, dramatically cleaning up the Formula’s firewall while keeping us cool at track days. Finally, a complete insulation, sound deadening, and overall interior resto out of the Classic Industry catalog will put the finish on the Formula’s cockpit.