1985 Pontiac Firebird - CHP Garage


0903chp_02_z 1985_pontiac_firebird Sean_haggai 2/5

Rooster Call
Sean Haggai
It's hard to stay motivated in this crazy world, and all one needs to do at times is look around to realize how good we've actually got things here. Sometimes though, it takes a certain individual from out of the blue to bring you back down to Earth and make you appreciate what we've got full-heartedly. Who knows? This might inspire you.

I don't know; it's probably the industry, and from time to time I find myself networking. Randomly, I almost always find myself at a new shop meeting new people in and around the Los Aangeles area late at night. I Meet new faces and gain new contacts in the world of high performance. However, my visit to Gizmoto HPM was a breed of performance I had never encountered before. Don't get me wrong-I'm a die-hard race fan and get chills at the sound of a big-block, but 15,000 rpm, 180 mph, and two wheels is just rad in my book. It wasn't the bikes with air-bag systems, reprogrammed ECUs, and wild airbrush schemes that I found awe-inspiring though. No, it was the "spill your guts" kind of conversation I shared with the 26-year-old owner, "Gizmo," that I found most interesting.

As most shops are wrought from their owner's love and passion for the industry, Gizmo built his street-bike shop from scratch. Sadly though, after a judicial system mix-up, Gizmo was launched into an undesirable situation across state lines to fend for himself and make ends meet in another country-alone and penniless. Stateside, things rapidly disintegrated. While Gizmo had been sent away and unable to make payments, he lost everything. His brand-new Chevy Silverado SS had been reposesed, his bank account dwindled on court fees, and his apartment had been emptied and also lost. Still, the shop remained, and thankfully the business survived through the help of his close associate, Alex Araiza.

Seemingly against all odds, he's back! Stronger than ever, and ready to get back to the grind. As Gizmo explained his dire situation, it was apparent he wasn't ever going to give up. It's not always seen, and it was refreshing to know that in times of need, the human spirit will strive forward no matter what the circumstances. Even though Gizmo's hobby may lie on the opposite end of the spectrum, the idea of never giving up is universal. At times we can still find comparable situations-even at a street-bike shop.

0903chp_04_z 1985_pontiac_firebird John_nelson 3/5

John Nelson
Automotively speaking, I've been getting reacquainted with an old friend over the past month or so. Circumstances have dictated that I drive my '84 Corvette on a daily basis for a little while, and that's mostly-though not always-a good thing. I had an unfortunate encounter with the back end of a Buick on my L.A. commute some time ago. Even though most of the broken 'glass got fixed fairly quickly, my affection waned and I let the car sit unused for a quite some time.

When I got back into the thing, all it took was a new battery and it fired right up. I quickly remembered why I dig this car, my first cool, high-performance ride. It's a bit loud and cramped and has a bumpy ride, but none of that bothers me too much. It has also got a torquey motor, and it's a precise handler-it does point-and-shoot driving better than a 25-year-old car has a right too.

On the other hand, it is two-plus decades old and had sat for more than a year, and at the risk of personifying the thing too much, I don't think my Vette is happy about being neglected for so long. It's sort of like one of those old friends you don't talk to for a while. You're glad to be rekindling an old affection, but it can also be awkward, as things are different than they were before.

Then again, maybe I'm just making too much of the fact that it's an old car and stuff goes wrong with old cars. The downtime didn't help the condition of the suspension bushings and tires, that's for sure. So far, my cooling system has gone haywire-I didn't know it at the time, but my cooling fan went out, and as I nursed the car into the work parking garage, one of the plastic radiator end tanks cracked wide open with a sound like a shot, then proceeded to decorate the garage floor with coolant.

My brother and I replaced the thermostat, the fan switch, and the fan relay, but not the fan, because it appeared to be working. It wasn't, and I ended up changing it during my next trip to the office. I hate working on cars in the Auto Zone parking lot, except for the fact that needed parts are conveniently located. On the other hand, it was satisfying when my '84 was repaired and I stomped the pedal and whipped it out of the parking lot. I still dig driving it, I'm not selling it, and I'll fix whatever breaks. It's the least I can do for an old friend.


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