photos by: the author
Ben Miller Builds a Show Stunner Out of a Family Heirloom
The Pontiac Firebird is one of the most popular pony cars on the planet. A structural twin to cousin car, the Chevy Camaro, it has a legacy all its own. Whether you want to cite some of the iconic version, like the original ’69 Trans Am, or SD-455 from 1973.
Of course, there were other Firebirds and Trans Ams that would leave a lasting impression on gear heads the world over, solidifying the legacy of the marque. One such example is this silver ’67 Firebird owned by Ben Miller of Owensboro, Kentucky.
Sprayed in a shade of PPG Silver Ice, it lends a subtle but attractive style that one could easily consider timeless. Apart from a front spoiler and a set of 18-inch wheels wrapped in Nitto 555 rubber, you wouldn’t think there was much in the way more than a traditional Pontiac engine under the hood. But, you’d be mistaken you made that assumption.
Pop the hood, and you won’t find a 350 or a 400 Poncho — nope. What you will find, is a 5.7L LS1 that’s been lent by a prematurely-departed ’99 Trans Am, fittingly enough. Ben, who has a history of building S-series GM trucks, originally planned to drop in a 406-cubic inch Small-Block Chevy.
But one trip to the Holley LS Fest around 2015 had changed everything for Ben. Witnessing how the engines can get down live and in color, totally changed his outlook on the modern mill, and his plans for the ’67 Firebird he had inherited from his grandmother — who had owned it from around 1970, and drove it as recently as the late-90s. His dad had daily driven the car for a few years after that but the years had finally caught up with the car, and it was time to finally park it until a restoration could be performed.
After he scored the aforementioned LS1, he didn’t want to simply toss it in — with the engine already out of the car and fully exposed, Ben took the opportunity to step it up a little bit. This included a Holley oil and a Tick Performancecamshaft. To take it a step further, he implemented a cold-air intake tube and a high-flow element air filter.
To add some additional ponies, a set of Hooker long-tube headers feeding into a pair of 2.5-inch exhaust tubing through Magnaflow mufflers fit the bill. They also improved the soundtrack quite substantially as well. Ben relies on a 4L60E for shifting duties, that houses a 3800-stall torque converter. The GM 10-bolt with a 3.42 gear ratio lives out back. The whole thing has been calibrated with HP Tuners software for maximum performance, reliability and drivability.