The 1978 Firebird Formula 400, with all the original parts, remained in one Grand Blanc family

FLINT, MI – It’s uncommon to see an “original survivor” at a classic auto show.

Many of the classic cars on display have had engine upgrades, revamped interiors, and newer radios.

But the 1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 breaks the mold.

It has never been altered – it looks the same way it came out of the factory over 40 years ago.

To qualify as a “survivor” vehicle, most people would agree that a vehicle must have the original paint job, interior, and parts.

Firebird takes it one step further on its Back to the Bricks Rolling Cruise that finds hundreds of classic cars moving back and forth, up and down Saginaw Street – from Flint to Grand Blanc.

It has only been preserved for about 70,000 miles after remaining in a garage for most of its life.

Brad Besser, who now owns the car with his father Dennis, said preserving the historic car was important to him.

They bought it from Denise’s sister, Nancy Edwards, who died of cancer.

It was her desire to keep the car in the family after buying it in the Flint area before moving to Indiana.

Besser, a resident of Grand Blanc, told MLive-The Flint Journal that many have called him and his dad to buy the car, valued at $30,000 about a decade ago, but it’s a “family car.”

“It’s just how I am and who I am. It’s a family car. So, I’d just like to keep it in the family,” Besser said. “You know, if it was just a car that I bought from a stranger, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But because it’s been in the family since it was brand new – we definitely want to keep it.”

The Firebird has a unique white and gold design with Hurst Hatch T-tops, a standout feature, as most of that year were made from Fisher T-tops.

In 1978, many went for red and black designs, making these colors stand out.

Sitting inside the driver’s seat is like jumping into a time machine with wood paneling around the ports and folding windows as well as antique furniture around the cabin.

It has a huge 400 cubic inch engine that has been preserved over the years with all its original parts.

Since it is a conservation project, doing vehicle maintenance is sometimes difficult.

Many 1978 Pontiac Firebirds have been converted to round-track vehicles over the years due to their radius, horsepower, and aggressive, racing-friendly geometry.

“(Authenticity) means quite a bit to me actually. I love modified cars — I have a modified car sitting at home, but I choose to drive it now,” Besser said. “It’s just a private car. Some people walk by and don’t pay that much attention, but it’s special to me.

“Anyone like Pontiacs immediately realizes that they are completely authentic.”

Unlike some classic cars for sale during Back to the Bricks, this Pontiac never leaves the Besser family.

“He will stay in our family forever,” he said. “I will pass it on to my son. He will pass it on to his son. We are not planning to get rid of him.”

Read more on Flint Magazine:

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Back to Bricks Main Event starts tonight with Cruise N’ Car Show

The $4.3 million grant will help Flint MTA replace the last two diesel buses in the fleet

Former Genesee County School Official Responsible for CSC

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