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A History of the Blue Demon by Fierochic88
Started on: 07-14-2008 11:05 AM
Replies: 141 (4929 views)
Last post by: Fierochic88 on 09-21-2021 11:49 AM
Fierochic88
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Report this Post07-12-2021 02:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by kslish:

Ok, now I feel old.....I don't have any gray hair in those pics....

Missed seeing the car at Carlisle. Had a little incident with a farm tractor that day that prevented the family's attendance.


We definitely missed you! Hope to see you next year or at Neffsville in September!
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Report this Post07-12-2021 02:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
While all the machine work and front compartment work was occurring, I also began a project of powder coating nearly everything possible! With the help of my father, who did the glass beading, and Jason Haughey, who provided the powder coating oven and knowledge of procedure, I set about on my task. After several trips to Jason's shop, and several frustrations, the task was finally completed and everything looked great in blue and silver!



With the block back and the parts on order Dad set about rectifying the starter hole situation. Luckily a co-worker, who also happened to be Dad's welding teacher, had just the set-up we needed and offered to assist Dad in making the repairs. A short time later the block was home and ready to be put back together while we prepared the rear compartment to be sprayed. Dad even took the time to make a custom fuel adjustment/regulator to save me the $ 150
from Jegs.

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Report this Post07-14-2021 12:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
It soon became evident that the car wasn't going to be ready for Daytona. I ended up going that year and taking my Dad's 85GT. We had a blast and it was good to step away from the project for a few days.

Other things continued to go in the background. Dad rebuilt the 4 speed transmission, which I wanted to stick with for its gear ratio and my goals (at that time) for the car.



We also began the process of reassembling the interior, a portion of the project that our friend, Dave Berkey (Fleabitdog) was instrumental in pulling together. We switched it over from the light gray, torn up stock interior to the darker grey later model interior from 86-88. This included the installation of a new dash, installation of ACC custom carpets on the floor and door panels, a new headliner and some much healthier looking OEM seat skins.





[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 07-19-2021).]

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Report this Post07-15-2021 07:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The engine was quickly assembled and ready to be put in several weeks before Carlisle.











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Report this Post07-16-2021 01:50 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Putting it in was a somewhat tense situation, but when the thing started and ran (after some adjustments), I've never seen such a sigh of relief from my dad.






Unfortunately. that relief was short lived ... after several days of running intermittently on the blocks while the timing and other things were adjusted, we heard the knock. For the first time in my life, I honestly thought my dad was going to blow up a car.

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Report this Post07-16-2021 03:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Amidst my tears of frustration, we yanked the engine back out of the car. Time was ticking and Carlisle was less than two weeks away. Apparently there was a miscommunication between my father and the machinist, and neither one had measured the bearings before they were put in - .1 really does matter! Thankfully, the situation was quickly rectified.

[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 07-17-2021).]

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Report this Post07-18-2021 10:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Meanwhile, Fleabit dug in and helped to install my new ACC carpet and dash from Mark Hoagland. My intlerior was really moving along ! The addition of the AusFiero carbon fiber stickers made it look even sharper.

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Report this Post07-19-2021 05:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
With about a week to go, the engine was finally back in the car and we took it for a ride! Boy did it run! Now it needed tires. This should have been an easy process, but like anything else on the car it was far from it! On the way to the tire shop the first time, the lug nuts nearly fell out of the wheels! More frustration, but within two days the tires were on and the car finally inspected and aligned. We were almost ready for Carlisle - just a decklid to install and we were ready to roll...or so I thought...



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Report this Post07-21-2021 04:52 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Shho13Click Here to Email Shho13Send a Private Message to Shho13Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
This is an awesome documentation Jen! Cool to read about the history of your Blue Demon!

------------------
"Discord"
Red 1988 GT under restoration!

Let's Go Mets!

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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Report this Post07-25-2021 09:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
We last left this story with only a deck lid left to be installed the night before Carlisle 2002. The car had attempted to be a holy terror up to this point but Dad and I had managed to not strangle each other and to create a well-running, decent looking machine. After painting the underside of the deck lid to match the car and the engine bay, we had left it off the car overnight in order to dry.




Finally everything was in order, and with a house full of guests we were ready to put the deck lid on, wash the car and hit the hay before cruising to Carlisle the next morning.

At about 8:30 that evening we put the deck lid on the car, with the assistance of Fleabit and Jncomutt (Jon Cromer). The lid lined up perfectly and latched quickly. Wonderful! (or so we thought).

I was now ready to clean up the car to take it to the show! So I went to pop the trunk....and all I heard was a clicking noise! Okay, something was obviously not wired correctly right? No big deal, I just took out the keys and went to unlock the trunk. Un-fortunately this would be no easy solution! The keys weren’t working! Now what? The newly repainted underside was on the car and it wasn’t opening! Mass panic set in. Dad was ready to pry the trunk open with a crowbar, or even worse, light the car on fire! At the urging of the helpers, and through my tears of frustration we were able to loosen the trunk bolts (luckily the grills were not yet in!) and pry the trunk upward with minimal damage to the new paint. When we finally managed to get the deck lid off, we discovered that a piece of newspaper was jammed into the lock mechanism from when we had painted the deck lid. We took it out, refastened the lid and Dad decided he was done with the car and went to bed.

[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 07-25-2021).]

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Report this Post07-26-2021 09:28 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The rest of the crew stayed up for a while cleaning their cars. By 1:30 I was so exhausted I said “the heck with the car, I’m going to bed." The interior, front compartment and engine bay were clean but the car badly needed a wax. By that point I only cared that the car ran and would make it to Carlisle the next day. Imagine my surprise when the next morning I woke up and found Fleabit down in the garage next to a gleaming Blue Demon! Flea hadn’t
been able to fall asleep so he waxed the car! I was ecstatic and happily packed everything up and assembled the crew to leave for Carlisle.

We had quite a large crew assembled that rainy morning. I was driving the Blue Demon, Jnco had his red car, my friend Tim was driving Dad’s car so Dad and Mom could take the truck and trailer (in case of emergency), Ken had come in from Pittsburgh with his red coupe, Flea had his car and Jamie and Joe had her 86GT. We drove up to the gas station and when I went to restart my car I had a dead bat- tery! Not a good way to start the morning!

We quickly remedied the issue and set off down Route 12. As many good things go wrong quick, luck was definitely not on our side! I had made it about 3 miles down Route 12 when all of a sudden my battery light came on and my car shut off! I pulled off the road under the Fifth Street underpass and parked the car, since it was pouring rain and I didn't want anyone working on it to get wet. Everyone else pulled over in suit and it was quickly determined that I had lost an alternator belt! Not good!

Dad quickly turned the truck around after uttering some choice words and ran home for a jack. We were determined to get to Carlisle with the car running on it’s own power! Dad returned and with some struggling on the wet ground, the alternator belt was reattached and we were finally on our way!

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Report this Post07-27-2021 09:32 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I certainly sounded like a strong candidate for the hard luck award, but as “luck” would have it someone else was actually worse off than me! Though the Blue Demon didn’t get a hard luck trophy, it did capture first place in its class, Custom Notchback. It was certainly the best college graduation present I could have received, as I had skipped graduation that day to attend Carlisle and it made all the headaches worth the trip! It was made even more special as my dad and sister also captured First Place in their classes. 19 years later, sharing this memory, I am still smiling brightly with the memory of this being one of my most special days with my dad.



We ended the night with a small party at my parent's followed by an epic post-Carlisle picnic the next day that was also a graduation party. Several weeks later, I drove it all the way out to the Dells for a tremendously good time - even when I locked both sets of keys in my trunk and learned that I hadn't reconnected the automatic trunk release. I also drove it to the last FOCOA show in Osage Beach for another wonderful time with friends and family. The show season ended with the Fiero Dutch Classic but my enjoyment with the car continued as it would be my near daily driver throughout the next year.

The next phase of this story will cover what happened when the now-christened Blue Demon met Matt - and Bill and Earl!
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Report this Post07-28-2021 09:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Throughout the remainder of 2002, I drove the Blue Demon almost daily. It took me to work throughout the summer, out with friends and on many cruises to High Street in Pottstown. I went to a lot of cruise nights and also frequently drove it that Fall/Winter as I started my new job as a high school History teacher. My students enjoyed seeing the car parked outside my classroom and we even did a Saturday morning "Cars and Coffee" type event so everyone could enjoy each other's vehicles.

That December, I met my future husband. I was getting ready to do some minor upgrades to the Blue Demon and in our first conversation when he asked what I was doing the day after we met, I am sure he was surprised when I replied, "Working on my car." Poor Matt didn't know that by dating (and eventually marrying) me, he'd inherit the possessed piece of blue plastic and all its' problems as well.

His initial introduction to the car was good - he enjoyed driving it as a switch from his 97 Tahoe and soon he was diving in to Fiero projects with Dad as we were at the height of Dad's Fiero fixing days. I'll never forget one night when I stayed late at school. Matt was on second shift and had driven an 86GT that Dad was in the process of working on. I left school at 10 and 30 minutes later, got a call from Matt that the car's alternator had gone bad and he was in the parking lot at my school. Thankfully, it was an easy drive there from my parents and I picked him up so he could return in the AM and get the car going again.

The plan for the Blue Demon in 2003 was paint. The car's original paint was a gorgeous color but it really needed to be redone. By this point in time, I learned that the car's previous owner before Steve and the dealership was a guy named Jeremy who lived and worked near Coatesville, PA. He painted helicopters for a living and the Blue Demon's color came from a helicopter paint line. Unfortunately, after Jeremy painted the car and had it running great he broke up with his girlfriend who decided to get revenge by stealing the car and trashing it. Her new boyfriend drove it on fresh yellow paint, burned off the tires, ran it out of oil and gas and then they gouged the seats and beat the exterior with a baseball bat. After learning all of this, I was surprised the car actually looked semi-decent when I got it. Jeremy was so depressed that he sold the car which is how it ended up on the path to me.
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Report this Post07-29-2021 09:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The next phase of the car was exterior modifications and the addition of Mr. Mike's seats. I knew that I wanted a lower extension on my chin spoiler and had just planned to do the traditional removal of one from a damaged nose, flip it over and add it to my car's front end. After sharing this idea with Matt, he came up with an even better idea - filled in the gap so it flowed better with the bodyline of the car!

Chopping up the existing nose with a pair of metal shears turned out to be the easiest part. The project got progressively harder from there as Matt worked to engineer a stable fastening system and install the flipped over nose ground effects in a level fashion. This took some plexiglass and fasteners but soon Step 2 was complete. Then came the real fun - molding it in. We knew the nose would need some amount of flexibility and the contour had to be just right. We employed a 3M Filler (I need to figure out exactly which one) and Matt spent a lot of time overseeing the process. When it was done, it looked great and I was eager to see it in paint!

Before we took the car to Waldorf, Maryland to get painted by Bill & Earl Sessions, we also installed the first ever produced Aus Stage 3 side scoops. I was super excited as we had done a photoshop run of them prior to their shipment from Australia and they looked sharp!

We loaded the car up and took it down to Waldorf. I knew the car was in the best hands with Bill & Earl and was excited to see its transformation! In true Blue Demon form though, the car wanted to throw a curve ball. Apparently the initial application of filler hadn't dried properly (okay, so maybe that wasn't the car's fault) and Earl had to dig it out and redo it. The end result was worth it though and it came back even better than ever!

[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 08-07-2021).]

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Report this Post07-30-2021 07:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Carlisle 2003 brought more Gilbert family fun with Dad, Jamie and I again capturing our classes. This was also Matt's first Carlisle and the first Carlisle for my good friend, Rob Bartlett (aka MinnGreenGT) from Minnesota. There weren't any memorable antics from the Blue Demon that time around (thankfully) but it would only be a matter of time before the Blue Demon showed its colors for the Fiero 20th Anniversary show. Even before the event, when I took the car to get appraised, I ended up flexing the front fascia and getting a small crack so it would only be a matter of time.



One of the highlights of the 20th Anniversary Show would be the road track event at Waterford Hills. By that point in time, I had drag strip experience under my belt but had never tackled a true road course, as the winding roads of Berks County PA didn't officially count (although we did run up Duryea Drive more than once!). My dad was a bit of a skeptic about the event - despite his largely fun-loving nature, he was always the person that said, "What are you going to do if you break it?" I, being the optimist" claimed that the car was well-built and it would hold up just fine. Of course, first we had to get it there.

The plan for show travel was entertaining to say the least. My dad and I would leave early in the morning and drive the Blue Demon to Pontiac. Matt and my mom both had to work, so they planned to leave that day after Matt worked a half day of his second shift position. I feared this would be interesting - my relatively "new" boyfriend being in a car for 10 hours with my mother, pulling a trailer loaded with my Dad's car. His 85GT ran perfectly fine but he wanted to bring the trailer just in case my car broke during the road track or drag strip events.

The Blue Demon was prepared. Less than 10 miles from home, driving along Lake Ontelaunee, I said to my dad, "Do you hear that? It sounds like bad hubs?" Dad initially shook it off but I was insistent. We decided that our best bet was to turn around and head home. When we pulled in, I woke Matt up from his nap to help my Dad pull the car apart and then began calling area parts stores. Thankfully, they had two front hubs in stock and within a short period of time my two master mechanics had Dad and I back on the road. Matt ultimately decided to take a day off work and my mom took a half day so they only ended up being a few hours behind us and our uneventful drive.

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Report this Post08-01-2021 03:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Our first major adventure in Pontiac was the track day at Waterford Hills. Since Dad's car arrived earlier than planned, he decided that it would be fun to partake in the event himself. More on that in a moment.



Our day involved 3 total runs. I overestimated my level of "balls" and signed up for the mid-range group and quickly realized that I was not nearly as brave as I had hoped I would be. Tearing around the track with so many beautiful Fieros with a new paint job on mine got into my head a little more than I had hoped. I realized that for the second round, I needed a little assistance and took up an offer from Steve, a Fiero owner and track instructor to accompany me on Round 2. I learned a lot of fundamental skills which I still utilize to this day!





By the time Round 3 rolled around, I was ready to go...and apparently so was Dad. He was in the group just before mine and as he went around the top of the course, we noticed a puff of smoke and a bit of hesitation on Dad's part. He had done in his #4 rod bearing, fulfilling an ironic predicted that a 20 year old car might have issues on the track...the funny thing was, it was his car not mine that would need to go home on the trailer. Still, as he pulled off the track, he had a giant smile on his face and knew that there would be another engine pull in the near future.

I guess this knowledge should have slowed me down a bit; however, I was determined to put my new found skills to use. I went out for this set of laps ready to go - and go I did. So fast down the backstretch that apparently I didn't engage my brakes quick enough before the turn. I soon found myself donuting into the grass - grateful that Rob Bartlett and his quick-thinking skills were behind me, leading him to avoid striking my baby. After I stopped, a little shaken up - I laughed, re-enaged and drove only a bit more conservatively through the remainder of the round.

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Report this Post08-02-2021 10:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The following night, the Blue Demon performed acceptably at the Milan Drag Strip. Although I don't have the slips handy, I believe my best run was around a 15.5 - the launch was slippery and given that the spot on the trailer was already occupied, I didn't want to beat on it too badly. Still, I had fun.

The entire 20th Anniversary was a fun event minus the food poisoning Rob managed to send my way. The remainder of that show season and the next few brought lots of great memories with the Blue Demon, including the one below.

[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 08-07-2021).]

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Report this Post08-07-2021 09:29 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I found some pictures of the underside of the front fascia, although I don't have the "in-process" photos yet.







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Report this Post08-07-2021 03:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
An update previously mentioned but not pictured, the Mr. Mike's seats we installed in 2003:



I also brainstormed the idea of embroidering the speaker covers with Dave Horst (aka Sktime) and am pleased with how mine turned out. I'll get a better shot in here shortly:



Leading up to the 25th Anniversary show in 2008, I was also able to obtain what I considered to be the finishing piece to the car's exterior - having received a set of rims for Mother's Day from my dog (lol) in 2004 - a whaletail spoiler from Fiero Warehouse. Many have nicely bolted on the spoiler in the past; however, in keeping up with the theme of the front fascia, we wanted to blend it in for a more dished look. Once this work was complete, our friend Russ Lagler applied the finishing paint coat (since he was a bit closer than Bill & Earl). It turned out great and really made the exterior look balanced.

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Report this Post08-07-2021 04:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Between 2009 and 2016, the car was unfortunately not on the priority list. In 2008, my sister and her then-husband bought a horse farm which required a lot of family support and time on the weekends. In ;ate 2011, we made the decision to relocate to Staunton, Virginia where Matt had grown up after falling in love with an 1839 farmhouse on 6 acres. We The selling of our Pennsylvania house, job transfers and move ate up most of 2012. We also sold our two project Fieros - keeping only the Blue Demon and my silver 88GT.

Moving into 2013, there was hope and desire to get the Blue Demon back out to events but my mom's breast cancer diagnosis followed by learning I was pregnant in early June 2013, removed the possibility of making it to the 30th Anniversary Show. Thankfully, 8 years later, I can report that my mom is cancer-free and we have a beautiful, now 7 year-old daughter who loves Fieros too!

My Silver 88GT was on the road and being enjoyed but the lack of an adequate garage at the house kept the Blue Demon in off-site storage until 2015. Finally, that Summer/Fall, the construction of our 40x40 garage was underway. I was ecstatic that the Blue Demon was finally coming home!





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Report this Post08-07-2021 04:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Fieros at Carlisle 2016 would be the Blue Demon's re-entry into the Fiero world. It was a special show for me because I went with my Dad. Unfortunately, having unloaded it at his house to do some last-minute cleaning, I misdirected Matt in reloading it on the trailer and did a bit of damage to the nose. It was frustrating but I was overjoyed to have it back out again and to be enjoying it. Little did I know, it would also be my last trip to Carlisle with my dad in the same car. He would go again in 2017, but he drove out separately and left earlier than we did. It was a great day and we had a lot of fun together.



The Demon returned to Carlisle in 2018 after a one-year hiatus in which the Indy made its debut. It was then put on the fastrack to the 35th where weeks of intense cleaning and tune-ups also included a repaint of the front fascia, and rear bumper. The paint has aged well over the past nearly two decades but some little items needed to be addressed and Earl Sessions was once again instrumental in making it happen. They even sent her home with a present!

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Report this Post08-07-2021 04:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Fierochic88

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The cleaning and minor upgrades were truly a family project:









[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 08-07-2021).]

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Report this Post08-07-2021 05:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The prep for the 35th Anniversary also brought a new tool into our lives - an Eastwood powdercoating gun! While there was a slight learning curve, Matt's agile nature quickly mastered it and gave my suspension a needed update before we headed out to East Peoria!





[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 08-07-2021).]

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Report this Post08-07-2021 07:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The 35th was a blast. We arrived on site on Wednesday to help with the preliminaries and got the car situated inside the ballroom on Thursday which allowed us to largely focus on helping with the show itself. Thankfully we were able to do this as other than some wiping (and painting a bolt or two), I was barely able to spend any time with the Demon. It ended up capturing first in its class - Heavy Custom, but more meaningfully being named one of John Callies Top 5 Favorite Fieros at the show. For those who don't know John, he was the lead on the Indy Pace Car project. His boss, Ben Schiewe was also a big fan of the Blue Demon and joked that he surrendered the pick of the car to John since he was older lol.





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Fierochic88
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Report this Post08-07-2021 07:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Fierochic88

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So this post, and these pictures bring us to 2019-20. I loved my car - it had gone above and beyond the expectations I set for it as a college kid back in 2002. It was a car that my dad, Matt and I were proud of and it had really achieved a lot. We never did end up mounting the turbo BUT the 3.4 was peppy and consistent. With nearly 200 ft. pounds of torque it was peppy off the line, and loads of fun to drive (as long as you didn't have to worry about the front end scraping!).











Sooooo now what? Time for that 5.3L Matt had mentioned a decade ago?
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Fierochic88
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Report this Post08-08-2021 11:49 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Matt has always been pretty forward thinking when it comes to modifications and more than 10 years ago, he started hinting at putting a 5.3L engine in the Blue Demon. At the time, I was thinking 3800SC or an Archie kit and he put forth the suggestion of the 5.3. Of course, life took over with us moving to Virginia and then having Ashleigh so the idea was put on the backburner. Then in 2019, we met Gary and Jestin Pickardt at Carlisle. Matt and I spent quite a bit of time looking over the LS4 conversion that Gary and his sons had put in his son Bryce's 88GT (aka Gary's car since Bryce was in school in California and Gary was driving it). The afternoon following the show, Jestin took me for a ride and I was definitely impressed! Ideas began to swirl but there were no immediate plans to get started as Matt had hoped to finish his SD4 Indy before embarking on any other major projects.

Then in January 2020, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As he neared the end of his life, Carlisle 2020 was cautiously moving forward. Gary had agreed to donate 2 sets of engine mounts - one for an automatic and one for a manual swap. As being that far from Reading and with Dad coming home from the hospital that day, we decided not to chance attending although Kristina Kahn graciously gave me a tour via Messenger. I also made an appearance in image alone thanks to Carlisle's show manager, Ken Appell.





Knowing that a 5.3L swap was in the future and the quality of Pickardt Performance mounts was outstanding, Matt arranged with Gary to be a "phone bidder" during the live auction. No one on site knew it was Matt but he ended up being the winning bid on the manual mounts and Project Blue Demon 2.0 officially had it's first part towards the swap. I showed my hand on Facebook but apparently no one paid attention ;-)

[This message has been edited by Fierochic88 (edited 08-08-2021).]

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Fierochic88
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Report this Post08-08-2021 04:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Although the mounts were purchases, there were still many decisions to be made, including timing. Dad passed less than a month later on July 21 - but he knew what the future held and thought it was pretty exciting. I promised hi the 3.4L would live on, just in another car, when the time came. A week and a half after he passed, Gary & Jenn Pickardt came up to PA to retrieve what at that time was the last Fiero at the Funny Farm, a gold 87SE that had potential for restoration but was more than we wanted to tackle at that time.

As we sat around the kitchen table at my parents, getting to know Gary and Jenn, the topic of the swap process came up. Matt and Gary already knew they thought largely along the same lines and with my 40th birthday approaching and my hoped-for trip to Prague off-the-table for the foreseeable future, an idea began to take shape. Later that night, we locked in with some texts and a few weeks later we had our first official planning call.

With Gary's schedule, and ours, the Fall brought forth the beginning of the parts acquisition process while Gary worked through some pending projects. We also tackled his daughter, Payten's car and jointly orchestrated the "Colin Build Project" which Gary christened the First Annual Jim Gilbert Memorial Build. (You can read more about it at bit.ly/ccsfiero



By winter, things were beginning to lock in and we rang in the New Year together with a project in sight!
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Fierochic88
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Report this Post08-09-2021 07:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
By January 1, we had a time table, a color scheme and some basic ideas figured out. Matt and I would tackle the entire preparation on the car's compartment, as well as the brake and suspension upgrades. We knew we'd need more whoa with the go! Gary and Jestin would prep the engine and cradle but in the meantime, we would do a test fit to ensure that the compartment was ready to go before we tackled paint. The time to order parts for the engine was approaching but first, I got a really cool Christmas present - unfortunately, it showed up on the joint account we share so I knew it was coming ;-)



This is the set from Fieroguru that can be found on his page at this link.

We went with the 300 lb spring rate and 12" kit.

The kicker was, with the project moving forward in secret I couldn't post about it online!!
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Report this Post08-09-2021 10:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for GPickardtClick Here to Email GPickardtSend a Private Message to GPickardtEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Fierochic88:

Although the mounts were purchases, there were still many decisions to be made, including timing. Dad passed less than a month later on July 21 - but he knew what the future held and thought it was pretty exciting. I promised hi the 3.4L would live on, just in another car, when the time came. A week and a half after he passed, Gary & Jenn Pickardt came up to PA to retrieve what at that time was the last Fiero at the Funny Farm, a gold 87SE that had potential for restoration but was more than we wanted to tackle at that time.

As we sat around the kitchen table at my parents, getting to know Gary and Jenn, the topic of the swap process came up. Matt and Gary already knew they thought largely along the same lines and with my 40th birthday approaching and my hoped-for trip to Prague off-the-table for the foreseeable future, an idea began to take shape. Later that night, we locked in with some texts and a few weeks later we had our first official planning call.

With Gary's schedule, and ours, the Fall brought forth the beginning of the parts acquisition process while Gary worked through some pending projects. We also tackled his daughter, Payten's car and jointly orchestrated the "Colin Build Project" which Gary christened the First Annual Jim Gilbert Memorial Build. (You can read more about it at bit.ly/ccsfiero



By winter, things were beginning to lock in and we rang in the New Year together with a project in sight!


Wish I would have gotten the chance to meet your dad, it would have been great to talk "shop" with him. Good thing we have Matt to keep us up to geek speed though!

Not every car is as nice as yours, but this is a great example of how it brings people together to share their passion in building these cars together. I look forward to many more opportunities to share your dads memories with the community.

[This message has been edited by GPickardt (edited 08-09-2021).]

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Trinten
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Report this Post08-09-2021 11:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for TrintenSend a Private Message to TrintenEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Really awesome to see you documenting the history of your car and family adventures this way.

Also pretty awesome how much all of you managed to get done yourself - and done so well!

Thanks for taking the time to type all this up and dig up accompanying pictures, spanning decades!! Not many people could do that.
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Fierochic88
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Report this Post08-10-2021 09:02 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by GPickardt:


Wish I would have gotten the chance to meet your dad, it would have been great to talk "shop" with him. Good thing we have Matt to keep us up to geek speed though!

Not every car is as nice as yours, but this is a great example of how it brings people together to share their passion in building these cars together. I look forward to many more opportunities to share your dads memories with the community.





That's what it is really about - the community! Project Blue Demon wouldn't be special if it didn't include how it all came together, that is what really matters. We can certainly take pride in the work we have done but even more important, we are doing it together and having fun along the way.

We are definitely excited for the next Jim Gilbert Memorial Build ;-) and everything else to come!
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Fierochic88
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Report this Post08-10-2021 09:04 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

Fierochic88

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quote
Originally posted by Trinten:

Really awesome to see you documenting the history of your car and family adventures this way.

Also pretty awesome how much all of you managed to get done yourself - and done so well!

Thanks for taking the time to type all this up and dig up accompanying pictures, spanning decades!! Not many people could do that.


I was lucky that I wrote down a lot at the time - and now, it's a little easier since we are working in fairly present day! Thanks for the compliments Vince, it means a lot!
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Report this Post08-10-2021 03:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fierojunkyClick Here to Email fierojunkySend a Private Message to fierojunkyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Really enjoyed reading through this. Will continue to follow along. The Blue Demon was always one of favorite notchbacks. I missed its Carlisle dedut in 2002 because of my wedding preparations. I believe I was at the show in 2001 fieroless and in 2003 with my white 87 coupe. I received third place for high mileage stock notchback in 2003. I thought I remembered seeing the Blue Demon in person then, and if my memory is correct, the weather that year was so miserable alot of time was spent in the car and not socializing.
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Report this Post08-10-2021 09:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fierojunky:

Really enjoyed reading through this. Will continue to follow along. The Blue Demon was always one of favorite notchbacks. I missed its Carlisle dedut in 2002 because of my wedding preparations. I believe I was at the show in 2001 fieroless and in 2003 with my white 87 coupe. I received third place for high mileage stock notchback in 2003. I thought I remembered seeing the Blue Demon in person then, and if my memory is correct, the weather that year was so miserable alot of time was spent in the car and not socializing.


Yes, I do believe 2003 was crappy weather. It seems like every other year back then it rained! Fortunately, we are at GM Nationals now and the weather is usually a little better although it is hot.

I hope you are able to keep up momentum on your project and join us next year! I'm cheering you on!
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Report this Post08-11-2021 07:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
By early January, the initial engine build was coming together. There were 2 false starts on which engine we had planned to use. The castaways weren’t bad engines, but ultimately a better option for the project came along. The engine would ultimately come from a 2006 Impala whose short lifetime led to a low-mileage engine for this swap.

One of the first major decisions I had to make was what type of intake would go on this build. The initial inspiration, aka Gary’s car, had an LS2 intake with a GTO engine cover. This didn’t look bad to me; however, it didn’t quite fit the vision I had for the car. I spent quite a bit of time looking at engine covers and toyed with one that might fit the Pontiac Racing theme but still couldn’t settle on something I loved. I also had hoped we could relocate the coil packs and get blanked valve covers so covering them up did not seem necessary.




Another thought was the TSP Velocity intake but aesthetically (yes, yes, I know) this also did not really hold my attention.




While most of the world was glued to the television on January 6, I was on the phone with Gary making an important decision. He had recently come across Brian Tooley Racing’s mid-range Equalizer intake. This was an option that he had not previously paired with an LS4 and it had several appealing features including a cathedral-port style mid-rise intake for better airflow which translated to increased mid-range horsepower. While horsepower wasn’t the driving force of this build, who doesn’t like a little more umph? The intake also had some options for MAP placement that worked well for the build and aesthetically fit my vision more than the other options.




Matt and Gary kept me in the loop on other decisions, including the choice of the LSXceleration Stage 2.1 NSR Cam (218/227 .523/.523 HR112+3) which allowed for the use of the full 58x conversion paired with the E38 computer out of a 2008 Corvette. This setup is coupled with an LS2 timing chain cover. The LS2 Throttle Body was also brought in as part of the build. The galley was upgraded to include GM Performance LS7 Lifters and lifter trays with full DOD delete.

As winter moved along, I knew I was in good hands but I was beginning to get anxious. Our initial plan was to get the old engine out by February so we could begin the necessary engine bay modifications; however, a cold winter coupled with a slow-moving garage insulation project kept pushing the window back.
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Report this Post08-12-2021 10:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Finally, by the end of March, the insulation was in and it was time to get rolling. Matt was simultaneously doing a rebuild on his SD4 (because two engines at once is always better right?) so that was pulled first and then it was transitioned onto a roller cradle to be moved into the Blue Demon's parking spot while the Demon occupied the main work bay.

As the time to pull the engine approached, I was dealing with some conflicting emotions. By now if you'd read this whole thread, you know that this began as a father-daughter project. I was excited about the LS4 and it now being a husband-wife-friends project but I was sad about pulling the 3.4L that I did with my dad. Since he passed away last July, he would not directly be a part of this build but he was on my mind each and every day that we worked on the car.

I made a series of videos if anyone wants to see them documenting some thoughts on this phase of the process:

Before the "Last" 3.4L Start

Thoughts Before the Key Turn

Getting It Rolling

After taking the car outside and getting the Indy moved over, Matt ended up pulling the Demon in. While I know he will say he won't miss the 3.4L at all, I'm sure it was bittersweet for him too.

The Final Drive
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Fierochic88
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Report this Post08-15-2021 10:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Engine removal here has become a pretty quick task...although the Gilbert-Goss record with 3 people is right around 30 minutes, we weren't in a rush to complete this task. Despite the car's reputation, it went pretty smoothly:











The next step would be to remove the decklid to begin work on prepping the compartment and hinges. Thankfully, one of Matt's friends stopped by just in time as the decklid with the whaletail was a little heavy.
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fiero go fast
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Report this Post08-19-2021 12:59 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fiero go fastClick Here to Email fiero go fastSend a Private Message to fiero go fastEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Great write up so far Jen! I look forward to reading the rest.

This actually caused me to sign onto the forum, which I probably haven't been on for 10 years. I'll need to start perusing again.
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Report this Post08-19-2021 09:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by fiero go fast:

Great write up so far Jen! I look forward to reading the rest.

This actually caused me to sign onto the forum, which I probably haven't been on for 10 years. I'll need to start perusing again.


I love that ;-) We would love to have you more regularly!!
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Report this Post08-19-2021 09:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Fierochic88Click Here to Email Fierochic88Send a Private Message to Fierochic88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
With the car draped, removal of the engine compartment's "pieces parts" began. This was mainly my task as Matt was meanwhile engineering other things...





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