STREET MACHINE OF THE YEAR
POTENT PONTIAC! BBT FABRICATIONS SCORES GOODGUYS 2022 PPG STREET MACHINE OF THE YEAR WIN WITH BRAD SATHER’S TURBOCHARGED PONTIAC-POWERED ’69 FIREBIRD!
Since finished by the talented crew at BBT Fabrications led by shop owner Troy Gudgel, Sather’s twin-turbo ’69 Firebird has kept the throttle floored…quite literally. After debuting the Firebird at the 2021 SEMA Show last November, the BBT Fab crew spent the winter meticulously going over every square inch of Sather’s Firebird in preparation for some land speed racing in the coming Spring where the Firebird stopped the clocks at 197mph in a standing mile, and that was against a 30mph headwind. The goal was 200mph for the weekend. Admittingly against the advice of the engine builder they added a few too many pounds of boost to try and hit that mark and ultimately wounded the engine. But that didn’t deter the BBT crew, or Sather, from moving forward with their eyes on the Goodguys 2022 PPG Street Machine of the Year title. The engine was yanked out and loaded into the back of a truck headed to Carma Performance for repairs the following week, and the Firebird roared to life just days before heading to Columbus for the 24th Summit Racing Nationals presented by PPG.
With the performance side of this street machine lined out, let’s look into how this potent Pontiac came to be. The foundation is a steady and smooth Roadster Shop FastTrack IRS chassis fitted with Penske coilover shocks front and rear and one off 19×9.5 and 19×12 wheels whittled by EVOD with Wilwood 14-inch 6 piston disc brakes on each corner. The wheels are wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport tires – 265/35/19 up front and 345/30/19 out back.
Butler Performance was tasked with building the Poncho powerplant; they are the ‘go-to’ shop for Pontiac power. It produces an estimated 1,400 horsepower from the 482 c.i. block topped with Edelbrock cylinder heads, MSD ignition, and a ton of one-off machined parts and pieces from EVOD including the intake and valve covers. BBT fabbed the stainless headers and exhaust system. A Billet Specialties accessory drive and Ron Davis radiator keep the fluids flowing. The power is put to the ground through a McLeod RTX clutch and Bowler T56 transmission.
There’s not much of the original Firebird sheet metal that was not touched or tucked. From front to back and top to bottom the BBT crew did what they do best and masterfully worked sheet metal into bare metal perfection before Relic Restomods laid down the PPG Mclaren Racing Green paint. Even the paint was built for speed. Some of the body mods include sheet metal front & rear air diffusers, a full belly pan, widening the fenders 1.5-inches, fabricated rockers, a scratch built aluminum hood, altered quarter panel body lines, flush mount glass, a custom rear deck spoiler, and so much more. Those modifications are paired with custom machined hood vents and front grill from Brad’s shop, ESP Spares, as well as BBT’s door handles and side view mirrors available from their parts store. The McLaren green paint is accented with a black chrome finishing from Advanced Plating.
Diving into the cockpit more one-off work was preformed with a slough of custom machined interior pieces done in-house at BBT Fab and at ESP Spares from the gauge cluster trim surrounding the one-off set of Dakota Digital gauges to the speaker grilles, AC vents, and pedals. Phil Cato with Cato’s Custom Upholstery worked the Moore & Giles Leather over custom bucket seats and center console and laid down the sanitary black carpet. A custom steering wheel from Sparc Industries and Vintage Air climate control round out the interior details.
Some may think that after securing a 2022 Meguiar’s Top 12 title that the mission is complete. But for Brad Sather and the BBT Fabrications crew they fell 3mph shy of a complete mission. So it’s back to Arkansas for another go at breaking 200mph this time with O-ringed cylinder heads, upgraded internal engine parts, and hopefully not nearly as strong of a headwind. We can’t wait to hear what they report back. Congratulations to Brad Sather, BBT Fabrications, and everyone else who had a hand in the build process on this ’69 Firebird, the 2022 PPG Street Machine of the Year!
Text by: Steven Bunker
Photos by Michael Scheuren/Street Machine Central