Blown Bird: Blu McBride’s “Savage” 1969 Firebird

There’s something about taking a car from a bare chassis to a fully running racecar that provides a high level of fulfillment. Blu McBride is in the construction business so he knows a thing or two about creating something from nothing…so building a car from a pile of parts is a task he was willing to tackle.

The 1969 Firebird McBride is putting the finishing touches on is known as “Savage,” and it looks like it will fully live up to the name.

McBride’s first experience with high-performance automobiles came in the form of a Chevelle that’s been a part of his life since he was just 14 years old. The Chevelle has spent its life as a racecar since McBride has owned it and has been raced both on the street and the strip. Having such a strong attachment to the Chevelle and not wanting to cut it up pushed McBride to look for another car to build as a full tube chassis-style car.

After looking around, McBride found the Firebird with a full chrome-moly chassis already complete — the perfect starting point for his Savage project. McBride brought the car home to his shop and began to work on finishing the car up to meet his needs. What grabs your attention right away is the blown, 632 cubic-inch Shafiroff Racing engine that has a giant 8-71 supercharger on top. Behind the engine is a Powerglide transmission and a 9-inch rearend with Moser center section. A full set of QA1 shocks keep the Firebird’s ride smooth, while Wilwood brakes will bring it to a stop at the track.

McBride’s plan is to keep the Savage street legal with a registration, tags, and full insurance. Over the course of the build, McBride has done a majority of the fabrication work on the car himself, outside of the chassis. He hand-built almost all of the aluminum parts for the car in his first attempt at ever doing this type of work.

For McBride, making the switch to something other than a Chevelle goes beyond just not wanting to cut up a car he’s owned for so long — it was an opportunity to build a style of car he’s had his eyes on for a while.

“I’ve always loved the 1969 Camaro, and when I decided to build a chassis car, this was a great chance to build one. Coming across this Firebird worked out since I’ve always thought of them as a ‘fancy’ Camaro anyway. This car fit the bill, since it still had steel floors, steel quarters, a steel roof, and a steel firewall. I don’t plan on painting the car until after I’ve gotten the suspension dialed in how I want. The goal is to have the car completed this spring so I can get it to the track to run some no-prep and on the streets, too,” McBride says.

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With a big and rowdy supercharged motor providing the power, McBride’s Firebird will surely live up to its Savage name when it hits the track. Taking the time to build the car on his own has provided McBride with a nice feeling of accomplishment, and he can’t wait to see what will happen when he unleashes the Savage on the competition at the track or on the streets.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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