H-body owners are the only people who actually know what it’s like to own one. Despite that, a lot of people who have never owned an H-body car have their (negative) opinion ready about them. Is it just a well-known fact, or are they talking about things they don’t know about? Let’s find out.
What’s your name, location, and occupation?
Tom Grover, Terre Haute Indiana US, Regional Operations Manager for a retail outlet.
What H-body vehicle do you own?
1979 Pontiac Sunbird
1980 Buick Skyhawk with the Roadhawk package (parts car)
How did you end up buying it?
Found it on Ebay in Georgia. My son Boyd wanted a Mustang for his first car. The price of auto insurance for a Camaro or Mustang was sky-high, but I could get him in a ‘79 Sunbird cheap. It had a 1968 327 in it already.
There are a lot of bad stories about the H-bodies around. How do you feel about these stories? What is your personal opinion about these cars?
Some of the stores are true, but most are just a exaggeration over time. These cars were a quick response to a fuel shortage in the US. As a fan of late 70’s Pro Stock drag racing as a kid I loved the Vega. My dad bought a new 1977 Skyhawk. I loved riding with him in that car.
Do you think these cars will have a real future, and will they ever become collectors cars?
No, I think they will be harder to get replacement parts for. I think you will see fewer and fewer stock collector-type cars. They just will not hold any value.
What is the worst thing about these cars?
Lack of after market support. Due to a small demand, it’s not worth the after market to make parts for this car. And when they do, the price is high. I often joke that H-Body guys are cheap, that’s why we have H-Bodies and not Camaros or a Chevelles.
What is the best thing about these cars?
The best thing is the same reason for no after market support. We never see anyone else driving one. We get asked all the time “what kind of car is that?” Some folks know the Monza, but not the Sunbird.
You mentioned drag racing; did you buy it with the intention to drag-race it?
Yes, I wanted something my son Boyd could drive on the street as a daily driver and have fun with at the track.
What are the most important modifications?
Since this car is a unibody, I know getting sub frame connectors installed was a big help.
What’s your best time?
7.50 @92.56mph in the 1/8th with a 60ft of 1.69.
Share a favorite story from your past and a goal for the future.
The first time I took my son Boyd to the track to drag race his car he was a little nervous. I had to let him know that if something happened to the car we would fix it. I also let him know that he couldn’t make a mistake that someone else had not already made. After he made his first pass he had a smile from ear to ear – he was hooked for life.
Share one of your favorite tips/tricks/ideas.
If you not sure how to do something ask. You will be able to find a car guy someplace – down the street, at the track, or online – car guys love to help folks willing to try.
Would you consider yourself a gearhead? What does that mean to you?
Yes, the ability to make a car work differently then it was first designed to.
What do you enjoy most about being a car/motoring enthusiast?
That moment when it “works” what ever works is on that project.
Where can people find & connect with you?
Flathead_52 at msn.com
A big thanks to Tom Grover and his son Boyd! It’s good to see that there are still people that make sure cars like these keep existing and prevent them from ending up at the scrapyards. After all; it’s a part of the American automotive heritage! We’ll do an update on the results Tom and his son Boyd make in the near future.