It was delivered in July 2009, and while it was a very cool car that he’d been thinking about for years, it was still a 42-year-old muscle car that had been dolled up just enough to pass muster on film. John immediately began to think about what the car would be like reborn as what it should have been in the movie ... a new engine, new transmission, braking system, suspension—virtually every system on the car reloaded, so to speak.

While he was getting a clear vision of what he wanted thanks to all those other Firebirds he’d paid attention to over the years, John knew he had neither the time nor the expertise to tackle a build of the magnitude he had in mind. This was going to require lots of talented help. Fortunately, John lives in North Georgia, home to one of the largest restoration parts suppliers for early Firebirds: YearOne.

Besides selling great parts, YearOne also runs one of the East Coast’s best hot rod shops, dubbed GhostWorks Garage. John knew they had the expertise, and obviously the parts on hand for his car, and he loved the idea of it being built nearby, so he spoke with YearOne’s Kevin King to discuss the vision he had for the car. Kevin told John that he would need to take a look at the car to decide if they had a worthy candidate on their hands—after all, movie cars aren’t known for always being quality specimens. John went to YearOne’s headquarters in Braselton to meet with King and GhostWorks designer Phil Brewer. The Firebird obviously had hidden issues to be addressed, but it passed inspection and they spent half a day talking about what it could become. The overall concept was simple; John wanted it to keep the classic Pontiac look true to the movie, but bring the build quality up and infuse modern interior, suspension, and driveline components that had a Matrix-esque, cyberpunk aesthetic to them. And, considering the car’s history, they already had the perfect name for what would become a thoroughly modernized ’67 that would have slid right into the dystopian world of the Matrix: Firebird Reloaded.

By The Numbers

1967 Pontiac Firebird

John Borrow, 39 • Cornelia, GA

Engine

Type: 427ci LS7 Chevy small-block

Block: GM Performance Parts (GMPP)

Rotating assembly: GMPP forged crank, 11:1 hypereutectic pistons

Cylinder heads: CNC-ported LS7

Camshaft: GMPP .591-inch lift, 211/230 degrees at .050

Valvetrain: LS7 1.8:1 rockers, 2.20 titanium intake valve, 1.61 sodium filled exhaust valve

Induction: GMPP LS7, custom ram air by YearOne

Oiling: LS7 dry-sump with Petersen tank

Exhaust: custom headers by YearOne with 1⅞-inch primary tubes

Ignition: stock LS7

Cooling: custom aluminum radiator with dual electric fans

Output: 505 hp at 6,200, 475 lb-ft of torque at 4,800

Built by: GMPP

Drivetrain

Transmission: Bowler Transmissions 4L80E with ShiftWorks modified stock shifter

Rearend: Moser 9-inch with Detroit Truetrac differential and 3.70 gears

Chassis

Front suspension: Detroit Speed & Engineering (DSE) hydroformed subframe with DSE-spec coilovers and splined sway bar

Rear suspension: DSE Quadralink rear suspension with DSE-spec coilovers

Brakes: 14-inch Baer 6P with six-piston calipers, front and rear

Wheels & Tires

Wheels: 18x8 and 18x10 Colorado Customs Lazear

Tires: 245/40R18 and 295/35R18 BFGoodrich KDW