of Joseph Ridgeway
by Andy J. Greco
I recently got into the hobby of car collecting and enjoying muscle cars.
back in 1988 I was diagnosed with having Sarcoma, which is a rare form of muscle
cancer. After coming down with this sickness, I was depressed and very sick. A
very good friend of mine suggested as a form of therapy for me buy a muscle car,
as I have always enjoyed looking and driving them.
Hence in the spring of 1998, I started my search. Since my friend had a very
nice 1971 Firebird and I enjoyed it, I started looking for one. Unfortunately
there were none around that would fit my budget. Therefore I purchased a 1967
Chevy II, but my heart was set on owning a '70s model Firebird Trans Am.
During one of the many car shows I have attended, I came across a very rare
1971 Formula Firebird 455. The car has been restored from the frame up. It was a
bright red color with a HO 455 in it and a Hurst 4-speed. I asked the gentleman
if he would sell it and he said he invested over $20,000 in it. He was also not
interested in selling it. But after my constant phone calls, he decided to sell
it to me. The car was a frame off restoration, but since my cancer had left me
walking with a cane and no longer able to use my right leg.
My best friend, Steve had the 1971 Firebird with a turbo 400 and we did a
swap. I know that the car is much more valuable as a 4-speed, but need forced me
to switch it to the automatic. We then spent many hours buffing and waxing it to
bring out the increased shine that the stage one paint provided.
I have attended approximately 20 shows so far this year and have won over 14