Interior is awesome. Luckily the car was not a t-top car so there were no leaks, no musty smell and the rugs are in great condition. I haven't even shampoo'd them. I did replace the headliner with a whole complete nicely used unit since it was sagging. Sail panels were replaced too. I installed a great condition console lid, I repaired the console which are known to separate over time. Dashpad is original and perfect. All missing or improper screws and bolts were replaced with OE ones. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the interior a 9.
Exterior. Like many Van Nuys cars from this time period, it had paint fade according to the original owner. So, about 3-4 years into ownership, the car was repainted under warranty. Since then, the paint has held up pretty good. I spent considerable time bringing the shine back. The paint is NOT perfect. There are many scratches and gouges that you can see in the pictures but I decided to leave them as-is and not try to hide them nor did I want to repaint the car. There are some minor dings and some wear marks around some molding and edges. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the paint a 6 for its age and for spending its life outside!
Body and frame. Please look at the pictures and judge for yourself. There is minor rust here and there, mostly in suspension, rear pumpkin, etc from sitting outside for years. Overall, the body and frame are in really good condition. Anything I could repair myself, I did. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the body and frame a 7. The car was never in an accident that I can determine, nothing showed on any reports, and I've spent considerable time to this day with the original owner to think anything to the contrary.
Engine compartment. Pretty amazing. I went through and took apart everything, replaced what was missing, routed everything to its proper spots, repaired what needed it, replaced anything broken, rotted, cracked, etc. I took great care at replacing parts with either OE parts or parts and builds that exactly matched what Carroll used when he built the VHO. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would given the engine compartment a 9.
Sound System. Once again, I opted to keep it original. I had the optional factory GM Delco AM/FM/CD player repaired to perfect working condition. All nice OE factory speakers were put back in and all wiring was spec'd and run exactly like Carroll did it for the VHO package. I got many of the parts from Carroll himself. The sound system sounds good. Perhaps not how we would build one today but for 1989, this sound system was ear blowing. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the sound system a 9.
How does it run? Great. Once again, whether it was a new battery, a fuse, new plugs, a relay, a solenoid, etc, I made sure to get this car in excellent running condition. She starts great. Runs great. Runs very cool for a Formula 350. Trans cooler works great. The idle is excellent. Not perfect but excellent. I believe the idle could be perfected with a set of larger fuel injectors than stock and I still may make that change, depending on the timing of the car selling. On a scale of 1 to 10, for running and driveability characteristics, I would give it a 8.
Note: Every time I take this car for a spin, I shake my head as to how well this car runs.
Transmission. Having owned several GM sports cars from this era with auto transmissions (which I always despised), this one is awesome. It has a B&M shift kit that really helps. It does not jerk or bang. The shifts are smooth and precise. I am actually amazed by how well the transmission feels in this car. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the transmission a 10.
Performance? It's a beast. 400hp/475TQ and 3500 or so pounds.....what do you think? Smokes the tires at will which I've only done honestly to make sure there was enough fuel pressure and air being fed to the car under all driving conditions. I have not and will not race or beat this car.
What does it need? Alignment, maybe brake pads and calipers although the car brakes strong but with a slight pull when braking, maybe tires although these appear to be in good shape, struts/shocks and maybe some new bushings if I were to keep the car. That's it.
Is there anything from the original Carroll VHO package that does not work? After 22 years, the "brain" on the Jacobs ignition has gotten iffy. Some days it works, other days it does not. Fortunately, there is a nice connector near the distributor that allows you to easily switch between Jacobs and stock. I have it on stock ignition and the care runs great. Because of this, the toggle switch mounted on the front end filler panel does nothing when its on factory ignition. The solenoid valve for the water injection system was replaced with a modern valve spec'd and sold to me by Greg Carroll himself.
Is there anything from the original Pontiac Formula 350 that is not stock? The original owner installed a B&M Shift Improver Kit. Anyone who has any experience with a TH700R4 auto transmission from this era will tell you that this mod was a great move on the owners part. Additionally, the factory torque converter was replaced with an aftermarket B&M torque converter. I have the original TC also. The original owner does not recall the stall rpm but after my driving and testing of the car, the car is so streetable and tame that it must only be about 2800 or so. It's not noticeable to me at all. Car has about 5,000-10,000 miles on it with this TC.
Fluids. Mostly all synthetic. Mobil1 for engine oil. GM Dex6 for the trans. RP Max Gear Oil for the rear. New trans gasket and fluid. New rear diff gasket and fluid. Under visual inspection, I could not find one sign of damage or abuse to the trans or the rear gears. Original owner took care of this car.
Why are the miles so low? Car was driven by original owner's wife for about 4-5 years. There was a divorce. Car was then driven for about 2 years. A medical issue, then the car sat in a driveway for 15 years!
How was the Formula 350 equipped, anything to note? Dealer installed CD player option, Front and rear disk brakes, G80/GW6 limited slip with 3.27 ratio, rear shade still in great shape, power mirrors, rear defogger, cassette holder, WS6 package, WX1 two-tone DELETE i.e. all Black, fixed antenna.
How is the tail? The original rubber OE tail was bad. It disintegrated as many of them do. I found another OE rubber tail, had it repaired and refinished and put on the car. The rubber tail is in great shape. The paint has some bubbles. Given its age and having an original OE rubber tail, I am going to leave it that way. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the tail a 8.
What else was repaired, replaced or rejuvenated? Intake and plenum were cleaned, all supercharger aluminum was polished, engine and bay were cleaned, exact VDO fuel pressure gauge was replaced, original hood gauge bezel was replaced with another original one from Carroll, VHO-package coolant expansion tank was replaced with the exact match, many hoses (rubber and cloth-braided) were replaced with exact matches, battery tray was replaced with OE replacement, Jacobs ignition was rewired, OE coil was replaced with OE, headlight motor internal wear parts were replaced so they now work flawlessly, water injection pump was restored, K&N filter replaced, air intake hose replaced with exact match, any rusty metal part in front end bumper or engine area was either replaced or repaired, a used but original and rare hood blanket was installed, original front and side speakers installed, nicer tail light center "bird" piece installed, I replaced the exhaust pipe that runs from the cat to the muffler, the OE muffler is like new because the owner took it off but kept it and ran a flowmaster that I took off when I got the car, new spark plugs and all new fluids, new rubber/felt outer lower door window sweep moldings and much much more.
2009 GT, Kooks 1-7/8 Mids, RPM Tune, Borla, Vararam, HSRK, P&P TB, UPR CCan, Mobil 1, Speedhut Gauges, FE3, Whiteline, Pedders, Summer MRR on 255/295, Winter Beyern on 245, CTS-V Fr Brembos, SS Rotors, Akebono Pads, Rolled/Pulled Fndrs, BMR Sways, Spohn Links & Arms, Sprt Pedals, Pont Shifter, Camaro Trans Pan, Pont Mats, Glove Box Light, MSM Lower Grills, CF Tail, GXP Diff, VG Fin, 20% Tint, 6000K HIDs, LED Fogs, GrafxWerks, Black Trim/Mirrors/Grills, Diffusr Lens/Amber Lens/Lowr Tails Tint
Last edited by Agose25; 11-17-2012 at 02:13 PM.