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    My wife (Sam) and I had just returned from a vacation in Germany during July, 1999. I had gotten the bug to purchase a new car, and had my eye set on a BMW 318ti (don't ask me why). We were out in my 84 Firebird driving from car lot to car lot looking for the perfect BMW for me. With no success dealing with any of the snobby BMW dealers around Louisville, we decided to head home. On the way home, a guy in a beautiful black 98 WS6 passed us by and threw me a rev. I decided we should stop by and see what was going on at Cross Pontiac. As we pulled onto the lot, my eyes were drawn to a gorgeous red Firebird. The hood looked a little different, so my wife and I started over that way. As I got closer, I realized that the car was a 99 model Firehawk (one of the first produced since the LS1 was introduced, since there were no official 98 models). My mouth wide open, and almost in a trance, I ran over to the car to examine it. I peered inside, and saw that it was a 6 speed. At that moment, I forgot everything I had read, seen, or heard about the BMW. My wife knew that look, and we decided we should buy the car. It was a Sunday, and the dealership was closed so I tossed and turned all night. Ever since I saw my first Firehawk in 1991, I wished to own one myself. This would be my chance! The odds of finding a Firehawk sitting on a dealer lot were next to nothing, but it was there.

The next morning when I got to work, I called the dealership and asked to speak with someone about buying a Firebird. I was transferred to Jeremy Jones, who was their resident Firebird expert. After BSing with him for a few minutes, and reviewing the inventory they had, he hadn't mentioned the Hawk. I asked him if they ever got in any Firehawks. He paused for a second, and said "we actually have a used one sitting on our lot". "Used?" I asked in a confused tone. "Yes, we got it in a couple weeks ago. It has 9500 miles on it. It's a red six speed." After arranging to meet with Jeremy later on that day to test drive it, I called my wife to coordinate.

We arrived at the dealership, and Jeremy grabbed the keys. I put the key in, and cranked the ignition. The LS1 roared to life, and a grin slowly spread over my face. We went for a short drive, and after seeing no problems with how the car drove, we went back to the lot to talk some more. I opened the hood, the trunk, and all the doors so I could examine it thoroughly. It was evident that the car was used. Someone had spilled some soda on the carpet, the interior was still pretty dirty, and there were a couple scratches in the paint. However, having been around cars my whole life, these were things I would be able to easily correct. I pointed out all the issues, hoping to help reduce the asking price (they were asking full sticker for the car, even though it was 3 months old and had 9500 miles on it (plus the 5 miles I put on it test driving it).

We went inside, and Jeremy asked me if I would like to buy the car. They were asking $33,000 and I told him that was way too much money for the car. I advised him of my best offer or I would simply go and order a brand new one from somewhere else for a little more money. He said he would ask his manager, but seriously doubted they would come down that much. After waiting about 5 minutes, he came back and told me the best they could do would be $31,000. My wife and I decided we would look elsewhere. As badly as I wanted that car, there was no way I would pay close to full sticker for a used car.

I was understandably dejected. I moped the entire evening. I second-guessed myself. I told my wife if I could just get them down a bit more I'd be over there to sign the paperwork immediately. I didn't sleep well that night either. However, when I got to work the next morning, my phone rang almost immediately. It was Jeremy, and he had been working with his boss some more, and their final offer would be right within my price range. I sat there in disbelief. I told him I would be over after lunch to sign the paperwork. Sam and I got to the dealership about 3pm, and I told them not to clean my car or let anyone drive it. We signed all the papers, and we drove off. I absolutely couldn't believe that I was only 26 years old and driving my dream car!

Here's the ad I scanned out of the local Autotrader:

I was able to contact SLP (Street Legal Performance) for some information on my car. They sent me a letter documenting the build number (156) and the build date (February 4, 1999). My car was built with the base Firehawk package, chrome wheels, and embroidered floor mats as the only options. Original sticker on the car with SLP options was close to $34,000.

I have since done many, many mods to the car for both appearance and performance. While some may think modifying a rare car like this is a bad idea, I wouldn't have it any other way. I kept every stock part from the car, and if I ever decide to put it back to stock will have no problems doing so.

I later ran a Carfax report on my car. You can access it by clicking HERE.

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