To you these may look like fuzzy, low-res photos of an old Firebird, but to Vietnam Army vet Richard Huntley, these images are priceless. Richard and his son Michael have been restoring this classic F-body for a very special reason. This car belonged to Richard’s son (and Michael’s brother) Richie who lost his life to a drunk driver on New Year’s Day 1996. Richie was just 21 years old.
This ’69 Firebird was Richie’s dream car and now Richie’s Dad and Michael are determined to finish it just the way he wanted to do it. When Edelbrock heard of Richard’s project, we had to get involved. What we did not expect is this response from Richard:
“My name is Richard Huntley. I live in Gustine, CA, and I cannot thank the Edelbrock company enough for the great job of rebuilding my son Richie’s 1969 Pontiac Firebird 400 motor. If Richie was still alive today, he would be jumping with joy with the way his car now performs. The Edelbrock Top End performance kit that was installed on his motor is amazing. I cannot believe the horsepower that this motor has. Edelbrock has taken away all the guesswork on how to build a high-performance motor. I installed an 800 CFM AVS2 carb and the motor feels like it is fuel injected!
“I want to thank your staff for helping with my son’s motor rebuild. You guys are great! I have been buying Edelbrock products for over 50 years and if someone is building a high-performance motor, I would recommend an Edelbrock Top End Kit. This package eliminates all the guesswork on how to build a high-performance motor. Thanks again Edelbrock!” – Richard Huntley
Richard says that he has fond memories of working on the 400 engine with Richie. “He and I were close together,” said Richard, and working on cars together brought them even closer. He told us that Richie graduated from Gustine High in 1992; he and his buddies had a band and Richie was the drummer. At the time of his death, Richie worked for PG&E. He was thrilled about the money he was making and was happily putting much of it towards his automotive passion.
Life for the Huntley family is not the same without Richie. We share this story just days before Father’s Day 2020 because it tells of the deep bond that working on cars can form between father and son, and how something as simple as a ’69 Firebird can hold the memories of a life held so dear. We are proud to play a small part in keeping Richie Huntley’s memory alive and we take this opportunity to repeat this solemn reminder: Please don’t drink and drive.