A '76 Nova LM1 (145 SAE hp) beating a breathed-on '68 Firebird? I'd never have believed...
At the time, the Firebird in question was a tired 326 F-body purchased from a police impound in St. Louis @edsnova. It didn't get "breathed on" until the infusion of my $4/hr cash (which was injudiciously applied in a kind of haphazard teenage-wasteland fashion). Cast pistons, a cam at least one size too big, a Holly carb I didn't understand, open headers, and a 3000 RPM stall torque converter on a Turbo Hydromatic 350 with a B&M trigger shifter didn't set the world on fire-- but I sure burned a lot of 93 octane. I never ran the Nova once the Firechicken was built, because dad wouldn't let me borrow his car once he saw that I drove my own in the kind of careless haste only a 17 year old boy can.
I didn't get engine building figured out until the next car: a '75 Monza with a legit 350 built right with good heads and a stout bottom end. That car put it down with a Saginaw 4-speed, and had a 3.73 rear end. I topped it off a Marvin Miller spray N20 spray bar on it just before I got married, or I probably wouldn't have lived to be 25 years old.
We were young once, and dumb. Perhaps youth isn't wasted on the young, but evidence seems to support the hypothesis in my case. I just wish I had 1/4 the energy I had then, without the angst.