CHICAGO -- John J. Nevin, who retired as chairman of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. at the end of 1989, plans to buy a controlling interest in the holding company that owns Budget Rent a Car Corp., the nation's third-largest car rental firm.

Nevin wouldn't disclose how much he will pay for a majority of the voting common stock of privately held Beech Holdings Corp. except to say that it will be "a significant part of my resources."

"The transaction has not been completed, but we hope it will be by the end of this month," he said.

Chicago-based Budget is expected to have corporate revenue of around $1 billion this year and systemwide revenue of $2.5 billion for company-owned and franchise operations worldwide, a company spokeswoman said.

It has 3,600 rental offices in 110 countries and territories. The firm has 1,200 locations at more than 300 airports in the United States and more than 6,800 company employees.

Clifton E. Haley will remain chairman, president and chief executive of Beech and Budget after the sale, Nevin said.

Haley was reported to be on vacation and could not be reached for comment. The company confirmed the agreement with Nevin, but officials refused to comment on terms of the stock sale.

Nevin said he will buy the Budget shares from Fulcrum II Limited Partnership, which includes the New York investment banking firm of Gibbons, Green, van Amerongen and members of Budget's management.

A source familiar with the proposed deal estimated that Nevin will pay around $1 million for the common stock. The company also has preferred shares and debt securities outstanding.

Nevin will, in effect, be a stand-in for Ford Motor Co., his one-time employer, the source said. Ford obtained an option to buy the stock "any time it wishes" when it provided most of the financing for Budget's management buyout last year, according to the source.