Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday's Muscle Car

This is a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am which belongs to my son, Jeff. He has owned it for (mumble, mumble) years, and most of that time it was torn apart, with most of the components and millions of parts stored in boxes in the garage. Jeff has meticulously put this 4 speed car back together with a Buick 455 motor, all new custom interior, and lots of extras that were never on the original. The final step to road ready  is painting and replacing the interior. Here it is fresh out of the paint booth. Soon, I'll post pictures of the final product! (A black Trans Am like this one makes an appearance in Killerwatt)
This is a second generation Firebird, Trans Am. And for those of you burning to know what that is:

The second generation appeared for the 1970 model year as a mid-year introduction on February 26, 1970 - but was officially designated by Pontiac as a 1970 model, not a 1970 1/2 as many sources have reported through the years. Replacing the coke bottle was a more swoopy body style, with the top of the rear window line going almost straight down to the lip of the trunk lid. This body style was the longest-serving, initially with a large C-pillar until 1975; from that year, the rear window was enlarged. A substantial slant-nose facelift came in 1977, redone in 1979. From 1977 to 1981, the Firebird used four square headlamps, while the Camaro retained the two round headlights that had previously been shared by both cars.
The Firebird Trans Am with the 455 engine was the last high-performance muscle engine of the original muscle car generation. The 455 engine first made its appearance in 1971 as the 455-HO. In 1973 and 1974, a special version of the 455, called the SD-455, was offered. The SD-455 used the left over components from Pontiac's 366 NASCAR engine and was built as a full bore racing engine producing over 540 horsepower and was then toned down to appease the EPA and to meet GM's strict horsepower policy which required all GM vehicles to hold the HP to under 300. As a result, the PMD engineers listed the SD-455 at 290 hp but in reality, was producing in final form, 371 hp SAE NET (Approx 440 gross horsepower). What made this engine unique was the ease with which it could be returned to its 500+ horsepower form. The SD-455 is often considered the last of the true muscle car engines and, by many, considered to be the most powerful factory Pontiac engine ever produced. Pontiac offered the 455 for a few more years, but tightening restrictions on vehicle emissions guaranteed its demise. The 1976 Trans Am was the last of the "Big Cube Birds" with only 7,100 units made with the 455 engine.
The 1981 Turbo Trans Am featured a 4.9L Turbocharged V8 Engine known as the 301T

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