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About the Project
Written by Frank Gore   
Thursday, 27 October 2005 16:02


The main purpose of this site is to document our current project; the complete build of a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am WS6/W72. The car had 3 previous owners before we got our hands on it. It came from the factory with a Pontiac 400, 4-speed manual transmission, Fisher T-tops and no A/C. The engine is the W72 variant with 6X-4 heads (higher compression ratio). Marketed power figures from Pontiac are 220 horsepower and 320 ft/lb of torque. The block has previously been bored 0.030" over, but the heads were never touched.

As far as second generation Trans Ams go, this one is in outstanding shape. It's never been restored, other than a poor paintjob. It has almost no rust whatsoever, each previous owner always kept it stored indoors and never drove it in the rain or snow. The front seats aren't original, they're Recaros out of an '81 Turbo Trans Am. And the radio was missing altogether when we acquired the car. Everything else is original and unmolested.


There are a few remarkable things about this car;

(i) First, it's got the relatively rare 6X-4 heads, rather than the more common 6X-8 castings. This means the combustion chambers are smaller, which makes it much easier to get the desired compression ratio.

(ii) Second, it's a Canadian car with a Pontiac engine, which is rather rare in itself. Most Canada-bound Pontiacs were fitted with Chevy engines. Canadians often call a Pontiac engine an "American motor" because it was an engine typically only available in cars sold in the US.

(iii) Third, it has a manual transmission. While just about all Pontiac-powered Trans Ams in 1978 had a manual transmission, very few second generation Trans Ams in Canada had manual transmissions at all.

(iv) Finally, this is a WS6 model, which implies sportier swaybars and rear springs than the regular model.

Our goal for this project is to end up with a classic muscle car with world-class performance, but with modern comfort and convenience for the driver and passenger. To accomplish this, we came up with the following guidelines;

  1. First-class paintjob, but otherwise unaltered exterior to retain the classic second generation Trans Am appearance

  2. Modern suspension, steering, chassis and brake components to improve the already-impressive handling of this car

  3. Comfort and convenience items to help improve the driving experience without affecting the overall attitude of the car

Basically, we want this car to look, sound and feel like a Trans Am should, perform like a modern sports car, and be a pleasure to drive everyday.

Let the project begin!

Last Updated on Monday, 26 October 2009 18:44
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