When it comes to American cars congenital in the 1970s, there’s absolutely none added iconic than the Pontiac Trans Am. It had spoilers everywhere and a big beat sitting in the average of a awning with a ‘screaming chicken’ on it. It was a tough-looking car, and it was fabricated alike added badass acknowledgment to its starring role in the Smokey & The Bandit films. Acknowledgment to the on-screen exploits of Mr. Reynolds and his Pontiac, the Trans Am became the car to accept in the backward ’70s – and it aloof had to be atramentous and gold.
The Trans Ams of this era had appearance by the boatload, but the accuracy of the amount is they didn’t accept abundant achievement to aback up their looks. This wasn’t absolutely the accountability of GM or Pontiac in particular, as about all American cars of this era were appealing atramentous in the achievement department. In the backward ’70s we had the Mustang II and Corvettes with beneath than 200 horsepower.
By this point the billow movement had neutered best of the achievement that fabricated the beef cars so great, and admitting actuality one of the best able cars you could buy at the time, a backward ’70s Trans Ams would calmly be outrun by its earlier counterparts. Remember, this was a time with catalytic converters but no ammunition injection.
Of course, that didn’t stop untold numbers of bodies from falling in adulation with the Trans Am afterwards watching Burt Reynolds accelerate it beyond the argent screen. One of those bodies was Gregg Hamilton, a youngster from New Zealand who would abound up to accept absolutely a career in the motorsport world.
Gregg’s specialty is rallying, and he’s been complex with the action for 22 years now. His resume includes stints in Japan with Tein’s assemblage team, adventures with Toyota Aggregation Europe in Germany, Prodrive in the UK and added afresh he’s become a cardinal amount in America’s assemblage scene.
He’s been in the States for a decade now, and in that time he’s formed as a chief artisan for drivers like Dave Mirra, Travis Pastrana and of advance Ken Block. Gregg has absolutely formed with Ken on about aggregate he’s done over the aftermost bristles years and is now chief tech on the Hoonigan team.
You ability apprehend Gregg to be prowling the streets in some array of rally-bred AWD machine, but he’s absolutely been active out his American dream with a brace of V8 annoy burners. His circadian disciplinarian is a C6 Corvette Z06 and again there’s his Trans Am.
“Moving to America agency I can accept a Trans Am,” Gregg says, and he best up the car from a agent in Alabama appropriate afterwards he relocated from New Zealand in 2005. And while he admired the way his atramentous and gold Pontiac looked, he wasn’t as aflame about the way it drove. “They array of drive like a tractor” he says, and the ability from the 403 cubic inch Oldsmobile-built V8 beneath the awning larboard a lot to be desired. Thus began Gregg’s adventure to transform the Trans Am into a car that collection as boxy as it looked.
Gregg started off with basal stuff. He rebuilt the aboriginal motor with college compression active and a added advancing cam and swapped out the b automated chiral for a chiral gearbox. But the big advance came back Gregg begin an commodity in an old affair of Hot Rod annual about a DIY ECU bureaucracy alleged MegaSquirt. He adapted the motor to ammunition bang application a custom assorted with a brace of ITB setups for a Hayabusa motorcycle. And with the new ECU and ammunition bang he’d additionally be able to add a brace of turbochargers to the mix.
He’s back afflicted over to a 5.3-liter LS motor bureaucracy he denticulate from a friend’s dad’s junkyard, and the Gen III baby block’s mod account includes artificial pistons and rods, an LS9 cam, a Holley mid-rise assimilation assorted and Subaru 525cc ammunition injectors.
The turbo bureaucracy uses a brace of 68mm Garrett turbochargers with TiAL wastegates, custom manifolds, a custom intercooler setup, and a ambush bankrupt arrangement with big sidepipes for the able blowing look.
With the big access in power, the drivetrain has additionally accustomed affluence of upgrades forth the way. The chiral is ZF 6-speed from a Corvette, while both the clamp and flywheel accept been upgraded and the rear end houses a set of 4.56 gears.
To get the Trans Am administration a little beneath like a tractor and a little added like a sportscar, Gregg’s additionally made a cardinal of improvements to the anatomy and abeyance including upgraded advanced ascendancy arms, adjustable advanced dampers, a Flaming River council box and Global West rear springs.
Stopping capabilities were additionally abundantly bigger with a set of C6 Corvette Z06 brakes all about – 14-inch rotors with 6-piston calipers up advanced and 13-inch rotors with 4-piston calipers in the rear.
As for the exoteric administration of the car, looks were the affair that drew Gregg to the Trans Am in the aboriginal place, so the changes made to the anatomy accept been kept at a minimum.
Key modifications accommodate a set of custom rear fender flares which Gregg fashioned himself, as able-bodied as a taller factory-style rear addle-brain which he additionally advised and built.
Inside, the Trans Am has accustomed a few upgrades, but annihilation so far as to abate its account as a artery car back Gregg wants to go out for a cruise.
There are a brace of Summit Antagonism brazier seats with antagonism harnesses, and army on the birr is book affectation which helps Gregg accumulate an eye on the additional V8’s vitals.
Despite the massive transformation the car’s already undergone, Gregg’s not yet done with the project. Next on the agitation account is an IRS conversion, which he affairs to architecture application Corvette uprights. For now it’s aloof a amount of award time to assignment on the car alfresco of his active agenda traveling with Ken Block. Alike in its accepted form, Gregg says the car could accord his Z06 a run for its money in the achievement department.
Not alone is Gregg active out the American dream with a car he fell in adulation with as a kid, he’s created article all his own out of it – architecture and designing aggregate he possibly could along the way.
To us Gregg’s Trans Am a absolute reimagination of an American icon, application the attending that fabricated the car so iconic in the aboriginal abode while abacus the achievement its badass angel has consistently been calling out for.
Now where’s that cowboy hat…
Mike GarrettInstagram: [email protected]
Photos by Larry ChenInstagram: [email protected]
Gregg Hamilton’s Hoonigan Trans Am
EngineGM 5.3 Gen III V8, artificial rods and pistons, LS9 cam, abundant duty springs, Holley mid-rise assimilation manifold, Subaru 525cc injectors, 2x Garrett 68mm turbos, 2x TiAL wastegates, Subaru pop-off valves, custom turbo manifolds, custom ancillary pipes, Mishimoto radiator, cyberbanking addition control, air-to-air intercooler, custom intercooler piping, agent oil cooler
DrivelineZF Corvette 6-speed transmisison, 11lb flywheel, McLeod twin-plate clutch, 4.56 rear end
Suspension/BrakesGlobal West advanced high arms, Speed Tech advanced lower arms, Speed Tech uprights, bifold adjustable advanced dampers, Global West rear springs, Flaming River 12-1 council box, C6 Z06 14-inch advanced rotors with 6-pot calipers,C6 Z06 13-inch rear rotors with 4-pot calipers
Wheels/Tires19×10.75-inch XXR 530 wheels, Hankook tires 295-width (front) 305-width (rear)
ExteriorFull repaint with branch actual Trans Am graphics, custom rear over-fenders, custom rear spoiler, LED spotlights
InteriorSummit Antagonism brazier seats, Netami harnesses, antagonism council wheel, book affectation bluetoothed to ECU
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