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Friday, March 25, 2016

This ’79 Pontiac Trans Am is Now a Twin-Turbo Beast


Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.

No matter the job, no one really likes to take their work home with them; that even includes pros like New Zealander Gregg Hamilton, a long-time veteran of the Toyota Team Europe, Prodrive, and Subaru Rally teams. 
Having worked extensively in rallying, the last thing he wanted was to tune up his own Subaru. Instead, the rally vet followed a lifelong passion when he moved to the United States and bought this car, a ’79 Pontiac Trans Am, at an airport in Alabama.

“I always wanted a V8, manual, rear-drive—and then there was Smokey and the Bandit,” says Hamilton, “When I moved here to America, [I realized] this is the only place in the world where I can really own one.”

This isn’t your average “Bandit” Trans Am though… far from it. Hamilton has slowly built it up, cycling through engines, fuel injection, suspension, and he even crafted on a pair of big turbochargers. Nowadays it’s a certifiable beast. Take a look.

With a wild high-powered Pontiac like this in his garage, it should come as no surprise who Hamilton’s current employer is—Hoonigan Racing head honcho, Ken Block.

The Trans Am’s current setup boasts a 5.3-liter LS V8, nicked from a GM truck, replete with a new camshaft, ECU, fuel injectors, twin-plate clutch, and of course twin turbochargers now running 10 psi of boost. After all that, the Firebird’s body needed a freshening up too, so Hamilton fashioned a more pronounced tail and wider fender flares. New brakes, big sway bars, and a lowered suspension all file in underneath.

So how much horsepower does it actually make? “I don’t really know,” says Hamilton. What he does admit is that it “feels as quick as a Z06 Corvette.” We believe it.

Photo/Video Credit: Petrolicious