With the body and its panels freshly painted, Dave and his team began assembling the front subframe so Terry could install the engine and fit several other components before final assembly. "The subframe and associated suspension and engine components were sandblasted and powdercoated semigloss black. We installed urethane bushings from Kanter Auto Products, while Inline Tube supplied new stainless steel brake and fuel lines. All of the original bolts, the power brake booster, master-cylinder cap, and several miscellaneous pieces were refinished in their respective original zinc, cadmium, or phosphate coating by Industrial Plating in Omaha," says Dave.
The ceramic-coated exhaust...
The ceramic-coated exhaust system is comprised of a set of 1.875-inch-diameter Kooks four-tube headers modified by FCR to fit the Trans Am's chassis, and a modified 3-inch dual exhaust system featuring an X-type crossover, turbo-style mufflers, and chrome splitters from Pypes Performance Exhaust.
In January 2006, Dave trailered the rolling Trans Am chassis from his shop in Lincoln to FCR's shop in Omaha. Over the next few months Terry fabricated solid motor mounts, fit the Kooks headers and Pypes exhaust system, and then dropped the engine into the subframe. "Restore A Muscle Car had a large display at the World Of Wheels event in Omaha that March," recalls Dave, "and we wanted to include Craig's partially assembled T/A to show the extent we go to during a restoration. So we picked it up from FCR for the four-day event. Terry completed his portion that July, which gave us just enough time to finish it for the Trans Am Nationals in Dayton, Ohio."
Once back at Dave's shop, he and his team put in long hours readying the car for its late-August debut. "We had about three weeks to install the front clip, finish wet-sanding and buffing the paint, and then install the stripe-and-decal kit from Phoenix Graphix. We also had to install the exhaust system after it was ceramic-coated, along with the entire electrical system and interior," he says. "There isn't a bracket, plate, nut, or bolt on this car that wasn't refinished or replaced during reassembly. Our tech Jon Logue made sure everything worked correctly, was tuned and adjusted properly, and he troubleshot any issues. After that every square inch was detailed and we headed to Ohio."
Though it retains its original...
Though it retains its original 8.5-inch GM 10-bolt disc-brake rear, it has been upgraded with steel axles and an aluminum differential cover from Moser, a limited-slip differential from Auburn, and a set of 3.73 gears from Richmond.
Living With The Results
Dave says the T/A was very well received at the T/A Nationals, adding, "We got compliments from everybody." Craig too: "The car came from Dave's shop better than I ever expected. Those guys are just awesome," he exclaims. "The motor got a little out of hand with all of Terry's great ideas, but I couldn't be happier with the end result. It's one of the most responsive cars I have ever driven. It seems to wind like a small-block Chevy. And it's definitely a tire smoker! Everybody builds a Pontiac engine to replace the Olds, and nobody expects to see what's under this T/A's hood. It's just a fun car to take places and to be different.