The striking tri-color striping...
The striking tri-color striping that adorned the hood and Shaker is carried underneath the front windows. The LeMans Sport louvered windows and rear deck spoiler let everyone know this isn't your typical A-body.
With all of the pieces accounted for, Pete told his sons that he wanted to restore the car and finish it this time. The family moved to Bethel Park, just south of Pittsburgh, in 2000. Once Pete was settled in, the Can Am was disassembled, "bagged and tagged," and Dave began working on its body.
The front fenders and rear quarters were replaced with the pristine N.O.S. parts. "Most of the car had some rust on it, so having fresh panels to install made the task much easier," says Pete. Next to go on were the junkyard doors. They were sanded and smoothed before final prep.
Once Dave was finished with the bodywork, it was sent to Pete's friend John Ganner in Pittsburgh for paint. Two coats of Dupont Epoxy primer were shot onto the bare A-body, followed by block-sanding and Dupont sealer.
"T/A 6.6" signifies that this...
"T/A 6.6" signifies that this is a Pontiac engine, and this car wasn't sold in California. Just like the Trans Am, the Shaker scoop is sealed off due to drive-by noise regulations. While 200 hp wasn't remarkable by any means, it was still a soild Pontiac 400 that was begging to be modified, and it melted the tires.
John mixed up a batch of Cameo White Dupont basecoat and then applied four coats of the white tux, followed by clear. After that, it was treated to 1,500-grit and 2,000-grit wet-sanding before being finished with 3M Micro Finishing Compound and Hand Glaze. Once the paint was done, N.OS. bumpers were hung, and Dave applied the stripes and decals.
Can Ams could receive three different interior trim colors: Black (code 19), White (11), and Firethorn (71). Firethorn trim could also be selected with white-vinyl seats (code 97R1). This Can Am was code 19R, meaning it came with black-vinyl bucket seats. "I had a complete new carpet from GM for the Can Am," Pete says. "I sent the car to my friend Jerry Berberich in Pittsburgh to have the seats recovered and the carpet installed." Everything else in the interior was restored using the original parts, down to the dash and center console.
Moving onto the suspension, Pete's son Mike brought in his expertise. Much like the rest of the car, Pete had an entirely N.O.S. suspension from GM ready to replace the tired bushings, springs, and shocks. All around the car, Mike replaced each piece with all-new parts. Pete's Can Am came with the body-color Rally II wheels, which measure 15x7 and now have 225/70R15 BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires mounted to them.
The Grand Prix-sourced dash,...
The Grand Prix-sourced dash, which gives the Can Am some of its sporty personality, played an important role in the car's demise. The Grand Prix was so popular that every available dash was needed, and that meant all dash allocations to the Can Am were cancelled.
Mike then opened the W72 T/A 400 engine. Inside he found scored bores and an engine in need of a good clean-up. He disassembled it and sent the block off to receive a 0.030-over bore. When the block was back from the machine shop, the larger 4.15-inch forged pistons filled the holes. They're attached to the stock rods and stock 3.75-inch-stroke crank. A stock replacement 274/298-degree duration 0.364-inch-lift hydraulic cam was then slid in, along with the original 1.5:1 rockers, and new lifters, pushrods, and springs. The original Q-jet and intake manifold sit atop the unported 6X heads. Factory exhaust manifolds, pipes, catalytic converter, and a single muffler were reinstalled.
It's hard to say how long the restoration took, but Pete agrees, it was a while. Not very many restorations go into this much detail, and few include many brand-new parts from GM. This car is very special to him because he was able to restore it with both of his sons. They were both there for him over the years as he needed "this and that" done.
"Now I use the car strictly for show," he says. "I have one of my sons drive the other Can Am to most of the shows that we go to, and it was a big honor for me when this one took First Place and the Firethorn took home Second."
What's an even bigger accomplishment is that the first show it ever entered was the Ames Performance Tri-Power Nationals show in 2007, where it took home Best in Show and Editor's Choice. With the amount of time and attention Pete and his sons put into this build, it deserves all the credit it has received and will garner in the future.