Exhaust cutouts under the doors are one giveaway; the fat single pipes out the back are an
Of course, you can’t have all that power and not back it up. The stock T56 six-speed has been selectively reinforced with a steel 3-4 shift fork, bronze fork pads, billet slider keys, and carbon-fiber synchros. Additional upgrades include a McLeod twin-disc clutch, New Era Performance SFI-approved flywheel, and SFI-approved bellhousing and transmission blankets. A custom-length, 3.00-inch, chrome-moly driveshaft and Random Tech torque arm are also employed. The factory 10-bolt rear was swapped out for a beefy Ford 9-inch, stuffed with 28-spline Currie axles and a 3.50-cogged Detroit Locker.
A set of custom-made subframe connectors keep the unit-body from twisting on launch. The suspension is aftermarket except for the K-member, and includes a set of Eibach Drag Launch springs and KYB AGX shocks on all corners, plus TracTek lower control arms and Random Tech panhard bar. Rick Crain Engineering in Melbourne, Florida, handled all of the non-engine driveline upgrades.
Nick runs custom-made 18x9 and 18x10 Boze Touring wheels on his T/A, with wide 275/40-series Sumitomo HTR ZIIIs in front and 295/35-series Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3s in back. At the track he switches to stock T/A wheels with 295/50-16 M/T Drag Radials set to 20 psi. Despite a 3,850-pound race weight, he’s still able to clock 10.6s at 132 mph at Orlando Drag World, posting 1.55 60-foot times and shifting at 6,300 rpm.
He then drives home again, knocking down absurd fuel mileage. “I usually get between 25 and 30 mpg cruising on the highway at 80 mph,” Nick reports. “The six-speed certainly helps, and I only have a 3.50 rear gear, so the engine only turns maybe 2,000 rpm at 80 mph.”
The stock seats are still leather and all of the modern accoutrements remain, even the air
And inside? Complete comfort. Nick has sacrificed literally nothing to obtain his 10-second dreams: He still has power steering and brakes, air conditioning, leather seats, cruise control, and the factory Monsoon stereo system. Even the shifter remains stock; only a brace of A-pillar-mounted gauges, and a custom-installed DVD system for the passenger who is somehow bored with the notion of riding around the streets of Florida in a 10-second slingshot go beyond factory specification. There isn’t even a rollbar or cage, which HPP strongly recommends given the Pontiac’s e.t.’s and trap speed. The NHRA would concur—any car running quicker than 10.99 requires one.
And best of all, Nick can cover his turf nearly invisibly. Silver—the most popular color in the world’s automotive paint palette for a while now—covers the Trans Am’s voluptuous flanks. And everything seen here is stock, save for the US Exotics WS9 hood and the CETA mod to the rear bumper. We’re not saying that this super-sano slingshot isn’t a head-turner—clearly it is. But in everyday traffic, it has the ability to blend better than something wearing its abilities on its sleeves (or fenders, if you will) with bright paint and wild striping.
This $20 bill provides an indication of how deep the wheel lip is on the 18x10 Bose wheels
It can be, and has been, Nick’s daily driver, even with the mods that make it a 10-second screamer. “It’s still street-legal and 100 percent a street car,” Nick tells us. Although it’s been removed from daily-driver duty because he doesn’t want to rack up the miles, he very easily could. “It actually was my daily driver for about a year after I finished it. The turbo does not make it too radical for the street; it actually drives close to stock when you’re just cruising around. It’s only when you put your foot into the throttle that it really wakes up. And with the 383 motor, the turbo spools fast, so it is quite fun on the street.”
With cars like Nick’s Trans Am, the term “daily driver” need not be uttered with a contemptuous sneer any longer.
Nick would like to thank his parents, wife, Mike, Josh, and friends for putting up with his car obsession.