With the advent of computer controls, electronic fuel injection, and overdrive automatics, it is now a lot easier to build performance without having to tear into the engine. Power can be gained from strictly bolt-on modifications.

Ed Kozinski of Piscataway, New Jersey, was a big fan of the SLP Engineering Firehawks and the earlier Firebird tuner cars that were built by the company back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He decided that when he found the right car, he would build it up the way SLP would have done it back then. He liked the idea that SLP’s parts were emissions and warranty-friendly, so he decided to keep things limited to bolt-ons.

Ed is no stranger to Pontiac performance cars and has owned several, including new ’65 and ’67 GTOs, a ’76 Grand Prix, and a ’79 Trans Am. He was also the owner of a modified ’89 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am that was featured in the infamous GTO versus GTA article that ran in our Dec. ’89 issue. That car ran a best of 12.1 at 115 and sent the GTO faithful into fits from which it took years to recover—we have the mail to prove it.

Anyway, after all of that, Ed started looking for a car that could serve as a daily driver and could also stand up to some occasional strip action. In 1993, he located a very clean ’91 Firebird Formula 350 from a newspaper classified ad and grabbed it. It was painted code No. 81 Bright Red with Silver Gray cloth interior. “I paid $7,900 for it as a two-year-old car,” he says. “It originally stickered at $17,866.”

The Formula was a nicely equipped example with a good balance of performance and comfort options. In addition to air conditioning, power windows, and door locks, the Performance Enhancement Group was ordered. It consisted of four-wheel disc brakes, engine oil cooler, dual converter exhaust, rear window defogger, and limited-slip differential with 3.23 gears.

At the time Ed purchased the Formula, much of the SLP Engineering engine upgrades were still available, so he added them one at a time. “I could judge what each mod could feel like as they were installed,” Ed explains. “Every item from the engine to the suspension has been a bolt-on. Nothing was taken apart in the engine.” He adds, “I wanted the Formula to respond as if the factory could have installed these items to improve the driveability and performance. In stock trim these cars ran the quarter-mile at around 15.0, but with my mods it now runs very low-14s to high-13s.” Knocking a full second off the e.t.’s and more is nothing to sneeze at.

An SLP cold-air intake, air foil, intake runners, and underdrive pulleys are augmented with an MSD 6AL amplifier, MSD Blaster coil, 8mm wires and ACDelco Platinum plugs. A reprogrammed SLP E-Prom controls the ECM parameters and a Hypertech adjustable fuel-pressure regulator keeps the pressure up. A 160-degree thermostat and Hypertech fan switch keep the engine temperature between 165 and 176 degrees. Exhaust gases are handled by a set of Edelbrock TES headers with 15⁄8-inch primaries and 2.5-inch collectors. They route into a full Borla 3-inch polished exhaust system.

The original 700-R4 is completely stock except for a deep pan, and the power is transferred through an aluminum 1LE driveshaft into the stock rearend, now fitted with 3.73 gears.