After two repaints, this Bird's owner was finally happy with its outward appearance. The T
Stunt men live dangerous and exciting lives. If they're not jumping off buildings, crashing through windows or being set on fire, they're usually practicing such antics. So what do these action-oriented individuals do to relax? Bungee jump? Parachute? Climb a mountain? Well, we don't know about anyone else, but stunt man Ellis Edwards of Newberry Park, Calif., loves to take long drives in his '85 Trans Am.
No stranger to fame and fortune, Ellis has performed in many major movies, as well as numerous television action series. His long list of film accomplishments includes Invasion USA, Suburban Commando and Freejack. For the boob-tube crowd, Ellis has performed in "L.A. Heat" and "Thunder in Paradise," and is currently a regular on the set of "Baywatch," performing stunts in every episode. But when he's not jumping, hitting or swimming for his life, he can be found behind the wheel of his bright red T/A, a ride that's also taken part in many "Baywatch" episodes.
Ellis found the Bird in Atlanta, while filming scenes for Freejack, in 1992. It was sitting on the lot of a Ford dealership, and Ellis knew he had to have it. "I love the look of the car. It has a classical sleekness that just can't be matched by any other car," explains Ellis. That day, however, was the beginning of a six-year project that turned an ordinary T/A into a car capable of holding its own against the best cruisers California had to offer.
The T/A has been re-hued three times. The last pigmentation is obviously the shade of red you see here, which was applied by the folks at Livingston Pontiac in Woodland, Calif. To complement this eye-catching color, Ellis installed a set of 16x8-inch Ultra chrome wheels wrapped in 245/50/16-inch Dunlop D40M2 rubber. Monroe shocks and larger Addco 11/4-inch front and 1-inch rear sway bars make the most of the larger-than-stock meats. Factory 4-wheel disc brakes bring the T/A to a halt, while polyurethane bushings keep all suspension components properly aligned.
As stock as it looks, this fuel-injected 305 has received substantial blueprinting to boos
To back up its visual appeal, Ellis had the T/A's original 205-hp, tuned-port 5.0-liter pumped up by Sam's Automotive Performance in Cumming, Ga.
The LB9 305 was introduced in '85 and featured the injection system, cylinder heads and camshaft that adorned Corvettes' tuned-port L98 350s. Unfortunately, it also received a more restricted air intake assembly than its Camaro brethren, which explains the 10-hp difference between the two, with the Camaro pulling ahead with 215 hp that year.
The block was bored .030 inch over, resulting in a displacement increase to 310 cubic inches. A set of TRW forged pistons wearing chrome-moly rings swing from reconditioned factory connecting rods. The 5.7-inch arms rotate on a forged-steel crankshaft, which was cut .010 under. A single-pattern Crane hydraulic cam with .484 inch of lift and 210° advertised duration at .050 actuates 1.94/1.50-inch valves, which are housed in the LB9's original cylinder heads that were used on all 350s and L69 HO, 190-hp carbureted 305s, with 64cc combustion chambers and larger valves. (Standard 5.0-liters received heads with only 1.84/1.47-inch valves and smaller 53cc combustion chambers.)
HO and tuned port mills, however, were also blessed with flat-top pistons, as opposed to the dished units found in regular 305s. To improve flow, this 5.0-liter's heads were bettered with a 3-angle valve job, some slight port work and a mild milling to ensure a flat sealing surface.
Here the proud owner shows his pecs at the posterior of his Poncho. Dual exhaust tips are
Feeding the refurbished small-block an adequate amount of air and fuel is a slightly hogged-out tuned port system that's accompanied by a set of blueprinted 19-lb./hr. injectors and a factory 48mm throttle body. Timing is still handled by the stock ECM and ignition components, while the exhaust consists of factory manifolds that branch out into a true dual-exhaust system.
Sam's is also responsible for the reworked 700R4 that's positioned behind the higher-horse 5.0-liter. It's been improved with all B&M internals, along with one of the company's Hole-Shot converters and Slap-Stik shifters, which has been positioned in the center of a Brooks' Trim Shop (Atlanta)-tweaked interior. Brooks' added the 5-point Deist racing harness, while Car Tunes, also located in Atlanta, updated the Bird's sound system with a Sony head unit and 10-disc CD changer, along with a pair of 12-inch Boswick subwoofers, which are driven by Hafler ADS amps.
In a life consumed with flames, floods and fights, this '85 T/A makes the perfect getaway cruiser for any stunt man, even one as popular as Ellis Edwards.