Just a quick peek in your rearview mirror is enough to make you tense up when you see this
The expression "hitting the nail on the head" comes to mind when discussing the '98-'02 WS6 Trans Am. You'd be hard-pressed to find a tougher, meaner looking car on the road-or at least one that's affordable on a sensible income.
Since the T/A's arrival, the aftermarket has been flooded with replica WS6-style hoods of varying quality. GM offers its factory replacement hoods for a small fortune, so many fiberglass hood manufacturers have found success with their more affordable products. While researching hood possibilities for this T/A, VFN Fiberglass, in Addison, Illinois, came up. We found many testimonials speaking highly of its products and customer service, so we gave the company a call and ultimately sourced one of its widely popular WS6-style hoods for '98-'02 Firebirds.
Once the hood arrived, John Dempsey, owner of J.D.'s Paint & Body, in Mulberry, Florida, instructed us to test-fit it to the car. This saved us a lot of headaches before we got to the body shop since we were able to assess the problem areas. Armando Kent at VFN also informed us that the hinges might need some modification to help align the hood and allow it to sit correctly. After this was done, we had J.D. examine it and provide an estimate on labor and materials for prep and paint.
It was during this time that we ran into an issue with the factory hood struts. Since the new hood is considerably lighter, the struts were too stiff. As a result, the slight flexing when we attempted to close the hood scared us into seeking out alternative struts, but we only found dead ends. Therefore, we opted to modify the factory struts and install a strut prop rather than have expensive custom struts made. We used a Thexton Universal Hood/Tailgate prop, available through Snap-on Tools (PN 430). After addressing this problem, we looked at the hood's cosmetic attributes.
The terms "bolt-on" and "fiberglass" usually have very little business being in the same sentence. Fiberglass hoods, as a rule, require a certain amount of prep work to make them fit correctly. Our hood needed some work along the driver side that was easy to address with a thin layer of filler. Some hoods need more attention than others, but the same procedures are followed on any hood to ensure a proper fit. Thankfully, this install went well, as you can see in the following photos and captions.
Though the factory Trans Am hood is smooth and clean, we wanted to wake it up with somethi
The VFN WS6-style hood closely resembles the OEM WS6 hood. There are small differences bet
VFN and John Dempsey, of J.D.'s Paint & Body, suggested that we test-fit the hood to the T
Upon removing the hood striker, we ground this small alignment tab down, as shown. The fac
After we installed a temporary prop to support the hood's weight, we unbolted the struts o