Texas Trans Am Service & Restoration Newsletter
"Specializing in Service and Restoration of
Second Generation Pontiac Firebirds"
+ + www.TexasTransAms.com
The 1,433,107th most popular site on the Internet
(According to 411web)
+ + Sponsor of www.TransAmTerritory.org
In this Issue
1a. Extra Crispy 'bird recipe
1b. Ron's article on Olds 403 performance
2. New Project Cars
3. New parts, re-pops and a disturbing trend
4. Engine casting numbers for 220 Horse block
5. Shipping, Credit Cards and Malta
6. Top 100 Muscle Car Site
7. Tee Shirts and Bumper Stickers
8. What's new at the shop?
+ + + + +
1a. Brent recently brought his blue '75 TA for service
to repair some under hood fire damage. Years ago the
stock carburetor had been replaced with a carter
with a top side fuel inlet. The pressure of the air
breather base pressing on the rubber fuel inlet hose
led to dry-rot, stress and a crack. One evening
after the crack in the rubber grew larger, fuel shot
back on the firewall, plug wires, cowl and back of
the engine. The fuel was ignited by the spark in
the distributor and made a molten mess of everything
plastic and rubber in the vicinity. Fortunately the
fire was extinguished by the manager at a nearby
fireworks stand. (Write your own joke here about
driving a burning car to a fireworks stand.)
At the shop David replaced the heater hose, plug wires,
distributor cap, rotor and coil cover, cowl vent
grill, 1/2 the engine wiring harness, distributor
wiring harness, air filter and fuel line.
This time the fuel line setup was augmented with a
"Banjo" 90 degree angle fuel line fitting to clear
the air breather base. While in the shop the car
also got a replacement passenger side tail light.
1b. In September contributor Ron L. made an addition
to the Articles section of the website with an article
on improving the Oldsmobile 403 engine, found in most
of the '77 through '79 Firebirds, Formulas and
Trans Ams rated at a mere 185 horsepower. But as David
likes to say "That's just the way Pontiac built it,
how you re-build it is up to you".
Your gentle web-mechanic and able newsletter editor
was initially exited to see that Ron's videos and
article page together generated over 650 hits in
August (Video page 382 hits and Article page 268 hits)
However Ron's co-workers verify that most of the
hits were from Ron's own PC at work.
For those of you with the Olds
engine, our friend Ron L. has a success story to
share with you that does not include headers.
Read Ron's article here:
2. "Membership has its privileges"
On October First 2002 the TexasTransAm newsletter group
welcomed it's 100th member.
"You like us, you really like us".
Newsletter subscribers will get first notice on new
- 1977 Firebird black with yellow flames and snorkel.
It has a sunroof and good seats. Good body, needs
engine. This car is desperately looking for a "B"
movie to star in. "Hooper 2003"? The snorkel and
paint job alone is worth an extra 100 HP, even
without an engine.
- 1978 Bandit Black & Gold SE, needs engine and
transmission, rear floor pan needs to be patched,
straight rear quarters, true Special Edition Car
1979 Firebird 301 partially disassembled. White with blue
and white interior. Mostly complete, some surface rust
on driver side rear quarter panel.
1981 Firbird V6 parts car. Perfect doors.
If you are interested in one of these great project
cars, call David at 817-563-2121
------ RECENT ADOPTIONS -----
- ADOPTED -
1979 Firebird Formula 400 / 4 speed, 3:42 gears
project car with Fisher T-tops. This Red formula will not go
ignored. The body has been carefully disassembled
by Texas Trans Am Service and Restoration, and is
ready for paint and re-assembly. (David's note: 3:42 gears
were not an option in 1979, but some lucky cars had this
exciting rear end installed from left over '78 stock a the
We're not sure but from all the pictures of '79 red Firebirds
And 400 CID engine compartments that Alex M from
Ohio took at the 2002 Trans Am Nationals we think
he's pretty exited about his new/old "Dream."
- ADOPTED - 1979 Black Trans Am, no motor,
new transmission. Straight body other than small crease on
passenger rear quarter panel. Some surface rust around back
window. No other rust (This is the '79 from the first article)
Check for pictures of new cars on the projects page
of the website.
Last month's newsletter can be found in the articles
and news section, but only one month later. As a
subscriber, you get the cars, parts and "scoop" 4
weeks before anyone else.
3. We can ship Auto Custom Carpet and Texas Trans Am
Mufflers to you, or if you can get your car to our
shop just south of Fort Worth, Texas, we can install
the carpet and mufflers with full dual exhaust and
an "H" equalizer pipe. Remember the Texas Trans Am
Mufflers are produced with heavier gauge steel than
popular dual chamber hi-performance mufflers. This
gives the Texas Trans Am muffler a deeper, more solid
sound, rather than the high pitched "cow bell" sound.
Fiberglass hoods are becoming popular items at the
Texas Trans Am Shop. We have a relationship with a
manufacturer that can produce hoods and panels in
many custom styles for most any American made car
or truck. Ram Air hoods are becoming very popular
and we can get them for most common domestic cars
and trucks. Contact us with your wants and
needs for fiberglass parts. We have included the
Firebird Fiberglass Parts page in the Parts section
of the TexasTransAms.com website.
We now have in stock Late Second Generation split
tail-pipes with 2" and 2 1/4" inch diameter pipe
available. Also new GM center caps with gold or red
Firebird emblems. These caps feature metal
retaining clips for attachment to the wheels.
See the shiny new parts here:
Many parts available recently from General Motors
have been discontinued. Such as radiator overflow
bottles, the 400 fan shroud, and center spoiler for '77-'78.
In an effort to have replacement parts available we are
working with two sources to create a front lower splash
pan for '74-'75, '70-'78 wheel flares and '77-'78 front
Two weeks ago we reviewed the 2nd prototype for the
'74-'75 front lower splash pan. It appears to be a good
fit. The area around the "bumperettes" has been beefed up
to prevent from cracking. We hope to be able to offer
them for around $250 each.
We understand GM's reluctance to serve the
lucrative restoration market with over 800,000 second
generation cars built to focus on their newest acquisition,
bankrupt Daewoo Motor.
We still have the driver's side quarter available for your
'75 through '81 ready to ship.
4. Recent inquiry from a customer about block casting
numbers for the 1979 PWH 220 horsepower engine led
us to include this article.
Several publications state that "all '77 through '79
Pontiac 400 CID blocks have the casting number 568557."
Our customer was offered a block #481988 with casting
date ending with a 7, indicating a '77 model year.
According to the same publications that # decodes as
a '72 through '74 400 CID.
According to David's experience and research '77 through
'79 220 horsepower 400 blocks had 481988 cast in them.
Also an "XX" was cast in the back of the block and in
the sides next to "400" and in the center of the lifter
We examined 3 220-horse block examples in the shop now.
One J247 (October) came out of a '79 400/4 speed Formula,
the second K157 (November) came out of a 10th Anniversary
TA 400/4 speed, and the third J297 from a '78 TA with
the stamp of X7 on the front of the block indicating
220 H.P. automatic.
As you will recall Pontiac built extra 400 blocks in '77
since they would no longer be able to produce them in
the future due to emission regulations.
All of the '78 400s featured the '77 blocks, and all the
400s offered in 1979 were 220 horse blocks with the "XX"
We suspect that the original source was misquoted about
all '77 through '79 Pontiac 400 CID blocks, because
this describes only the 180 H.P. motors
5. We are able to accept Visa, MasterCard and
American Express. We are now mostly shipping FedEx
ground, except for oversized items and international freight.
The sheet metal for Eugene's son's car was sent to
Nova Scotia in a truck returning from delivering fresh fish
to the states (his connection, not ours). We are currently
working on arranging Air Freight for GTA parts going
Yea, we looked it up for you: The honey-colored
stone island of Malta, with a population of 375,000 and
measuring about 17 by 10 miles, rises out of the
Mediterranean sea about 60 miles south of Sicily,
Italy. We suspect it's a low mileage car.
6. TexasTransAms.com has a new hosting server managed by a
friend to old Pontiac's everywhere Chris G. at VirtBiz.com.
www.VirtBiz.com hosts notable sites such as the Dallas Area
Pontiac Association (DAPA), Pontiac Enthusiast Magazine's
site, 105 FM the Talk that Rocks, The Russ Martin Show and
Dawn Wells website www.dawnwells.com. That's right THE Dawn
Wells, the one we would never kick off the island.
We dropped as low as 15th out of 648 sites listed on the
Top 100 Muscle Car Sites. Some of the dramatic drop in ratings
may be due to the DNS server changes for TexasTransAms.com
and TransAmTerritory.org and Gary the Web-Mechanic accepts
full responsibility for that. The worst part is that
we were beat out by 3 Chevelle sites. Now we should be
happy that we are still in the top 20 but how will you feel
when TexasTransAms.com gets beat out by a site devoted to
some motorized wheelchair with flames painted on the side or
an adjustable hospital bed with "Mag Wheels".
When that happens, you'll have no one to blame but yourself.
So get on-line, release/renew your IP address and Vote!
Vote like Pavlov's dog rewarded with Espresso Macchiato!
Thanks to our loyal viewers, visitors, subscribers and
customers For helping get the word out!
To lazy to vote? Love Google.com search? Me too!
Just set your Internet Start Page to
Want a different start page? E-mail your request to
7. Tee Shirts still coming soon.... and always will
be. TexasTransAms.com bumper sticker version 1.1 is
available for $2.00 each, plus shipping and handling
or FREE with orders over $100.00.
We are ordering more bumper stickers one with white
background and with clear background.
Todd is still field-testing the TexasTransAms.com bumper sticker
on his pickup truck. In addition to the improved performance
the truck has not been involved in a traffic accident
since the sticker was installed. Your results may vary.
8. At the shop recently...
David's dad replaced the doors and fenders on his '90
Mustang project. He had the frame straightened and the
hood and fenders fit now.
Darrin bought a Chesterfield brown '79 TA 400/4 speed for
a tune up. The car has 21,000 original miles on it.
It still has the original fan belts, hoses, plug wires and
space saver spare. This car still has that new car smell.
We will box up the original parts in case the future owner
wants to show it. It is for sale for $13,000. We
photographed the engine compartment for routing reference.
Todds car has its passenger rear quarter tack welded in place.
The previous body shop pulled out most of the damage done
behind the door but to line up correctly it still needed to
be pulled out an extra 3/4 inch. It's nice to have so many
in-house reference pieces to measure here at the shop.
The replacement panel now fits along the old putty lines.
We also replace the outer wheel well housing and the trunk
drop off panel.
Larry S. '81 is painted black again. David will let the
3 coats of Urethane paint cure for about 4 weeks. Once the
paint is color sanded it will get the red decals.
As of this writing David is applying gold SE pinstripes to
a black '78. It sure looks speedy.
If you missed the burgers David cooked at the shop
last Saturday, you really missed out. Fresh tomatoes,
lettuce, onions, fajita seasoning. Now my computer
keyboard smells like onions
Well, "Lightning" is here with the Banjo fitting,
Guess I'd better wash my hands.
Your friends at Texas Trans Ams
"Dear Santa Claus, All I want is 9 Billion Dollars,
or just one bullet if the Iraqi people take it on
themselves." A. Fleischer
"Restoring Old Dreams"