Texas Trans Am Service & Restoration Newsletter
"Specializing in Service and Restoration of
Second Generation Pontiac Firebirds"
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www.TexasTransAms.com + +
"I'm your basic famous." - Bo Darvill
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Episode 13 - January 2004

In this Issue
1a. Internet Buyer Beware Part 2
1b. Top 10 ways to tell when your Pontiac engine or Firebird has been worked on by a certified mechanic with no experience on a Pontiac Engine.
2. New Project Cars
3. New, re-pops, and discontinued parts
4. Show Room
5. Shipping, Credit Cards
6. Top 100 Muscle Car Site, e-mail and site-search
7. Tee Shirts and Bumper Stickers
8. What's new at the shop?
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Stand by for NEWS!
2004 marks David's 13th year working on 1/1 scale Second Generation Pontiac Firebirds, and this is the 13th e-mail newsletter.  That's got to be good luck.
1a. Internet Buyer Beware Part 2
A Second Gen. Trans Am purchased through the Internet was brought to our attention recently.  Upon close inspection the VIN plate was stamped with a number code that did not correspond to a true Pontiac scheme.  The first tip off to a problem was that the tag was stamped (embossed) from the top of the plate not reverse stamped (raised embossed) from the bottom.  This warning is not meant to discourage buying from an Internet Auction or Classified Ad, just to alert our loyal readers to warning signs.
1b. Speaking of warning signs when buying a project car, here are our "Top 10 ways to tell when your Pontiac engine or Firebird has been worked on by a certified mechanic with no experience on a Pontiac Engine".
10. Your engine returns from the rebuild shop with the oil pan & gasket in place but WITHOUT the intermediate dipstick tube pressed in from the bottom of the block.
9. Your engine returns from the rebuild shop with the heads & gaskets in place but with the heater hose port and the freeze plug on the front of the heads.
8. Your engine returns from the rebuild shop missing the tappet cover.
7. Your Firebird's distributor is installed backwards.
6. Your Pontiac engine won't start because the distributor rotor points to the #1 spark plug, rather than the driver position.
5. Your Pontiac engine won't start because the timing marks point at each other rather than straight up.
4. Your engine returns from the rebuild shop with a straight grind cam, and you wonder where the torque went.
3. Your rocker arms nuts clatter because they are set to 0 lash, rather than torqued to 20 lb ft.
2. You go to look at a Firebird project car and the engine is painted orange.
1. You go to look at a Firebird project car and it has a Chevy small block in it.
PS: Don't get us wrong we love Chevy engines also, in fact it's what we have in most of our Chevrolet cars and trucks.  We just really like Pontiac engines in our Pontiac cars.
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2. "The Privileges of Membership"
Welcome to new member # 397 "Airframers", and "PatrickGTR1" from France, "Ryan81CA" from Toronto, Canada.
Newsletter subscribers get first notice on rare parts and new project cars.
And now a word on "adoptions". Some companies sell project cars.  Since we consider our 'birds more than just cars, more like part of the family, we prefer to put them up for adoption.  Generally "adoption" implies not ownership but continuous care and feeding as a loving caregiver.  When you adopt a car, you pay the adoption fee and you get the bird and its papers (in other circumstances it would be called the title).  You take possession of your bird and it is yours to do as you see fit.  Hopefully you will provide a loving home for it, until it is passed on to the next generation.  From our family to yours.
- NEW OFFERING :: 1979 White 403 Trans Am with gold decals and Camel interior.  Great dash board, no visible rust!  Power windows and door locks.  Strong Olds 403 with headers and dual exhaust.  Runs and drives!  Transmission was serviced recently and carries a service warranty.  Call David about adoption.  79white403ta80
-  1979 Y84 Black Special Edition runs and drives, 403 automatic.
Canadian car: Speedometer reads Kilometers Per Hour and no Air Conditioning.  79bla403ta015
- 1980 Brown Formula Runs and drives great, Fisher T-Tops, 15 x 7 Snowflake wheels.  Pontiac 301 engine with 4-barrel carburetor, Under 100,000 original miles, Paint and decals available
- 1979 Black Trans Am with a '78 nose.  403 Automatic.
It has some rust spots in floor, decent quarter panels.
- 1979 Blue Trans Am with Hurst T-Tops - No Engine
- 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.  "Two Lane Blacktop 2004"?  The snorkel and paint job alone is worth an extra 100 HP, even without an engine. 
ADOPTED - '74 Esprit to a loving home in California.
If you are interested in one of these great project cars, call David at 817-563-2121
- 1966 Ford Pickup, reasonably straight, big block, with A/C.
- 1958 Chevy Apache long wheel base step-side pickup truck.
- 1977 red T/A parts car 400, automatic transmission, all but carburetor and hood shaker.
- 1975 Buccaneer Red T/A, Great Hood, 400 block complete motor.
- 1976 Yellow T/A, 400 block complete motor.
- 1975 Burgundy T/A.
- 1980 White Turbo T/A, 301 Turbo with 4 wheel disk brakes, 308-positrac rear end with brake booster, master cylinder and proportioning valve.
The previous newsletter can be found in the articles and news section, but only upon the sporadic mailing of the following edition.  As a subscriber, you get the cars, parts and "scoop" 4 weeks (approximately) before anyone else.
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3. New, re-production, and discontinued parts
Hood Shaker gaskets for 1977 - 1981 (Non Turbo) Trans Am
New Reproduction Air Conditioning Hoses for Second Gen Firebirds
 SOLD to a fellow enthusiast in Connecticut - Red and Black Recaro Seats
2 NOS (New Old Stock) Honeycomb Wheels.  Never mounted.
We are strengthening our relationship with Ram Air Restoration Enterprises, Inc. the makers of the Ram Air style factory headers.  We prefer to use their Ram Air exhaust manifolds rather than tube headers to avoid ground clearance and flange warping issues. 
Our plan is to cross sell and cross promote our TexasTAMufflers with their reproduction exhaust manifolds, X-Pipe and full mandrel bend pipe system for second generation Firebirds.
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4. Show Room
Progress on the show room sort of stalled out while focusing on the 67 Camaro and Larry's polish and re-assembly.  
Directions and map to the Texas Trans Am shop / showroom available here:
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5. Secure on-line ordering: We are gradually adding standard items for sale like the mufflers on our
site and
More secure ordering coming soon on the Parts and Stuff page.
In addition to accepting Visa, MasterCard and American Express, We can now accept Discover Card.  We are shipping parts nationally and to many other Countries around the world. 
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6. "Top 100 Muscle Car Sites"
Still tied for #1.
David's e-mail
David gets HUNDREDS of e-mails each week and tries his best to respond in a timely manner, but sometimes it takes a few days to research the answer and find time to respond.  I guess that's the price of being "your basic famous."  Remember if all else fails and it's a Firebird emergency give us a call at 817-563-2121.  Due to e-mail virus we don't open e-mail attachments. 
Site Search from "WhatUSeek.com". 
What are visitors searching for on TexasTransAms.com?  Site Search helps us to tune the site based on what you are looking for.  The following were the most popular searches for the last 30 days:
Count, Search Phrase, # Results
 7 'fenders' 19
 6 'wheels' 100
 5 '1981 turbo trans am' 13
 5 'Camaro Pictures' 5
 5 'info on restoring trans ams' 24
 4 'hood scoops' 100
 4 '1979 hoods' 43
 4 '1970 trans am' 12
 3 '1980 trans am' 18
 3 '85 trans am' 6
 3 'hood' 104
 3 'engines' 106
 3 'shaker hood' 92
 3 'vin decoder' 0
 3 'Sale' 9
 3 'snowflake rims' 3
 3 'rear window spoilers' 11
 3 '80 trans am floor pan' 3
 3 '1983 TRANS AM'

If you don't find what you are looking for, try changing your criteria.  For example if you search for:
'1978 transam' there are no results,
'1978 trans am' yields 11 total results,
'78 trans am' yields 72 total results. 
Also check your spelling or word selection
'rims' yields 1 page,
'wheels' yields 51 pages,
'wheel' yields 4 pages,
'weel' yields no results.
We also use Site Search results to learn popular new spellings.  Sorry there were no results for 'vin decoder', 'how many 78 gold ed ta were there', 'retint bezel'.  So here goes; We put a text based VIN list here:
There were 1,267 Gold SE 400 4-Speed cars, 6,519 400 L78 automatic cars, and 880 403 L80 automatic cars.  This adds up to 8,666 total Gold Special Edition Trans Ams built in 1978.  For other options check out our Pontiac Firebird Second Generation Production Numbers page:
Yes, we can have your gold Special Edition dash bezel re-tinted.
e-mail us at david@texastransams.com or call us at 817-563-2121.  This month's "searches not found" remind us that this is TEXAS TRANS AMS, not Texas 'commaros' or '10th anniverary'. 
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7. Shirts and Stuff
While editing the website recently I dragged the mouse across a picture of the white Texas Trans Am Service T-Shirt which turns the picture into a negative image. At that time David walked by, looked at the image and asked "Do we have a black t-shirt like that?  Maybe we should."
Baseball Caps available
PontiacChick.com tank tops with the firebird logo. 
We have one Child's Large (Women's Xtra Small) left.
New heather gray PontiacChick spaghetti strap t-shirt with red piping, coming soon a Baby Doll T with red cap sleeves.
Check out our friends at PontiacChick.com, these women love their Pontiacs! 
We would love to have more articles from our female readers about why the love their Pontiacs old and new, even restoration, modification and racing stories.  This hobby is for everyone.  Please post related notes in the Message/Forum section of PontiacChick.com:
Send picture attachments to webmaster@pontiacchick.com
TexasTransAms.com bumper sticker version 1.3 is in stock and available for $2.00 each, plus shipping and handling.  They will be available with full white background.
Also available TexasTAMufflers.com sticker version 1.
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8. At the Shop Recently ...
Service and shipping
Recently we tested a refinishing technique on '79 "Turbo" style wheels.  This process includes patching scratched alloy, milling the surface to original finish specifications. Then the "Turbo" wheels are bead blasted inside the spoke openings, milled on the flat surface and polished in the cone.
Recently David installed sealing strips, lubricated window tracks, adjusted the windows and installed new door handles for a local '77 TA.
We shipped refinished Turbo Wheels to California, Auto Custom Carpet to Canada and Pennsylvania, '79 tail lights to Iowa and spoilers to Pineland, Texas
'67 Camaro Un-Tubbed - Almost finished. 
Tail light panel is welded in with a little grinding remaining.  Trunk latch is welded in place. the trunk lid is on and aligned along with the right rear quarter panel extension.  Now in the process of replacing the rear floor pans, which were removed for the previous tubs.  The under-part of the rear seats was rusted out of the donor Firebird and has been cut out for reproduction pans.
Larry S's '79 T/A - DELIVERED!
Once the paint was dry on the spoilers and front and rear bumpers re-assembly went smoothly until we tried to put the nylon push-in rivets in place under the crash bar and found the nose skin 3 / 8 inch to far forward.  Upon close inspection we found that the impact absorber (the plastic form between the steel crash bar and the urethane nose skin) was missing a rivet behind the passenger side grille.  This allowed the impact absorber to sag and push forward the length of the middle locator tabs.  We pulled the grilles to re-align the locator tabs with the crash bar and inserted an oversized sheet metal screw with washer to hold the impact absorber up and in place.  With the nose and hood latch release secured the car's black acrylic urethane received three stage buffing process.  If you want to know if the body work, guide coat work with 9 inch wet block, color sanding and buffing process paid off, see if you can tell what we had for lunch.
Dano's '79 T/A Special Edition TA - Progress is about to start back up, now that Larry's car is delivered.
Kerry's '79 SE T/A -
Since the 4 speed cratered recently, Kerry replaced it with a different unit.  This tighter unit brings to light a bottoming out problem with hard second gear shifts.  We found that the 24 year old leaf spring bushings were crushed over 1 / 4 inch and the rear axle snubber is missing.
57 GMC Panel Wagon - soda blasted and primed with "Rust Bullet" a new rust inhibitor that David is trying out.
This newsletter was broadcast with a 5 second delay in case we experience a "wardrobe malfunction".
Thanks for reading!
Your friends at Texas Trans Ams 

Vacuum Lines on Mid '70s 400
High School memories of a Pontiac Chick.