Melanie's 1981 Trans Am Turbo
arrived at Texas Trans Ams for the restoration-modification
mostly stock except for sub frame connectors, a roll cage and air shocks in
The unibody shell of the car has been painted
and is being color sanded. The engine, built in North Carolina by a race
car engine builder, is still on the crate and wrapped in plastic, the
transmission is next to it. The rear end is under cover next to the door
and the fenders, nose and headlight panel are freshly painted.
Custom built Fikse 5 spoke aluminum wheels and Baer 4 wheel
The Restoration elements included bodywork, a starlight
black paint job, blue decals, polygraphite bushings, sand blasting and painting the suspension components.
Modification clues from the rear
are the custom gas tank with electric fuel pump,
3" stainless steel exhaust tips and fat Kumho
The exhaust is piped through 3”
duals and x-pipe from Ram Air Restoration Enterprises and 3”
Texas Trans Am Mufflers to 3” stainless steel tips.
Custom built 5 spoke
Fikse aluminum 17” wheels
were specially designed to fit the 13” front and 12"
rear Baer slotted and drilled disk brakes.
These brakes would never fit inside the stock 15" wheels.
The " Turbo 4.9" call-out on the hood
bump won't fool anyone once this engine turns over.
modifications begin with a four core Rodney Red racing radiator.
heartbeat of this car is a 383 C.I.D. small block
engine with 18 degree aluminum NASCARracing
heads, ceramic coated Headman headers,
aluminum March pulley system. Solid engine
mounts dropped the height of the engine a little over 1 inch, increasing
the hood clearance and lowering the car's center of gravity.
Another 2 inches were cut from the top of the 18 degree Edelbrock Victor
intake manifold to make clearance for the carburetor and air cleaner
under the stock hood.
This shot from under the front
air-dam shows the Texas Trans Am Mufflers and
7qt Moroso street/strip oil pan fit nice and tight to
give maximum ground clearance.
The suspension includes KYB gas shocks and Hotchkis
2” drop springs.
The evaporator core
and heating unit was replaced with a Hurricane unit customized by Old
They even mounted micro
switches to the stock slider controls. Old Air Products is the supplier
to Unique Performance in Farmers Branch, TX where the Eleanor
conversions and Shelby Continuation Series are built.
David fabricated adapters for the air hoses to fit
tightly into the stock dash vents.
David highlights some of the details
that make this 1981 Turbo Trans Am an accurate restoration on the
surface, but a modified monster beneath its skin.
This is the sound of a 700+ horsepower 383 CID "Cup
Car" engine on Texas TA Mufflers. The exhaust includes long tube
headers, full length 3 inch pipes and X-pipe through 3 inch dual
chamber Texas TA Mufflers. Wait until your boss is at lunch,
because you are going to want to turn this one up.