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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm going to do this in installments since the saga is long. This will be a showcase post for the 1996 Trans Am I bought off-lease in Nov 1999 and sold to a friend in June 2007.

The car started life as a leased car, loaded with almost every option. I bought it 100% bone stock from Carmax in 1999 with 24,000 miles on the clock.

Almost immediately the first mods were a K&N filter and a throttle body airfoil.

A few years ago (while I still had the car), I bought a deal from the Pontiac historical society that included a copy of the original window sticker. Here's the specs on my car as it was delivered new to the dealer. If you think 30K is an ouch today, think of dropping that for an LT1 car 13 years ago! (No I did not pay anywhere close to that for it used.)

Here's how the car looked stock:



 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I think it was 2001 before I really started modding the car. The first thing was a Dynomax ultraflow muffler. If you haven't seen one of these things, they are wild. 100% straight through, no baffles of any kind, just perforated pipe wrapped in fiberglass.

It was around this time I got the car on they dyno for the first time. With the muffler, a K&N, the airfoil, and synth oil she put down 255hp and 289ft-lbs. This is through the automatic transmission by the way, since I haven't mentioned that before.

Not long after that the car made its first trip to the 1/4 mile strip in Bowling Green, KY. On a hot day the car could only muster 14.2 @ 98mph, but a couple of months later, in cooler air, I was able to put down 13.82 at 101.8.

The next mod was a set of now-discontinued FLP longtube headers. Although pricey, they included the swappable cats/OR pipes I needed for Nashville-area emissions testing. Dyno testing at Hypertech's facility in Barlett, TN showed 291 HP and 316 ft lbs of tourque, or a 26 hp and 27ft-lb gain!

Shortly after the FLPs came a set of GMPP 1.6 roller rockers and LT4 Hotcam valvesprings. Thanks to warm and humid weather, though, I got jack squat at the track for all teh extra horsepower. The best run I had in this configuration was [email protected] 101.6



Next up: The first heads & cam swap...
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
OK, time for an update.

I'm getting fuzzy on the exact dates, but I think we're up to 2002 now.

A lot of things were done to the car that year.

First up was a set of GTP stage 1 heads, Comp Pro Mag 1.6 rockers with guideplates, and a Comp CC304 210/220 cam.

I wanted to retain 100% drivability because this car was still my daily driver, so I went conservative on the cam choice. Also, since I was on the stock converter still I didn't want to have idle issues with a big cam and then run into the point where I can't turn the idle speed up because I can't hold the car still in gear with the brakes.

All this stuff went in and I bought a copy of LT1 Edit to program the PCM to match. Dyno results came in around 320rwhp, so around 30 hp more than before.

I think the best this combo ran on street tires was 13.0x or so at 104mph.

Later that year I ponied up for a 2800 Vigilante converter and managed to get into the 12.90s, with a best somewhere of around 12.91.

Finally, a borrowed set of ET Streets let me maximize the value of the new converter and that fall I managed a 12.77 which would be the fastest this combo would go.

Here's a shot of me in-action the day I ran the 12.77 at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, KY:


It was during 2002 that I ran the online speed shop NashvilleSpeed.com. I mostly drop shipped SLP and some other brands just running it on the side, but after 10 months I had basically not made a dime, so we closed down. The best thing probably to come out of that experience was getting to know Bob Bishop, who some of you may remember was the first guy to build the adapter brackets to fit the C5 brakes to the F-body.

I ended up being the exclusive retailer of those brackets, and that summer I added the C5 Z06 brake package to the WS6. It didn't help the ET any but this remains one of the favorite mods I did to the car. It was during this time I also added BMR rear lower control arms and an adjustable Panhard bar.

Here's a pic of the brakes (Taken while on the Dyno at Total Engine Airflow when they were located in Bowling Green):



Next up: 2003 and the second heads/cam package...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
OK, we're due for the next installment.

So its 2003...and I'm ready for more horsepower.

I decided to go with a Comp 224/230 XE cam (108ICL, 114LSA) and a set of Lloyd Elliot heads. These were what you would call LE2 today, but that's before he came up with the package names, so they were just Fully ported with the 2.00/1.56 valves and Combination Motorsports 618 dual springs.

Somewhere in the previous few months I also upgraded to a 52mm ported stock throttle body.

The results at the track were lukewarm at first. I managed some 12.60s but I was expecting so much more. I started watching my logs and noticed there was quite a bit of vacuum in the intake manifold even at WOT (95kPa, should be 100kPa or at least 99, 100 being full atmospheric pressure).

So I shelled out for a 58mm BBK throttle body and a trip to Total Engine Airflow's dyno. The car put down 362 to the wheels, and 380-something ft-lbs. That same evening at the track I ripped off a half dozen 12.3x passes at 109mph.

A few trips later netted the fastest this car would ever go...12.26 @ 110, with a 1.7 60ft.

In the spring of 04 is when the Z06 rims went on and the badging got replaced with the two-tone vinyl decals.







It was late 2004 when I decided that 11.90s were in my future. A set of 3.73 gears went in and I was certain this was going to do it, or at least get me really close.. (keep in mind there was never any weight reduction done on this car, ever, for any of the runs).

But, as lady luck would have it, 3rd gear started going out, the car would studder instead of shift from 2nd to 3rd. Rather than a rebuild I decided to swap in a T56 because, well, I've always wanted one.

That also meant the end of the pursuit for 11s, as I had zero experience launching an M6 car. I decided to go with a McLeod Twin Disk clutch.

The first time at the track with the M6 I just about popped the 10 bolt.

Next up...fatherhood, and the slow goodbye.
 

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Nice story. Reminds me of when I got rid of my 04 mustang GT. I miss that car alot and I can tell you miss your t/a
 

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And then?? Please tell me that you ended up buying it back, or got another one... But, thats exactly why I don't think I could sell it.. even though i have pondered that idea..
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
OK, here's the update.

So its 2005 at this point and my daughter is born. Right after she arrives, the Ford 9-inch with 3.70s goes into the car along with a Spohn chassis-mount tq arm. Somewhere in here a Racetronix fuel pump and a set of 2nd hand Bilstien shocks go in too.

I got the car back to the track once after this, but on the first pass the 9-inch center section started coming loose and dumping fluid all over the place. I managed to get it tight and back home but that's the last time the car ever sees the track.

In 2006 we sold our house and bought a smaller one, and my wife started staying home full time with our daughter. The car was paid for at this point, but there's a lot of pressure I'm putting on myself because there's a lot of money tied up in the car and it just sits there almost all the time. I no longer had any time or money to devote to the car. It was sad in a way, but in another way it was totally OK with me. After all, I'll never regret putting my kids first.

I hated the Spohn tq arm because it vibrated the hell out of the car at highway speeds. I swapped it out for a UMI trans-mounted unit from Herron Performance, and also swapped out the McLeod Twin Disk for a SPEC stage 2. Then I sold the 9 inch, figuring I needed the cash back out of the car more than i needed a 9-inch rear in a car that never goes the track anymore.

Having a lighter rear in the car again actually made it handle way better. So that was a plus.

But, in the summer of 07 I ended up selling the car to my friend Josh, who took the awesome photos I posted above. He de-badged the car, put a set of polished 18-inch Z06's on it, but ultimately ended up selling it to a guy in Ohio. I have no idea where it is now or in what shape its in. I actually prefer it that way, out of sight out of mind.

I do miss the car when I think about it, I'd like to have some sort of car to have fun with again, but I'm just not at a time in my life to make it work. Not to mention I like having both our cars in the garage these days and don't particularly care to have mine sit out in the weather 24/7/365 so I can have a toy in the garage that never gets driven and I have no time to enjoy.

So that's it. That car was a huge part of my life for 8 years. Now, other than this site, cars are barely a part of my life at all. Its strange but OK really.
 

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But, in the summer of 07 I ended up selling the car to my friend Josh, who took the awesome photos I posted above. He de-badged the car, put a set of polished 18-inch Z06's on it, but ultimately ended up selling it to a guy in Ohio. I have no idea where it is now or in what shape its in. I actually prefer it that way, out of sight out of mind.

Have any idea why your buddy sold it? Good story tho man
 

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Discussion Starter #15
He sold it mainly because it wasn't a very good daily driver in the end.

About 2 months after he bought it from me he blew the 10-bolt out, and after that I think he realized that it wasn't the kind of car anymore that you should be commuting in if you want maintenance-free, worry-free mileage.
 

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Very well said, and awesome car. Been there, done that. But one thing I can assure you, the kids do grow up. That's not to say you are ever done rasing them, you just get a little more time and money for yourself. You can take the man out of the car but you can't take the car out of the man. I'm sure there will be something else very cool in your future. Sometimes we just have to put some things on hold for other more important things. Sure wish I had that 68 GTO back :D
 

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Chris- I know how you feel! Priorities change... kids, job, etc.

I sold my 1980 Resto-mod Vette in March of this year.:(
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc96/Johnny-s_Shark/IMG_2075.jpg
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc96/Johnny-s_Shark/IMG_2083.jpg


We already have a toddler and another due in October. When we had just one kid... my wife thought it was great that I'd take our son out and she could stay home.:lol:

Well, I went out and bought my Trans Am so that we would have something all of us can ride in.:thumbsup:

It's not a track car... nor tuned to carve corners. It's just a 100% OEM throw back to my college years. It was <$6k, so very family budget friendly. :D


I'm sure you'll get the itch again... and another weekend car.:thumbsup:
 

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+1 on all the above, i am just now getting back to cars and such as my kids are in their late teens now, had many a nice car that had to go for raising family and such, Z28's T/A's GTO's and so on, but hey man this is our second childhood now so you can get back at it, lots of luck bro!
 
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