87 Olk,kl July 2011 Monthly Newsletter of the TarHeel Tigers Pontiac Club Raleigh Chapter of the GTO Association of America Raleigh Chapter of National Firebird and Trans Am Club Visit our Web Page at http://www.tarheeltigers.org Next Meeting: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 At Auto Performance Center 922 US Highway 70, Garner, NC 27529 The TarHeel Tigers Photo Shoot President’s Message (Steve Veatch)________________________________ follows: The Fall Charlotte Auto is Aug The Tri Power Nationals in 26-28, several club members Norwalk, OH is Aug 5-7. While will be there as always, stop by it is a drive to get there, if you their booths to rest your feet & only do one show a year it's cool off. Always tons of cars & one worth going to. With close parts to see there. Hi guys, to 500 show cars, 300+ swap It's definitely pool & boating meet vendors & drag racing all Stay cool everyone & I hope to weather in our region right now! weekend..........ALL PONTIAC be back in town for With 100 degree+ temps, of course.....a great time is September's meeting. Pontiac owners that did not get certainly guaranteed!! the AC option checked at order Steve time (like my TA!) will usually let The Classics At The Capital our cars set thru these months show in downtown Raleigh Aug since sticking to your vinyl seat 19-21 & David H has reserved is not a good thing. spaces for club members who wanted to go. There may still be room available, check with Some upcoming shows of David if you wanted to interest to all of us are as participate. Editor’s Note (Jerry Hazi)_______________________________________________ Hey Everyone, Just want to remind everyone about the Ames Pontiac Nationals coming up on August 5 thru 7 at Summit Motorsports Part , Norwalk, Ohio www.pontiacnationals.com Thank Jerry ROSTER UPDATE___________________________________________ Updated e-mail addresses: Please e-mail new addresses to Sheila Ward WARD_922@bellsouth.net, Steve Veatch email@example.com, Jerry Hazi firstname.lastname@example.org, or David Hinnant email@example.com. Thanks! Printed copies of the THT membership roster and copies of the Newsletters are now available at the meetings. MINUTES ______________________________________ July, 2011 Meeting to have the meeting at but Saturday the weather was We held our monthly club AppleBee’s. Good decision. nice. Beech Bend Park was a meeting at AppleBee’s great location to have the show. 16 Members attended. We talked about the up-coming Plenty of shade and a nice drag shows that we plan to racing track. Overall it was a participate in. Norwalk and the good show with lots of quality Raleigh Classic at the Capital. vehicles. We currently have 18 members signed up, so get the car out and Thanks Jerry join in on the fun. We would like to thank all the I talked about my trip to club members who attended and Bowling Green, Kentucky for new member Ken Nagey of the POCI show. The rain kept Wake Forest. some of the nice cars in their Since it was over 100 degrees haulers on Thursday and Friday, an executive decision was made DIRECTIONS__________________________________________________ REGULAR MEETINGS are held on the first Tuesday of each month, from 6:30 to 8:30pm at Auto Performance Center, 922 Hwy 70, Garner West. SPECIAL MEETINGS are held periodically. Check the cover of this newsletter; visit our website, or call/e-mail an officer for next month's meeting location. VOLUNTEERS_________________________________________________ President VP &Car Show Chair Scrap Book Editor Web Page Editor Newsletter Treasurer Steve Veatch David Hinnant Butch Powell Ross Merle Jerry Hazi Sheila Ward firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org WARD_922@bellsouth.net CLUB T-SHIRTS/_WINDOW STICKERS_______________________ Contact Chris Hastings at: 919- TarHeel Tigers Club T-shirts: 876-3874 or email@example.com $12.00, Heather gray w/ silk- Window Stickers screened tiger head logo; Men’s sizes M - XXXL. Contact Steve Veatch at: T-Shirts Window Stickers firstname.lastname@example.org SEMA ACTION NETWORK____________________________________ http://www.semasan.com/san/join.aspx The SEMA Action Network is a nationwide partnership of car clubs, and individual enthusiasts (like you) who work together to impact legislation that affects car and truck hobbyists of all kinds. By joining the SAN you will receive up-to-date alerts on hobby-related legislation in your state and across the country. MEMBER’S SERVICES________________________________________ Anderson Creek Auto Sales & Salvage Bobby Tomlinson (910) 893-8835 Auto Performance Center Steve & Sheila Ward (919) 772-5957 Dustin’s Ceramic Tile / Pencil Drawing of Your Car Dustin Tart (919) 366-3311 Patio Enclosures Inc of Raleigh Bill Karras (919) 467-2846 Pontiac Tri-Powers Rebuilt Gary Anderson (919) 848-1928 Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. Butch Powell (910) 893-4450 Just Music! DJ Service Ross Merle (919) 621-9262 N.C. Auto Appraisal Brian Manning (919) 606-6720 Leith of Wendell Chrysler Dodge Jeep Jerry Hazi (919) 366-7000 Personal Security Storage Inc., 1101 Trinity Rd, Raleigh, NC Cary Kasdorf (919)851-8585 Hendrick Buick Pontiac GMC Tommy Laakso (919)380-8267 SERVICES Etc. (Non-Members)_______________________________ Butler Performance (Pontiac performance service & parts) www.butlerperformance.com (866)762-7527 Pontiac Historic Services (document your Pontiac) http://www.phs-online.com (586)781-5164 Colors On Parade (Paint Repair on Classic Vehicles) www.autopaintinaday.com (919)971-5158 Manual Transmission Sales & Service Dennis Maroudas (606)237-6648 Pontiac GTO and Firebird T-shirts, etc. www.pontiacmall.com (800)558-2550 Fleszar Insurance Services Inc, Raleigh NC Specialty Auto Insurance (919)787-7305 Frank’s Pontiac Parts www.frankspontiacparts.com (760)361-3242 NPD National Parts Depot www.npdlink.com (Charlotte) (800)368-6451 Fuquay Storage, LLC (storage for boats, campers, jet skis & cars) (919)577-0237 Automotive Touch Up Paint www.paintscratch.com (800)225-2855 Pontiac Performance Years, Classic Pontiac Parts www.performanceyears.com (267)638-3500 Tayloe’s Paintless Dent Repair (919)275-4292 CLASSIFIEDS__________________________________________________ Send your ads to Jerry Hazi email@example.com. Ads run for three months unless renewed. DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect those of TarHeel Tigers Pontiac Club Officers or Members. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of Statements made herein. CARS FOR SALE_______________________________________________ 1967 Pontiac LeMansfirstname.lastname@example.org Has consider reasonable partial trades. Lowered asking price P/S, P/drums, A/C, a 400 with factory exhaust and intake Wilson, NC. manifolds dated to 1974. Rallye II's and new tires. Car is very 11/01/2010 straight and clean. Paint could use some detailing but looks great 20/20. Interior is nice with just a couple small seam splits in the drivers bucket. Has a TH350 and center console correct for this transmission. Bucket seats, The car looks original to the casual observer but there are a few giveaways like the modern alternator that indicate the swap. The package tray was not cut for 6 x 9's, nor was the dash for a modern radio. I paid $16K for it back in '9/07 and I'd like to get close to that. I have more pics for those that are interested. I will 1979 SE Trans Am. Black with 81510 miles. PHS Documented 79 Y84, 403 SE car. As far as I know engine and transmission are original. Comes with GM T-Top bags, TH350 transmission, 3.08 or 3.23 rear axle, 4 wheel disc brakes, ws6 performance package, black hobnail custom interior, rear defroster, power windows and door locks, cruise control, body moldings, heavy duty battery, lamp group option, super 3cooling radiator and tilt wheel. Comes with two noses, original and a red one. It does not have all the A/C parts and will need exhaust. Call Brian Robbins at 757-660-3037 or E-mail, email@example.com Asking $5000.00 11/01/2010 WANTED_________________________________________________ 61-66 Tri-power set-ups or carbs, any cond. Gary Anderson 919/848-1928, firstname.lastname@example.org (ongoing) Hood w/scoops & front fenders for a 71-72 GTO. Also looking for 70 Lemans body parts & options. Thanks! Please contact Steve @ email@example.com (ongoing) PARTS/MISC FOR SALE___________________________________ We’ll transfer any photo onto a coffee mug, mouse pad, car tag, T-shirt, name tag, or plaque. We also have world famous tiger tails, ears, and key chains. Call 828/241-4947 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.tigermadness.com/. TarHeel Tigers member prices: 11oz mug $10.00, 15oz mug $12.00, mouse pad $12.00 Rex Bumgarner, 4928 Northcrest St., Claremont, NC 28610 GTO apparel – Mad House High Performance Apparel: www.madhousemarketing.com, 1-262-389-7617 Custom art work or club logo. Ultimate GTO Store, www.ultimategto.com center for GTO merchandise. For Sale: Complete pair of 1966 GTO front seats, black with manual adjust. Some small cracks, one hole on upper shoulder, $500 for pair. 1967 GTO/LeMans/Tempest radiator support $75.00 GM A-Bodies P-1060 frt. Shocks, still in GM boxes. $20.00 per pair. Raleigh, NC. 919-841-0458 Can email photos of any item if needed. Tim Wagner email@example.com Pontiac Parts for sale: Mostly 2nd Generation Firebird/Trans Am Parts. Mike Montague 919-518-1905 firstname.lastname@example.org AUTO EVENTS WEBSITES _____________________________ PLEASE notify editor of any errors, changes, or additions. Show Flyers may be available on our web site. Verify BEFORE you make the trip. Hubcap Café: Area’s car shows - http://www.hubcapcafe.com/calendar/north-carolina.htm Car Show News & Classic Auto Events - http://www.carshownews.com/national/NC.htm Carsolina – Car Shows and calendar of events - www.carsolina.com Trans Am’s web site with a forum, shows & events - www.transamcountry.com 2004-2006 GTO web site & forum – www.LS1GTO.com Pontiac Bonneville – www.bonnevilleforum.com Trans Am web site – www.78ta.com North Carolina Events – www.oldride.com/events/northcarolina CAR SHOWS_ 2011__ Being Attended by THT Members:______ August 5-7 Ames Performance Pontiac Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio www.pontiacnationals.com August 19-21 Carolina Classics at the Capital, Downtown Raleigh wwwclassicsatthecapital.com THT has a side street reserved. $20.00 per vehicle for the weekend. Contact: David Hinnant. August 25-28 Food Lion Auto Fair, Charlotte Motor Speedway August 26-28 Trans Am Nationals, Dayton Ohio www.78ta.com/nats/index.html September 17 Clayton Harvest/Music Festival Classic Car and Truck show September 17 Youngsville Fall Festival Car Show September 24 Corinth Holders High School, Car/Motorcycle fundraiser show, 1475 W Market, Smithfield October 14-16 Henderson, 10th Annual Show, Shine, Shag & Dine / East Coast Drag Hall of Fame week October 28-30 Goodguys Rod & Custom Association 18th Southeastern Nationals, Charlotte November 11-13 Carolina Collector Auto Fest, Raleigh Fairgrounds November 19 2011 Reunion Cruise at Grill 57 CRUISE-INS (April through October) ________________________________ PLEASE notify editor of any errors, changes, or additions. Verify BEFORE you drive!!! 1st Friday - N rain date 2nd Thursdays – High Point NC – Friday (April – October), National Home Furnishings Henderson NC, 6-9pm at Roses 4th Saturday – Sonic Cruise In, 6:30pm ‘til? 1628 Main Street, parking lot. Zebulon, 4:00 on. Starting ½ mile north of Business 85 on March 26,2011 Highway 311. Info: 336/882- 3rd Friday – (April –Sept) 4pm 8809. Creedmoor Cruise-In. Andy’s 2nd Sat. – Wakefield ATV, Hwy. 56 Food Lion parking lot April-Oct. Wake Forest. Fridays – Greensboro NC – Sonic Drive-in 6:30pm ‘til? rd 2nd Sat. (March – Oct) Tar 3932 W. Market Street. (Mar 5 3 Fridays – Fuquay-Varina River Cruizers, Wimpy’s Downtown Cruise-In. 5 to 9pm – Oct 29) Info: Doug Seawell Restaurant, Henderson April 15, 2011 www.Fuquay- 336/ 698-0597 varinadowntown.com 4th Sat. New Cruise, High Fridays – Hope Mills, Hosted 1st Saturday – Char-Grill Park Bar-Grill, in-side belt line, by Cape Fear Classics, 4621 Atlantic Ave., Raleigh 625 W Whitaker Mill Rd., Smithfield BBQ, Fayetteville 4:00pm, Music & food. Raleigh, starting April 27 Thursdays – DQ Grill & Chill. 2nd Sunday – Hooter’s of 4th Saturdays – JR’s Discount 5260 New Bern, Raleigh Outlet Cruise-in, Burlington. Burlington, Ext. 141 of I-85 March – Oct. 5 to 9pm. 12:00 to 5:00 Ronnie Ingle @ 336-6 1st Saturday – Zaxby’s on Highway 70 before Clayton. 3:00 Grill 57 is back: 3rd to ?, DJ and free food to car owners attenting. Saturday of the month. TEST & TUNE__DRAGSTRIPS______________________________ Coastal Plains Dragway (IHRA ¼ Mile), 4744 Richlands Highway, Jacksonville, NC 28541 910-347-2200 coastalplainsraceway.com Dunn-Benson Dragstrip (IHRA 1/8 Mile), 555 Dragstrip Road, Benson, NC 27504, 919-894-1662 dunnbensondragstrip.com Farmington Dragway (IHRA 1/8 Mile), 2992 Hwy. 801 North, Mocksville, NC 27028, 336-399-6122 farmingtondragway.net Fayetteville Drag Strip (IHRA ¼ mile), 4480 Doc Bennett Rd, Fayetteville, NC 28306 910-484-3677 fayettevillemotorsportspark.com Mooresville Dragway (IHRA 1/8 Mile), 865 Wilkinson Road, Mooresville, NC 28115 704-663-4685 mooresvilledragway.com Piedmont Dragway (IHRA 1/8 Mile), 6750 Holts Store Road, Julian, NC 27283 336-449-7411 piedmontdragway.com Rockingham Dragway (IHRA ¼ Mile), 2153 US Hwy 1 North, Rockingham, NC 28379 910-582-3400 rockinghamdragway.com Roxboro Motorsports (IHRA 1/8 Mile), 1452 Thomas Store Road, Timberlake. NC 27583 336-364-3724 roxboromotorsports.com Virginia Motorsports (NHRA ¼ mile), 8018 Boydton Plank Road, Petersburg, VA 23803 804-862-3174 virginiamotorsports.com Zmax Dragway (NHRA ¼ mile), 5555 Concord Pkwy. South, Concord, NC 28027 1-800-455-3267 charlottemotorspeedway.com OLD MAGAZINES & BLUE JEANS___________________________ If you have old jeans and/or auto magazines (magazines suitable for our troops to read), please bring them to the monthly meetings. Thanks you …..Mike Schneider CURRENT AUTOMOTIVE NEWS___________________________ (Editor's Note: This story first appeared in the June 1998 issue of Motor Trend and has been republished as part of our Pontiac tribute) It was just about 25 years ago that the classic muscle car era ended. Though the Arab Oil Scam (sorry, Embargo) was raging, and 5-mph safety bumpers had already appeared, we still had big-block V-8s, close-ratio manual transmissions, and thirsty four-barrel carbs. It was also about 25 years ago that I was a car-crazed American youth, locked and loaded for my very first driver's license. And I wanted a Pontiac Trans Am 455 H.O. Bad. Unfortunately, my dream -- and everyone else's -- was over by 1975. American carmakers checked out of the horsepower hotel for the next eight to 10 years. Somehow, the Pontiac Firebird, Chevrolet Camaro, and Ford Mustang survived. Oh, it came close a few times, as all three flirted with extinction, or castration, into smaller, front-wheel-drive packages. But among them, the Firebird Trans Am has remained the Rock of Ages in Pontiac's performance lineup. Now, as the Trans Am nears its 30th birthday, we feel it's time to pit the newest iteration of the nasty 'Bird against two of the early go- fast greats. How the Legend Began The Trans Am moniker debuted in 1969, aboard the nose of the first-generation Firebird. The model was christened after the Sports Car Club of America's successful racing series of the same name, though the SCCA actually spelled it "Trans-Am." The ironic part about it was that the SCCA's Trans-Am racing class maintained a 5.0-liter (302-cubic-inch) maximum displacement rule, and the new Pontiac Trans Am came only with the 400-cubic-inch V-8 (about 6.6 liters). Pontiac was in the process of developing a 5.0-liter racing engine option for the topline Firebird, but it never flew (pun intended). Ironically, the original Trans Am wasn't eligible to race in the series that gave it its name. The Pontiac Trans Am's equipment and appearance package was simple, but ultimately brilliant. The aforementioned Pontiac 400s came in 335-horsepower Ram Air III (some base engine, huh?) and 345- horsepower Ram Air IV form, backed by the buyer's choice of a three-speed manual, four-speed manual, or three-speed Turbo 400 automatic. The sole exterior color combination was Cameo White with blue stripes. And talk about mixing form and function: The hood scoops actually worked (a dramatic departure from the typical phony fitments), ducting cold air into a hungry Rochester four-barrel carb. The front fender side scoops worked, purging the engine compartment of unwanted heat. The optional hood tach worked, letting the driver keep an eye on soaring revs and the road at the same time. And it all looked deliriously cool. There were also suspension upgrades and a set of those Pontiac five-spokish stamped-steel wheels that still look great today. It seemed that a whole new type of musclecar had been born. When GM brought out its second-generation F-body cars as late-introduction '70 models, their styling simply set autodom ablaze. At the time, MT's A.B. Shuman wrote, "It's unmistakably a Pontiac, yet it's totally different. So different, in fact, that there are virtually no pieces inside, outside, or underneath, which are carryovers from the '67-'69 Firebirds. It's a completely new car." True enough: Besides the killer look, the new Firebirds got redesigned suspensions, higher standard equipment levels, and even stouter powertrains. But, oh, that new Trans Am. From the functional reverse hood scoop, front air dam, and shiny dual exhaust outlets to that exotic simulated engine-turned dashboard fascia, these early second-gen Trans Am screamed speed at the top of their lungs. More cubic inches were offered, too. Though several 400-cubic-inch V-8s were available that first year, the Trans Am engine roster was streamlined for '71. But that single offering was a good one: the 335- horsepower 455 H.O.-the king of the ponycar hill. The 455s would carry the Trans Am for the next few model years, culminating in the ultimate fire-breathing SD 455-powered version of '73. Though the SD was rated at only 310 of the new, but fundamentally more accurate, SAE net horsepower, some within Pontiac say that figure was more than a little conservative. Whatever the actual output, an SD was good for mid-13-second quarter-mile times, and 103-104-mph trap speeds in the process. A Nasty 'Bird, to be sure. Compared to the '69 T/A, the second-generation F-Bird handled better, rode smoother, went faster, and had looks to die for. A true intimidator. Fast forward to 1999. The Trans Am lives, but how does it stack up to its forbears from days gone by? Does the new car really deserve the name, and reputation, cast by Ram Air IVs and 455 H.O.s of a quarter century ago? Can a fuel-injected, airbagged, CD-changer-packing, 350-cube-Chevy-engined Pontiac measure up to the tire-smoking Woodward-Avenue-eating hardware -- or at least the memory of it -- that was available over two decades ago? In order to find out, we rounded up one of the more interesting, and theoretically one of the best performing, Firebirds you can get these days -- the SLP Firehawk Trans Am. In case you're not familiar with SLP Engineering, the company, formed in 1987 by racer/hot rodder Ed Hamburger, might be considered a "factory tuner," not unlike AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. SLP builds its own Firehawk cars, in addition to developing and producing the Camaro SS for Chevrolet and the '96-'97 WS6 Ram Air Firebirds. First sold in '92, the Firehawk treatment has generally consisted of improved intake and exhaust systems, more aggressive rolling stock, and the like. These are cost-effective performance packages that Pontiac couldn't feasibly develop and certify itself for small-volume production. Therefore, as the Firebird Trans Am and Formula received its substantial redo -- including the addition of the 305-horsepower, Corvette- based LS1 alloy V-8 -- for '98, so will the Firehawks. Well, let me add a disclaimer: There will be no '98 SLP Firehawks, per se. As SLP had to retool for both a revised Camaro SS and its own Firehawk Firebirds, the company recently elected to finish up the SS, and deliver it as the '98 model; it will bring out the Firehawk later this year as a '99. Our estimation is that SLP chose to get the Camaro SS job done and out the door, as Pontiac has now taken WS6 production in house -- so that division already has its own top level 'Bird -- whereas Chevy still relies on SLP for its ultimate Camaro. Traditionally, Firehawks have been based only on the Formula model. Not anymore, because the Firehawk treatment can now be had on either a Formula or a Trans Am. You also have your choice of coupe or convertible. SLP also goes a step further in differentiating its models from the standard Pontiac versions by doing away with the hideaway headlamps. In their place is a set of glinting, glaring composite light clusters that are each about 5.5 pounds lighter than the popup units they replace. And they look sensational. The new hood, still a front-breathing Ram Air unit, has fewer (but larger) intake holes than does the Pontiac hood -- to our eyes, a nicer look, too. Other mods that make a Firehawk out of a Firebird are a stainless steel, cat-back dual exhaust system, 17x9.0-inch alloy wheels, gummy Firestone Firehawk SZ50 275/40ZR17 radials, and, of course, SLP's cold Ram Air intake system. There is also a host of options, such as a Hurst shifter and chrome wheels, as seen on our bright red test car. A word about this particular machine: It's only the second new-spec Firehawk Trans Am built, and at the time of our test and photo session, the configuration for the Ram Air system had not been finalized. Thus, this car has a standard, non-cold-air intake; we have every reason to believe that production versions' numbers will be even quicker than those we obtained from this hand-built prototype. Once it's all said and done, the SLP upgrades make for 327 horsepower, a nifty 22 more ponies than found under the hood of a standard LS1-powered Firebird or Camaro. And you can order a Firehawk from any Pontiac dealer. You may ask: Why did we choose the semi-factory, semi-aftermarket SLP Firehawk to compare against the two vintage 'Birds? Fair question, as there was no such thing as an SLP back then. Two main reasons: (1) It gave us an opportunity to be the first to test an exciting future model, and (2) We recently tested a '98 Formula ("Horsepower War," Feb. '98), which would have delivered substantially the same performance as a '98 Trans Am-and we owe you more than a rehash. And what of our two classic T/As? The owner of this pristine, low-mileage, first-year '69 is no stranger to the Pontiac faithful; he being Jim Wangers, the ad exec who, along with John DeLorean, cooked up the original Pontiac GTO scheme for '64 and launched the midsize musclecar phenomenon. Jim owns a passel of hot hardware, but this exceptionally original Ram Air III coupe is certainly one of the most prized birds in Wangers' nest. The equally white-and-blue '71 Trans Am 455 H.O. belongs to Michael Pohl; he and his wife are Firebirders to the end, with a total of five of them in the family. It, too, has been restored to quite original specs, though with a few minor enhancements: headers (covered by the original exhaust manifold shielding -- very stealthy), Rhodes lifters, and modern radial tires, but little that would make it noticeably quicker than a period-correct '71. Let's Burn Rubber We might as well get the "what'll she do?" questions out of the way right now. The slowest of these cars is fast, and the fastest of them is really fast. Wangers' collection manager, Ed Dufrene, an experienced drag racer, predicted the early 'Bird should have no trouble making it into the high 14s in complete street trim and on its nearly 30-year-old bias-ply tires that have less stick than a Teflon frying pan coated with WD- 40. True enough, as our best time for the '69 T/A was a traction-limited 6.5-second 0-60-mph clocking and a quarter-mile best of 14.9 at 97.4 mph. Watching this classic musclebird fly through the traps was a kick, its little beak pointed toward the horizon, the tail end hunkering down over the rear suspension, all 3900 pounds punching a fat hole in the atmosphere. Hearing a big-cube Poncho at full throttle is one of those awe-inspiring sounds that ranks up there with Stan Getz playing the tenor sax, a 16-ounce filet mignon sizzling on a Ruth's Chris grille, or Michelle Pfeiffer whispering sweet nothings in your ear. Without getting into the "best musclecar engine of all time" debate, this mondo-motored Pontiac delivers a slightly cammy exhaust rumble that lands on the ear with sweetness and depth. Add to it the sound of the 850cfm four-barrel sucking great gobs of air through the hood scoop, and you've got an inspired definition of aural sex. Launching the 455-cube '71 was a bit easier than with the Wangers machine, due to improved traction provided by its more sophisticated chassis and '90s technology tires. You'd expect there to be no substitute for cubic inches, and there isn't: 0-60 mph came up in 5.4 seconds, and the best quarter-mile run terminated in 13.8 seconds at a '98 Corvette-challenging 105.6 mph. When it came to the SLP Firehawk, something went wrong with our cubic-inches-are-king analogy. The LS1 measures right under 350 cubic inches, just enough to qualify it for duty in the mid-pack Formula 350 model back in '69 or '71. But bedecked with the latest engine-management technology, backed by a Borg- Warner T-56 six-speed manual transmission, and working through an architecturally similar (though obviously 25 years more modern) suspension, the LS1 proved to be the Little Engine That Could. Zero to 60 came up in a flamethrowing 5.1 seconds, with a best quarter-mile run of 13.6 seconds at 104.5 mph. With the production Ram Air system in place, the 'Hawk would probably nip into the fours on a 0-60 mph and knock another tenth or two off the quarter mile. But to focus only on numbers would be to miss the experience of piloting a classic musclecar -- or a new one, for that matter. Drive one after the other, as we did and the '69 feels ancient, though certainly pleasant, powerful, and balanced. Interior details are clean and unfettered, with nary an airbag nor cupholder in sight. The Firebird dash layout is almost identical to that of the '69 Camaro, and seat travel is quite limited for taller drivers. But the feature that most easily places this first Trans Am as a product of the '60s is the radio. These days, an AM/FM/cassette stereo sound system with CD changer, 200 watts of power, and a half dozen speakers is commonplace. The T/A makes do with a simple Delco AM unit, distorting through a single, dash-mounted speaker. Hey, at least it has pushbuttons. You may think "pleasant" an inappropriate descriptor for one of '69's hottest cars, but as mentioned, that's the adjective that best describes driving Wangers' low-mileage T/A. It's not scary-fast, but it steps out smartly, with the non-computerized, non-overdrive automatic's ratios being amazingly well matched to the engine's power curve. It spins the tires at the slightest provocation, and cornering limits are mighty low by today's standards. But you still want to take it out, mash the throttle, and prowl Main Street in search of burger joints that serve good chocolate malts. Time-warp reality check: The Beatles were still together when this car was made. The '71 Trans Am looks and feels more the part of a pavement-eating musclecar with flair. The interior ensconces you, the seating position is low, and your eyes are filled with businesslike gauges and that wonderful fake engine-turned aluminum-looking dash that's equal parts Pontiac and Bugatti. Beyond it is that simply too-cool hood scoop, the one that actually mounts to the air cleaner, sticks up through the hood, and shakes like hell when you goose the gas pedal. The tunes have improved, too, as a then-new, then-trick, eight-track tape deck now augments the AM radio (but with only a single front and rear speaker). In our original road tests, MT's editors commented on how much better the new-for-'7011/42 Firebirds rode and handled as compared to their predecessors, and that conclusion still holds true. Cornering limits are higher, as you'd expect, and there's less float and body roll. Ride quality and braking also move up a step with the '71, though it has a heavier feel. But the best part is pointing it straight and snapping open those slightly-too-large vacuum secondaries. As I said, that sound, Stan, the steak, Michelle... The SLP Firehawk may be the most refined F-machine ever. Much of that feel and performance comes from the revisions made to the '98 models, and the rest comes from the SLP upgrades. The exhaust sound is still American V-8, but tempered with a richness and sophistication offered up by the new LS1. The new car, in stick-shift form, offers as many gear ratios as the other two put together, though sixth is an almost needlessly tall overdrive. The leather seats are comfy enough for long trips, through rear seat legroom is still about worthless. Oh, yeah, and the sound system rocks! More polish or no, have no fear that the newest 'Bird has become soft: This car flat honks. The alloy V-8 is reviver than ever before, and the six-speed, especially with the Hurst stick, is a joy to row. Handling? How about 0.91 g on the skidpad, a number even racing versions of the older machines would have a tough time matching. It would also be no contest ion the braking category, given the Firehawk's four-wheel discs with ABS and sticky 275 cross-section Firestones that help it anchor from 60 in just 115 feet. Styling is, of course, a question of personal taste. And the tastes, trends, and indeed production constraints of 1969 certainly were different from what they'll be in 1999. The '69 set the tone for all Trans Ams to follow, and today's viewer has to appreciate the simple-yet-effective, functional touches that set it apart from garden-variety Firebirds. The new SLP drew fave raves from MT's office personnel and boulevard onlookers, as well, many of whom were yet to be born in 1969. But in the end, it was the '71 that stole the hearts of the MT test staff: coiled aggression in a combination that speaks of both power and balance, a timeless design. For all their differences, for all the change and evolution that's occurred in 30 years' time, for better and for worse, these hot 'Birds clearly came from the same Pontiac nest. They are classic examples of the front-engine, rear-drive, honest-to-overhead-valve muscle machines as only America could build them. '69 Trans Am '71 Trans Am 455 H.O. '99 SLP Firehawk Trans Am Engine type 90-degree V-8 OHV, 2 valves/cyl. 90 degree V-8 OHV, 2 valves/cyl. 90-degree V-8 Displacement, ci/cc 400/6550 455/7451 346/5700 Horsepower, hp @ rpm* 335 @ 5000 335 @ 4800 327 @ 5200 Torque, lb-ft @ rpm* 430 @ 3400 480 @ 3600 335 @ 4000 Wheelbase, in./mm 108.0/2743 108.0/2743 101.1/2568 Track, f/r, in./mm 60.0/60.0 / 1524/1524 61.6/60.3 / 1565/1532 60.7/60.6 / 1542/1539 Length, in./mm 191.6/4867 191.6/4867 197.0/5004 Height, in./mm 49.6/1260 50.4/1280 52.0/1321 Curb weight 3900 lb (est.) 4050 lb (est.) 3470 lb (est.) 0-60 mph 6.5 sec 5.4 sec 5.1 sec Quarter mile 14.9 sec @ 97.4 mph 13.8 sec @ 105.6 mph 13.6 sec @ 104.5 mph Price new $4900 (est.) $5750 (est.) $31,845 (est.) Estimated current value $15,000 $15,000 $31,845 Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sports/112_9806_firebird_comparison/viewall.html#ixzz1TGkwjoyY POCI CAR SHOW: BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY GOLDSTON CRUZ-N Nice country drive. 86 Cars See anything wrong with this picture?
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