One of the most popular American cars of the ‘70s was the Pontiac Trans Am. Despite its lack of power, a trait of the ‘70s, the car became famous while starring in the Smokey & The Bandit movies, alongside Burt Reynolds. This feature sparkled a lot of dreams inside a lot of people.
One of those people was Gregg Hamilton from New Zealand, a guy that has quite a motorsport career. He used to race in Japan with Tein’s rally team, with Toyota Team Europe (TTE for short) in Germany and with Prodrive in the UK. For the last 10 years he’s lived in the US and worked with drivers like Dave Mirra, Travis Pastrana and ken Block. Gregg is currently senior technician for the Hoonigan team.
Well, to start the story off, Gregg’s daily driver is a C6 Z06 Vette and then there’s his Pontiac Trans Am. He bought this car when he moved back in 2005, but he knew instantly he didn’t like that it drove like a tractor. So the quest began to transform this good looking car into something that is also fun to drive.
First off, the engine was rebuilt using high compression heads and a more aggressive camshaft. Also the automatic transmission was swapped with a manual. After hearing about Megasquirt, Gregg was able to add fuel injection using a pair of ITB setups from a Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle mounted on a custom manifold. And of course he threw in a couple of turbochargers and an ECU. Why not?
Some time after that he swapped the engine with a 5.3 liter LS motor that was already prepped with some goodies: a LS9 cam, a Holley intake manifold, forged pistons and rods and Subaru 525cc fuel injectors. He kept the twin Garret turbos with TiAL wastegates, a custom intercooler setup, custom manifolds and an exhaust system featuring sidepipes. The driveline needed some attention also, so it has been swapped by a ZF Corvette 6-speed transmission, with a lightened flywheel, a McLeod twin-plate clutch and a 4.56 rear end.
Exterior modifications include a set of rear fender flares designed by Gregg himself and a taller rear spoiler. I cannot forget to mention the 10.75×19’XXR 530 wheels wrapped in Hankook tires. The car was repainted according to the factory color scheme including the graphics.
The interior features a set of Summit Racing bucket seats, Netami harnesses, a racing steering wheel and of course a tablet that is connected to the ECU via Bluetooth.