Author Topic: USA78  (Read 7522 times)

aussieta

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USA78
« on: April 08, 2012, 02:35:46 AM »
Thought you guys might like a bit of a story about my Trans Am
My name is Andrew and I am addicted to Trans Am’s
I live on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia.
Like most of us it started in 1978 when Smokey and the Bandit came out at the movies.
As a 15 year old I couldn’t believe such a beautiful, tough car existed. So I hop on my bike and pedal to the US car dealership, about 2 hours away.
There in the lot is a Martinique Blue 1978 Trans Am. It was love at first sight. I ask the salesman how much.. $24,000.  I realise I will never be able to afford it.
My first car is a HT GTS Monaro (aussie version of 69 camaro), as close as I could afford to the Trans Am, many Monaros follow, some absolute garbage, no engines, rusted out, etc
Always looking for a Trans Am that I can afford, I test drive many but either poor right hand drive conversions, mock ups or just plain rubbish. I looked at one that was an Esprit with a Trans Am sticker on it, one had 1979 tail lights 1978 nosecone and 1973 vin number and one that only had about 5 degrees right turn as steering hit on sump pan.
Finally in 1996 I find an advert for a 1978 Trans Am just around the corner from where I work. Left hand drive and in need of love. I go to look at it, I see the potential and I can afford it.
 I get home from work with a smile from ear to ear, my wife says what are you so happy about?, Oh no you’ve bought another car, does this one at least have an engine?







The good parts complete, running, black velour interior, eight inch snowflakes, pontiac engine(matching number), fischer T-Tops, minimal rust, power windows, AC. The bad parts every panel had minor dents and at least 5 paint jobs over original paint and decals, cracked exhaust manifolds, wheels painted black, interior worn.
Had car for about a week when a well meaning shop decodes my compliance plate for me, WS4, a base model. But the vin says 2W87Z8L****** . Now I’m nearly in tears.
I send for PHS documents. Back it comes, wow this baby is loaded Y84, WS6 which in January 1978 includes W72. I then find out that many Van Nuys cars body plates are stamped WS4.
Anyway with family commitments there isn’t much money so work is slow. I’m working up to 80 hours per week. During this time I reserve my custom number plates USA78. I perform the right hand drive conversion in the driveway ( no garage) which took 5 years. With engine and AC out I find hidden vin numbers which match and with interior out I find the build sheet which ties the crayon mark on the firewall to the body number to the vin. Then I start repairing enough to pass roadworthy inspection, I fit A body RA3 exhaust manifolds dual 2.25 inch system with hiflow cats. The cam has about 6 worn lobes so I replace it with 744 cam., new brakes, new shocks, make taillights with amber indicators., new tyres, new seatbelts etc etc



Finally make a big effort and get it registered in 2003 just in time for my 40th birthday
2008  money is looking a bit better I decide to completely rebuild the motor, summit 2801 cam, mill the heads 50 thou, new rings and bearings.





Never could get any decent vacuum with that cam so went back to 744. Excellent to drive but the fuel economy???? 



Decide to fit fuel injection,  Edelbrock Proflo2. now I have performance and economy. Setting up the injection was not easy and I’m still not 100% happy with the tune.
Back to the body, I always wanted that blue Trans Am but I have a genuine Y84.  I’ll paint it black, no wait I’ll paint it blue, no wait I’ll paint it black……….
Takes me 16 years to finally decide it’s my car which I will never sell so I will paint it blue.
Now Martinique blue is looking a bit dated so I decide on Ford UU blueprint blue.



Was hoping to have paint finished over Easter break but didn't get finished, will update in a few weeks when paint is finished,
I also have new PUI door trims and seat covers to fit after paint and that brings us up to today.
Andrew


1978 Y84 W72 WS6
A Camaro looks like it could kick your ass.
A Trans Am looks like it's coming over to do it

Aussie 1977 Trans am

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Re: USA78
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 03:59:43 AM »
Andrew great story and good looking car you must be really happy with the way the car is turning out.
I was hoping to have my car srayed this weekend in the garage but still mucking around making sure the panels are as straight as I can get them.
might have to wait till next weekend as rain is coming need warmer weather.
And the blue is a great colour.
have you sprayed cars before?
Ed
Regards Edward
Melbourne, Australia
1977 Trans am TA  Olds 350 Th350 A/C Snow Flakes 15 x 7 8 track, Fisher T-Tops

falcon4

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Re: USA78
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 03:27:48 PM »
Very Nice car you have there Andrew.  I'm glad the missus let you keep it.   
Jon

1966 Chrysler Valiant Regal 225
1976 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird 455
1979 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird 403 (my newest lawn ornament)
1979 Pontiac Firebird 301 Base Model......
1977 Ford F-100 4WD 351
1979 Camaro Z28 350 (wouldn't work in an iron lung)
2004 Ford XR-8 Falcon 5.4
1972 Lemans Station Wagon 455 with Endura nose option.

Perth, Western Australia

aussieta

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Re: USA78
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 09:13:12 PM »
I haven't painted for about 16 years, (the gold HZ GTS in the first photo was the last one)
The paint came out reasonable, everyone that has seen it says it looks perfect but I have high standards, a big windstorm came up just as I was painting the clear, so a couple of big dust spots that I hope will buff out. Considering how much room I had to work in I am happy with the results. I don't know how they call this a double garage. 5.7m x 5.7m  (19' x 19' )
Starting to assemble the bits I have painted. Having a great time aligning the fenders.
Very dis-appointed with the bonnet (hood) so I will respray that along with the spoilers and shaker which I haven't done yet
But now the rains are here.

1978 Y84 W72 WS6
A Camaro looks like it could kick your ass.
A Trans Am looks like it's coming over to do it

LeighP

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Re: USA78
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 03:25:05 AM »
Mate...she's looking terrific. Nice to see one in Blueprint....that was my first choice when I started my current project...ended up going green instead, lol.
You do nice work. You're not the only one who has trouble with the front alignment....my panel shop guys scratched there heads and took quite a while to get all the front on mine to line up nicely....there are shims everywhere, lol.
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1968 Pontiac Firebird 428 5 speed coupe

Former Firebirds -
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


Re: USA78
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 03:25:05 AM »

Aldo

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Re: USA78
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 03:49:35 AM »
Nice project ,my wife sounds the same way..... :lol: :lol:


Aus78Formula

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Re: USA78
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 07:08:10 AM »
Certainly came out nice for backyard paint, nice colour choice too. Bit hard to tell, is the fuel injected setup currently under that aircleaner or is that a different car in the other photos?

ryeguy2006a

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Re: USA78
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 08:21:37 AM »
Looks good to me. I want to go fuel injection on my car too. Nice work.

1976 Trans Am LS1, 6 speed, C5 12.8" Brakes, LS1 rear 12" brakes, 17" Aluminum Rims, and much more...SOLD
My Build: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=24465.0

New project: 1968 Camaro with 6?.?0?  5.3 w/ Z06 cam/T56
http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=74591.0

aussieta

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Re: USA78
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2012, 12:25:19 AM »
All of the photos are of my car and engine, the first photos are how it came home and then follow in order
Yes that is the same engine with the injection hiding under the scoop (bit of a shame you can barely see it)
The proflo2 injection uses a 4 barrel throttle body on a modified performer manifold
Andrew
1978 Y84 W72 WS6
A Camaro looks like it could kick your ass.
A Trans Am looks like it's coming over to do it

aussieta

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Re: USA78
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2012, 01:25:52 AM »
Got rid of that BOP 1 piece oil pan gasket
so now no oil leaks
and scratched the new paint on the nosecone in the process
one step forward one step back
1978 Y84 W72 WS6
A Camaro looks like it could kick your ass.
A Trans Am looks like it's coming over to do it

LeighP

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Re: USA78
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2012, 01:56:52 AM »
Its a long reach getting an engine in and out of a 2nd gen....we had to get a longer arm for our hoist...it just wouldn't reach. So easy to scratch things, too.  :???:
Regards,
Leigh

Sydney, Australia
1968 Pontiac Firebird 428 5 speed coupe

Former Firebirds -
1969 Pontiac Firebird 400
1971 Pontiac Firebird 455
1977 Pontiac Trans Am
1976 Pontiac Trans Am
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 coupe


joe74ta

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Re: USA78
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2012, 02:10:16 AM »
Looks like the car is in good hands you are doing a great job Andrew.

falcon4

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Re: USA78
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2012, 02:52:43 AM »
Ouch, sorry to hear of your little setback......I'll be using an overhead gantry when I change out to the 455.  Those engine lifters are just too short.
Jon

1966 Chrysler Valiant Regal 225
1976 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird 455
1979 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird 403 (my newest lawn ornament)
1979 Pontiac Firebird 301 Base Model......
1977 Ford F-100 4WD 351
1979 Camaro Z28 350 (wouldn't work in an iron lung)
2004 Ford XR-8 Falcon 5.4
1972 Lemans Station Wagon 455 with Endura nose option.

Perth, Western Australia

aussieta

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Re: USA78
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2012, 10:50:13 PM »
Installed my hood bird today, all went fine
only problem I had was with the flame
the premask is exactly the same size as the clear on the decal
by time I had picked at it enough to seperate the premask there was no adhesive left on the decal
I know it's not "correct" but I wanted a gold bird without a black body and facing the left

1978 Y84 W72 WS6
A Camaro looks like it could kick your ass.
A Trans Am looks like it's coming over to do it

Aus78Formula

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Re: USA78
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2012, 10:54:17 PM »
Looks pretty good to me, Turbo hood bird? If it were me and going for slightly further custom touch, I'd remove the top 4 feathers of each wing at the joint where it wraps around the hood bulge, bring it back to a normal bird shape.

Re: USA78
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2012, 10:54:17 PM »



Aussie 1977 Trans am

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Re: USA78
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2012, 10:56:56 PM »
Looks great how long did it take you and did you use soapy water or the Gel?
And Aus78formula has a point but still looks good.
Ed
Regards Edward
Melbourne, Australia
1977 Trans am TA  Olds 350 Th350 A/C Snow Flakes 15 x 7 8 track, Fisher T-Tops

Aus78Formula

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Re: USA78
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2012, 11:21:49 PM »
Yeah I was just pointing out another option with that hood bird, not having a go at it. Here's a sample of my awesome talent at photoshopping, hard to believe I don't do it for a living  :lol:


aussieta

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Re: USA78
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2012, 02:02:35 AM »
thanks Ben,
why did you show me that?
that looks excellent, no way am I taking a razor blade to it now though.
although I'm tempted
took about an hour and a half
used water and baby shampoo
1978 Y84 W72 WS6
A Camaro looks like it could kick your ass.
A Trans Am looks like it's coming over to do it

Re: USA78
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2012, 02:02:35 AM »
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