Full disclosure; the Trans-Am Firebird is one of my all-time favorite cars. This will not be unbiased, and I make no guarantee that this will be overly factual. It will, however, talk about an incredibly rad muscle car conversion so cool that James Dean and The Fonz together might be nervous to try this bird out. The builder of this Pontiac Trans-Am Firebird equally channeled Smokey and the Bandit and Mad Max into the same car.
The “Mutant Hunter” is a Trans-Am Firebird the likes of which you’ve never seen
As first seen on The Drive, this Trans-Am, like all Firebirds of the era, started life kicking ass and since has only been made to kick more ass. The Trans-Am has become not only an American motoring icon but just a full-blown pop icon over the years. As The Drive astutely points out, Trans-Am fans make Smokey and The Bandit replicas all day, but how many late 70s Firebirds have we seen lifted with knobby tires, straight piped, and sport a painted vulture skeleton in place of the screaming chicken? It’s ok. I’ll wait.
A Pontiac for Wasteland Weekend
According to The Drive, the folks at D2K motors bought the “Vulture; Mutant Hunter” already built out to withstand any number of 1980s-apocalyptic-movie scenarios. In fact, the D2K boys bought it specifically for an event called Wasteland Weekend.
This event is held deep in the Mojave desert every year. The Wasteland Weekend is a festival of sorts dedicated to cosplaying a motoring, 80s-styled apocalypse. This is a dusty and rusty weekend that features heaps of rad custom beaters as far as the eye can see.
Understanding what this festival is all about sheds a clarifying light (not that the Vulture needs any validation) on the dead, rotted, and risen Trans-Am Firebird. While the Wasteland seems a bit macabre, it actually seems to be very lighthearted and acts as a release to folks who want to pretend to live a different life for a few days a year. Imagine Burning Man or some such, but more skeletons, rust, and way more lifted 1950s sedans.
Back to the Firebird skeleton
The Vulture isn’t just lifted with massive tires, and a rattle can paint job. No, this thing has a little more going on. To fit the Wasteland Weekend aesthetic, whoever built this monstrosity added metal grates over the windows to ward of marauding bandits and radioactive mutants.
The Pontiac also was set up with rebar and sheet metal to further the “eh, it works” vibe. All the rust and the flat black work together to make something so tough and gnarly looking that it really only belongs at Wasteland Weekend. It’s too scary for the real world.
The folks at D2K are lucky to only play at the apocalypse and not truly live in it when they first bought the Vulture. It blew a head gasket among many other wiring, exhaust, and other issues. Eventually, they got the Vulture firing on all cylinders. And if you can tell by the looks on their faces in the video, this Trans-Am may look like a grisly death machine, but its clears bring more joy than it could ever take away. Here’s to the Vulture/ Mutant Hunter. Maybe the most Trans-Am-y Trans-Am ever built.