This may look similar to the Smokey and the Bandit hero car, but Snowman and the Bandit would have gotten to Atlanta much faster in this secret Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hypercar. Unlike the Pontiac Firebird that Burt Reynolds drives, this one is a twin-turbocharged V8 making 1,000 hp.
Smokey and the Bandit Part 2
The top-tier Firebird Trans Am from this period came is a detuned 6.6-liter naturally aspirated V8. This isn’t all that bad for the time. But when you hear something like “6.6-liter V8,” your mind tends to go to something closer to Challenger Hellcat, not a 220-hp house cat.
This 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am looks like a bone-stock example from the period. However, there is a bit more going on here than ol’ smokey can see until the Bandit hops on it one time.
According to Motor1, the restoration princess made a point to get the flamboyant paint job just right, complete with gold pinstriping and the enigmatic screaming chicken hood art. It’s got the shaker hood, T-tops, and even the snowflake wheels.
However, a Trans Am nerd might notice that the iconic gold wheels might look a little bigger than normal, and if you look really closely, the whole thing is a bigger bird than would have left the factory in 1979.
This Pontiac Firebird is on fire
If the bigger wheels and wider body are clues, popping the hood will show the full plot twist in broad daylight. In place of the somewhat sluggish 6.6-liter V8 is a twin-turbocharged 7.0-liter V8 capable of burning Smokey from Texarkana to Atlanta with ease.
The two 76-millimeter turbochargers on low boost make a monstrous 1,000 hp. However, if you turn the boost up, this Pontiac Firebird Trans Am peaks at a Bugattiesq, 1,400 hp. If all that power wasn’t already in line with the spirit of the Firebird, the fact that the builder kept its rear-wheel-drive really drives that point home in a cloud of smoke.
This is the coolest daily driver ever
Unbelievably, the owner/builder claim that his mythical bird is a good daily driver as long as you stay out of the turbo boost. Part of what helps that claim is that he built the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with tons of sound-deadening materials to make the cabin more comfortable.
Look at this interior. If the power and performance aspect isn’t enough to impress, take a second to look at the fit and finish. The paint is beautiful, but it almost pales compared to how beautifully the interior has been done. It is a tasteful mix of original and current materials and design.
Even the exhaust was muffled as much as possible to make the ride as pleasant as possible. Even the guy in the video mentions how quiet the car is. Well, until the Firebird starts to heat up.
Building a fire-breathing drag car that looks like it was built in a garage is one thing. However, building something massively capable and wickedly fast while maintaining the original aesthetic takes restraint and taste that very few car builders have.