Author Topic: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion  (Read 35951 times)

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Offline TAKID455

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Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« on: January 02, 2011, 10:24:11 PM »
Introduction
Fellow member Schmeave had acquired a 79 T/A sight unseen over the summer and set out to build a nice fair weather. back road cruising machine. While the car looked decent, the great lakes region had not been kind to the car.   Schmeave began gathering parts and disassembling the T/A. While hunting for a set of seats, he ran into me as I had some available. After some discussions regarding overall plans and what he had as a foundation, we agreed that it would be best to salvage what we could and start with a better foundation. Luckily for Schmeave, he did not have to go far.

I happen to have a ’79 T/A on the lot. It also happens to be my first T/A some 16 yrs ago. Coincidentally, Schmeave’s goals for the car are very similar to mine if I had kept the car. A deal was struck and the build begins.

Currently, the agenda consist of the following:

Body
Convert Hard Top to T Top roof
Strip car to bare metal and finish with either a shade of blue or red
Lizard skin for interior heat and sound retardation
Underside with be sprayed with bed liner for durability and maintenance free

Suspension
Del- A – lum bushings in the control arms
Solid body mounts
Firewall braces
Subframe connectors
Increased rate springs from PT Fbody
Powdercoated suspension and frame items
Koni adjustable shocks on all 4 corners
Cad plated hardware

Driveline
Engine is an existing 400 w/ 62 heads and XE274 cam. This may change in the future.
Transmission will consist of a T56 from parts GM and Viper
Stock 10 bolt with have 3.73 gears installed for optimization w/ the 400/T56 combo.
Exhaust will consist of Tri-Y headers and 2.5” Oval exhaust w/ ‘X’ pipe.

Additionally, all plumbing will be stainless and rear disk brakes will be installed.

Interior is in very nice condition so that will be cleaned up and reinstalled.

With out further ado, I introduce the the 3rd iteration of the 1979 T/A.

Former life





At the last T/A Nats hosted at the airport 2008. Driven w/o issues 1300 mi





Motor


Interior



What happened to Schmeave’s original car


For those wondering, a 2nd gen will fit in the bed of a '56 F250.  ;D



While the 79 was redone in the 90’s, daily driver life and NJ weather took its toll. First order of business was to remove all rust being at the rear. At the current the majority of the rust has been remover and patched. Welds have not been dressed.
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Offline TAKID455

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2011, 10:26:16 PM »
All rust has been removed and areas that become exposed that will become sealed are treated to prevent future oxidation. 



























Having some fun with wheel selection. Old school cragars. roughly 12" wide tires on 10" rims.


ROOF SWAP
While this may look intimidating, with proper careful measurements and time, it is really not too difficult.
Simple instructions
1)   Remove glass
2)   Measure and mark points from roof to cowl. Same for the rear. I used the pins for the trim clips. While the 2 roofs have different pin locations, it is beneficial to mark constant line such as center line of cowl and roof as with cross or diagonal points. Be sure to measure both roofs before cutting. Use the same body reference points
3)   Brace interior of car and leave doors on. Rebuild the hinges if needed.
4)   Use a torch to melt the lead out
5)   Drill out spot welds in the rear sail
6)   Pick a spot on the ‘A’ pillar and mark an offset line
7)   Cut donor roof. Best to cut more than needed
8)   Cut roof off original car
9)   Clean  up cut areas and fit donor roof. Easier w/ 2 people
10)   Trim A pillar until cuts are flush and more importantly, the measurements are good. I am told 1/8” is acceptable, however, for this car I was able to get them exact and no more than 1/16” off in only a few spots. Take your time
11)   Test fit glass
12)   Grind outer metal from ‘A’ pillar so you can weld inner structural metal. I also add reinforcements
13)   Add some post welds and check measurements.
14)   Adjust as needed. Hopefully all is well. Continue welding.
15)   W/o welding too much, open and close doors. There should ne NO difference in alignment or before and after closing/ opening habits.
16)   Test fit  Glass Tops
17)   If all is well, finish and dress welds.



































New Short wheel base T/A foundation




 




Car currently is strapped to a body dolly in preparation for sand/ soda blasting which should happen w/in the next few weeks along with sand blasting all the suspension items and frame. The underside needs a little more cleaning and we are good.

Some before shots of the interior, A/C, trim and wiring items. In order to help stretch the dollar, Schmeave is doing a good bit of the cleaning and detailing.












« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 10:31:41 PM by TAKID455 »
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Offline Grand73Am

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2011, 11:05:37 PM »
Great pics and info! Really enjoying seeing this...Thanks!  8)
Steve F.

Offline Mongo

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2011, 12:07:42 AM »
Cool project.  Cant wait to see more.
"What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law."

Offline 4SPEED

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2011, 12:31:02 AM »
nice work , I could swear I have seen a build like this . somewhere
77 W72 TransAM  (SOLD)
79 TransAM 4SPEED

Offline Frode_skj

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 12:52:37 PM »
Nice build :) how many cars went into this project?
"79 Trans Am tenth Anniversary Edition"
"81 Turbo Trans Am"
Sad to see that people part out T\A's :( especially saveable ones

Offline 4speed76

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2011, 04:29:21 PM »
Nice project, I can't wait to see this one come together.
1976 T/A project
2009 Honda CRV
2001 Honda Civic

Offline TAKID455

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2011, 11:26:59 PM »
nice work , I could swear I have seen a build like this . somewhere

Same here. just note sure where... ;)  You are doing a fine job on yours. Keep it up.
Nice build :) how many cars went into this project?

Just one main car and parts from 3 others.
WOW, looking good Larry!  I love the work you did to your Super Duty.  When I drove your Super Duty I can't believe how fast that cars really is and how nicely you made that Suspension.  It corners better than any T/A I've ever driven. 

I will always speak highly of your work as I've seen the results.     



Glad you enjoyed that one. I know I have.  I intend not to disappoint on this one either. Hopefully I'll have a new ride to comfort your 76 for a night this year.


Stay tunned for more progress. Car and parts will be heading to the blaster this week following a stop at the powder coater after the blaster is done. Hoping to have the parts coated and the body in high build primer by month's end.


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Offline rad400

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2011, 07:36:57 AM »
Sweet sounds like it will be awesome when done.
Conrad
79 Trans am 400 t400 3500 stall #12 heads holley 750 vac carb. Torker II intake 3:73:1 gears 12 bolt rear.

Offline Justin

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2011, 09:04:13 AM »
WOW!!! That is a crazy amount of work. Looks like you are very good at what you do though.
Justin
1978 Trans Am W72
1978 Trans Am W72 WS6 Marty
1979 Trans Am WS6 403

Offline Chvywolf

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2011, 03:41:41 PM »
Question: What RPM range are you planning on running your 400 in with the T56? Also what bellhousing adaptor and clutch/pressure plate are you going with?

I ask for purely selfish reasons since I'll be doing a T56 swap also.  ;D

Lots of work ahead of you but looks great so far.
Steve

2008 2500HD Duramax CCSB
2002 Trans Am
1989 Formula Pontiac 400 T56 "Drag Week" car.
1980 Formula... something and parts

Offline TAKID455

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2011, 10:18:39 PM »
Conrad - we hope so

Justin - Thanks. While it is a bit of work, it is quicker and more efficient in the long run. Many years of experience helps too.

Chvywolf - 1800 @ 75 mph, 2000 @ 83 mph in 6th. 3.73 rear and 26" tall tire. You can use a regular GM clutch application. I am using a Quicktime bellhousing for this build. I have modified stock Lakewoods in the past. The T56 swap will be discussed more in about a month or 2 when the subframe gets assembled.

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Offline TAKID455

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2011, 10:51:40 PM »
Body and suspension taken to media blaster.





Home for a couple of weeks


Body and parts should be back next week. Powder coating and initial body to follow.
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Offline TAKID455

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2011, 11:14:29 PM »
just picked up car from media blaster. Hard parts went straight to powder coater. Body shell is now off cart and on rotisserie. pics tomorrow.
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Offline rad400

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Re: Schmeave’s 1979 Trans Am 400/T56, T Top conversion
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2011, 09:00:17 AM »
Sweet Larry.
Conrad
79 Trans am 400 t400 3500 stall #12 heads holley 750 vac carb. Torker II intake 3:73:1 gears 12 bolt rear.