Author Topic: 1978 Trans Am  (Read 1876 times)

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Offline 1978blackbird

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1978 Trans Am
« on: March 13, 2013, 01:19:45 AM »
Hey there peoples,
Here is the project thread of my 1978 Trans Am that I picked up in December.  I'll start at the beginning of my adventure to its current standing.  After a few months of searching for a solid car to work with I found this 78 W72 (possibly WS6) on Ebay, some of you might remember seeing this on there.  These are the pictures that was listed on the auction.







I thought the price was a little steep so I contacted the seller and he accepted a lower offer.  I had a friend of the family drive up to bring the car home from New York.  The car was put in the garage while I made preparations for a light rebuild.  Of course I ran the numbers on the car and found it to be an original Cameo White car with the Carmine Red interior.  It is a real W72 package car that from the looks of it, could be a WS6 (rims and large sway bar hinting towards that idea).  Here is the car the night it came home after a bath.



All is well,..  for the most part.  Here is the nitty gritty on the machine.  Lets start from the view walking up to the car.  The car is pretty solid, paint is a 10 footer.  Wheels have seen better days but not unmanageable, someone sprayed them black and kept the machined lip.  Interior is in good shape overall.  Someone replaced the factory seats with racing buckets (I've seen worse but I still hate them).  The carpet is new but the center console needs replaced.  Dash is in good shape with the exception of a very minute crack.  As for under the hood, there is the T/A 400 that has obviously been rebuilt and modified.  Unfortunately the Quadrajet has a gutted choke and has a rough time starting.  So with the carb needing rebuilt it leads to the intake, it is an Edelbrock Torker I that has also seen better days.  The next visible attribute is the heads, #16 heads with a date code of J257. And that takes us to the block which actually made me sour for a day.  It is no longer the XX block, but a weaker 1976 400.  Needless to say I was a wee bit disappointed.  but onto the next piece of equipment.  The Borg Warner 4spd is definitely in need of adjustment but I was told it was all rebuilt recently.  Now for the brakes,  someone converted the rear brakes to disk and since then lost the calipers and pads on with a few small pieces.  I have not idea what the brakes are from so buying replacement parts is kind of difficult.   I'm just relieved that the car is as solid as I hoped it was.

Now for my plans.  For the financial aspect of it, I am going to get the car running with a new carb and intake on the current engine.  I purchased my father's spare '72 400 he had but didn't end up using for his 67 Lemans.   Over the summer I will buy new internals and get everything prepped for when winter hits again use the #16 heads and the new intake/carb combo.  I would like to see approx 400hp and about the same in torque.  (I am by no means a mechanic or engine builder so I will definitely be on here asking for input and advice on the assembly).  As for the interior I found about a week ago some seats on Craigslist from a 77 Deluxe special ordered seats.  They are pretty beat up but they are leaps and bounds better than racing buckets I currently have.   I couldn't pass up the price on them though. My final goal for the car is to buy the Scat Rallye seats from Summit Racing and recover the rear seats in vinyl that sort of match the Scat Rallyes.  Way down the road I would really like a nice performance break set around the car but I am way off affording that upgrade any time soon.  For now I plan on using the 15x8 snowflake rims for now until I can buy some Torq-Thrust-D rims with some BF Goodrich Radial TAs wrapping them up nicely.  The paint is definitely good enough to use for now until I can get it resprayed.  In the meantime I purchased the SE style decals in flat black to make a subtle but cool change of scenery (no offense to anyone but there are way too many black birds with gold birds on the hoods, and even though I love that bandit look, I want something a little different). But enough of my blabbering, here are some new pics of the car and the engine I picked up the other day. Enjoy!  Please remember, any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated!









Mind the dirt from sitting in the garage all winter, I wanted to show what the graphics are going to look like!


Once the weather breaks a little more I can go full steam getting the car fixed up,  I will definitely keep everyone posted!
Thanks for reading! Love the site.

TJ

Offline bluebyu64gp

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Re: 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2013, 02:41:34 AM »
Nice looking project starter...Wouldn't mind the racing buckets in my 76 :-)
David
76 T/A
USAF Retired

Offline 1978blackbird

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Re: 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2013, 08:48:00 AM »
Thanks Dave. As for the seats, I have to hand it to whoever installed them as they are tastefully done. The seats don't look bad in the car. They are not fixed backs and they are adjustable. But for me, I have to move the seat just to enter and exit the car because the lumbar supports are just a hair too big for how close I sit to the wheel (I must have short legs). That is just the one thing that ultimately made my mind up to buy the other set. They would probably look great in your car also! Lol.

Offline iceman

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Re: 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 06:10:31 PM »
I wouldn't be too worried about the motor. If your car had the original(557) block(last three digits on the block casting on the passenger side where the trans bolts up) it wouldn't matter. these blocks are only good up to 350-400 horse anyway. Sounds like you are a bit more performance orientated. The older motor you plan to build should work more in your favor. Seriously look into a 462 kit for it. It's a full rotator kit from any and all Pontiac vendors. Sd performance, Kauffman, Spotts performance, Butler... they all offer it. You just need to talk to them and figure how the block needs to be prepped and you should be in great shape. Nice car! Sounds like you got off to a pretty good start! Keep us posted, Mike
Check out my facebook page: River City Muscle LLC
1969 Pontiac GTO
1971 Pontiac LeMans Sport Convertible
1977 Pontiac Trans Am

Offline Macdave

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Re: 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 07:03:16 PM »
Does it have the numbers matching engine. It so, I would pack it away for safe keeping. If not, and itis still the W72 motorwith the 6X4 heads, Let us know. Pwoplw are always looking for those things.
Current Birds-
1971 Formula - Laurentian Green
1975 T/A 400/4spd 29U/29L
1976 T/A 400/Auto 36U/36L
1976 T/A 400/Auto 78U/78L
1978 Y88/L78/WS6
1978 T/A W72/Auto 50U/50L Hurst tops
1978 T/A 403/Auto 50U/50L Fisher tops
1981 Turbo T/A Maroon w/Fisher Top

Offline 1978blackbird

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Re: 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2013, 09:37:24 PM »
I will definitely look into the kit Mike.  Is there any brand in particular you are loyal to? And why if I may ask? I hear a lot of great things about Butler, but I haven't really heard of the others.  Any insight from personal experience is appreciated.  The kits seem right in my price range for the rebuild. Hopefully with the machine work to the block, having the #16 heads rebuilt, the kit ,and small accessories it'll be around/ under the $5k mark.  (I should really stop with this budget crap, I never adhere to it anyways.  It just makes me feel better when I'm putting the plan together. lol)  Macdave, as for the numbers matching 988XX block, it is long gone, probably in pieces or melted down into a Toyota, hence why I am okay with modifying the car and putting a better engine in it.   So it all works out in the end.   

Offline iceman

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Re: 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 06:57:56 PM »
I'm very happy with KREpower.com  I bought all my motor parts through Jeff(Kauffman). When you call there, I ususally get a machine and I leave a message. They are busy. You can hear the CNC machines in the backround machining thier own line of cylinder heads and aftermarket block, the MR-1. I always get a call back and it's from Jeff. I don't get a counter person or someone who can't answer my questions. All Pontiac, Kauffman, Edelbrock, and Wenzler make the majority of the aftermarket cylinder heads. Kauffman came out with the first d-port aluminum cylinder head and it has 2 or 3 cc sizes to suit your needs. Edelbrock recently came out with a d-port to compete with this sucessful market yet the KRE product is better in my eyes. Kauffman came out with a high port(round port) cylinder head to pick up where the traditional round port Edelbrock head left off. All the venders offer thier own CNC ported version of the Kauffman head in high port and d-port configuration. Kauffman also offers a cast, machined timing cover, a few intakes, a water cross over and an oil filter bracket without a bypass. KRE set-up the rotating assy I ordered in a block they had there to check the crank for how true it is. It took three cranks to get it right(Eagle) and then the assy got shipped to me(no block and I put in my block). Somehow my order for the Ross pistons got misplaced there and it took some time to get them. Jeff knocked off $150 or so because of that. Could have happened anywhere, and he was really cool about it. I feel I had great service and I did spend alot of $ there and I more than got what I payed for. What does Butler make? What does Spotts or SD make? They all can make great Pontiac horsepower, I just feel good buying from the guys who really bring alot to the hobby and KRE does just that. I plan on more business with them. Mike
Check out my facebook page: River City Muscle LLC
1969 Pontiac GTO
1971 Pontiac LeMans Sport Convertible
1977 Pontiac Trans Am