After the debut of the new Chevrolet Camaro Concept in 2006, it became widely known that General Motors had no plans to resurrect Pontiac's Firebird Trans Am, so Kevin Morgan decided to do something about it.
A lifelong Trans Am aficionado, Morgan was more than disappointed GM would not be bringing back the famous muscle car. "Growing up, I loved 'Smokey & The Bandit,' and I loved Trans Ams. I said to myself, you can not have a Camaro without having a Trans Am," he said.
Morgan, who is a graphic designer in Canton, Pennsylvania, started sketching his vision of just what an updated Trans Am could be. He published his drawings on the Internet and according to him "from there it just snowballed." His ideas caught the attention of several websites and magazines including "Hot Rod" which eventually featured his drawings in the publication.
Finally, Trans Am Depot, a Florida firm primarily involved in the restoration of older Trans-Ams, began to work with Morgan to build running examples of the conversion based on his sketches using new 2010 Camaros as donor cars. Incredibly Morgan's ideas went quickly from the drawing board to the boulevard and so far, four models have been built. The Chevrolet Camaro converstion was dubbed the "Phoenix T/A," but they have since reportedly received permission to use the Trans Am name, making this making this finished product a rare bird indeed (pun intended).
"It's something that doesn't come along very often," says Lawrence Chetty of Chris Leith Automotive in Wake Forest, North Carolina where this particular car currently resides.
Chetty said that they saw the concept in several car magazines and decided that the vehicle was something that was both "cool" and could also bring the dealership some attention.
"We've had people come from nearby states just to look at it," Chetty said.
Loosely based on the 1977-78 models, the attention to detail inside and out of the Trans Am is impressive. Everything from the trademark split grill with authentic Pontiac logo, the "Shaker" hood scoop, and the famous "screaming chicken" hood decal make the car look the part of a new/old Trans-Am.
The interior is also adorned with Pontiac logos and Trans Am badging throughout as would befit a proper GM production vehicle.
"The interior is intricately designed," Chetty said, "it was made to give you the feel of the old Trans-Am."
And, before you ask, a CB radio is not listed as an option.
In order to call itself a Trans Am the car has to do more than just look fast. As you would expect, there are major performance upgrades on the car as well. There have been numerous suspension upgrades and the engine is equipped with a ProCharger P-1SC-1 Supercharger.
The sum of these modifications improve the car's handling and push horsepower up into the 650 range which should certainly shave a few minutes off your next run from Texarkana to Atlanta.
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