Trevor Jordan is a Pontiac guy, which isn't odd, except for the fact that he grew up in England. "I bought my first Formula 400 when I was 21. Everyone in Europe rips into you for driving an American tank. They don't say 'Nice car,' or 'What's it run?' They say, 'How much did it cost to insure?' or 'How many miles per gallon?' and my favorite, 'A 7-liter engine! That's not very environmentally friendly!' Of course, they don't ask drivers of Bentleys or V-12 Mercedes those questions," Trevor says. Many of his buddies changed their tune once they did some road racing against Trevor and his "American Tank." Their Lotus Cortinas and 3-liter Capris couldn't hang with the Pontiac, and after the race, Trevor heard comments like "You passed me like I was standing still!" and "How do you get that thing to corner so flat?" and "I just couldn't stay with you through those bends." Feeling a bit vindicated, Trevor knew that he had made the right choice in choosing American iron and his lifetime love of Pontiacs began.
His second Pontiac was a '78 Trans Am and he did a ton of work on it, which wasn't easy since there wasn't squat for parts in the UK. His job moved him and his TA to Germany where he got a chance to stretch the legs of his Pontiac. As he tells it, "I took my Trans Am with me to Germany and scared myself shitless more than once getting over 150 mph on the Autobahn. The front lifted, the side windows wanted to pop out and I needed all three lanes just to keep it on the road. Great fun!" Later, when his job moved him to Detroit, he had to abandon his '78 in Germany since he couldn't even give it away. What do you expect from a continent that thinks Citroens are cool?
Over the years Trevor got back into cars and tried his hand at building a street rod. But the first time he drove it, he realized he was not meant to be a street rodder, so he sold the rod and bought more Firebirds. At least it was easier to find parts here in the States. Some he restored and some he upgraded, but he wanted to do something a bit more serious. Now living in Englewood, Fla., Trevor found a rust-free '77 Trans Am out in the dry California desert and brought it home. A plan coalesced in his mind to build a road-hugging Bandit Special Edition car the way he had always wanted. He also wanted to do as much as possible with his own two hands and only farm out the bare minimum.
Handling was the most important thing to the transplanted Brit. The old subframe was retired, and Trevor contacted Wayne Due in the distant land of Washington State to build him one using C4 Vette components. "At that time, Wayne wasn't too familiar with Second Generation cars and worked mostly on '67-69 Camaros, but he did have a '75 Firebird for reference. Given the distance, there was no sending it back under warranty. When the frame arrived, I had to relocate the engine mounts and tinker with the radiator support to make it fit, but the C4 suspension parts mounted right up." Rack-and-pinion steering replaced the old recirculating-ball gearbox and Trevor went with the QA1 coil-overs recommended by Wayne. DelAlum bushings from Global West were used everywhere possible along with their aluminum body bushings and Alston subframe connectors to help stiffen the T-top Pontiac. To save weight, Trevor ditched the front bumper structure and replaced it with an aluminum frame, which he figures shaved 60 pounds off the nose of the car. He then attacked the back bumper support with a plasma cutter and cut away an additional 10 pounds. Now he has even more motivation to avoid accidents. Out back, Global West L3 leaf springs and Edelbrock shocks keep the rear firmly in contact with the asphalt.
Choosing the wheels and tires for the Trans Am provided the most anguish during the project. The larger Baer disc brakes that Trevor bought for all four corners meant that the stock snowflake wheels weren't an option. "This body style needs a complicated wheel," explains Trevor. "I thumbed through countless tuner magazines before I came across the package I wanted. When the wheels arrived and I saw them, it was like looking at jewelry." The VSX three-piece wheels are 18x10 in the rear and 18x9 up front and have the requisite gold-painted centers to carry through the "Bandit" look of the Pontiac. For tires, Trevor went with BFG KDWs in sizes 285/40 and 255/45, which gave him the 27-inch diameter he needed to nail the stance.