It was time to motivate the '77, and the one requirement was that it had to be a Pontiac mill. Trevor contacted Ken's Speed and Machine in Brooksville, Fla., and ordered up one of his 511 crate motors. The engine uses the Indian Adventures block and came topped with 90cc Edelbrock heads. The 10.5:1 compression engine has a custom-ground 4.30-inch stroke crank and forged Eagle 6.800-inch floating H-beam rods with forged BRC pistons. Working the COMP valvetrain is a custom-grind 510/520-lift, 230/236-duration hydraulic roller camshaft. Not happy to leave well enough alone, Trevor got some port work done on the heads and had the 1.66-inch exhaust valves swapped out for 1.77-inch valves. He then had Cliff Ruggles completely rebuild and massage a '79 Quadrajet and bolted it to the Holley Street Dominator intake manifold. Putting the spark to the fuel is left to an MSD Pro Billet distributor with a 6AL ignition box and a Canton road race pan keeps everything oiled properly. Spent gasses are sent packing through a set of Ron Watt custom Tri-Y headers that feed into a 2.5-inch exhaust system by Pypes. Keeping the whole deal running cool, even in the oppressive Florida heat, is a Griffin radiator with dual Spal electric fans that trigger at 180 degrees. All of these parts work together to put out 523 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and a neck-snapping 658 ft-lbs of twist at 3,800 rpm. The rest of the drivetrain consists of a TKO-600 five-speed from Keisler with a Hayes 11-inch hydraulic clutch and Lakewood bellhousing. From there, power transmits back to the Moser Ford 9-inch locker rear end with 3.50 gears.
Next up was the bodywork, which, given the primo condition of the car, was minimal. Trevor wanted to keep the Bandit look, so the color choice was a no-brainer. One big change he made was to the rear of the car where he substituted '79 rear lights in place of the originals. Trevor explained, "I wasn't sure it would work. The rear sheet metal is from a '79, but the '77 spoilers and bumper bolted right up. This meant I had to fabricate a license plate holder and recess it into the back bumper." Trevor had a shop that was all lined up to paint the car, but hurricane Charley destroyed the guy's building, so that was a no-go. Six months later, he managed to get the paint laid on by A1 Collision in Englewood, Fla. The '77 Trans Am SE graphics package complete with the "Screaming Chicken" was painstakingly applied by Trevor himself.
The interior got improvements only where needed. Gone are the idiot lights in the dash; in their place resides a complete set of Auto Meter carbon fiber gauges. The non-supportive stock seats were ditched in favor of Corbeau CR1 units that will keep Trevor firmly planted when the lateral g's start to load up. SK Auto Trim in Englewood, Fla., stitched up the back seats to match the front and reworked the door panels and headliner. Trevor felt it was way too much cash to revamp the stock A/C unit, so he replaced it with one from Vintage Air. As for the tunes, Trevor told us, "I spent a lot of money putting in a great sound system, but I'm not sure I will ever turn it on, as the car just sounds so good."
Trevor just finished the car back in January and hasn't had much time to enjoy it yet, but he's very happy with how it came out. As he stated, "Could I have bough a new Z06 Corvette with the money I spent on it? Probably! Would I have been better off spending over 1,500 hours of the last two years doing something more productive than researching, designing, stripping, cleaning, fabricating, and assembling to end up with what my wife calls 'another old Trans Am?' Nah!" We would have to agree. So after reading this, grab a can of Coors, fire up the DVD player and feel free to go back in time.