When we first saw Chris Williams' '75 Trans Am, it hit a nerve. This guy was going fast and looking good while doing it. Even better was the fact that he was doing it on the cheap--well under our $25K limit. Williams' TA was purchased for $1,500, and as a California car, it was rust-free. A quickie Maaco paint job and some interior parts to replace the sun-beaten items got things looking good without breaking the bank. Then in 2002, Chris won Hot Rod's "Win Your Dream Engine" sweepstakes. He spec'd the motor out, Hot Rod built it, and Chris won it. Since we don't expect you to be able to duplicate that feat, we're adding into Williams' total tally the $9,500 cost of the 461ci Pontiac mill. (In fact, Williams has only $11,925 into the car--we know you're not gonna let that slide.) Instead of building a pretty show car, Williams pounds on it every weekend at the track, posting a best ET of 11.52/117--driving it to the track and running on pump gas. Look for the full story in the May 2007 issue.

1975 Pontiac Trans Am
Owner:Chris Williams; Sleepy Hollow, IL
Engine:461ci Pontiac 400
Transmission:Turbo 350,
Rearend:12-bolt, 3.73:1 gears
Chassis/suspension:Hotchkis TVS suspension, polygraphite bushings
Brakes:rebuilt stock front & rear
Wheels/tires:used Cragar Superstar Street (15 x 8, front; 15 x 10, rear), M/T ET Street
Horsepower:563 hp @ 6,000
Best ET:11.52 @ 117
Total cost to build:$22,175
Where The Money Went:
Car:$1,500
Engine (free, won in Hot Rod's "Win Your Dream Engine Sweepstakes"):$9,500
Trans/converter:$1,500
Ignition:$200
Driveshaft:$300
Rear (12-bolt):$2,000
Headers:$450
Exhaust system:$450
Rims:$450
Tires:$250
Quarter-panel repair:$200
Maaco paint:$800
Hood decals:$250
Door panels, head liner, vinyl dye:$350
Rear window trim pieces (Year One):$200
Carpet:$125
Hurst shifter:$200
Holley Volumax pump, Earl's lines, Qwick Fuel regulator:$750
Rebuilt stock front calipers, wheel cylinders, new pads & shoes:$75
Vacuum pump:$275
Alston 8-pt rollcage & installation:$750
Hotchkis TVS front suspension:$1,000
Bushings & front end pieces:$600
Total:$22,175