The body was mostly straightened, but it didn't need to be perfect. Things like holes for missing trim were left. The glass was flush-mounted, and most of the glass is actually Lexan. The car was shot in PPG DP90 satin black epoxy primer. Fiberglass front and rear bumpers were fitted to continue the spray-bomb appearance of the car. The finishing touches on the exterior came in the form of die-cut vinyl lettering that mimic race car sponsorship decals, but maintain a uniform look to this pseudo racer. An era-correct "389 cu.in." was applied to both sides of the hood, and a large number 65 on the doors. The finishing touch was a logo for the car, designed by Wally Goto in the likeness of nose art found on World War II planes. The car was developing a sinister look that was a bit seductive, so Goto created a Temptress. A voluptuous Cougar with devil's horns, pitchfork and tail, complete with the Pontiac arrowhead as a tip.
The interior called for the same Spartan approach. Window nets were hung while the door panels were abandoned. The factory dash was left with a smattering of the original switches. Race car equipment included the addition of a full cage, racing seats, and Simpson harnesses. A full rack of Auto Meter Pro Comp Ultra-Lite gauges was installed in a stainless panel with a turned look to it, playing off a Pontiac design cue. Jeff's crew applied bedliner to the floor for a tiny bit of sound deadening (and painted metal would have scratched anyway).
To deliver the kind of performance that the looks promised, the car uses a combination of Schwartz Muscleup chassis. The chassis features mandrel-bent rails, and custom front and rear suspension. The chassis is 200 percent stiffer than the original frame, and is capable of delivering over 1 g of lateral handling. The front suspension features a custom A-arm upper, and single-tube lower control arm. This car uses Bilstein adjustable coilover shocks, but the chassis also fits Ride Tech ShockWaves. The chassis also mounts rack-and-pinion steering and integrated sway bar. The rear suspension is a four-link with a sway bar. The Pontiac uses a Dana 60 with 3.55 gears and a posi.
The LS9 engine came with a...
The LS9 engine came with a dry-sump oiling system, which was retained on this car. An LS7 oil pan and Schwartz billet accessory drive system were used, and an external oil tank was plumbed into the system, resting just behind the driver-side headlight.
With the upgraded chassis and a mini-tub job for the rear, the GM A-body can sit on 275/35ZR18 BFGoodrich g-force T/A KDW tires in the front and 335/30ZR18s in the rear. The tires are mounted on XXR wheels, 18x9.5 up front and 18x13 in the rear. That's some serious meat, and exactly what would be needed to lay down some serious times on the road course.
Grant and Duncan arrived on June 2, 2009 to help Jeff's team at Schwartz Performance wrap up the car. It took nearly five sleepless nights to get the car finished, but June 6 found the trio in Racine, Wisconsin, for the start of the event.
While that sounds like the end of the story, it was really just the beginning. For Power Tour, Jeff had just dropped in an LS3 engine. Shortly after the event, he built an LS9 engine. Well, it was mostly LS9. Jeff bored an LS9 block and assembled a reciprocating assembly made of Wiseco pistons, K1 rods, and a forged LS9 crank. The heads were massaged, and an LS7 cam was selected to activate the valves. An LS3 intake manifold was used, along with a 90mm drive-by-wire throttle body. Jeff created a custom wiring harness and used a Corvette ECU. The engine is backed up by a Tremec TKO 600 five-speed transmission rated to take more than 600 lb-ft of torque. The combo smokes down the quarter-mile at 12.36 at 117 mph, but can also cruise at more than 20 mpg on the highway.
The fuel tank under the car...
The fuel tank under the car was replaced by an RCI fuel cell in the trunk. Even though the tank is a tad smaller than stock, the car gets more than 20 mpg on the highway, providing plenty of range. Also visible in the trunk are the stretched wheel tubs, the Schwartz Performance bottom-clamp Optima battery mount, and the NOS bottle.
In less than six months after completion, the car won more than its share of trophies and awards, including taking top honors in the muscle car class at Car Craft magazine's Real Street Eliminator. It's also participated in Pro-Touring.com's Run Through the Hills and Motor State Challenge. The race-inspired motif that was driven by a short time frame actually turned into a visual statement that matches the car's DNA and stands apart from all of the show cars. That was 10 weeks of effort well invested.
Tires with a 275mm tread width...
Tires with a 275mm tread width are common for the rear of GM A-bodies, but the chassis under Grant's Tempest fits P275/35ZR18s under the front. The XXR wheels are lightweight and modern in design, but still fit with the vintage road racer look.
The turned stainless steel...
The turned stainless steel gauge insert is the one mod strictly for style in the interior. Everything else is purely functional, from the bedliner floor covering, to the five-point harnesses. The cool limb (leaning forward off the shifter) is a bracket that holds the nitrous button. This position makes it possible for Grant to hit the squeeze with his thumb between gearshifts.
A race car cue that is quite...
A race car cue that is quite functional is the deletion of the high-beam headlights. Grilles were made to cover the openings, letting fresh air into the engine bay. The air inlet is mounted just behind the opening on the passenger side to grab cool air.