The primary objective with the engine build was to keep things simple, reliable, and maintenance free while maintaining pump gas compatibility. To that end, the 455 block was opened up a tad to 4.181 inches, and combined with a 4.250-inch RPM forged crank for a slight increase in stroke. Rounding out the rotating assembly are RPM billet big-block Chevy rods, and Diamond 10.58:1 pistons. To feed the 466ci short-block, Steve opted for an all-Edelbrock top end featuring Performer aluminum heads, a dual-plane intake, and an 800-cfm carb. Managing the valve events is a Bullet 245/253-at-.050 hydraulic flat-tappet cam and Harland Sharp 1.5:1 rocker arms. On the engine dyno, the big Indian kicks out a respectable 498 hp and a staggering 570 lb-ft of torque. Since the stock four-speed trans was a gear short of offering relaxed freeway cruising, Steve matched the 466 up with a Tremec five-speed, a Hays aluminum flywheel, and a Centerforce clutch.
In retrospect, examining the journeys of both Steve and his Trans Am over the years helps explain why man and machine share so much in common. Like its owner, the Trans Am hides its class and grandeur behind a scruffy cloak that's been run through the dryer without any fabric softener. Steve has been able to successfully transform a car that's so garish and flamboyant into something worthy of sharing garage space with Aston Martins and Ferraris, and he attributes his inspiration for doing so to his profession. "As a structural engineer, I design the exterior skins of commercial buildings. The exterior walls of a building are the first thing people see, so not only do they have to be functional, they have to present well visually," he says. "It doesn't matter how well engineered a building is, because if it doesn't look nice, no one's going to want to buy it or rent space in it. I took that same approach to building my Trans Am. How nice something looks is just as important as how well it works."