When it came time to chose a color, rather than going with a flashy shade of red or orange, Thomas insisted on painting the car black. “I wanted to tastefully black out the car, and highlight the interesting design elements with a silver stripe running down the center of the car,” he says. “My first Firebird was black, my favorite color is black, and since the Pontiac brand is now dead, it just seemed like the right color. You can’t do black without doing it right. I knew the crew at ASC would get the bodywork perfect, and painting the car black would be the perfect way to show off their talents.”

While the rest of the hot rodding world has gone cuckoo for LS engine swaps, Thomas felt like it wasn’t enough of a challenge. To make things more interesting, he enlisted ASC to build a twin-turbo Pontiac 455. “Cramming a 400 Pontiac with twin turbos into a Firebird and trying to make it look good is extremely difficult. We built custom inner fenders to more efficiently package the turbos and piping,” Brian says. The motor itself is based on a Butler aluminum block that’s been matched with an Eagle forged crank and rods, and Ross 8.5:1 pistons. Unlike a stock Pontiac 455, which uses a 4.155-inch bore and a 4.210-inch stroke, ASC’s over-square 4.250x4.000-inch cylinder dimensions hint at the turbo 455’s rev-happy intentions. The short-block is topped with Kauffman Racing cylinder heads and a custom Visner intake manifold carved out of a single block of billet aluminum. In addition to building the long-block, ASC custom fabricated all the hot and cold piping for the twin 66mm turbos. At just 12.5 psi of boost, the huffed Poncho spits out 1,020 hp on pump gas. “Dropping in an LS motor with some custom powdercoating would have been the easy way out, but I wanted more of a purist Pontiac setup. I originally planned on building a mild 400 Pontiac with a six-pack intake and EFI. As the look and caliber of the car got more extreme, I realized the car needed a far more extreme engine combo. Once the turbos spool up, the motor goes from gentleman to sheer chaos,” Thomas says.

Numbers like that mandate a suspension that can produce tons of stick, and to achieve the requisite levels of adhesion, Thomas installed a slew of battle-tested hardware from Detroit Speed and Engineering. Suspending the Moser 12-bolt rearend out back is a DSE four-link, sway bar, and coilovers. Getting the job done up front are DSE control arms and a sway bar, matched with QA1 coilovers. Big Wilwood discs—14 inches up front and 13 in the rear—scrub off speed. Linking it all to the road are Forgiano Ritorno wheels, blacked-out, of course, and wrapped in Nitto NT05 tires.

If we didn’t know any better, we’d assume that this ’Bird is destined to be caged in a garage its entire life. As both car builder and car owner affirm, however, it’s one super high-end Pro Touring machine that will be free to fly. “I’m not a show car builder, and I don’t build cars to win the Ridler award. At ASC, we build cars you can beat the crap out of, but we still want them to look good in the process. If you can’t blast down the highway in it, there’s no point in building it,” Brian says. As no surprise, Thomas agrees. “I pound on this car so hard that I should be buying stock in tire companies. Once the turbos spool up, you better keep your eyes locked on the road to make sure it’s going where you’re pointing it,” he says. “The amazing thing is that this car makes over 1,000 hp, but still gets 20 mpg on the freeway. We just got back from the Run to the Coast event, and plan on racing in the Heidts Challenge and Motorstate Challenge this summer. Our goal is to qualify for the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational. Whatever happens, you’re going to see this car sliding around, burning rubber, and doing what muscle cars should be doing.”