Maybe if the hacks in Hollywood werent so busy telling everyone how to vote, they might actually make a decent car flick. In a ridiculously obscene era of performance thats spawned 580hp ZL1 Camaros and 650hp Shelby GT 500 Mustangs, the best Tinseltown can come up with are movies in which pitching a car sideways like a hooligan is supposedly a novel concept. Please. Every good ol boy in America has been doing that since he turned 14. And thats with one hand tied behind their backs and the other hand strumming a banjo. On the flip side, back in the day filmmakers had a knack for making something out of nothing.
Although plastic bumpers and wheezy 165hp Corvettes were the order of the day in the 70s, Hollywood somehow managed to make iconic heroes out of miserable smog-era machinery. Even junk like T-tops, tacky screaming chicken graphics, and a .5hp-per-cube V-8 werent enough to keep the Smokey & The Bandit 77 Trans Am down. Jumping bridges, driving through creeks and smoking the bacon made it an instant legend, and Wayne Layman was just one of the countless kids who had to have one. When that dream came true one day, instead of turning it into a clone of the movie car, he instead transformed it into an 11-second, fully modernized, LS-powered g-Machine that runs harder and looks way cooler than any piece of late-70s machinery should.
Wayne first watched that fabled cult classic flick at 11 years of age, and from that point forward his mission in life was to someday own a Trans Am. “Every time I went somewhere with my parents or grandparents, I was always looking for a Trans Am on the road. Whenever we talked about getting my first car, all I wanted was a Trans Am, and I started saving my money to get one,” he recalls. “Not long after my 15th birthday, my dad started scouring newspaper ads for Trans Ams. He looked at 30 or 40 cars before finding a 403-powered ’79 model that he thought was the perfect car for me. We didn’t want anyone to swoop us, so we went over to check the car out the same day that the classified ad came out. We didn’t get there until nighttime, so we had to buy a flashlight on the way just to see the car. It was very clean and only had 42,000 miles on it, and the next day I was the new owner.”
Wayne is a big fan of Chip Foose’s work, and opted for 20-inch Foose rollers. He installed
As a teenager with a paltry budget, Wayne kept it stock and drove the snot out of it, logging 10,000 miles during the first summer he owned it. The fact that his new ride was a 79 model, not a 77, was of no consequence to Wayne since his childhood dream had finally materialized. Coming from a long line of hot rodders, however, he couldnt leave the car alone. I repainted the car, and jacked the back end up as high as I could. My dad bought me some Cragar S/S wheels for Christmas, so that let me put some fat tires in the back, Wayne recollects.
After eight years of service, his enthusiasm for the Trans Am waned, and he stored it in a barn. “Over the next 10 years, I drove everything from trucks to Buick Grand Nationals. Then in 2004, as the Pro Touring scene started getting really big, I took the Trans Am out of storage,” Wayne explains. “At first, the plan was just to repaint it, but one thing led to another and I was suddenly deep into a full g-Machine build. There was a time when no one liked ’79 Trans Ams, so I thought it would be cool to turn one into a Pro Touring car. You see ’69 Camaros built that way all the time, but not Trans Ams. Since no one else had done it before, I thought the potential was there to make it a one-of-a-kind car.”