Links and Other Stuff
Car Clubs and the Houston Cruising Scene
Trans Am Club of Houston
The Woodlands Car Club
Niftee Fiftees Saturday Nite Drive-In
Cruisin' Times Magazine Online
Trans Am Parts and Useful Information
Hoghead Garage - VERY useful 2nd Gen info
Gary Lisk's 2nd Gen Trans Am Source Pages
Ames Performance Engineering
National Parts Depot
The Paddock Firebird Parts
Performance Years Pontiac Parts
Year One Parts
Phoenix Graphix for Musclecar Stripes and Decals
Wheel Vintiques Rallye Rims
Stockton Wheel Service
History of the Experimental Firebirds
Preferred Diecast Sources
The Model Car Shop at Traders Village
Exact Detail (Lane) Replicas
You know you're obsessed with F-bodies when...
1) You lock the doors with the t-tops off.
2) You CAN tell the difference between a '67 and a '68.
3) You had an easier time breaking up with your girlfriend (or boyfriend, as the case may be), than selling your camaro.
4) You swear the Pontiac V8 is the greatest piece of technology ever invented, followed closely by the Chevy smallblock.
5) You refer to Mustangs as "rustangs" and 5.0 as "five-point-slow".
6) You rip the fuel injected "junk" out of your post-1984 f-body, and opt for the "superior" carburator.
7) "Smokey and the Bandit" is your favorite movie.
8) 1967 was the best year of your life, and you weren't even alive.
9) When you hear the word "rally", you think of rims.
10) You are going to buy a Pontiac Solstice and put Firebird decals on it. No, seriously, it's already been done.
11) Your dream car's engine is going to cost more than the car.
12) You think arrowheads and bowties go together like PB and jelly.
13) You consider the year 1970 1/2 a turning point in your life.
14) You deny the fact the Pontiac made TURBO Firebirds, but you secretly want one.
14) To you, IROC is a car, not a race.
15) You know that horsepower sells cars, but torque wins races. And you use that to explain why F-bodies are no longer made, but Mustangs are.
16) Dodges' smell funny.
17) You swear that your F-body can easily outrun a Corvette, that is, once you take out your 305 and drop in an LS1.
18) You have to fix your "door sag" at least once a month.
19) MTI is on speed dial.
20) You get pissed when someone calls your shaker a hood scoop.
21) Your alphabet isn't A-Z, but T/A-Z28 (with IROC, SS, LT and RS somewhere in the middle).
22) Your idea of art is a three foot tall, black and gold bird on your hood.
23) To you, 'buy low, sell high' means buying a Firebird or Camaro before 2002, then selling it after 2002.
24) You know that hump in between your backseats in your 2nd and 3rd Gen.'s all too well.
25) FWD makes NO sense to you.
26) You know all about the cupholder trick in your 2nd Gen.
27) Your life fell into a downward spiral of depression, drugs, and drunkeness after the Camaro and Firebird ceased production in 2002.
28) You think Corvette owners are jealous of your "real" car.
29) Your five basic food groups are Mustangs, Civics, Challengers, Eclipses, and Novas.
And the BEST one I saw...
30) You know that MOPAR stands for:
Here's a prodigious piece of prose I uncovered one day while surfing the web. Although I cannot claim credit for the underlying work, I did make a few changes in the interest of accuracy and storyline continuity. If anyone knows who the original author is, kindly drop me a line and I'll give appropriate credit. With that out of the way, I present, for your reading pleasure, A Buck Fifty-Five
The Midwest summer sun is setting as a battered old pickup pulls up to the desolate farm house. A solitary figure exits and strides toward the concrete block garage on the backside of the property, his tall frame silhouetted by the orange-washed sky, footsteps accented by the rhythmic crunch of gravel under his snakeskin boots.
A credit card like shape is removed from his wallet and entered into the alarm box. Keypad numbers are depressed and a green bulb lights signaling that the sophisticated security system has been deactivated as the overhead door begins to rattle open. Two more entries on the keypad energize the full width fluorescent lights, illuminating a very clean warehouse-like interior.
The figure walks across the polished concrete floor with long rhythmic strides, heading past the work benches, tools and racks of engine parts toward the far side of the garage. He stops at the flowing shape hidden under the black car cover, reaching down to remove the mask of invisibility. The cover is quickly removed and folded away. The nasty glint of highly polished midnight blue lacquer reflects the figure's image in its muscular sides. The left side door opens and the figure settles into the supportive Recaro seat, fastening the racing harness and cinching it tight. He and his machine have become as one. The cockpit of this road warrior is unlike any other car on the planet, a veritable maze of switches, lights, gauges, scanners, jammers, communicators and other high-tech devices expressly designed to help him beat the system.
A gloved hand reaches for the ignition, twisting the key to bring forth the wicked, barely muffled sound of hungry horsepower, emanating with the sudden rumble from the fully built 455-CID powerplant awakened from its slumber. The garage takes on an eerie, menacing countenance as the idling motor fills its stillness with the methodical staccato of a radically-cammed big block.
The driver fine tunes his engine�s performance via the bank of knobs and gauges housed in a special overhead console, precisely adjusting the voracious motor's timing, fuel mixture and spark control. A look around the interior verifies this as a serious road machine, the perfect projectile for triple-digit running. Everything you see flat screams performance. Augmented by the underhood roar of 500 horsepower, Hurst 4-speed and tall 2.41:1 rear axle, this modified �Tin Indian� will see the better side of 160 mph without ever breaking a sweat.
A check of the instruments indicates the Trans Am is ready to roll. The driver slides the shifter into gear and coaxes the snarling Pontiac out of its coccoon. Depressing a blue button on the console secures the garage for the time being. He will be back later. The last rays of sunlight reflect off the horizon and then vanish as the now black TA heads for the interstate.
The driver maneuvers his Trans Am through the small town traffic, activating the dual radar detectors as he approaches a stoplight. To his right is a big-block Chevelle; to the left, a late model Corvette. All eyes scan the Trans Am and its pilot as the rumbling Bird comes to a stop.
The Corvette's driver leans over to challenge the Trans Am, but his passenger stops him, noting the embroidered "RPM" on the pilot's black leather jacket. "That's the guy Rob told us about. The one who blew off his 'Cuda then vanished into nowhere when the cops blocked the road". The 'vette driver looks over again, this time met by the Trans Am driver�s icy stare. He backs down. The Chevelle driver is not so enlightened and revs at the TA as the cross-lights go yellow. The R's came up on the big Pontiac motor, the driver's razor-sharp reactions side-stepping the clutch the instant the light hits green. Both cars take off in a haze of tire smoke, the Chevelle's 4.11 gearing giving it a slight edge as they cross the intersection. Sixty, seventy, eighty miles per hour, both drivers are slamming gears as their powerful road rockets do what they were built for. Running past the town's city limits and on out towards the interstate. The Chevelle gives it a good try, but it's apparent he's all done by 125 mph and now it's time for the Trans Am to perform. The gloved hand activates a console-mounted toggle switch, bypassing all the restrictions of the exhaust system and opening up the headers. Another switch is armed, a dial turned, and the 455 is fed a richer mixture of racing fuel, matched by an increase in ignition timing and fuel pressure to awaken those additional sleeping ponies. The Chevelle keeps trying as the Trans Am surges ahead, putting three lengths on the struggling Chevy.
Now is the time the Trans Am pilot usually backs off...he's proven his point. But not tonight, not yet anyway. The twin radar detectors go ballistic as the racers crest a rise, the state trooper's short-range "K-BAND" radar gun aimed directly at the speeding duo. The Trans Am's radar jammer does its best to convince the officer of their innocence, but he's not buying that "55 mph" reading on his screen, pulling onto the pavement and giving chase as the dueling pair fly past. The hunter has become the prey and the real game can now commence. This is the main event; the purpose of this evening�s activities.
The driver's right hand reaches over and pops off a dashcover from above the glove box, revealing a multi-channel police scanner. With the push of a button it comes to life informing him of the trooper�s every move. The local constabulary was waiting for him tonight, it seems, with two cruisers behind, one coming from the opposite direction, and a fourth waiting 5 miles ahead. Time to say �bye-bye� to the Chevelle!
The Trans Am shifts into forth and accelerates for all it's worth, bending the stock speedometer needle way past its 140 mph limit and resting on the trip odometer reset knob at the bottom of the gauge. The officers' voices fill the vehicle's interior as the scanner barks out their communications, unaware that their every move is being monitored by the one they want so much to catch.
A glance in the rear-view mirror reveals the hard truth...two state police cars directly behind the unlucky Chevelle, escorting him to the shoulder in preparation for a short ride to jail. Their illuminated images shrink quickly from sight at this speed, a buck fifty-five, but the ride isn't over yet. There�s still two more uniformed hunters ahead.
The center console is opened and a series of switches flipped, dousing the mega-watt aircraft lights and blackening the Trans Am's tail lamps, leaving only a jet black figure nearly invisible against a quarter moon lit landscape. From an overhead hanger, the driver retrieves his special infrared goggles.
The troopers are expecting him to head for the interstate, to run for the state line, and they make their move to block him. The driver smiles as he hears the directives coming over his police scanner, then suddenly becomes serious as he realizes what he must do. He slows to 120 then hammers the brakes hard, the massive four-wheel discs decelerating the Trans Am with the G-force of a roadracing car, dash-mounted readouts monitoring the steadily increasing brake pad temps as the powerful TA comes to a stop, still completely disguised in its cloak of darkness.
The driver's hand moves to deactivate the header cutout switch, returning the exhaust note to a quiet rumble, but is it too late? The scanner again comes alive with the anxious voices of the troopers, wondering what has happened to their quarry. They regroup and begin to converge on the exact spot he's at and the driver knows it's time to move. He swings the Trans Am across the median and onto the opposing lanes of traffic, heading back toward town... and into the path of the pursuing patrolmen.
Traffic is light this night leaving the Trans Am very little room to hide. The driver will have to employ all his tricks to "avoid the noid", the proud highlight of any evening and his crowning achievement from many years of banzai running. He's been chased dozens of times, but never captured; not since building his stealth-racer Trans Am. He�s not about to break with tradition on this night, either. The TA cruises at 65 mph until he sees his target, the red lights of the patrol cars on the opposite shoulder, the escorted Chevelle driver being tucked into the back seat of the lead cruiser.
The Trans Am pilot waits until the precise second before instigating his final assault, listening intently to the troopers� commands over the increasingly busy scanner. A helicopter is called out to aid in the search for "the perpetrator", described only as "a fast, dark car, heading west on old 140 near the interstate, possibly driving without headlights." A gloved hand moves to the center console, re-activating the header cut-out switch and disrupting the still night air with the unmistakable din of big time horsepower. Instantly the driver's right boot slams the firewall, opening up eight barrels of Holley induction, throwing the engine into a high-pitched roar and sending the tach needle soaring towards 7000 rpm.
The four officers on the opposite shoulder jump in total surprise as the dark road machine screams past, engulfed in a torrent of intake and exhaust noise that lets you know this car's moving, and moving hard. Two of the officers dash to their unit to give chase, shouting into their police radio that they've sighted the villain. Their smog laden 351-powered Ford Crown Vic struggles to accelerate, barely reaching 60 by the time the Trans Am is at 130.
The chopper is radioed into position, arranging to intercept the Trans Am at Gallman Bend, five miles ahead. More fuel is fed to the big 455, the myriad coolers and backup systems serving the duties for which they were designed: keeping the motor alive. Tonight, an overheated engine, failed part or seized bearing would mean instant penalty and the game would be quickly lost. Suddenly, a flashing red light appears on the dash, alerting the driver to a problem. Quickly, display buttons are pushed and the exact temperature is given on the screen. The oil temp is on the rise, and it�s a number the driver doesn't want to see. A green button on the overhead is depressed and the temperature drops off quickly as the auxiliary oil cooler kicks in to give the necessary relief.
Though the police cars are nearly a half mile behind, the time for running is over. The city limits are approaching, and with that, traffic, not to mention innocent people. The driver's mission is with the police, he doesn't want to involve hapless citizens. He looks intently for the backroad that he uses on occasions such as this, hoping the helicopter won't come on to the scene for at least another minute.
Even with the excellent illumination provided by the night vision goggles, the driver is having trouble seeing his turn-off. Light wisps of fog, unseasonably early for this time of year, begin to cloud his perspective, something which could spell disaster in a hurry. He catches sight of the small Pontiac crest attached to the mile marker denoting the entrance to his final back road, and stands hard on the binders to slide the Trans Am around the turn. The fog is becoming increasingly heavy as he nears the river, fortunately reducing the police chopper's effectiveness as evidenced by the futile tones emanating from the scanner's speaker.
In the Trans Am's mirrors the driver picks up the distant light of the patrol car, staying in the hunt with amazing prowess. The driver likes a good posse, and tonight he's meeting his match. The scanner again comes alive with the chase car's comments " ...if he makes it to Six-Road Crossing we'll never catch him, there's a million miles of road he can disappear into. We've got to get him now!"
The Trans Am rockets down the dirt and gravel back road like a champion Baja racer, becoming airborne occasionally as small dips act more like large jumps at the car's 105 mph velocity. As he approaches his destination, the blue button on the console is depressed, opening the high security garage's door. The driver manhandles the F-Body around the final bend and into the darkened building's interior, shutting everything down and closing the bay door with another push of the same button.
He quickly exits the car and walks to a trap door in the building's floor. The hatch is opened and the figure, still wearing his racing jacket and driving gloves, disappears down the short stairway.
The police chopper lands at Six-Road Crossing, anticipating the arrival of their most notorious enemy, keeping track of the other units' progress by radio. Within seconds the patrol car races into view and slides to a stop on the east side of the intersection. The officers hurriedly exit and sprint over to the chopper. "Where is he?" asked the patrol car driver. "We couldn't have missed him!" "We sure didn't see him" answered the chopper pilot, "just vanished into thin air... just like last time." The patrolman is infuriated, ordering his partner back to the car. "I'm not giving up, I'm gonna get him!"
The officer runs back to his car and floors the throttle, sending up dirt and gravel from the roadside shoulder. A lone vehicle, a battered Chevy pickup has to brake sharply to avoid colliding with the patrol car as the big Crown Vic sedan pulls in front of the truck during the dramatic U-turn. The police officers never give the pickup a second glance as they fly throttle-down toward town. Inside the truck's cab a satisfied smile emanates from the solitary figure sitting behind the wheel... with the embroidered letters "RPM" visible on his black racing jacket.
Some Trans Am cartoon art from MadDog. His work can often be found on eBay.
Page One � Introduction to �Gray Ghost� and Firebird/Trans Am History
Page Two � History of �Gray Ghost�
Page Three � Most Recent Photos and Details
Page Four � You are Here
Page Five � Our "Other" Rides (What? There's more to life than Trans Am'ing?)
Page Six � Other Firebirds and Trans Ams
Page Seven � My Firebird/TA Diecast and Model Collection
Page Eight - About Me
Page Nine - Previous Cars I've Owned