You've got talent kid, but it's not enough." Those words have been uttered in just about every boxing gym in the country, and by 2007 almost every engine builder in the country has thought the very same about the Gen III powertrain. Much like boxing trainers, some shops, such as Vengeance Racing, have discovered just how to tapthat potential. And now even body shops are getting in on the action, showing how to brighten up the plain paint schemes and caress the sleek, muscular lines of Fourth Gen F-bodies. Such is the case with Bob Rahl's 1999 Trans Am.
This tale of modification and transformation began in 2005 when Bob purchased his Pewter TA from a friend in bad health who needed to sell the car for financial reasons. He then drove the TA from his home in Social Circle, Georgia, to nearby Cumming so that Vengeance Racing could mold it into a fire-breathing heads/cam combo. The motor was pulled and disassembled to give it a clean slate. When it would begin life anew, it would have the benefit of a fresh rebuild and a few stronger components. The six-bolt aluminum mains and steel cylinder liners were given a fresh hone before Federal Mogul bearings and Diamond forged flat-top pistons with Hell Fire rings were added to the block. Lunati H-beam forged 6.125-inch connecting rods and a polished stock crank would provide the thrust to the 10.8:1 compression motor. Meanwhile, one of Vengeance's VRX camshafts would be controlling much of the combustion with 226/228degrees of duration at .050, .588/.581-inch lift, and 113 degrees of lobe separation.
The motor was first topped off with a set of Total Engine Airflow Stage 1.5 LS6 heads. Using a Ferrea 2.02 stainless steel intake and stock LS6 exhaust valve with a competition valve job, TEA says these heads flow 319.7/256.9 cfm at .600-inch lift. These CNCported castings also have the benefit of COMP Cams 918 valvesprings and titanium retainers while still using stock 1.7 ratio rockers to actuate the valves. A FAST LSX intake manifold and Nick Williams throttle body were commissioned to supply the high-flowing heads with fresh atmosphere. Post combustion the 347-cube mill would breath through Dynatech stainless steel 1.75-inch long tube headers, a 2.5-inch Y-pipe with high flow cats, and a GMMG stainless chambered exhaust. SVO 30 lb/hr injectors and the stock fuel pump proved sufficient to supply the near stock cube motor, and the stock ignition was also perfectly adequate. The PCM, meanwhile, required significant tuning by Mike Carnahan before it could make 459 rear wheel horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque on Vengeance's Dynojet 224X.
Renowned painter Doug Johnson...
Renowned painter Doug Johnson of Expectations Custom Paint in Easley, SC, applied three coats of Hot Lava to the top half of the Pewter TA, using this hot flame design to bleed the two colors. Doug is also responsible for the airbrush images of Betty Boop, which were applied before the six coats of clear.