As the sun descended into the horizon and light traded places with darkness, a new beast had arrived on the streets of St. Louis. This monster was unlike any the people of Missouri had seen before, covered in perfect silver paint, slammed to the ground and subtle, but ready to kill at a moments notice. Built specifically for one purpose, Ray Litz's '02 Trans Am is an imposing force in any environment, but on the street, it morphs into something else, something incredibly wicked and intimidating. And, unlike many 8-second cars, this is where Ray's Trans Am feels at home. This 8.29-second rocket was built from humble beginnings in Ray's garage into one of the most formidable LS-powered cars in existence.
Under the hood, Ray's Trans Am is a who's who of high-performance LS engine building. ERL Performance is responsible for the engine block, which is based on a stock LS2 unit but modified to ERL's Superdeck I specifications, using ductile iron sleeves, billet main caps, and a six-bolt per cylinder deck configuration. Kurt Urban was the man behind the engine build, stuffing the ERL Superdeck I with a Callies crankshaft, Wiseco pistons, and Howards connecting rods, taking total displacement to 427 ci. A custom hydraulic roller camshaft of top secret specifications rounds out the short-block, which Kurt topped with a pair of 245cc TrickFlow cylinder heads that were ported, cut, and O-ringed by Total Engine Airflow before being bolted to the engine and shipped to Ray, where the assembly continued in his home garage. "I live in central Ohio farmland country on 14 wooded acres. I have a 28x32-foot shop-that is where all of the magic happens."
Behind the engine, Ray installed a Rossler Transmission's built Powerglide, which receives power from a Neil Chance 4500-stall converter before transferring it to a Strange 3-inch driveshaft. Inside, Ray decided to keep the stock automatic shifter, which he cleverly modified, allowing him to control the two-speed manually shifted transmission, while keeping all of the factory safety features. Since Ray drives this monster on the street and runs in the NMCA True Street class, he spent a ton of time designing a trick transmission cooler, which uses a B&M Supercooler, 12-inch electric fan, and an RB Racing oil pump to keep everything in check. "The system runs off a thermostat in the transmission pan. This allows the cooler to work while the car is not moving and is wired hot so it cools between rounds with the car turned off. The cooling system and fuel pump are located in the T-top well."
All the way out back, Ray stuck with the overbuilt theme and installed a Moser 9-inch rear stuffed with a 3.70:1 ring-and-pinion, 35-spline axles, and a Moser spool. The suspension is pretty standard fare by 8-second rules, with QA1 shocks front and rear, Spohn suspension pieces, and a PA Racing K-member helping to keep the wheels on the ground. Speaking of wheels, Ray went with a set of tried and true Weld Pro Stars and 315/60R15 Mickey Thompson drag radials out back. Ray doesn't think much of upgrading the brakes, since his 166-mph rocket uses a set of "stock brakes, still on the original pads!" Of course, his parachute helps slow him down on the big end, and again, Ray went the extra mile, installing the parachute release cable into his factory emergency brake handle, which keeps his interior clean and functional.