Corey Buckley was born a GM man. In fact, his earliest memories are from the passenger's seat of his grandma's third-gen Trans Am. One might say he was destined to be a GM fan, and his love for the marque was forever sealed the day he slipped behind the wheel of the very TA he rode in as a kid. "My grandma's '86 TA was the first car I ever drove and I loved it so much that I was supposed to buy it when I turned 16, but as luck would have it, she sold it to my cousin before I was old enough," Buckley said.
Although the apple of his eye was gone, he quickly turned his attention to another Poncho for his first car. "I found a '96 WS6 nearby and struck a deal, it was a solid car, but the fun only lasted so long," he explained. Pontiac number two slipped through his fingers when Mother Nature gallivanted Hurricane Katrina through his hometown. Unfortunately, the WS6 was consumed in the flood and succumbed to a fallen tree that crushed it into a pile of rusted remains.
"I was so heartbroken after I lost my second Pontiac that I got out of the scene for a while," he said. That was, until the day he saw a red '02 Trans Am parked at a local dealer. He'd left that morning looking for a new truck and returned home that night with the TA—it only took one test drive to seal the deal.
Hell-bent on finally building the Pontiac of his dreams, Buckley wasted little time in modding it to the moon. It would be the start of a long journey into modded modern GMs and the beginning of a long friendship with the renowned shop, Futral Motorsports. "I approached Futral with my stock TA and in short order it received a built 383 with a big cam, stall, CCW wheels, Strano springs, Koni shocks, a direct port nitrous kit and plenty of other nice parts," Buckley explained. With untouched 241 heads, the combo put down 452 hp and 430 lb-ft at the wheels on motor, and 645 hp and 580 lb-ft on a 200-shot. When hooked to some sticky drag radials the car ran a best of 10.91 at 132 mph on the sauce and was everything Buckley wanted in a car.
But like any good story, this one isn't without even more misfortune, as Buckley was in for yet another stroke of bad luck when Trans Am number three slipped through his fingers. That's right, the third strike came in the form of an SUV landing in the trunk of his beloved TA while stopped at a red light. "There was nothing I could do, nowhere I could go, I just watched her slam into me," Buckley said.
And like that, Buckley lost his third Trans Am. But unlike the defeat he felt after losing his LT1 TA to Hurricane Katrina, Buckley, now accustomed to disaster, had already devised an exit plan. "I'd always told myself that if my Trans Am got ruined I'd step up to a Corvette–specifically a C6 with an LS3," he explained.
After the insurance debacle Buckley did his best to forget the many Pontiacs lost along the way as he set out to find the perfect C6. "I wasn't too picky on the color, but I was adamant it had to be a base C6 with an LS3 since I wanted a targa top, and I knew I was going to boost it so the LS3 was the obvious choice since it's so stout in stock form," Buckley said.
Although thoughts of yet another F-body entered his mind, the C6's lightweight chassis, awesome aerodynamics and nimble handling drew him to a Chrysler dealer in Atlanta that just happened to have an Atomic Orange C6 with only 40K miles. "I wasn't too hot on the color until I stopped at a gas station on the long drive home and saw that the paint really popped under the lights. At that moment I knew it was the right choice," Buckley said.
A man with a master plan, Buckley wasted little time in again paying a visit to Futral Motorsports where the go-fast gurus added a ProCharger D-1SC Tuner kit with 80-pound Fuel Injector Connection injectors, a custom cam and a Katech LS9R clutch. The combo made 638 hp and 536 lb-ft on 7 psi just in time for Buckley to make his first appearance at TX2K12.