OK, so fourth-gen F-bodies aren’t exactly the most sophisticated machines out there. Sure, they ride like trucks and pack more plastic inside than a real Orange County housewife. Yes, they beat down your eardrums with road noise, and require serious stereo wattage to drown out all the squeaks and rattles. And what the heck is with that goofy hump on the passenger floorboard? All these quirks aside, no one buys a fourth-gen for the refined driving dynamics. These car have always been about one thing and one thing only: pounding the snot out of cars that cost two times, three times or ten times as much money, and bruising rich guy egos in the process. Few fourth-gens get that job done better than Bryan Luna’s ’98 Trans Am WS6. Thanks to a 94mm turbo huffing 28 psi of boost into an LSX-block-based 365ci motor, it’s got 1,350 rear-wheel horsepower on tap to dispose of elitist miscreants at will. Embarrassing Lamborghinis, Vipers, Porsches, and Supras with some good ole’ hillbilly engineering has never been so much fun.
In the online world, Bryan goes by the handle “Flash,” and for those unfamiliar with his car, searching “Flash WS6” on Google or YouTube will get you up to speed real fast. There, you’ll find countless clips of a pissed off, steel gray WS6 putting the hurt on one exotic car after the next, as talent-depleted goobers frantically peck away at their paddle-shifters in disbelief. It’s great entertainment for anyone that loves rooting for the underdog, and consequently, the WS6 has developed quite a following. In fact, the car even has its own Facebook page. This isn’t the kind of following that’s built overnight, and while Bryan is just 23 years of age, he’s been elbow-deep in modifying late-model GM performance machines ever since he could drive. “I used to have a Mustang a long time ago, but one day my buddy let me drive his 2002 Camaro SS. I got hooked on the power, and I went out and bought a 2001 Z28 right after that,” he recalls.
The LS1’s stock output wasn’t enough, so Bryan immediately ported the heads, slipped in a bigger cam, and threw a 200hp shot of nitrous on top. The combo pushed the Z28 to 9.90-second quarter-mile passes at 139 mph, but he still craved more speed. As such, he traded up to a 2008 Corvette and got much more serious. He yanked the stock LS3, dropped it back in as a fully built 416ci. stroker, and pushed it into the low-9s - courtesy of a 400hp dose of spray. Unfortunately, the Vette proved too expensive to maintain. “I loved the C6, but it kept eating up 6L80E transmissions like no one’s business,” Bryan quips. “In order to go any faster in that car, I needed to upgrade the rearend, transmission, and safety equipment, which would have cost $30,000. I figured I could build an entire car for that kind of money, so I sold the Corvette and bought the WS6 back in 2012. There are far more people pushing F-bodies to the extreme levels of horsepower I wanted to make, so I felt that it was a more proven platform.”
Having built so many fast street cars before, Bryan knew that he could save a whole lot of time and money by purchasing a car that was heavily modified instead of building one from scratch. Consequently, the car he scoped out had already been fortified with a roll cage, a full BMR suspension, a forged 364ci LS2, a custom 91mm turbo system, a built 4L80E trans, and a 9-inch rearend. Although the WS6 ran a best E.T. of 8.49 at 162 mph, it still wasn’t up to Bryan’s standards. “For the guys I hang out with, it wasn’t fast enough. One day the crankshaft broke, which damaged the block beyond repair,” he explains. “I decided to step up to an LSX Bowtie block, but I needed to make more power to make up for the extra weight of the iron block. As luck would have it, I had a friend that was selling a 94mm turbo because it had way too much lag when he put it on his Supra. I got a smoking deal on the turbo, and the A/R ratio was just right for my engine combo.”
Since the new turbo required upgrading to a larger T6 turbo flange, Bryan enlisted Tiago Salies at Custom Force Fed Fabrications to make the appropriate modifications to the turbo system. This involved cutting off the existing T4 flange, and welding in an extension pipe to adapt it to the T6 flange. Salies also cut the radiator core support, and slid the radiator assembly forward to make space for the larger turbo. Additionally, a much larger five-inch downpipe was fabricated to redirect the exhaust, which now dumps inside the passenger-side fender. To reduce inlet air temps as efficiently as possible, compressed air travels to a Garrett air-to-water intercooler mounted behind the driver side of the front bumper cover.
With the turbo mods complete, Bryan shipped the motor off to H-Squared Racing Engines for a rebuild. To keep things simple and cost conscience, H-Squared carried over as many parts from the old motor as possible, including the Howard’s connecting rods, All Pro cylinder heads, stock LS6 intake manifold, and Comp 236/231-at-.050 hydraulic roller camshaft. The new home for all the carry-over parts is a Chevrolet Performance LSX block—bored to 4.001 inches and fitted with a Callies 3.625-inch forged steel crank and Wiseco 9.5:1 piston—that net 365 cubic inches. The combo is good for a stunning 1,000 rwhp on pump gas, and 1,350 rwhp on Q16 race fuel. “There’s definitely more power left in this combination. Everyone says that the stock LS6 intake will get destroyed at 30 psi of boost, so I limit the boost to 28 psi,” Bryan explains.