"There's someone outside the media suite looking for you..." Oh no, I thought, it can only be one person... Mike Hawkey. This guy has been blowing up my personal cell phone, office phone and email for weeks and now he has managed to hunt me down in person... does he ever quit?! No, it turns out, Mike Hawkey doesn't quit and it's exactly that unwavering passion for high-tech performance and personalized modification that has earned him a spot in the pages of GM High-Tech. Now, don't let me give you the impression that he is displayed on these pages because he wouldn't leave me alone (just messing with you, Mike!); oh no, Mike's car is here because it deserves the coverage and it truly does stand out as a shining example of what hard work, determination, and perfect execution can do to an already excellent platform, even on a modest budget and with limited resources. However, Mike's personality and his devotion to building a feature worthy WS6 certainly does play a role in his success. You see, Mike isn't a big shop owner or the son of a Saudi oil tycoon, he's just a regular enthusiast like you and me who works daily as a "laborer" in Elida, Ohio. In fact, his 96,000-mile '99 Trans Am WS6 took over 5-years to reach its pinnacle and 90-percent of the work was done by Mike in his garage, while raising three children and attempting to maintain a regular life with his wife, Amy.
"I've been a motorhead all my life, it started with Hot Wheels and model kits and has extended into an adult hobby that I truly enjoy. When I bought my Trans Am it had headers and was lowered, that's it. I knew I had to put my own personal touch into it." Since 2006, when Mike bought the car from the second owner, he has been careful to make modifications that add to the WS6's personality without stepping over the line and taking away from the Trans Am's original intent. "Each year, a new project" was Mike's goal and for '06, he started with just a clutch install. In early 2007, Mike installed a Flowmaster exhaust and QTP electric cutout for when he wanted to "raise hell" and he was happy with that until he met John Rutan of Rutan Performance, who, like every master accomplice, helped push Mike along, further than he could have gone by himself. "I had John give the car a tune. That started a friendship and the beginning of building this car." In late 2007 Mike installed a Texas Speed MS4 camshaft, an LS6 intake manifold and an LS2 timing chain, which was enough to help Mike's WS6 lay down 423-rwhp on a local college's dyno. "It ran mid-11's, but I knew there was more..."