In the animal kingdom, predators are defined by their prey drive. Those with the proper tools and killer instincts flourish, and those with less honed instincts often become the hunted. Cars are often compared with animals, but frankly, most come from the factory declawed and hooded. If given the proper equipment, can one bring out the prey drive in a mild-mannered stocker?
Teal Metts is obviously familiar with these laws of the jungle, having successfully groomed his mild-mannered stocker into the specialized killer before you. Starting in the spring of 2000 with a black Trans Am WS6 of the same year, Metts spent the following two years methodically realizing his vision of the ultimate g-machine. In contrast to most enthusiasts who immediately begin the search for more power, Metts first turned his attention to the car's underpinnings, tuning its agility. "I started with the suspension, as the car was pretty fast from the factory," he recounts. Starting with Eibach Pro-Kit lowering springs, Metts also added Hotchkis control arms, panhard rod, and subframe connectors, plus beefy (35mm front, 25mm rear) swaybars. An LG Motorsports torque arm is responsible for maintaining proper pinion angle throughout the suspension's range of travel. Surprisingly, the stock DeCarbon shocks remain, having performed well according to Metts.
"I experimented with different wheels and with tires as large as 315/35/17 in the rear, but I finally settled on the current setup as it was the perfect combination of looks and performance." In its final form, the rollers consist of 18 by 10-inch Racing Hart M5 wheels at all four corners, wrapped in BFG g-Force KD rubber (265/35 front, 295/35 rear). The brakes have been detailed nicely, with powdercoated stock calipers applying the squeeze to KVR drilled rotors.
With the TA firmly planted to terra firma, Metts moved on to development of the machine's deceptive markings. "I intended to re-spray the car using a Chromalusion-type paint, which is why I bought the car in black. The color-changing paint is semi-translucent, and will take the hue of whatever color basecoat it is applied to," Metts explained. "If the base color is black there is no color bias, which will allow you to see each of the six colors (purple, blue, green, orange, red, and yellow) clearly. My family owns and operates Bastagne Brothers Body Shop in Glendale, which is where I assembled and painted the car entirely by myself. As I grew up, I was taught how to use the equipment and paint, so it was only natural to do the work on my car. This not only saved me money, but it allows me to take much more pride in the car."
With paint so striking, one could be forgiven for overlooking the hardly subtle addition of the Wings West air dam and Mecham Designs rear spoiler. Striking as the color is, Metts wanted more. "I had been looking for an extreme design for the car, and immediately fell in love with the "Bird of Prey" logo on a Trans Am at the 2001 L.A. Auto Show." Metts sprayed the Bird of Prey graphics in bright silver, and finished with Fire Red pinstriping. Though many may object to the chameleon-like paint's label of camouflage, what better way for a predator to blend in to the background of glitz and glamour of its hunting grounds, Los Angeles?
Feeling the car still needed just a bit more urging to complete its transformation to super raptor, Metts finally lifted the hood, and placed the finishing touch. "Once the car had started to take on an extreme personality, I decided to go all out and get it running sub-12-second quarter miles. I bought a Vortech V9 supercharger, which has been powdercoated purple." Set up to deliver nine pounds of aftercooled boost, the blower provides all the power Metts desired. While working in the engine room, Metts also took time out to port the throttle body, add a Granatelli MAF, and seal the hood to the factory WS6 airbox. Though polished, the stock exhaust manifolds remain, mated to stock catalytic converters that feed a custom 3-inch Y-pipe. Further aft, a custom 3-inch exhaust incorporates a Dynomax Race Magnum muffler. After tuning by Morgan Motorsports, the TA pounded out 488 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. Also installed is a 50-horsepower shot of nitrous oxide, but Metts claims to have abstained from tickling the button. "I've heard that the NOS and blower don't necessarily play together very well, particularly with the stock engine and rearend still in the car." The stock T-56 is still in place as well, receiving power by way of a Centerforce Dual Friction clutch.
"Although the suspension really woke the car up and got it to stick like glue, the supercharger was incredible. I absolutely love the feeling that it takes very little to spin the tires. The power is prodigious and the sound is simply awesome. The car gets more people pointing than egging on for a race. Funny story: While I was pulling up on a stoplight one day, the guy in the lane next to me was staring out his window and rolled right into the car in front of him. No one hurt and minor scratches to their cars but it was the biggest compliment I have ever received!"
The complex pigmentation, lithe movement and speed all contribute to its wild image, but it's the prey drive that assures this Trans Am maintains its place at the top of the food chain.
A preponderance of purple...
A preponderance of purple powdercoating and more Bird of Prey graphics make this engine room a true standout.
Custom purple embroidery on...
Custom purple embroidery on black leather complements the Deist belts and painted trim panels.
With six-color Chromalusion...
With six-color Chromalusion paint and graphics pinstriped by hand, love it or hate it, this raptor demands your full attention.
| DATA FILE |
|Car: ||2000 Trans Am |
|Owner: ||Teal Metts |
|Block: ||Stock LS1 |
|Compression ratio: ||10.1:1 |
|Heads: ||Stock, 2.00/1.55-inch valves |
|Cam: ||Stock, 198º/209º at .050, .496/.496 lift |
|Pushrods: ||Stock |
|Rocker arms: ||Stock 1.7 ratio |
|Pistons: ||Stock hypereutectic |
|Rings: ||Stock |
|Crankshaft: ||Stock nodular iron |
|Rods: ||Stock forged powdered |
|Throttle body: ||Stock, ported |
|Fuel injectors: ||Vortech 38 lb./hr. |
|Fuel pump: ||Vortech T-Rex |
|Ignition: ||Stock coil on plug |
|Engine management: ||Stock PCM tuned by Morgan Motorsports |
|Power adder: ||Vortech V9 |
|Boost: ||9 psi |
|Intercooler: ||Air to water aftercooler |
|Exhaust system: ||Custom Y-pipe and Dynomax Race Magnum muffler |
|Transmission: ||Stock T-56 |
|Clutch: ||Centerforce twin disc |
|Driveshaft: ||Aluminum |
|Front suspension: ||Eibach springs, Hotchkis 35mm swaybar |
|Rear suspension: ||Eibach springs, Hotchkis 25mm swaybar, control arms, LG Motorsports torque arm |
|Rear end: ||Stock 3.42 gears with Torsen limited slip |
|Brakes: ||Stock with KVR drilled rotors |
|Wheels: ||Racing Hart M5 18x10 |
|Front tires: ||BFG 265/35/18 |
|Rear tires: ||BFG 295/35/18 |
|Fuel octane: ||92 |
|Race weight: ||3,610 pounds |
|Best ET/mph: ||11.61 at 121 mph |
|Best 60-ft. time: ||1.75 |
|Current mileage: ||32,000 |
|Miles driven weekly: ||50 |