You've got talent kid, but it's not enough." Those words have been uttered in just about every boxing gym in the country, and by 2007 almost every engine builder in the country has thought the very same about the Gen III powertrain. Much like boxing trainers, some shops, such as Vengeance Racing, have discovered just how to tapthat potential. And now even body shops are getting in on the action, showing how to brighten up the plain paint schemes and caress the sleek, muscular lines of Fourth Gen F-bodies. Such is the case with Bob Rahl's 1999 Trans Am.
This tale of modification and transformation began in 2005 when Bob purchased his Pewter TA from a friend in bad health who needed to sell the car for financial reasons. He then drove the TA from his home in Social Circle, Georgia, to nearby Cumming so that Vengeance Racing could mold it into a fire-breathing heads/cam combo. The motor was pulled and disassembled to give it a clean slate. When it would begin life anew, it would have the benefit of a fresh rebuild and a few stronger components. The six-bolt aluminum mains and steel cylinder liners were given a fresh hone before Federal Mogul bearings and Diamond forged flat-top pistons with Hell Fire rings were added to the block. Lunati H-beam forged 6.125-inch connecting rods and a polished stock crank would provide the thrust to the 10.8:1 compression motor. Meanwhile, one of Vengeance's VRX camshafts would be controlling much of the combustion with 226/228degrees of duration at .050, .588/.581-inch lift, and 113 degrees of lobe separation.
The motor was first topped off with a set of Total Engine Airflow Stage 1.5 LS6 heads. Using a Ferrea 2.02 stainless steel intake and stock LS6 exhaust valve with a competition valve job, TEA says these heads flow 319.7/256.9 cfm at .600-inch lift. These CNCported castings also have the benefit of COMP Cams 918 valvesprings and titanium retainers while still using stock 1.7 ratio rockers to actuate the valves. A FAST LSX intake manifold and Nick Williams throttle body were commissioned to supply the high-flowing heads with fresh atmosphere. Post combustion the 347-cube mill would breath through Dynatech stainless steel 1.75-inch long tube headers, a 2.5-inch Y-pipe with high flow cats, and a GMMG stainless chambered exhaust. SVO 30 lb/hr injectors and the stock fuel pump proved sufficient to supply the near stock cube motor, and the stock ignition was also perfectly adequate. The PCM, meanwhile, required significant tuning by Mike Carnahan before it could make 459 rear wheel horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque on Vengeance's Dynojet 224X.
At the moment, Bob still runs the stock 10-bolt outfitted with a 4.10 gear, which helped enable an impressive 10.7 at 126 mph run in the quarter-mile. If he does decide to upgrade to a stronger rear, thankfully he already has the supporting components, including a ZOOM Stage 3 Kevlar clutch, BMR torque arm, lower control arms, Global West subframe connectors, and a Hotchkis Panhard bar. BMR Fabrication 35mm front and 25mm rear sway bars, as well as Eibach lowering springs, tighten up the Firebird's handling, with Kumho Ecsta Supra 275/30ZR19 rubber providing the grip. The lowered stance also doesn't hurt the TA's looks, especially when combined with high-class HP Design Lightning 19x9.5 rims.
Had Bob not just bought another Pewter TA for his wife, this probably would have been the end of the story, but because the two were the same color, he decided to take his TA to Expectations Custom Paint in Easley, South Carolina, for a unique paint job. Painter Doug Johnson added three coats of Hot Lava to the top half of the car, including the Ram Air hood, before going six coats deep in clear. Extensive prep and polishing removed even the slightest hint of orange peel from the Spies Hecker paint. The wheels,gauges, and FAST LSX intake were also painted to match the unique shade of red. Doug also decided to translate Bob's fascination with Betty Boop into modern art by airbrushing the character onto the wing, airlid, and Rahl's helmet. A few interior elements tie the theme together tastefully using the same color scheme on the WS6 floor mats, embroidered stock leather seats, billet pedals, and a Betty Boop white knob for the Pro 5.0 shifter. As the result, while Bob may still be called Rahl, his TA is certainly polished.
1999 Trans Am
|BLOCK:||LS1, 347 cid|
|HEADS:||LS6, ported by Total Engine Airflow, 2.02 intake, 1.55 exhaust valves|
|CAM:||Vengeance Racing hydraulic roller, 226/228 duration at .050, .588/.581-inch lift, 113LSA|
|PUSHRODS:||COMP Cams hardened 7.400-inch|
|ROCKER ARMS:||stock 1.7 ratio|
|RINGS:||Speed-Pro Hell Fire|
|CRANKSHAFT:||stock nodular iron|
|RODS:||Lunati H-beam forged|
|THROTTLE BODY:||Nick Williams 90 mm|
|FUEL INJECTORS:||SVO 30 lb/hr|
|IGNITION:||stock coil on plug|
|ENGINE MANAGEMENT:||stock, tuned by Vengeance Racing|
|EXHAUST SYSTEM:||Dynatech 1.75-inch long tube headers, Y-pipe with high flow cats, GMMG catback|
|CLUTCH:||ZOOM Stage 3|
|FRONT SUSPENSION:||BMR sway bar, Eibach springs, stock control arms, shocks|
|REAR SUSPENSION:||BMR control arms, sway bar, torque arm, Hotchkis Panhard bar, Eibach springs, stock shocks|
|REAREND:||stock 10-bolt, 4.10 gear, stock axles, posi|
|WHEELS:||HP Design Lightning 19x9.5|
|FRONT TIRES:||Kumho Ecsta Supra 275/30ZR19|
|REAR TIRES:||Kumho Ecsta Supra 275/30ZR19|
|RACE WEIGHT:||3,600 lbs|
|BEST ET/MPH:||10.7 at 127|