2002 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird WS6 - Tangelo Nightmare

In the Mile-High Mountains of Northglenn, Colorado, big horsepower and big attitude is the name of the game.

Mike Ficacci Jul 1, 2008 0 Comment(s)
0807gmhtp_01_z 2002_pontiac_trans_am_firebird_ws6 Front_view 1/8

Nine times out of 10, when painters get asked to spray any form of orange on a car, they simply shrug their shoulders and nod all at the same time. It's kind of like playing the lottery: millions try every day, but end up throwing their tickets in the trash. Well, Eric Sederburg struck gold with this one-of-a-kind Tangelo Pearl WS6.

Eric purchased this gem in September 2002 after realizing it would be his last opportunity to drive this American icon off the showroom floor before production permanently ceased.

"I really always wanted one of these cars and it was imperative that I got my hands on a new one before it was too late," said Eric. Like most tuners, he started with the usual nuts-and-bolts add-ons until he had simply run out of bolt-holes to fill. It was then that he sought out Colorado's best LS tuners and came across Rocky Mountain Competitive Research in Colorado Springs. One look at their 1,100hp 2005 Corvette that conquered the Texas Mile at 206 mph and you instantly realize where their immaculate reputation comes from.

For Eric's build, they were shooting for a mild-mannered streetcar with a power adder waiting in the wings for any Mustang GT that needed an attitude adjustment. After long deliberation, they decided to stick to their tried-and-true specialty of a blown LS small-block. They began with an iron LQ9 6.0L block-a great platform that provides structural integrity for even the highest horsepower applications. The rotating assembly consists of a fully balanced stock crank, Eagle H-beam rods, and J&E 9.0:1 pistons. Atop the short-block sits ported Patriot LS6 heads-and a Comp cam sends them orders with 0.555 intake/0.575 exhaust lift and 224/232 duration. But wait, there's a whole lot more. Forcing serious air through the ported SLP throttle body is a Vortech T-Trim supercharger and intercooler pumping 12-14 psi of crisp air. And as if that wasn't enough, a 100-shot of silly sauce propels dyno numbers above 780 at the rear wheels.

With all this power comes great responsibility in the form of twin Walbro 255-lph fuel pumps and Racetronix 65-lb/hr injectors. A Moser rearend was installed with 3.73 gears, SLP subframe connectors, and Hotchkis upper and lower control arms. Keeping the rubber on the road are Privat Profil wheels measuring 18x9.5 all the way around and wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

Much care was taken on the exhaust side of the equation to maximize power and make 'Stangs squeal, yet also keep the neighbors happy. The beginning of the end consists of SLP long-tube headers, dual electric cutouts, and a true 2.5-inch dual exhaust system with an H-pipe and Edelbrock mufflers.

What does all this equate to? How about 11.3 at 124 mph without nitrous. Pretty decent numbers right? But what if I were to also tell you this was at Bandimere Speedway with an altitude of 5,280 feet above sea level? My math puts this monster well into the 10s at close to 130 mph back down the mountain, off the squeeze ... and as a street-worthy hot rod to boot. As Eric said: "I don't really need the nitrous. This baby pushes me into the back of the seat hard enough."

The guys over at RMCR pulled out all the stops on this beauty and so did the boys over at Ride Innovations Inc., also in Northglenn, Colorado. Countless hours of white primer was laboriously applied and sanded smooth until this baby was worthy of House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl paint, black stripes, and clearcoat. The result was an astonishing finish demanding countless looks and glances.

In the interior sits a six-point rollcage and a five-point RJS Racing Equipment harness. The black leather interior matches the black racing stripes and looks sweet in contrast to the Tangelo shell. Auto Meter C2 gauges keep vitals in check. One look at the boost gauge next to the nitrous pressure and you know you are peeking at a mean machine.

All in all, there are few F-bodies that can rival this pristine piece of machinery. From inception to finish, there are absolutely no flaws to be found-the result of one man's ambition to build the ultimate ride.

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