Brett Beasley's 1995 Trans Am
Brett had wanted an F-body ever since he started driving. But for this Trans Am project, he spent two years building the LT1 engine right, before he ever had the car to put it in.
"I decided to build the engine first, because I knew that it was going to take a while to get the parts together and get all the work done," Brett starts. "My goal was a high-compression, naturally aspirated motor that put out over 400 rear-wheel horsepower."
And just like he thought, having the LT1 block machined correctly "took forever." When all of the parts were purchased and the block was machined, Beasley had Tick Performance in Mount Airy, NC, assemble the short-block. Jonathan at Tick worked with Brett to iron out all of the LT1's details—and then it was time to build.
The LT1 block had been bored .060-over, to 4.060-inches, and upgraded from 2-bolt mains to a 4-bolt setup. Tick installed Eagle's 3.75-inch forged crank that, combined with the bigger bore, resulted in 388 cubic-inches. Eagle H-Beam rods and forged Wiseco pistons completed the rotating assembly. The short-block build "Couldn't have gone smoother," says Brett. "Jonathan and the whole crew were great to work with, kept me in the loop the whole time, and were fair and honest. I couldn't have asked for better service or a better job."
With the short-block done, Beasley turned to an old friend to handle the rest of the project. "I've known Adam at ARH Designs for 15 years, since high school. Going to him was a no-brainer as he does quality work. And before it was over, he'd touched every part on that car." At ARH, a Comp Cams bumpstick was matched with a set of ported, polished, and milled aluminum LT1 heads. The hogged-out castings simultaneously flow mad air, and help give the LT1 a whopping 12.5 to 1 compression ratio. Comp 1.6 rockers, an Advanced Induction manifold, and a 58mm Edelbrock throttle body round out the air mods; a new Opti, coil, box, wires, and plugs add some much-needed spark; and 39-pound injectors provide the fuel. A Melling oil pump and Canton pan keeping the mechanicals lubed up.
When the LT1 was fully assembled, Brett was finally ready to find a car to put it in. And who would have guessed that the recipient of that meticulously built engine had been sitting in a muddy yard for a year? After seeing this clean '95 Trans Am in person, not us. But apparently, the previous owner did lots of detailing and never drove it in the rain. According to Brett, "Even though it was just sitting and the engine was blown up, it was a really straight car with only 120,000 miles. I took a U-Haul trailer five hours to Virginia and picked it up for two grand cash. I replaced the hood and did a lot of cleaning, but it turned out good."
ARH got to work on the TA; once the engine bay was painted, the engine was dropped in. A six-speed trans, SPEC Stage 4 clutch, LS1 F-body driveshaft, and a 9-inch were installed. A high-flow fuel pump went in, a full exhaust system went on. Suspension improvements include lowering springs, 32mm front/21mm rear swaybars, and Corvette C5 rims wearing beefy Goodyears.
The TA was together—it was tune time. So Brett got with PCMforless of NC, who gave him a starter tune. After 500 miles, the TA was strapped down to PCMforless of NC's dyno. "Alvin did a great job with the tune. The car went from just under 400, to 442 rear-wheel horses and 450 lb-ft of torque when he was done. He wanted to get every bit of power out of it just like I did, and wouldn't quit ‘till he knew he got it all."
Brett tells us that despite the power, "I'm more into the looks of my car," and we can't blame him. A WS6 hood, the CETA rear bumper mod, and PPG paint consisting of 3 coats of base/2 coats of clear have given this once-abandoned F-body a shiny new lease on life.
While Beasley is still in the process of hooking up a custom wet 150-shot of nitrous—"Just something to get me up in the 550-rear-wheel horsepower range if I need it."—overall, he's very satisfied with how far his project has come. "I always wanted an F-body. Fast-forward 14 years later, I have a bad ass one. I love the slick, low look, and smooth front end going into a nice big wing in back. To me, there isn't another car out there that looks meaner coming down the road."
And he's very glad that he stayed the course when times got tough. "A couple times there, I almost wanted to sell everything and just say F it. But my buddy Ricky always talked me out of it, and told me ‘Just think about what you will have when it's done.' I'm glad I stuck with it!"
Data FileCAR: 1995 Trans Am
OWNER: Brett Beasley
BLOCK: LT1, 388 cid
COMPRESSION RATIO: 12.5:1
HEADS: LT1, ported and polished by LKN Speed, 1.94 intake, 1.56 exhaust valves
CAM: Comp Cams hydraulic, custom specs
ROCKER ARMS: Comp Cams, 1.6:1
PISTONS: Wiseco Pro Tru, forged
RINGS: Plasma moly
CRANKSHAFT: Eagle, forged 3.75-inch
RODS: Eagle H-Beam, 6-inch
THROTTLE BODY: Edelbrock 58mm
FUEL INJECTORS: Ford Racing 39 lb/hr
FUEL PUMP: Walbro 255lph
IGNITION: Delco Opti, MSD coil, box and wires, NGK plugs
ENGINE MANAGEMENT: Stock,tuned by PCMforless of NC
POWER ADDER: Custom wet single-stage nitrous system, 150hp
EXHAUST SYSTEM: Hedman 1.75-inch headers, 3-inch SLP Loud Mouth, 4-inch dual tips
CLUTCH: Spec Stage 4
DRIVESHAFT: F-body aluminum/upgraded U-joints
FRONT SUSPENSION: Stock shocks, 2-inch lowering springs, 32mm swaybar
REAR SUSPENSION: Metco lower control arms, Competition Engineering adjustable drag shocks, QA1 1-inch lowering springs, 21mm swaybar, stock Panhard bar
REAR END: Quick Performance 9-inch, 3.90 gear, 31-spline Moser axles, Detroit Locker
BRAKES: Stock calipers, drilled and slotted rotors
WHEELS: C5 17x8.5 front, 18x9.5 rear
FRONT TIRES: Goodyear Eagle GT 255/40/17
REAR TIRES: Goodyear Eagle F1 285/40/18
HP/TQ: 442/450 (on motor)