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1986 Pontiac Trans Am - Sanity Check

A 253-mph blown big-block ’86 Trans Am that proves sanity and reason mean nothing to Norway’s fastest man

Justin Cesler Jul 1, 2011
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At first, this won’t make much sense. You’re going to read a little and then look at the pictures. Read, look. Read. You’ll probably even roll your eyes once or twice, thinking that we have been duped or have just flat resorted to making things up. And that’s OK, we don’t blame you. What you’re about to read doesn’t really seem possible when you think about it or even look at how it was done, but we assure you that this Trans Am is in fact the real deal. Two hundred and fifty-three miles an hour on the ATP-Papenburg track in Germany. Two-oh-six in the standing mile at six thousand feet above sea level. Five titles during the Silver State Classic, including taking home top speed overall, top speed average, fastest half, fastest full mile, and first place in the Unlimited class. Fourteen hundred and seven horsepower on 93-octane pump gas. Open track, closed course, drift circuits, German television, American streets, private test tracks, completely unsafe top speed runs in the rain. This forty-four hundred pound ’86 Trans Am has done everything you can imagine and then some. It’s raced a rocket and won. It’s raced an arrow and won. It’s raced all over the world and won. Like we said, it’s going to take some time to sink in. Oh, did we mention it has a 540 cubic-inch big-block and F-3 ProCharger under the hood? Actually, come to think of it, did we mention this car came to us all the way from Norway? Looks like we have a lot to cover.


Let’s begin with what can be understood. This ’86 Trans Am belongs to Pål-Arvid Blytt, a lunatic from Norway who acquired it 11 years ago from a friend. Interested in seeing how far he could push the old American beast, Pål-Arvid started his quest for speed with another American tradition, a big-block Chevy. With 4.250 inches of stroke and 4.500-inch bores, Pål-Arvid assembled a low compression monster with all the good stuff and topped it off with a pair of 340cc Dart cylinder heads and a set of Jesel shaft-mount rockers. Of all things sane, the camshaft is actually the only part of this build that seems somewhat tame, measuring in with 265 degrees of duration on the intake and 270 degrees on the exhaust, which seems to work perfectly in this application given its solid roller configuration and pump gas friendly target boost level.


With the engine assembled and in place, the crew at Polly Motorsport broke out the welders and got to work, ultimately creating what can only be described as a frighteningly functional engine bay, complete with six air-to-water intercooler cores, a massive and entirely custom tunnel ram intake manifold, and enough aluminum piping to make any engineer wonder just how in the heck they figured this all out. Think six air-to-water cores are excessive? Well, let’s talk about the real star of the show for a minute—the gigantic ProCharger F-3, which cranks out 15 psi at 44,000 rpm for over 90 miles at a time. Yeah, you can start to get an idea for why all of that cooling is necessary.


Obviously, the rest of the drivetrain is just as ridiculous as the engine, although Pål-Arvid did manage to use a couple of stock pieces in the build, which have held up to all of his abuse. Behind the crankshaft sits a GM steel flywheel and a modified McLeod clutch that spins the input shaft on a highly modified ZF six-speed transmission. A 4-inch driveshaft brings power to the rear, which is actually a 9-inch unit with a stock 2.47:1 ring-and-pinion with a Torsen differential. That wasn’t a typo by the way, Pål-Arvid uses a 2.47:1 gear out back, but with 1,110 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Trans Am can still destroy the tires at almost any speed. Speaking of tires, the Trans Am sports a set of massive Michelin hides out back, 330/30/20 on a pair of 20x12-inch ZR1 wheels. Up front Pål-Arvid runs an equally impressive 19x9 with a 265/35/19, although the wheels almost look small in comparison to the massive 15.5-inch carbon ceramic Brembo front brakes. Hey, a guy might have to slow down in a hurry from 253 mph and with no parachute. Pål-Arvid needs every single bit of stopping power he can get.


The suspension on this rocket is equally bananas with custom Bilstein shocks up front riding on a pair of 1,050 lb/inch springs and a pair of custom Polly Motorsport A-arms. Out back, the Trans Am rides on a similar combination, although with a much lighter 320-pound rear spring. The torque arm, Panhard bar, and sway bar combination are all proprietary to the Trans Am and were built by Polly Motorsport to work in a variety of conditions while being able to control the violent power of the 1,400hp engine. Fuel comes from an impressive 44-gallon fuel cell, which supplies two Weldon fuel pumps and a set of 1880cc/min fuel injectors, which take commands from an Autronic SM4 standalone ECU.

OK, so the specifications make sense and the engine combination makes sense, but as an entire package, it still just seems ridiculous. Who in the world takes a 185,000-mile ’86 Trans Am and competes at this level, taking on a slew of high-dollar race cars and walking them down the track like it isn’t a big deal? You know who does: Pål-Arvid. And the best part is that he doesn’t seem to care if it makes sense or not to ship his car around the world to compete in wild events like the Silver State Classic. He doesn’t even care if physics itself wouldn’t allow the Trans Am to hit 253 mph or run 206 in the standing mile because he has the stones to go out and take it regardless of what other people think. Pål is our kind of racer and we salute his can-do attitude and insane sense of speed. After all, if you’re under control, you’re not going fast enough...


Data File

Car: 1986 Pontiac Trans Am
Owner: Pål-Arvid Blytt
Block: Mark IV big-block, 540 cid
Compression ratio: 7.5:1
Heads: Dart 325cc, 2.300 intake, 1.880 exhaust valves
Cam: Crane Cams solid roller, 265/270 duration at .050, .560/.565-inch lift, 116 LSA
Rocker Arms: Jesel, 1.7:1 ratio
Pistons: JE, forged
Rings: Total Seal
Crankshaft: Callies, forged
Rods: Oliver, billet
Throttle body: Twin MSD 75mm
Fuel injectors: 1,880cc/min
Fuel pump: Twin Weldon, in-line
Ignition: MSD coil-near-plug, MSD CDI 4-channel, NGK plugs
Engine management: Autronic SM4, tuned by Polly Motorsport
Power Adder: ProCharger F-3R (reverse rotation)
Boost: 15 psi
Intercooler: Six custom air-to-water cores
Exhaust system: Custom long-tube headers, 3.5-inch Y-pipe, 5-inch exhaust, custom mufflers
Transmission: ZF 6-speed, modified by Polly Motorsport/Verktoymekanisk
Clutch: Modified McLeod by Verktoymekanisk
Driveshaft: Custom 4-inch, aluminum
Front suspension: Custom upper and lower control arms, 36mm hollow sway bar, custom Bilstein shocks, 1,050-lb springs
Rear suspension: Custom lower control arms, Panhard bar, torque arm, 24mm swaybar, custom Bilstein shocks, 320-lb springs
Rear end: Ford 9-inch, 2.47 gear, Verktoymekanisk axles, Torsen differential
Brakes: 15.5-inch carbon ceramic rotors, Brembo calipers front; 13-inch steel rotors, Alcon calipers rear
Wheels: ZR1 19x9 front, 20x12 rear
Front tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 265/35/19
Rear tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 335/30/20
Fuel Octane: 93
HP/TQ: 1,407/1,110
Best ET/MPH: 9.19/158
Best 60-ft time: 1.45
Top Speed: 253



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