2000 Pontiac Trans Am - Obsessive Compulsive

Justin Cesler May 3, 2012 0 Comment(s)
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The sound. The sound coming from Rob Barney’s WS6 was like few things we’d heard before. It didn’t come from one area, as a car should, instead it just came from everywhere. Everywhere I tell ya’. Down low, there was the familiar rumble of a big camshaft, with a deep bass note reverberating off the ground, bouncing off distant buildings, causing a general ruckus that only a purpose-built beast is capable of. Above that ruckus, above all of the calamity we’re accustomed to, there was another sound, a sound that more closely resembled an F16 Fighting Falcon jet turbine engine than anything we’ve heard coming from an F-body in a long time, although even a fighter jet may have been more silent in operation. The insane sound of air being compressed and vented was something we’ll never forget about this nasty ‘00 WS6 and in that regard, it seems we’re not alone.

"I have to say the thing I love the most now is the look you get when pulling up to places and stop lights from people at the amazing sound the F-1A ProCharger makes..." It’s awesome, no doubt, but that’s not the only reason Rob is here. "Well, this build started when I was headed back from the Trans Am Nationals in August of 2010 and literally 2-miles from my house. My brother Andrew was next to me on the highway with a couple of Trans Ams in tow and I decided to show off a bit. The car was just a heads/cam car that made 450-rwhp at the time. It was tuned by a pretty well known tuner a few months prior which in the end sealed the fate of the car. He had put too much timing in it, and the ability of the knock sensors to sense knock and pull timing had also been removed. I decide to downshift to 3rd, took it to 6,700 rpm, shifted to 4th then at about 5,000 rpm it let loose. The engine made a horrendous backfire and started running horrible. I looked down and had good oil pressure, so I limped it home with my brother in tow. We both got out of our cars and he asked what had happened, laughingly I looked at him and said, ‘I think it blew up!’"

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Yep, Rob blew it up all right, managing to destroy a piston (cylinder 7, surprise, surprise) and the block, cracking it straight down the water jacket. "The block was done for, so I began to search and think about what I wanted to do..." Enter "Nasty" Nate Corwin, Rob’s old accomplice and builder of choice, who would be tasked with taking this build to the next level. After what we could only imagine were some lively planning sessions, the pair came out with a plan that would include an insane supercharger package and, of course, a built motor. "Nate told me that the only way he was putting a ProCharger on the car was if we designed it and modified it to fit a true 4-inch intake off the blower to not restrict it. I told him let’s do it, and so the build began." Now, if you’re thinking that 25-year old Rob Barney just dropped his pride and joy off for a shop to build it for him, you’re dead wrong. "I told Nate that he was not in it alone and that I was going to help with the whole build."

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To start, the entire front of the ‘bird was removed; torn down to the front frame rails, so that the pair could get to work and really perfect each and every part of the build. The A/C was eliminated, the front frame rails tweaked, the radiator support cut, chopped, and welded to perfection, the lower support relocated 3-inches forward while the upper was moved 2-inches to make room for the new supercharger. In addition to the serious cutting and welding, Rob and Nasty were also focused on keeping everything clean and almost no area forward of the firewall escaped their attention. "With all of the welding done in the engine bay, I called up my friend Tim Kiefer to paint it so it would be finished off with an amazing paint job." And while the pair of "obsessive compulsive" maniacs were hard at work prepping the WS6 to a show quality, the engine was also starting to come together across the country, all the way down in Houston, Texas.

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Being that Rob had to start from scratch on the short-block, he turned to the one and only Late Model Engines (LME), a group who should need no introduction, but if you’re not already familiar, they are known for building some of the best LS engines in the country and that’s exactly why Rob chose them for his project. Starting with a brand new 6.0-liter iron block from GM, the crew at LME got to work, boring the cylinders to 4.005-inches and filling those holes with Wiseco pistons and Callies Compstar I-beam connecting rods. Down low, Callies again, this time with a stock stroke (3.625-inch) Compstar crankshaft to keep everything spinning safely. With the short-block complete, LME sent the engine back to Rob, where he entrusted friend Joe Haines to finish the bullet. Using Rob’s old Dart 225cc cylinder heads, which had been heavily ported by Al Keller at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE), Joe began building out the long-block, sliding a Crane Cams-cut hydraulic roller camshaft between the cylinders and rounding out the induction with a FAST 92mm intake, which was also hand-ported by Al at LPE. Kooks 1.875-inch long-tube headers move exhaust out, which were setup to meet Rob’s existing GMMG cat-back, the 3-inch tube set responsible for almost 90-percent of Rob’s stoplight presence.

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