Push a button and you get close to Chiron power levels.
In 1980, Pontiac gave its range-topping Firebird Trans Am a turbocharged 4.9-liter V8 engine that made 210 horsepower (157 kilowatts). It was decent power for the time, but that turbo V8 was as reliable as the weather in the mountains. We don’t know if the turbocharged Trans Am featured in this video has reliability issues, but with 1,000 hp (746 kW) under the hood, Smokey has absolutely no chance of catching the Bandit.
Technically speaking, this is a 1979 Firebird Trans Am and it’s gloriously restored to a stock-looking Trans Am SE spec. That means it’s flush with period-correct gold striping all around the black exterior, with a factory-accurate Firebird graphic on the hood. The t-tops are there, the shaker hood scoop is there, and at a casual glance, one would think it’s a beautiful example of a stock Trans Am. A discerning eye would see the trademark snowflake wheels are a bit larger, and a very close look would reveal the car’s track is wider. Specifically, it’s four inches wider but only hardcore Pontiac enthusiasts would notice.
Pop the hood, however, and everyone will notice something different. In place of the familiar 6.6-liter naturally aspirated V8 is a custom 7.0-liter engine built from the ground up to create gobs of power. With the help of two 76-millimeter turbochargers, this Trans Am makes 1,000 hp on low boost but push a button to activate the boost controller and you’ll get 1,400 hp (1,044 kW). It all goes to the rear tires through a T56 six-speed manual, and judging by how bald they look in the video, traction is indeed a problem.
Curiously, the owner of this car claims it’s a daily driver and that it’s actually quite streetable if you stay out of boost. To that end, the car was built with all kinds of sound deadening to muffle noise, and in keeping with the original-as-possible theme, the exhaust is the quietest setup possible given the monster under the hood. The interior is also mostly original, save for upgraded gauges and a double-din stereo. It even has air conditioning to keep occupants cool while trying to corral all that power.
The second-generation Trans Am was already a much-loved ’70s pony car before Smokey and the Bandit sent it to superstardom. The crazy power in this restomod is certainly impressive, but the sheer attention-to-detail on preserving its stock appearance is arguably more impressive. It takes us right back to the antics of the Bandit and Buford T. Justice, but with a bit more whistle under the hood. We think the Bandit would be just fine with that.
Hoonigan Auto Focus via YouTube
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