If you subscribe to the school of thought that says every time anyone makes a decision, every time a coin is tossed, every time anything could go more than one direction, the universe splits into separate, complete realities, then you have to believe that in one of those parallel universes, Pontiac is alive and well instead of gone for good. In that alternate (and some might say better) reality, the car you see here, Trans Am Depot’s “6T9,” is sitting under a spotlight at the very center of GM’s booth at SEMA.
In the reality we inhabit, though, the car is simply a very well-executed variation on Kevin Morgan’s ongoing campaign to keep the TA alive through cars built on the 5th gen Camaro platform rather than an official GM product. With the SCCA’s blessing (they own the Trans Am trademark, in case you were wondering), Morgan and Trans Am Depot are staying true to the car’s heritage, but there was never a factory Trans Am that was anywhere close to as quick as the 6T9.
While the styling is arresting – unmistakably a Firebird from any angle – this is far more than just a reskin of a plain-vanilla Camaro SS. Under the hood the facts immediately apparent are that an LS7 is residing where the LS3 once sat, and a fully-functional ram air system is front and center. What you won’t see, at least without very careful inspection or a 4-post lift, is the Hellion twin turbo setup hidden beneath the engine. A Jet-Hot coated exhaust keeps temperatures down, and a dual-tune engine management strategy means the 6T9 will purr on 93 octane pump gas, and roar on 109 race fuel.
Backing up the boosted Z06 powerplant (put together by Mast Motorsports) is an ACT clutch and flywheel, and a modified 9-inch Ford differential housing at the center of the IRS rear end, complete with NASCAR-sourced 3.22 gears, all sourced from Hendrix Motorsports. The extra beef is necessary to deal with the 1200 RWHP potential of this combination.
Of course, putting all that power through a chassis originally meant for a third of that, and one with the roof cut off as well, is no simple task. Drop Top Customs handled the ragtop conversion and installed a chassis stabilization system to keep the front and rear in roughly the same plane when the throttle drops. The interior features upholstery by Chance Blevins, with woven seat inserts and piping that recall the buckets in the original ’69 Trans Am, while TAD’s own Damon Lee handled the in-car entertainment system installation and integration.
We might not be living in a universe where we’re all tall, thin, young, and driving brand new factory 2010 Trans Ams off the showroom floor, but we can make the best of the cards we’re dealt, and beginning in the spring of 2011, the 6T9 will be available for your own personal reality through Trans Am Depot.