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Texas Trans Am Service & Restoration Newsletter
"Specializing in Service and Restoration of
Second Generation Pontiac Firebirds"
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www.TexasTransAms.com + +
" I am not really interested in a car that has a flower vase inside. "
+ + Proud Sponsor of
www.PontiacChick.com + +
+ + Reluctant Sponsor of
www.TransAmTerritory.org  + +
July & August 2003
 
 

 In this Issue
1a. Lessons learned with 25 year old parts
1b. Why a young woman selected a Trans Am
2. New Project Cars
3. New, re-pops, and discontinued parts
4. Show Room
5. Shipping, Credit Cards
6. Top 100 Muscle Car Site, e-mail and site-search
7. Tee Shirts and Bumper Stickers
8. What's new at the shop?
 
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The lava lamp is lit, the 8-track tape player just clicked over to the next track (in the middle of the song).  So mix up a tall cold glass of Tang; it's time to read the Texas Trans Am Newsletter.
 
1a. Lessons learned with 25-year-old parts.
In the process of re-installing the engine in the 1978 Gold Y88 T/A, while bolting the torque converter to the flywheel the third and final bold sheared off while being torqued down.  We tried drilling a 1/16 inch pilot hole in the sheared surface of the remaining bolt piece for a screw extractor (a conical reverse threaded bit for backing out broken bolts), but the screw extractor sheared off also.  To get the bolt out now the transmission had to be removed.  The rear end of the car was elevated to gain access to the axle and drive shaft and the bolts on the u-joint were removed.  The transmission was unbolted from the cross member and lowered down with a floor jack.  The torque converter was removed and taken to a friend's machine shop to remove the old bolt.  Then the transmission and drive shaft had to be reinstalled the following day.
 
1b. Why did a girl choose a 2002 collectors edition Pontiac Trans Am?
In an e-mail recently I asked Ashley D. (Pontiac Chick we met at PSN from West Texas). With all the cool new cars out now, why she choose to buy a 2002 Collectors Edition Trans Am ws6?  Her answer is a winner and just what we would expect from a true "Pontiac Chick".
"Why did a girl choose a 2002 collectors edition Trans Am over a variety of other cars? Well, where should I begin? I test-drove a Sebring a couple years ago. The Chrysler product winds up and has no pick-up and go. As for the Beetle, I am not really interested in a car that has an option to have a flower vase inside. Besides VW changed the main feature of the Beetle. The engine should have remained true to the Beetle and stayed in the rear. BMW z4s remind me of Mazda Miatas, although BMW does have a good rep. Mini Coopers are too small for my 34" legs not including heels. I used to want a Mustang until I found f-bodies. I drove a v6 1998 Camaro before this and it just did not have enough power. Why would I settle for less anyway?
 
I love the color yellow; I think it brightens a day. The only thing I do not like about driving a yellow car is, being followed by the cops. I have always enjoyed the racing scene and yes I regret not racing on Sunday. When I get tired of driving my car, I just remind myself to wake up. I would like to own another Trans Am one day that has a six speed. I really like the after market Blackbirds and the Firehawks. If you were to park a Trans Am ws6 next to a Camaro SS, the Trans Am has this toughness that Camaro lacks. The toughness is included in the extras including the ram air hood with the nostrils, the rear spoiler, and overall effect. These additions including other factors cause the Trans Am ws6 to weigh more than the SS. Oh well! I chose the total package."
 
We would love to have more articles from our female readers about why the love their Pontiacs old and new, even restoration, modification and racing stories.  This hobby is for everyone.  Please post related notes in the Message/Forum section of PontiacChick.com:
http://www.pontiacchick.com
 
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2. "Membership has its' privileges"
Welcome back old friends and to "captcaveman550" who recently became our 291 s t new member and to our 31 new members in June. 
As the Newsletter Editor and Webmaster, I look for trends in email, membership profiles and keyword searches to tune the website to our visitors wants and needs.  As far as we can tell based on Yahoo profiles and user names at least 20 of our subscribers are women.  This and our numerous female customers prompted us to sponsor PontiaChick.com
http://www.pontiacchick.com
David said "If the Trans/Am restoration thing doesn't pan out we can always start a dating service for people interested in second generation Firebirds."  The next best thing.. Chat. 
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/texastransams/chat
 
Newsletter subscribers get first notice on rare parts and new Project Cars.
 
-  1979 Y84 Black Special Edition runs and drives, 403 automatic.
Canadian car: Speedometer reads Kilometers Per Hour and no Air Conditioning.
79bla403ta015
 
- 1980 Brown Formula Runs and drives great, Fisher T-Tops, 15 x 7 Snowflake wheels
Pontiac 301 engine with 4-barrel carburetor, Under 100,000 original miles, Paint and decals available
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/80pr301fo10.htm
 
- 1979 Black Trans Am with a '78 nose.  403 Automatic.
It has some rust spots in floor, decent quarter panels.
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/79bla403ta013.htm
 
- 1979 Blue Trans Am with Fisher T-Tops - No Engine
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/79blu000ta014.htm
 
- ADOPTED and MIGRATED to Wyoming. 
1978 Solar Gold Trans Am (Sorry it's not a Y-88) 400 Automatic - Runs and Drives, Hurst Hatch Tops, Power windows & Door locks, some rust spots in floor, new exhaust system, straight rear quarters, dent in front passenger fender.
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/78gld400ta087.htm
 
- 1977 Firebird black with yellow flames and snorkel.
STILL AVAILABLE
It has a sunroof and good seats.  Good body, needs engine.  This car is desperately looking for a "B" movie to star in.  "Hooper 2003"?  The snorkel and paint job alone is worth an extra 100 HP, even without an engine. 
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/77bla000fb58.htm
 
1981 Firebird V6 parts car. Perfect doors.
 
If you are interested in one of these great project cars, call David at 817-563-2121
 
NEW PARTS CARS
'75 Buccaneer Red T/A, Great Hood, 400 block complete motor.
'76 Yellow T/A, 400 block complete motor.
'75 Burgundy T/A.
'80 White Turbo T/A, 301 Turbo with 4 wheel disk brakes, 308-positrac rear end with brake booster, master cylinder and proportioning valve.
'66 Ford Pickup, reasonably straight, big block, with A/C.
 
The previous newsletter can be found in the articles and news section, but only upon the sporadic mailing of the following edition.  As a subscriber, you get the cars, parts and "scoop" 4 weeks (approximately) before anyone else.
http://www.texastransams.com/articles/2003june_newsletter.htm
 
Another privilege of newsletter subscribers is to get a little feel for what it's like working and hanging around the shop.  Visit the shop enough at lunch time and you will recognize David's affinity for fried chicken tenders from Chicken Express and it's not just because there are only two restaurants in downtown Kennedale.  The truth is that before I can take any pictures of ongoing work, I have to move 3 or 4 Chicken Express cups or the shot looks like a fast food commercial rather than an automotive shop.  If every episode of Se1nfeld has a Superman image in it, then every restoration series has an extra large Chicken Express cup in it.  Here's a few that slipped in.
 
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3. PARTS
BRAKE LINES
Texas Trans Ams is now a distributor of Inline Tube, an industry-leading manufacturer of CNC computer preformed tubing and exclusive under carriage replacement parts.
We now sell and install, Inline Tube's variety of products ranging from preformed brake, fuel and transmission lines for all classic cars and trucks, straight length tubing sets for the street rod enthusiast and exclusive products; stainless and OEM parking brake cables, brake and fuel line clips, stainless and OEM brake flex hoses, proportioning valves, disc-brake conversions, fittings, tools and many other brake products.
http://www.texastransams.com/images/79black_seta_dan/030323dano06.jpg
 
Texas T/A Mufflers are produced with heavier gauge steel than most popular aftermarket mufflers.  This design gives the Texas T/A Muffler a deep, rich sound.  They are up to 1 1/2 inches lower in profile than other popular performance mufflers.
http://www.texastamufflers.com
 
By now you know we have NEW sounds of the Texas T/A Mufflers in action:
http://www.texastamufflers.com/sound.htm
 
Also we have NEW Photos to illustrate the difference in profile makes on ground clearance. 
http://www.texastransams.com/mufflers/profile.htm
We took identical photos of two cars at the shop, however several factors made it difficult to judge the difference in ground clearance.
http://www.texastransams.com/mufflers/turbo_muffler_img_body.htm
http://www.texastransams.com/mufflers/txta_muffler_img_body.htm
For one 25 to 30 year old springs and suspension parts will cause two identical cars to sit differently both in front and back, secondly the ground the cars were parked on had minor irregularity, so we selected an identifiable reference point parallel to the mufflers and compared the difference in vertical distance.  In the pictures you will see a red arrow on the right hand side of a long red line that points to the bottom of the rear uni-body frame rail.  The second line marks the lowest point of the Texas T/A Mufflers, while the third line marks the lowest point of the thicker Turbo muffler.  The Turbo muffler image looks like we were a little generous since it marks the bottom of the highest muffler, but in all fairness the driver's side pipe hanger was stripped out and no longer supported the pipe.  What could have possibly caused that?
 
Muffler Quote:
"The best sounding mufflers I have ever heard."
 - S.W. from Elite Motorsports in Austin, TX; 1970 1 / 2 Trans Am
S.W. recently bought an early model second generation T/A that had our Texas T/A Mufflers on it and liked them so much he ordered another set for his 1970 1 / 2 Trans Am.
 
Texas Trans Ams' exclusive fiberglass reproduction body parts:
- Front Lower Spoiler for the '74-'75 Trans AM
http://www.texastransams.com/parts/7475splashpan.htm
 
- Splash Pan for '74-'75 Firebird / Formula / Trans Am
http://www.texastransams.com/parts/7475splashpan.htm
 
- Front Center Spoiler for the '77-'78 Trans Am
http://www.texastransams.com/parts/7778spoiler.htm
 
Also fiberglass "ram-air" hoods are available for most any American made car or truck.  Contact us with your wants and needs for fiberglass parts, if you don't see it on the following page. 
http://www.texastransams.com/parts/fiberglass.htm
 
Re-pop '77 - '81 shaker scoop seals are in.  We expect to sell them for $45 each.
 
ORIGINAL 1971 HO PARTS
We have for sale a pair of 455 HO round port heads from a '71 T/A, casting 197.  Also we have the '71 HO exhaust manifolds, HO carburetor (7041263) and '71 HO distributor.  We have a set of '71 Honeycomb wheels (15x7) with the original trim rings and center caps.  These are good original parts for correct 1971 455 HO Trans Am restoration.  Call David for pricing.
 
 
Pontiac Rally II wheels 
15 x 7 set of 4 for $100.  Not including trim rings or center caps.
 
A new case of Chrome plated center caps for the alloy wheels have arrived and another case of chrome 2 1/4 splitter tips ('76 - '81 style).
http://www.texastamufflers.com/order_body.htm
http://www.texastamufflers.com/images/split_tailpipes.jpg
http://www.texastransams.com/images/parts/centercaps_red.jpg
http://www.texastransams.com/parts/parts.htm
 
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4. Show Room
The showroom took a back seat to automotive progress recently while we raced to complete the Gold car by the 4th of July.  When you drop by, you'll see the Honeycomb, Turbo and Snowflake wheels on display, new fiberglass reproduction panels, spoilers, Texas T/A Mufflers and other shiny new parts. 
 
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5. Secure on-line ordering: We are gradually adding standard items for sale like the mufflers on our
http://www.TexasTAMufflers.com
site and
http://www.PontiacChick.com
More secure ordering coming soon on the Parts and Stuff page.
In addition to accepting Visa, MasterCard and American Express, We can now accept Discover Card.  We are shipping parts nationally and to many other Countries around the world. 
 
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6. Top 100 Muscle Car Sites
Top100MuscleCarSites.com ranks a list of over 780 American Muscle Car Web pages.  If you haven't seen it, check it out.  
http://www.top100musclecarsites.com/in.php?ID=533
Well, after David's recent braggadocio to Paul from Ram Air Restoration (The manufacturer of the Ram Air Exhaust Manifolds we like to use instead of tube headers from street restorations) that we would be back in second place soon, and sure enough we are! (or, were) Our Readers ROCK!!!
 
David's e-mail
David gets HUNDREDS of e-mails each month (That's just the price of being an international celebrity) and tries his best to respond in a timely manner, but sometimes it takes a few days to research the answer and find time to respond.  Remember if all else fails and it's an emergency give us a call at 817-563-2121.  Due to the proliferation of computer virus we don't open e-mail attachments, unless we are expecting the attached file, and know it's purpose.  If you must send an attachment, please call us first so we can make room on the server.  The best way to share images with us is to FTP the file to your personal web space and include the URL in the e-mail message. Like this:
http://www.texastransams.com/images/parts/seat_dragrace01.jpg
 
Site Search from "WhatUSeek.com". 
What are visitors searching for on TexasTransAms.com?  Site Search helps us to tune the site based on what you are looking for.  The following were the most popular searches for the last 30 days:
 
Count, Search Phrase, # Results
13 't-tops' 83
 9 'ram air 4' 83
 7 'firebird' 41
 6 '' 0
 5 'wheels' 86
 4 'door panels' 16
 4 '1978 Trans Am' 26
 4 '1975 trans am' 12
 4 '1974' 14
 3 'pro pontiac trans AM' 4
 3 '1977 trans am' 22
 3 'door panels for 79 trans am' 12
 3 '1979 trans am' 43
 3 'formula' 92
 3 'ram air exhaust' 15
 3 'engines' 91
 3 '1978 ' 25 
 2 'pitman arm' 0
 2 'oil pan' 0
 2 'horn button' 1
 
If you don't find what you are looking for, try changing your criteria.  For example if you search for:
'1978 transam' there are no results,
'1978 trans am' yields 11 total results,
'78 trans am' yields 72 total results. 
Also check your spelling or word selection [rims] yields 1 page, [wheels] yields 51 pages, [wheel] yields 4 pages.
 
We also use Site Search results to learn popular new spellings.  Sorry there were no results for 'camros' or 'upholstre'.  Some items not found included "pitman arm", "shift"(shifter?), "foilers" (wheel spoilers?), and "oil pan" all of which we CAN provide for you, even upholstery.  e-mail us at david@texastransams.com or call us at 817-563-2121.  This month's "searches not found" remind us that this is TEXAS TRANS AMS, not "Texas Torino".  However we do happen to have a 1970 Torino GT Convertible available for a project.  It has the 351 Cleveland minus the heads.  It includes quarter skins, and door bottom skins. It is a RUSTY PROJECT.  Adopt it for $500.
Also NOS taillight panel for the Torino $200.
 
 
Shop Shirts are available with our exclusive firebird logo embroidery above the left shirt pocket.
http://www.texastransams.com/images/stuff/txta_shop_shirt_blue.jpg
http://www.texastransams.com/parts/parts.htm#stuff
 
We had a great response from our Texas Trans Am Service T-Shirts, Shop Shirts and Baseball Caps.  But nothing could have prepared us for the popularity of the embroidered PontiacChick.com tank tops with the firebird logo.  With apologies they have been on back order for about 3 weeks.
http://www.texastransams.com/pontiacchick/images/stuff/tank_top640.jpg
 
Check out our friends at PontiacChick.com, these women love their Pontiacs!   The viewers choice award from the PSN pictures goes to Ashley from Lubbock, who recieved a Pontiac Chick Shirt and Mouse Pad.
www.PontiacChick.com
 
TexasTransAms.com bumper sticker version 1.3 is in stock and available for $2.00 each, plus shipping and handling.  They will be available with full white background or a clear background for windows.
http://www.texastransams.com/images/banner-txta-1-2.gif
 
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8. At the shop recently...

Gary G's '78 Gold Y88 T/A - Engine bay restoration was completed just in time for the Plano Independence Day Parade.  This is a 19,000 original mile car, we learned even more just from the disassembly.  Over the years some of the gaskets had dried up and started leaking.  So the owner asked David for an engine compartment restoration.  In the process of disassembly we discovered the "OK 4" stamp and yellow paint dob on the passenger cylinder head.  We had a rubber stamp made to duplicate the engine inspector mark.  We disassembled the engine down to the long block, replaced the gaskets and seals, bolted it back together and prepped it for paint.  We used the flywheel as the color sample to custom mix the paint.  For the mid '77 through '79 Pontiac block the blue is different (remember the 400 blocks used in the '77 through '79 were all cast in 1977), and there is no paint code.  More on the paint color in an up-coming newsletter issue.  Also David replaced the heater core and used the correct ribbed heater hose and tower clamps.
Pictures coming soon!
 
'67 Camaro - The back half is in place and ready for tail light panel installation, then spot welding.  The donor car parts included rear frame rails, trunk pan, tail light panel support, rear seat structure, rear floor pans, inner wheel wells.  The owner of the car was here when we re-fitted the rear section into the body.  His family owns collision shops and others said the job could not be done.
 
Dano '79 T/A Special Edition TA - Almost on the ground!  The engine is painted and installed, the suspension is coated in POR-15, front and rear springs and shocks are installed.  Next step will be finishing the Brake system and finishing the radiator, fenders and hood.
 
Larry S's '79 T/A - New windshield is installed and decals are here.  Maroon, Red, orange and gold hood bird on a starlight black body.  Even though we have seen this color combination before, nothing we can say will prepare you for what you are about to see.  This will be your only warning!
http://www.texastransams.com/restoration/larrys_81ta_01.htm
 
Larry A's '71 T/A - Roll cage is in process.  Once complete we will finish the bodywork.
 
Jerry J's '79 Black T/A - The hood has been re-painted & interior stripped for carpet and dash cover.  It has been color sanded, buffed and decaled.
 
Todd's blue '78 T/A - Todd pulled the axle and rear spring mounts out and is sand-blasting everything.  The new floor pan is treated with POR-15 and much of the underside of the car is being cleaned and treated
http://www.texastransams.com/restoration/todd78ta02.htm
 
'77 black TA - The old roof was cut off and a nice Fisher t-top roof was welded in place.
 
'78 yellow TA - Another t-top roof transplant.
http://www.texastransams.com/service/service.htm
 
'57 Chevy Truck roof transplant - No, it did not get a t-top roof.  The original roof was rusted out around the window, so the roof from another cab was cut at identical reference points and welded in place.  The weld beads were ground down and body filler will be applied in less than a 1 / 8 inch thickness.
 
Here's hoping all your junk e-mail comes true, and your wife never finds out you still have the Farrah Fawcett poster.
 
Your friends at Texas Trans Ams
817-563-2121
david@texastransams.com
transams@flash.net
webmechanic@texastransams.com
 
COMMING SOON!!!!
Dual exhaust, the TexasT/A way.
Pictures from The Trans Am Nationals in Dayton, Ohio.
New muffler designs, single chamber and three chamber.
"FOUR BARREL!!"