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   Texas Trans Am Service & Restoration Newsletter
     "Specializing in Service and Restoration of 
         Second Generation Pontiac Firebirds" 
            + + www.TexasTransAms.com + +
            + + www.TexasTAMuffler.com + +
       "If you can read this, thank a Teacher. 
        If it's in English, thank a Soldier"
    + + Proud Sponsor of www.PontiacChick.com + +
 + + Reluctant Sponsor of www.TransAmTerritory.org + +
            Episode 22 - November 2004 


In this Issue
1a. Our Message of Thanks
1b. Ken's question from TA Nationals: What's the difference between a concours restoration and a Texas Trans Am restoration.
2. New Project Cars
3. New, re-pops, and discontinued parts
4. Show Room
5. Shipping, Credit Cards
6. Top Muscle Car Site ranking, site-search results and e-mail questions"
7. Tee Shirts and Stuff
8. What's new at the shop?

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1a. Thanksgiving is the time we remember our friends, customers and website guests that help make our dreams come true. Without you we wouldn't be able to restore, service and enjoy Pontiac's brutal beauties. We would have to find another line of work, and there would be no website to enjoy, but in this land of freedom and opportunity that would be OK. However, most of all we are thankful for the brave men and women of our armed forces that protect us from those that wish to destroy our freedom and way of life. Without them we would not only have to find another line of work, but endure a life of oppression and few choices. Our troops at home and abroad deserve to hear and read our thanks, but even more they need to feel our prayers.

1b. Ken's question from TA Nationals: What's the difference between a concourse restoration and a Texas Trans Am restoration.

A Concours restoration is a rolling time capsule, wonderful to see at the shows and great fun to drive if you consider moving a car from storage to the transport trailer a "drive". Concours level restoration entails returning the car to exactly the way that it came from the factory, not just the way it left the dealership. This includes not just the factory color but quality of paint job. Since the factory painted and assembled hundreds of cars each day the assembly line fit and finish would show orange peel in the paint and body panel gap differences may vary from 1/8 to 5/8 comparing one side of the car to the other. They duplicate all the factory plating on nuts and bolts, brake booster, hood hinges. Inspection marks such as paint daubs and part number tags are also reapplied. 

A Texas Trans Am restoration is focused primarily on the quality of the fit and finish, secondarily on the drivability and serviceability. Theses cars are great to look at too, but we prefer to drive them. 
(Use your monster truck announcer voice here.) 
I'M TALKIN' ABOUT PAINTIN' TWO BLACK STRIPES DOWN THE ASPHALT, SCREECIN' OUT A SECOND AND THIRD GEAR SCRATCH. HEARIN' THE RUMBLE OF FOSSIL FUELED INTERNAL COMBUSTION FROM THE REAR, AND THE CYCLONIC ROAR AS OVER 750 CUBIC FEET OF AIR IS PULLED THROUGH THE SHAKER HOOD UP FRONT. JERKIN' THE WHEEL FOR A ROCKFORD FILES J-TURN, EMERGING FROM A THICK CLOUD OF GREY TIRE SMOKE, THEN STANDIN' ON THE 4-WHEEL-DISKS FOR A WIDE-TRACK STOP. And that's just the lunch run to get chicken and biscuits. 
(You can use your indoor voice now.) 
It's David's vision of how the car could have been delivered from the factory, if the factory built each car one at a time, each with it's own quality control engineer following the progress throughout the assembly process. In a way these restorations fall under a category of "Over-Restored" in regards to the fit and finish. The Texas Trans Am cars also benefit from modern technology but not to the extent that it detracts from the appearance of the era. For example acrylic urethane paint is used for non-metallic rather than water based enamel for it's durability. Each step in the primer and paint process is block sanded and the acrylic urethane paint wet sanded, then buffed to a mirror finish. The massive doors are floated and block sanded to remove the ripples in the edges from the factory. The door hinges are rebuilt and all attached sheet metal and urethane is re-hung and aligned to David's exacting standards. Poly-graphite bushings are used on the upper and lower control arms rather than the original rubber to improve the handling and stability. Unpainted portions of alloy wheels are clear coated to prevent pitting and staining from oxidizing brake dust. Sub-frame and suspension components are coated with a modern rust preventative designed for protection from water, chemicals, salt, and mineral oils far superior to the wax coating from the factory. Want a hotter street cam, aluminum intake and heads, rear disk brakes on a pre '78, modern stereo equipment, Fisher t-top roof on a non t-top car, chrome valve covers on a non W-72, true dual exhaust with Texas TA Mufflers, Hi Performance Ram Air Exhaust manifolds that look stock, larger than stock wheels and tires, gas filled shocks rather than hydraulic, or DOT5 silicone brake fluid in a completely new braking system that's OK too. By the way, don't try the previously mentioned "spirited" lunch run in a 35 year old trailer queen, it won't end well.

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2. "The Privileges of Membership"
Welcome to new newsletter subscriber "craigan", who became our 597th member of the 25 new subscribers from October. 
Newsletter subscribers get first notice on rare parts and new project cars.
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/projects.htm

- 1979 Mayan Red 403 automatic Trans Am project car with clean straight body.
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/79red403ta86.htm

- 1980 Silver 301 CID Formula. Engine runs but knocks. Really nice straight body, good primer job to start with, pretty nice black interior. No structural or surface rust has been detected.
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/80silv301fo.htm

- 1981 Autumn Maroon 265 CID Formula. Engine is partially disassembled. Straight body panels, some surface rust. http://www.texastransams.com/projects/81maroon265fo.htm

1980 Formula originally White. Straight body, no visible rust, amateur restoration started. Needs engine and transmission.
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/80wht000fo21.htm

1981 Trans Am originally Silver, in primer now. 301 T/A 4.9 (non turbo) Car is intact, including overflow bottle, brackets etc..
http://www.texastransams.com/projects/81slv301ta21.htm

- Coming Soon 1977 Brown Trans Am, no engine, trans or hood. straight body - no rust.

If you are interested in one of these great project cars, call David at 817-563-2121

NEW PARTS CARS
'72 Firebird Esprit, good tail light panel, no rust - minor dents. Good sub-frame.
'74 Buccaneer Red T/A lots of rust, sub-frame looks fine.
'79 black Trans Am, ripped quarter panel. Offering all or part.
'77 red T/A parts car 400, automatic transmission, all but carburetor and hood shaker. 
'76 Yellow T/A, 400 block complete motor.
'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/2004october_newsletter.htm

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3. New, re-production, and discontinued parts

Reproduction T-Top interior trim pieces are now available!
These pieces are molded in black and can be painted any interior color needed.
More information and pictures soon. Call David to order for now.

Lately we heard that the rear sail panels for '75 - '81 F-Bodies are being discontinued by GM . Don't worry we bought the rest of them.
Also as of last Friday there were 3 '79 urethane noses left in the GM system.

Original parts available:
6X 4 heads, street ported
62 heads
48 heads (Ram Air III)
Call David at 817-563-2121 for prices.

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4. Show Room 

We're working on it.
Directions and map to the Texas Trans Am shop / showroom available here:
http://www.texastransams.com/contact/contact.htm

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5. Secure on-line ordering: 

Texas Trans Am Service retro shirts are available for ordering on the stuff section of the parts page.
http://www.texastransams.com/stuff.htm
http://www.texastransams.com/stuff/black_retro_tshirt.htm
http://www.TexasTAMufflers.com
http://www.PontiacChick.com
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"
Blah Blah Blah...
http://www.top100musclecarsites.com/scripts/arp/rankem.cgi?id=perform

David's e-mail:
We fired AOL, so please address e-mails to david@texastransams.com.

Questions of the month: 
David answers e-mail
Hey I want to ask a question but I couldn't find anywhere to ask. It's my first car and I need some help. My question is can I use parts from a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am with a 400 C.I.D on to a 403.
Lupe

Hi Lupe,
The 403 and the 400 are COMPLETELY different motors. 
The 403 is a small block built from 1977-79 based on the Oldsmobile 350 engine. The stock 403 Olds, or 6.6 Litre, is rated at 185 hp @ 3600 RPM, 320 ft/lbs torque @ 2200 RPM, 4.351 inch bore by 3.385 inch stroke, 8.0:1 compression ratio. 
The 400 is a Pontiac engine based on the 389/421 engine from the early '60s. The T/A 6.6 Pontiac motor produced 220 hp @ 4000 rpm and 325 ft/lbs torque @ 2400 rpm, 4.12 inch bore by 3.75 inch stroke.
Nothing is interchangeable, NOTHING. Starting at the top even the carburetors have different part numbers and baseplates. At the bottom the motor mounts are the same and mount to the frame rail cross member in the same place, but the motor brackets are different. On the sides the exhaust manifolds are not interchangeable, even the lead pipes line up differently. At the front the radiators are the same, but the fan shroud and radiator hose are different. At the back of the motor the good news is that the bolt pattern is the same for the transmission bell housing, to a Pontiac will mate up to an Oldsmobile or Buick transmission and vise versa, but the Chevy transmission is different. However the 400 will fit in place of the 403.
Let me know if I can help.
David

Editor's note David says the engine can be removed from a Trans Am without removing the hood. The hard part is squeezing it out through the hole in the center of the hood. 

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Hello.
I have a set of 1978 snowflake wheels I would like to have refinished. Do you provide this service, and how much do you charge for it? 
Thanks
Scott 

Hi Scott
Yes, we offer that service. We have pictures on the website.
http://www.texastransams.com/parts/se_wheels.htm
The current cost to refinish the 7" snowflakes is $100 each and the 8" snowflakes $115 each. let me know if I can help.
David

* * *
We received an interesting e-mail from a customer in Iran.
Hi David,
Finally I create a website for Iranian Trans Am owners and lovers. May I add your website to my favorite links as my good friend?
Kamran

Hi Kamran, 
We could all use a few more good friends in your neighborhood!
http://www.irantransam.com

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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 

5 'project cars' 161 
5 '1976 trans am' 31 
4 'rear end' 31 
4 'Vin number' 11 
4 't-tops' 127 
4 'trans am 1974' 27 
3 'engines' 157
3 '1996 trans am' 3
3 '79' 50
3 'car parts' 163
3 'dash boards' 5
3 'honeycomb wheel' 14
3 '1970-1973 hoods' 
3 'wheels' 142 
3 'HOODS' 146
3 '1970 hoods' 22 
3 'snow flake rims' 
3 '1970 hood' 22 
3 'rear axle identification'

This months searches not found include 'trans am clothing', 'transam cowl plate data', 'triangle seals', ' snow flake rims' and '1970-1973 hoods', 'rear axle identification' and reminds us that it's not Texas 'audi A4'. 
These give us some great ideas for articles and page corrections. If you are looking for TexasTransAm clothing check out the "Stuff" on the parts page.
http://www.texastransams.com/parts/parts.htm#stuff
and 
http://www.texastransams.com/pontiacchick/stuff.htm
If it's alloy snowflake wheels or wheel restoration you are looking for, you are in the right place.
http://www.texastransams.com/service/service.htm#wheels
We also use Site Search results to learn popular new spellings like 'madels' and 'trasnam body by fisher'. (We will see Madel during the holidays and let her know you asked about her.)
Remember if it's an absolute Firebird emergency, please e-mail us at david@texastransams.com or call us at 817-563-2121. 

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7. Shirts and Stuff http://www.texastransams.com/parts/parts.htm#stuff
Black Retro T-shirt:
http://www.texastransams.com/stuff/black_retro_tshirt.htm
White Retro T-shirt:
http://www.texastransams.com/stuff/white_retro_tshirt.htm
We sold out of the PontiacChick.com shirts in Dayton at the show. All we have left is the pictures. Time to re-order.
http://www.pontiacchick.com/2004tanatl_frame.htm

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8. At the Shop Recently ...

NEW SERVICE offered at Texas Trans Am!
We are offering a new service, following the recent election, in an effort to reach across the political isles and begin the healing process for a united America. If you still have a political bumper sticker on your vintage Firebird, 1981 or older, bring it by the shop and we will remove it. If for some reason it can not be removed, it can be covered up with a TexasTransAms.com and TexasTAMufflers bumper sticker. For our friends too far away to stop by the shop just for bumper sticker removal, we offer this suggestion: Completely cover the bumper sticker with warm homemade waffles. Use painter's masking tape to secure the waffles in place. The political bumper sticker will be naturally attracted to the waffle which will render it's adhesive powerless. After a period of time equal to one focus group or telephone poling cycle it can safely be removed. The waffle unfortunately will be inedible.

Alex M's 1979 Formula 400/4 Speed - 
Road Runner of the Month Award goes to Dan Bauer and Alex Manz from Pickerington Ohio, near Columbus. They came down to bring parts for Alex's '79 Formula, to disassemble his original XX 400 engine, have a cookout and to just hang out in general. Alex's road trip story will appear in an upcoming newsletter edition.
XXX Picture of Dan and Alex
XXX Group Picture
http://www.texastransams.com/restoration/79red400formula_03.htm

1977 Black Trans Am -
After being brought in to fix a "restoration" started elsewhere, the shifter tunnel has been fabricated and installed and the car delivered.
http://www.texastransams.com/service/service.htm

Michael B'.s Blue '79 400/4-speed Trans Am -
This interior service is progressing nicely. just to get the parts familiar with each other, we "dry fitted" the interior in the open bay.

http://www.texastransams.com/images/service/79blue_ta_michael_b/79blu_ta_int78.jpg

The carpet, rear package tray, lower rear kick panels, rear seat back, rear seat buns and rear re-webbed seatbelts are installed. After several false starts, the head liner is about ready to install.

The manufacturer of headliner material no longer makes the light blue shade of foam backed perforated vinyl material that the car came with from the factory. To get the shade and finish of blue, David mixed a flattening agent to the blue dye paint, then misted the vinyl surface until the coat was even. The original headliner board was cleaned of it's foam with a wire brush and prepared for the adhesive. If you've had one of these cars, you know that the recommended adhesive just is not strong enough to keep the headliner in place over time. But if you use the super strength adhesive it's too "hot" and melts the foam backing. This is where David uses "F.M." to make it work. 
http://www.texastransams.com/service/service.htm

Thanks for reading!

Your friends at Texas Trans Ams
817-563-2121

david@texastransams.com
transams@flash.net
webmechanic@texastransams.com


"Restoring Old Dreams"
http://www.TexasTransAms.com
http://www.PontiacChick.com
http://www.TexasTAMufflers.com
http://www.TransamTerritory.org

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