What You Need to Know About Camaro-Trans Am Conversions
Side view of the Trans Am Bandit
The last time we saw a new Trans Am was 2002. In a world where car generations can last as little as 5 years, that's basically eons ago. And when GM shut down Pontiac in 2010, any hope of a resurgence of the iconic sportster seemed lost.
Enter Trans Am Depot, a Tallahassee-based manufacturer that also happens to build the only authorized and licensed modern-day Trans Ams in the world. Founded in 2010 by brothers Tod and Scott Warmack, Trans Am Depot gives Pontiac-hungry drivers the chance to take a contemporary Trans Am on the road.
How Do They Do It?
“The biggest misconception about the cars that we build is that they're somehow just a Camaro with a body kit,” says Tod Warmack of his custom creations.
Through the 6-week conversion process, the 5th-gen Camaro goes through 9 independent work stations en route to becoming a Trans Am. With the exception of the doors, every single body part will be removed, and over 350 parts will be replaced by other components created by Trans Am Depot's design and engineering staff.
With options ranging from 550 hp to 840 hp, there's really no wrong choice when it comes to Trans Am Depot's performance packages. As in all things, you'll get out of it what you put in. Here's an outline of the four options available:
The smallest performance package is still mighty, offering 550 hp and “just enough extra power to command street respect,” according to Trans Am Depot's website. This option also includes a root mounted 2300 TVS supercharger and six pounds of direct boost.
This performance package includes everything from the Stage 1 package, plus stainless steel long tube headers, performance mufflers, a 2.5” exhaust with crossover, and two extra pounds of boost for 650 hp.
How does 720 hp sound? Apparently quite menacing. The Stage 3 Package has everything the first two do with increased performance boost, valve springs, and a custom grind cam.
840 Extreme Performance Package
By far the most popular option, this performance package offers everything the first three do along with 840 hp, Z/28 motor mounts, 80cc injectors, performance 8mm plug wires and boots, and the LSX 454.
On Trans Am Depot's website, you can build your own virtual Trans Am with a number of paint, decal, and wheel options to choose from.
There are three options to build on: the 7T7 Trans Am, 6T9 Judge, and the Hurst Judge. From there, you have 11 paint options, 8 wheel options, bezel colors, stripes, decals, and, of course, the performance options described above. In all, your Trans Am will take 6 weeks to complete.
Return of the Bandit
Front view of the Trans Am Bandit
This special edition Trans Am conversion is already sold out, but that doesn't mean we can't talk about how cool it is.
"To hate on Burt Reynolds is to be a bad American,” cites a recent Jalopnik post.
In general, we believe this to be true. We think the man's a national treasure thanks to his contributions to American film and the Trans Am brand. That's what makes the 77 Bandit editions of the Trans Am so freakin' cool.
Because that's the year Smokey and the Bandit came out, and it's the year of the car they used in the movie. In fact, that's what Trans Am Depot started with when designing the panels for the Bandit. They incorporated the shaker hood, T-tops, snowflake wheels and even white letter tires to give it a nostalgic and authentic feel. Along with interior upgrades, a hood-mounted tachometer and brake upgrades, three engine options were available. With a jet black paint job and the trademark bird on the hood, you have the unmistakable look and feel of a Trans Am.
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