Cars » Gary Firch's 1981 TA- Butler Performance 505 cu.in Pump Gas Street Engine
Gary Firch's 1981 TA- Butler Performance 505 cu.in Pump Gas Street Engine
"Building My Super T/A"
On one sunny day in August of 1993, my eight year old son (Jeff) and I arrived at the local GM dealership. My 1991 GMC pickup needed some service work. Then Jeff spotted a car sitting in the used car section of the dealership. My son said to me, "Dad it's a black Trans Am, let's go check it out." We got out of the pickup and walked over to look at the car. I couldn't believe my eyes, it was a 1981 black and gold, 4.9 liter Turbo Trans Am. The car was in surprisingly good shape, it was a black diamond in the rough. I gazed into the window, and look at the odometer it had 26,725 miles on it. I then thought to myself this is too good to be true. A salesman walked over, and I asked, "How much for the T/A?" He then checked his pricelist and stated, "For $5,995 you can drive it away today." My reply to the salesman was, "You got yourself a deal."
I drove the car occasionally for year, then decided to freshen it up. I gave the car a frame off restoration, rebuilt the 301 C.I. motor, repainted the car, and replaced all decals/pin stripping.
I took my T/A to the local drag strip, interested in what it would in the quarter mile. It was sad to say that the performance of my 301 Turbo Trans Am was a heart breaker. The best time was 17.20 at 85.7 MPH. This car was about to undergo a serious power plant change.
I then checked my parts inventory, my choice being a 1973 455 C.I. four bolt main block. Along with other goodies that included the following: 1971 455 H.O. heads, mild solid lifter cam, a 850 CFM Holley carburetor, Holly street dominator intake manifold, and a turbo 400 transmission with a 2800 stall converter. Shortly after building this new engine combination, I took my T/A back to the track. As you might of guessed, I had much better results, with my best time being a 12.45 E.T. at 107.8 MPH. I was surprised, my T/A started to regain some of its lost image of being a muscle car. I finally felt that I had a T/A that looked great, and ran excellent. All was good until I did a tear down inspection of the motor. The lifter valley had several cracks in it.
After weighting my options of putting an old cast iron block back in my T/A, I realized this is not what I want to do. I thought to myself there must be something stronger that could with stand a larger camshaft and more horsepower.
I then heard about a speed shop in Leoma, Tennessee, from one of my friends who races Pontiacs. He then told me, Butler Performance can handle all my Pontiac high performance needs. So I called Butler Performance, and David Butler answered my call. We started to get an idea of what would be the best engine combination for my needs. David suggested a 505 C.I. Indian Adventures II block. I still wanted to use my set of H.O. heads on a trail basis. David mentioned that pump gas engines work well for customers who like to drive their cars on both the street and strip. I was very impressed with my 505 C.I. setup. The torque and horsepower output was a much needed change for the better.
I have heard that real horsepower is in the cylinder heads. I thought a pair of race ported B.P.. Edelbrock heads would be the answer. I called Butler Performance. and placed my order for the race ported Edelbrock heads. Once I received my new heads, I started to assemble my new power plant. I'm very pleased to say that every accessory bolted on and fit perfectly.
Once the engine was completely assembled, I took my T/A for a test drive. The torque and horsepower increased dramatically over my 455 C.I. H.O. heads.
Butler Performance helped me put REAL EXCITEMENT into my Pontiac. I am the proud owner of one beautiful l black and gold special edition 1981 Turbo Trans Am. I wish to express my thanks to, Jim & David Butler, Chase Milner, and also the entire staff at Butler Performance. I will always highly recommend Butler Performance, wherever my Trans Am and I go!
Thank You, Gary Firch
Update - 5/11/2011
I repainted my TA, changed the decals and gave it a new interior. The 505 is running great with no problems .The engine that you built is a source of great interest,as well as many questions about the installation and performance. I am having a good time going to car show, in 2010 the car won 24 of 27 shows I went to. In 2009 at the Trans Am Nnationals my TA finished in 2nd place in the modified SE-2 class, this year I am aiming at 1st place. I worked on the paint job and interior for the past 6 months and finished all the upgrade work on 5/11/11. My goal was to make it look like a brand new 1981 turbo trans am - Mission ACCOMPLISHED!
|STREET/STRIP TECH. SPEC.|
|Year/Model:||81’ Turbo Trans Am SE|
|Race Weight:||4,005 LBS|
|Curb Weight:||3,780 LBS|
|Type of Fuel:||93 Octane B.P.|
|Engine:||2005 J.B.P. Indian Adventure II|
|Built By:||Gary Firch (Owner)|
|Carburetor:||950 HP Holley|
|Jet Size Prim./Sec.:||#80/#82|
|Intake Manifold:||Edelbrock Performer RPM (Ported To Match Heads)|
|Fuel System||110 G.P.H. Holley Pump Regulator Set 7 P.S.I|
|Heads:||J.B.P. Edelbrock 87 cc Race Ported Ferrea Valves 2.11 Int./1.77 Ext|
|Flow Numbers:||310 Int./229 Ext. C.F.M. @ .600 Lift @ 28” of H2O|
|Pistons/Rings:||Custom Ross Flat Top/ Total Seal|
|Rods/Size:||Eagle Forged Steel H-Beam/ 6.800|
|Crankshaft:||J.B.P. 4.250 Stroke|
|Rotating Assembly Balanced:||Yes|
|Camshaft:||Competition Cams Solid/Roller|
|Duration:||@ .050 .270 Int/ .278 Ext.|
|Gross Valve Lift:||651 Int./ .651 Ext.|
|Installed Position:||2º Advance|
|Rocker Arms:||Lunati 1.65:1 Roller|
|Total Timing:||34º @ 2500 R.P.M.|
|Ignition Module:||Crane HI-6|
|Headers:||Ceramic-Coated Hooker Super Comp. 2” O.D. x 27” 3.5” Collectors/ 3.5” X-Pipe, Exhaust Pipes, Ram-AirRestoration Ent., Inc.|
|Mufflers:||Xlerator By Goerlich|
|Transmission:||T.C.I. Turbo 400 Super Street Fighter Auto/Manual Valve Body|
|Converter:||10” T.C.I. Super Street Fighter|
|Rear End:||10 Bolt Posi 3.73 Richmond Gear|
|Brakes:||Stock 10.9” Disc Fr/ Stock Rear Disc|
|Tires: Firestone||Firehawk P225/70R15 Fr. M/T ET. 26x10.5x15 Rear|
|Tire Pressure:||32 P.S.I. Fr./11 P.S.I. Rear|
|Suspension Fr.:||Stock WS6 Package|
|Shocks Fr.:||Monroe Gas Ride|
|Suspension Rear:||Stock WS6 Package|
|Shocks Rear:||Monroe Air Ride|
|Chassis Mods.:||Lakewood Traction Bars/Comp. Eng. Sub-Frame Connectors|
|Interior Mods.:||Hurst Line Lock Edelbrock Air/ Fuel Ratio Meter|
|Exterior Mods.:||Decals/Pin Stripping By Phoenix Graphix|
|Safety Mods.:||Driveshaft Safety Loop SFI Approved Flex Plate By T.C.I.|
|Paint||Dupont 99A Black Single Stage, Painted By Owner|
|Launch Technique:||Load to 2000 RPM|
|Estimated ET/MPH:||10.80/118 MPH|