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I moved the lettuce and there it was.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021

.These are my thoughts, not the truth. Yet I believe them. I spend money, time, and effort pursuing them, and am rewarded with certain results. This is my car, it reflects me, and it expresses what I consider a well built car..

One of the reasons we developed this site is to explore new ways of looking at information. Not sticking to the 'right' way, but instead finding a different and hopefully better way. With this in mind I will write a series of articles that question how we perceive information. I will look at ways we gather and distribute information, and how that has a direct impact on the cars we envision and create. The statement leading this article is where I am coming from. It is slanted and surely biased, but I am hoping that the way I acquire the information I need to meet my demands is not.

Many times we simply don't accept what's in front of us for the fact that our mind is too cluttered with what we believe.

Years ago I read a new car test in a magazine where Nunzi Romano had taken a new 1977 Trans-Am to the track. With a few minor modifications and a dropped exhaust he ran low 14s or high 13s (I don't recall) @ 100mph approx.

A decade ago I acquired a completely original W-72 4speed 1977 Trans-Am. So I left the original exhaust manifolds, installed a good dual exhaust and spent a frustrating summer trying to get the car into the 13s. I redid the ignition, rejetted the carburetor, put an open shaker, replaced the original intake with an early one, added 1.65 rockers and shimmed the valve springs. I was rewarded with mid 14s at 95-96mph. Most people I complained to thought that my times were fine and reflective of a well tuned car. Was this true? The car had run mid 15s @ 90 mph when completely stock! Then what of Nunzi? Was he really God?

As chance would have it, one of my exhaust manifolds developed a crack, and not having a spare manifold, I installed a set of headers. Next time at the track 13.80's @ 101mph.Incredible!! 5-6 tenths and 5 mph just from headers?  On this engine yes, on the next engine MAYBE ? If I had not done the rest of the modifications, would the original 90mph have improved to 95mph with just a header change? Who knows?

During that period I was at an NHRA event in Englishtown NJ and had an opportunity to speak to a racer with a record holding W-72 firebird. He told me freely that the stock intake made as much power as the early one, yet was reluctant to divulge his timing, and only confirmed my 40 degree total after I spoke of it first. Which makes me conclude that if you don't burn the mixture, who cares how well you exhaust it? Second and maybe more important, if Nunzi is not God, neither are the Pontiac engineers. If the rest of the competitors engines need headers, Pontiacs do too.

That's my truth and I'm sticking to it.       


Dimitri Meletakos


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