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Thursday, September 24, 2020
  1989 Pontiac Trans Am GTA
...continued from page 1

September 8, 2002 I got an opportunity to run my car at a local drag racing track. I was hoping for a 14 second time slip. I was let down. 15.084@89.999mph. Wow that’s slow! My last runs down the track with my 1978 Trans Am where in the 13.2s@105 mph, so that’s quite a difference. Well now I was determined to help bring this car up to the performance levels of the modern day performance-oriented cars.
I returned to the track exactly 3 weeks later with a fresh tune up to properly baseline the GTAs track performance. That day netted me these times:

60 foot 1/8 mile 1/4 mile MPH
2.149 9.64 15.132 90.516
2.179 9.64 15.092 91.142
2.046 9.324 14.713 91.398
2.113 9.48 14.906 90.357
2.179 9.589 15.032 90.759
2.14 9.536 14.996 91.066

The 14.71 was obviously from the better 60ft time achieved through some track prep prior to that run. Now at least I had a real idea of what this car was capable of stock. This was the end of the season for 2002.

In 2003 I purchased a Hypertech chip, equipment to “burn” my own chips and 2002 Trans Am WS6 take off muffler. With the muffler waiting to be installed I made my own tune on one chip and took that and the Hypertech chip with me to the track. First runs were with my chip installed, the Hypertech was used in the last 2:

60 foot 1/8 mile 1/4 mile MPH
2.147 9.44 14.779 93.729
2.224 9.495 14.847 93.281
2.306 9.627 14.946 92.397
2.185 9.445 14.79 93.169
2.436 9.796 15.159 92.91

My chip netted me the highest MPH and best ET so the Hypertech chip was delegated to dust collecting duty after this.
I returned 3 weeks later with the muffler, no catalytic converter and a new custom tune:

60 foot
1/8 mile
1/4 mile

As the times indicate my car was getting more powerful and much harder to launch. Wheel hop was apparent and the car was spinning like mad. I only made 3 runs that day and track prep was non existent so maybe with some more track time I could have netted a 14.5 run. Nevertheless one thing was clear, chassis and suspension work was needed.

Up until here the only modifications was a custom tune chip, an OEM 2002 Trans Am muffler, no catalytic converter and the results were a 5 MPH increase and 4/10s of a second faster. That’s a 50 HP increase from a muffler and a chip!

page 3...

Crossed braced torque arm
I decided to opt for strengthening stock suspenion components instead of purchasing high end parts. The end results are the similar except for the lack of weight savings!
These frame connectors are custom built units done by HP Performance.
They're bolt-ins instead of weld-in, but they really hug the floor pan. The chassis felt much stiffer with these installed.
Once again I decided to box the stock lower control arms.
They were installed with a new set of polyurethane bushings.
The panhard bar got similar treatment, boxed and polyurethane bushings.

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