An Enthusiast’s Journey: A Tale of Dedication to a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am

An Enthusiast’s Journey: A Tale of Dedication to a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am

The Beginning of a Love Affair with the Trans Am
For Ben Deutschman, a long-time Mopar enthusiast, the journey to owning a Pontiac Trans Am began with a twist of fate and friendship. His close friend, Paul Neumann (not the actor), bought a 1974 Trans Am but lacked the expertise to maintain it. As fate would have it, Ben, an avid car enthusiast, became the go-to mechanic for Paul’s car. This hands-on experience ignited a passion for the Trans Am, leading to Ben’s eventual purchase of a 1976 model in “carousel red” in October 1981.

The car, with its relatively low mileage of 49,000 miles, required some mechanical and cosmetic work, but the allure of owning such a classic was irresistible. The price negotiation ended at a reasonable $3,300.00, marking the beginning of a lifelong relationship with this iconic vehicle.

Early Modifications and Daily Service
The initial phase of ownership involved necessary repairs such as replacing hoses, belts, and a new battery tray. The car was then pressed into daily service, allowing the owner to continue working on a long-term restoration project. Not one to leave things as they were, the car enthusiast, with a bit of encouragement from friends, embarked on amateur bodywork two years into ownership. This led to a collaborative effort with friends, turning the garage into a hub of activity with multiple car projects being tackled simultaneously.

Performance Upgrades and Continued Enhancements
By 1987, the focus shifted towards performance upgrades, including engine enhancements and suspension improvements. The engine received a Cloyes “True Roller” timing chain, Crane Cam, anti-pump-up lifters, chrome moly pushrods, and more. The suspension was upgraded with urethane bushings, front and rear sway bars, and gas shocks, significantly improving the car’s handling and performance.

The Challenge of Bodywork
Despite the mechanical and performance upgrades, the car’s body required professional attention. In 1991, post-wedding, the Trans Am was sent to V & F Autobody in Metuchen, New Jersey, for a comprehensive restoration. The process revealed extensive rust, necessitating the replacement of nearly all major panels except the hood, roof, and decklid. The restoration was a significant investment but transformed the car’s appearance, earning praise from all who saw it.

A Sudden Challenge: The Ocean City Incident
During a recent event in Ocean City, Maryland, Ben encountered an unexpected incident. As he left the Convention Center, a mid-60s Box Nova accidentally reversed into his 1976 Pontiac Trans Am. Now, Ben is navigating the challenge of sourcing a replacement front bumper, essential for restoring his beloved Trans Am to its original condition.

A Legacy of Passion and Family
The Trans Am, now in semi-retirement, is only brought out on sunny days for shows, parades, and occasional test drives. The car has also become a cherished family heirloom, with the owner’s son expressing a keen interest in inheriting it. This passion for cars runs in the family, with the son already showcasing his engine-building skills on his own hot rod.

Specifications and Modifications
The car’s extensive modifications are a testament to the owner’s dedication:

  • Engine:
    • Cloyes “True Roller” timing chain
    • Crane Cam (272/480 @.050 with a 110′ centerline)
    • Anti-pump-up lifters
    • Chrome Moly Pushrods
    • Comp Cams “Roller Tip” rockers
    • Performer Intake
    • Holley 650 Double Pumper with Mechanical Secondaries
  • Transmission:
    • Turbo 700R-4
    • “Heavy Duty” “Clutch Packs”
    • 2200-2500 RPM Stall Speed Converter
    • Shift kit
  • Ignition:
    • MSD 6A Capacitive Discharge Ignition System Booster
    • Accel “Super Coil”
    • Distributor Curve Kit
  • Exhaust:
    • Blackjack headers, dual exhaust through twin cats, and turbo mufflers
  • Wheels:
    • American Racing “Outlaw II’s”
  • Stereo:
    • Pioneer “Head Unit” (Model DEH-P4400)
    • Kicker 9-band equalizer
    • Phoenix Gold 350 watt internally bridged amp in trunk
    • (2) 8″ “Free Air” “Oz” speakers in Package Shelf
    • (2) 6 x 9 “Infinity” speakers in rear side panels
    • (2) 3-1/2″ “Polk” speakers in Dashboard

This story of a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am is not just about a car but about the enduring passion of a car enthusiast. It’s a journey of friendship, dedication, and the joy of restoration. This Trans Am is a rolling testament to the owner’s love for classic American muscle cars, and it will undoubtedly continue to be a source of pride and joy for years to come.

Special Thanks to: Ben Deutschman
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