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78 LS1 TA build

This is a discussion on 78 LS1 TA build within the Classic Muscle forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Thought I’d post a “how my car came to be”post.. I bought my car mostly done..from a guy in NJ…he ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member reedld's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Painted Post NY

    Jetstream Metallic Blue
    1978 Trans Am LS1

    78 LS1 TA build

    Thought I’d post a “how my car came to be”post..

    I bought my car mostly done..from a guy in NJ…he built the car and wanted to go in another direction…so he listed it and I looked at it and bought it. The beginning is from the previous owner..

    April 2010
    I have been giving this a lot of thought lately and I have been working on this project a few years now – almost 4 to be exact – and I have been noticing something about myself that I just seem to enjoy building them and since I have had many 2nd Gen TAs over the past few years I am kind of looking for something different.
    While I have been having issues with a former engine builder since 2004, I have kind of taken myself out of drag racing, but after recently acquiring a ’69 Cutlass I have been getting really into the FAST series of racing.
    I am gauging interest in possibly selling my ’78 pro-touring TA to focus on the Cutlass. This thing has a LOT of stuff on it so I apologize if I forget some of the things on this car but here it goes:

    The car is a ’78 Trans Am I got from Arizona by way of Illinois. It is loaded with pretty much all of Pro-Touring F-body’s catalog – 4th Gen rate springs, Huge Sway bars front and rear, lowered approximately 3 inches in the front, 2.5 rear. GM 600 box to improve steering. DSE upper and lower control arms. 10 bolt disc brake rear beefed up with welded tubes, 30 splines, 3.73 precision gears with Eaton posi. 1LE upgrade to the front with Impala SS spindles as well as Impala SS calipers, 12 inch rotors. DSE booster/Master cylinder (3rd Gen S-10 Master Cylinder subbed in to work with brake combo. DSE Master (which is actually a 5th gen S-10 Master) is also included.

    Power Train is a ’99 LS1 with a reman 4L60e from a Camaro…long tube headers and 2.5” Magnaflow exhaust. Reprogrammed computer by Speartech. I rewired the stock hardness to work with the original engine harness. Wired dual fans to work as factory fans would…these do work as well. Driveshaft properly shortened to work with engine relocation – set back 1.25 inches to fit the headers. Aluminum radiator.
    Fuel pump is a Bosch 044 hooked to the stock tank through an Aeromotive pre-filter and regulates through Corvette regulator. A single line runs to the fuel rail.
    Torque Thrust II wheels 17x8 fronts and 17x9.5 rears with Kumho Ecstas 255/45-17 fronts and 285/40-17 rears…sized properly to fit with no rubbing.

    Paint is recently completed Jetstream Blue Metallic (Z06 color) basecoat/clear coat stripped all the way down to metal and painted properly. Burt Reynolds Edition Trans Am spoilers fitted to the car all the way around. The interior still needs to be finished and gauges need to be fitted – FULL assortment of Autometer Cobalt Gauges. B&M Megashifter.
    Ok what I consider the bad. Car is not done yet…it does and can drive. Still needs some wiring work to be completed. The damn steering column needs the three screws tightened…it is wobbly. It is an easy fix…haven’t gotten around to it. The exhaust could possibly be tucked up higher than it is…it is ok to drive as is, while there hasn’t been an issue yet with driving it, I feel like I could get it even tighter to the body if I had a freakin’ lift.. The oil pan, while hasn’t hit anything yet, should eventually be changed back to the Fbody pan or the LSX conversion pan Retro LSX is selling. It hangs a little below the crossmember and it really bothers me that a company, which will go nameless, would recommend this part without checking this…and it upsets me even more that I wouldn’t notice this until I took it to get painted. Interior needs to be finished. I have a lot of the parts, but not all.

    Here’s a pic fresh out of the paint booth…

    May 30, 2010- I bought the car and began finishing up the interior. I modded the 4th gen seats to fit, new carpet, modded the YearOne dash bezel to fit OEM wiper and headlight switch, new headliner, seat belts (4th gen fbody), and misc wiring. I was able to get the car ready to drive by July 2010. Car was a blast! It was tough to put it up for the winter…
    Year One dash bezel-wiper, headlight, and turn signals cut. I also used an extra dash to mark and drill holes so I could mount the dash bezel to factory dash.

    4th gen seats modded to fit

    April 2011- Had the 4th gen seats recovered with white vinyl/leatherette, swapped out the cracked dash with a near mint black dash. Interior is a mix of black and white. I considered all white…but I thought the all white door panels was a bit much..Began the task of adding vintage air. I added the control switch, vents, hoses, evaporator and bulkhead. I still need to add condenser, dryer and high pressure hoses.
    Test fit old dash over evaporator

    Needed to cut glove box to fit

    Vintage air control switch and vents

    Vintage air bulkhead

    Front seats covered- I went with a 2 tone black and white. Carpet, dash, console (minus lid), and top of the doors down is black….above top of door line is all white

    April 2012-Big task here…oil pan swap. I swapped out the LH8 pan with a modded F-body pan. It had to be modded to clear the crossmember. I also had the interior doors re-done, rear seats recovered, added PONTIAC valve covers, LED tails, Amber DRLs (turn signals), 2006 GTO third brake light and relocated the coilpacks.
    Not my pan..but this is just like it. Street and Performance did it.

    Door skins redone- not crazy about them… I may do the year one doors in the future. Added polk 6.5 separates in the door.

    Rear seats covered in matching vinyl, GTO third brake light, 2 kicker 8” free airs

    Coil packs relocated to firewall, Pontiac valve covers (which they don’t sell anymore?)

    LED tails and better view of GTO 3rd brake light

    April 2013- I have a modded recess fuel tank…ready to accept a 4th gen fuel bucket. The tank in there works well…but it is noisy. I am adding some tunes this year, and I don’t want that annoying sound droning out my tunes! I have 2 kicker 8” free airs in the rear, polk 6.5” separates in the front. I have it set up for amps and crossovers…all run by a kenwood media player head unit. No CD’s..just ipod, iphone, or thumb drive. I plan on tucking up the exhaust too.

    Present tank

    New one ready to go in, fabbed up with vetteworks 4th gen fuel bucket setup…..needs paint yet.

    Credit is due to Dave T-banditdave- great guy…glad I came across the opportunity to purchase his project…
    More to come…
    Leon Reed
    Last edited by reedld; 04-24-2013 at 02:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Ugy Lower Corner of AL

    Navy Blue Metallic
    98 T/A w/a little mods...

    Awesome build, looking forward to updates

  3. #3
    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    98 Formula
    06 duramax

    that'll be a sweet ride when it's finished. I had a 79....loved that body style and is probably the body style that turned most people onto Trans Am's....thank you Burt Reynolds.
    SMWS6TA likes this.

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