Reader’s Rides: March 2015 Edition


Paul Huryk’s ’89 Trans Am GTA

Paul is no stranger to third-generation F-bodies. In fact, he’s owned several of them since the ’80s; including an ’85 IROC-Z, ’86 Trans Am, an ’84 Camaro sport coupe that he’s taken from the 17s into the 11s, and this ’89 T-top GTA. Wanting a low-mileage, unmolested late 3rd-gen, his perseverance finally paid off after a year of searching and looking at dozens of IROCs, Z28s and Trans Ams. He purchased the GTA¬†from the second owner in upstate NY back in September, 2012 and is an¬†L98/auto/3.27-geared combination car.

As Paul tells us, “I bought the car with the intention of building the car for street, but to also be able to take it on an autocross or road course ¬†– and be competitive. As the car was unmolested (still had factory [WS6] suspension & brakes), I hit up Global West (control arms, Panhard rod, lowering springs, Trac-Link), Spohn (subframe connectors & front control arms) and Koni (Yellow shocks) for the suspension parts; Wilwood for the 13″ front brake kit, and CTW Motorsports & Falken for the 17″ x 9.5″ wheels and 275-40-17 tires. These parts give the car the capability to handle above the 1g RRMAR15-1.jpgmark and stop from 60mph in about 100 feet, yet not rattle out your fillings – just like the best of modern sports cars.”

So far, Paul¬†has only done some bolt-on engine modifications, such as a Magnaflow exhaust (cat, y-pipe and catback), underdrive pulleys, Hypertech chip & 160-degree thermostat and a K&N filter, which Paul claims¬†added another 15- or 20 hp over the factory 235 hp rating. He’s currently entertaining the notion of an LS3 swap with 550 hp and a 6-speed – but may end up sticking with the GEN-I SBC architecture in the form of a¬†new Dart SHP crate motors (either 406ci. or 427ci.) with an aftermarket EFI. ¬†While Paul claims that the car is, at best, a 14.0 ride, no one has challenged him¬†on the street yet due to it looking like a Turbo T/A with larger wheels from the outside.


Erick Carter’s ’07 Impala SS

We’re slowly but surely starting to see more and more of these LS4-powered front-drivers emerge from the shadows, as many enthusiasts are attracted to the year-round, daily-driver capabilities. The owner of this example, Erick Carter, explains, “I bought the car a little over two years ago when I was looking for an Impala, but not an SS.”

He continues, “I didn’t like the idea of a front-wheel drive V8 car, but this one fell into¬†my hands and I fell in love with her. I started by doing a very nice stereo system, being that’s what I do for a living, and then I did the suspension and an LS6 intake manifold upgrade. Admittingly, I had to rebuild the transmission multiple times before getting it right. I am also a mechanic, but since I don’t [normally] do transmissions, I had Atlas Transmission in Lakeworth, FL take it on as challenge ¬†– and they’re proud of it.”


As with any LS-series engine, the sky is the limit in terms of modifications. Not content with simple bolt-ons, Erick decided to turbocharge the W-body with a Cartuning turbo kit, featuring a 72mm Turbonectics turbo running 11-psi – enough to produce 540 fwhp. So far, the Impala has ran a best of 11.6 at 124 mph in the quarter-mile. Erick claims there’s more in it, and the car should be good for 11.2-11.3 timeslips after some fine tuning from¬†Extreme Performance.RRMAR15-5

Erick’s official engine mod list also includes a methanol injection kit,¬†60-lb. Deka injectors,¬†Pac Racing valvesprings, custom 3-inch exhaust,¬†Magnaflow mufflers and an electric cutout. The engine is paired up¬†with the aforementioned Atlas 4T65E utilizing a¬†15/16 chain, 3.29 gears, billet 3rd-gear piston,¬†2800 stall converter, billet pan spacer,¬†ZZP 300mm input shaft and a limited-slip differential.¬†

Keeping the W-body planted firmly on the pavement are ZZP lower control arms, SSC 1.7-inch drop springs, Bilstein HD struts and BMR rear control & trailing arms. The Impala is brought to a halt thanks to a set of Grand Prix GXP brakes at all for corners.


Paul Phillips’ ’92 Firebird

After falling in love with an ’84 Trans Am back in high school, Paul was hooked on third-gen Firebirds. An unfortunate and abrupt accident limited his time with the T/A, but he soon found solace with this ’92 Firebird, he calls, Second Chance.

Starting with a 305 TBI powerplant and a 700Ra, Paul certainly had his work cut out for him in terms of performance. Instead of jumping right into modifications, Paul decided to strip it all down and start over. So the old ‘Bird received a full frame up restoration, a fiberglass Ram Air hood with a Sunset Orange Metallic hue being applied in the end.


C5/C6 hybrid brakes with C5 Z06 brake calipers and¬†13.5″ cross drilled C6 “Z51″ brake rotors up front, with stock 11.75”¬†rotors and PBR aluminum calipers out back became part of the build, as did ROH RT wheels in 18-inch diameter.¬†

The engine bay was treated to the mildly built 350 small block from the¬†’84, which was topped with a Holley Stealth Ram and controlled by Holley’s¬†Commander 950 engine management system at that time. He kept the stock¬†accessory drive and A/C components. The T-56 manual transmission and 3.27-geared BorgWarner 9-bolt (with fresh posi cones and springs) also made¬†the transition into the ’92.RRMAR15-12

After a few years of having the car together, Paul decided to bump up the¬†power level. He fabricated his own single turbocharger setup in such¬†a way that he could retain factory A/C and cruise control, as this car is¬†mainly a street car. The Firebird relies on Sandersonblock hugger” headers for the build to maximize engine room, while a custom¬†downpipe connects into full exhaust with a Magnaflow¬†straight through muffler and single turndown at the rear.¬†The turbocharger¬†is a Turbonetics “Hurricane” series TC 78 with a 78mm compressor and 68mm¬†exhaust turbine. The fuel system has been upgraded to¬†60-lb. injectors and an e85-compatible Walbro 400 LPH pump.

Paul ultimately ended up melting a head gasket, so he stepped up to a set of MLS gaskets as well as a completely new engine in the form of a¬†Dart SHP short¬†block filled with a Sonny Bryant 3.8 stroke billet crank, Carrillo¬†H-beam 6.0″ rods and Wiseco 4.155-diameter forged pistons –¬†displacing¬†412 cubic inches. It’s¬†filled with a Bullet/Ultradyne hydraulic roller camshaft,¬†Morel .750 wheel roller lifters, Comp Hi-Tech pushrods and Pro Magnum 1.6¬†roller rockers, and topped off with AFR 220 cylinder heads held in place¬†by ARP head studs.


The new engine was treated to upgraded engine management in the form of¬†Holley’s self tuning HP EFI system, and the bellhousing and clutch were¬†both upgraded as well with a McLeod scattershield and a Street twin-disc clutch. Boost pressure is still by a Hallman manual boost¬†controller, but will be upgraded to electronic boost control run by the HP¬†EFI system.

This combination has¬†managed 495 HP and 698 FT LBS of torque at the rear tires on a Mustang¬†chassis dyno. The engine has lots more room to grow, and I’m currently in¬†the planning phase for an aftermarket front accessory system to give me¬†more room for a larger turbocharger.

Eric Vanwaardenburg’s 1995 Impala SS


Eric Vanwaardenburg is a man of few words, but his Reader’s Rides submission for the month of March is this¬†1995 Impala SS. Originally equipped from the factory with the iron-headed version of the LT1, it left the factory as a full-sized mid-15 second behemoth. Although performance parts are still widely available for this platform, Eric ultimately had other ideas.

No longer powered by the original LT1, Eric has since turned his back on GEN-II V8 power, and brought the big B-body into the 21st Century with LS RRMAR15-9power! Namely, with a 6.0L LQ9 iron block topped with 243 cast heads, an LS6 intake and aftermarket long-tube headers.

Knowing that the B-body is quite a heavy car, Eric has since decided to bump up the power substantially, and in 2 weeks plans on having an¬†LSA supercharger and LS3 heads installed. If all goes well, we expect Eric’s Impala to be pushing well north of 600 rwhp – at least enough to get the beast somewhere in the 11s.

Being a huge B-body fan, one look at his Facebook page and you would think that he had a personal goal to shoot a photo of every remaining B-body left in existence. But that’s because Eric belongs to several Impala SS clubs and groups, proving that he truly is passionate about the bog-body Impala.


*If you want your car featured in Reader’s Rides, send Editor Rick Seitz an email at for more details!

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