Reader’s Rides: December 2014 Edition

Corey Silva’s 1996 Trans Am


Having previously owned a ’95 Formula a year and a half earlier, and regretting selling it almost immediately, Corey scored this replacement ’96 Trans Am for cheap¬†in January of 2012. Since then, he’s¬†been keeping busy modifying this T/A¬†to suit his tastes.RRD-5

While being parked at his dad’s shop, a neighbor nudged the front of the Pontiac, convincing Corey to completely rebuild the car from the ground up.¬†After a previous owner had painted the car white, installed a ’98-02 Ram Air-style hood and added a plethora of aftermarket gauges inside, Corey took all of his hard work and tossed it aside.

Stripping off the old paint allowed Corey to respray the car in the coveted Sunset Orange Metallic, while a Suncoast Creations WS6-style hood was installed – looking much more fitting for a Trans Am of its vintage. A set of OEM ’96-early ’01 WS6 wheels were thrown into the mix, as were a pair of ’98-’02 factory honeycomb taillights. The car provides a stock, assuming look that is also classy and sinister all at the same time.RRD-7During the rebuild phase, Corey¬†yanked the LT1 and tore it down. The block was honed, decked, and the stock crank was polished and reinstalled. The bottom end consists of fresh rods and cam bearings that were tri-armor coated and an aggressive Lloyd Elliot camshaft was dura-bond coated and installed.

Complimenting the cam, a pair of Lloyd Elliot Stage 2 heads stuffed with COMP Cams rockers and valvetrain were installed for additional horsepower, while a set of Kooks stepped 1-3/4 to 1-7/8 long-tubes with 3.5-inch collectors, minus cats, feed into a 2.5-inch homegrown true dual exhaust system.

He also ditched the A/C, relocated the battery to the trunk and removed anything, including wiring, that no longer functioned or was being used. Sitting behind the LT1 (now sporting an LS coil conversion) is a Tick Performance Stage 2 T-56 and clutch. The car laid down 370 hp to the rear tires on the Slowhawk Performance dyno through the stock 10-bolt, that’s next on the list of being replaced!

Matthew Gebis’ 1985 Buick Regal T-Type

Who says your grandma’s car can’t be cool? Not Matthew Gebis. Having received the car as a gift from his grandmother at age 15, the Buick in question wasn’t always so clean. In fact, the car didn’t even run and Matthew had to replace the doors and rear quarter panels thanks to the Midwestern rust when Matthew acquired it.

Completely redoing the entire body, the T-Type now sports a fresh coat of factory paint that he points out he did himself in his home garage. While he was at it he stepped it up with a pair of fender-mounted GNX heat RRD-1extractors, a Grand National rear spoiler and a Camaro-style cowl induction air scoop mounted to the factory hood – allowing for additional engine cooling rather than forced induction.

Speaking of which, this is a legit, bonafide factory turbo car, complete with the original¬†“hot air” powerplant. Not one to leave his project car completely stock, Matthew rebuilt the engine, ported the stock heads, and installed an upgraded camshaft to the Buick V6 block. He then took the stock turbo and rebuilt it with an ’86-’87 LC2 hot side and an old-school Pontiac 301 Turbo T/A cold side, while still relying on the factory “draw-through” style arrangement.

Underneath, Matthew upgraded the exhaust system, lowered the Buick and boxed in the rear lower control arms to improve the looks, handling and to aid in traction. After driving the T-Type all through high school, it now spends its winters in the garage and cruises the local hangouts in the summer.


Dimitar Kaleev’s 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass SupremeRRD-9

This thing is just ridiculous – in a good way, to the point that we can’t even tell the whole tale or even scratch the surface of this car’s mod list in the allotted space frame of this article. Dimitar’s Cutlass story starts all the way back in 1999 when it was his first car. Where many of us have moved on to bigger and more expensive cars, Mr. Kaleev has persisted with his introduction to automotive freedom. After the work he’s put into this one, we don’t blame him!

The original engine went kaput back in 2002, so he swapped in an L67 and 4T65E-HD out of a ’98 Regal GS. ¬†This is where things get interesting. First swapping on a Magnuson M112, he eventually found himself ditching supercharging altogether for the sake of a T76 snail. But he couldn’t get there without solidifying the Buick V6 powerplant first, so he began¬†with a full rebuild of the 3800 Series II.

Starting from the bottom and working his way up, the fresh L67 was bored 0.020 over and the stock crank and rods went back in. The pistons were replaced with Diamond 8.5:1 slugs, self-ported L67 heads bolted up top, and an INTENSE Racing S3 turbo camshaft slid into place, completing the long block. A one-piece intake manifold/L67 throttle body replaced the departed Magnuson blower, paving way for the all-new turbo kit that Dimitar has in store for his Olds.


The T76 turbo returned, but with an EMUSA 31x12x2.75 intercooler, dual fans, 50mm ZZP BOV and 50mm HKS-style wastegate. Dimitar fabricated his own turbo headers with dual reversion dams, utilizing 1-5/8 inch primaries and 2.5-inch collectors. A 3-inch turbo-back exhaust with dual resonators make up the system, and everything consists of stainless steel. The Cutlass rides on a combination of KYB, QA1, MOOKEH, A1, and GEN1 suspension pieces while C6Z brakes up front and C5 brakes out back bring this thing to a halt in a hurry. Speaking of C5 Corvettes, this W-body uses 18×9.5 Y2K rear wheels at all four corners!

Oh, we almost forgot – that front fascia is a combination of the stock upper and BMW E30 lower front bumper blended together for a look all its own with Fierovation fender flares and a carbon fiber wrap. Out back is a lower rear diffusor that Oldsmobile never thought of back in 1996. Future plans include turning up the boost high enough to create the 600 hp that these engines typically make with these types of combinations, as well as converting the car to AWD, thanks to an EVO X conversion.


Ben Wootson’s 2000 Cavalier Z24 Convertible¬†

What you’re looking at here here isn’t so much a Cavalier as it is a tube chassis race car. Technically, it’s both. Starting with a fairly mundane auto-equipped 2000 Z24 convertible, Ben Wootson quickly got the itch to crank up the horsepower substantially. Initially with bolt-ons and a 5-speed swap, then a supercharger and eventually twincharging (supercharger and turbo(!)), until he ultimately ditched the 2.4L Quad Cam LD9 altogether for the updated replacement 2.2L L61 Ecotec.


Once several enthusiasts on various forums and message boards told Ben that the Ecotec swap was somehow impossible (despite General Motors installing L61s in Cavaliers beginning in 2002), Ben decided to take things up several notches to prove otherwise. First, he would convert the car to not only rear-wheel drive, but mid-engine. In order to do so, he had to put the Cavalier on a severe diet and fabricate an entire new platform. Having complete disregard for previous experience or so much as a training course, Ben personally built a tube chassis for the Cavalier and ditched literally everything that didn’t aid in the car’s final performance goals.

Ben then turbocharged the L61, installed C6 Z06 wheels, tires and brakes at all four corners, a fuel cell where the engine once resided and a pair of racing seats in the cockpit. Severe weight saving is the name of the game, and frankly, there isn’t much Cavalier left in this car anymore as every inch of this machine has been modified, replaced or deleted altogether.

Currently, this particular Z24 is the known record-holder for the highest horsepower, internally stock 2.2L turbo Ecotecs the world over. Putting down a solid 405 hp to the tires, its actually making 462 bhp with a power to weight ratio of 4.46 lbs./hp. Since the car has been up and running, Ben has started his own company; BWC Fabrications, and has taken the experience and expetise he learned from his Cavalier and is already implementing it into other builds!

With a selection of forged hardware sitting on the shelf waiting to be installed, we should expect this “Cavalier” to be generating over 500 whp and potentially putting a serious hurting on many would-be contenders at the upcoming Florida 1/2-mile. Look for more on this car in a future installment of GM EFI!


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

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