Project Redrum Gets Grilled


photos by: the author

Project Redrum Gets a Much-Needed Grille Replacement

With the snow finally melted in our part of the country and our right foot itching to floor the throttle in something other than our daily beater, we couldn’t be more excited about getting our project cars back out on the streets and race tracks across the country. We have a total of five GM EFI project cars (at the moment), but our ace in the hole is going to be the one you’re look at on this page; Project Redrum, our ’84 Trans Am project car!

While we wait for our LS powerplant and our American Powertrain 6-speed transmission to be assembled by their respective parties, we’re working on the interior and exterior details of Redrum. While we kind of dig the faded out, “rat rod” outside aesthetics overall, there was something that seriously irked us about [what’s left] of the OEM grilles that we purchased with the car.

Thirty-two years of age and sitting out in the Las Vegas sun from where the car is originally from, were were left with brittle, faded and completely destroyed front grilles in our old Firebird. Ironically, they actually complimented the ratty look of the car, but we just couldn’t get passed them. Besides, we don’t want to be responsible for dropping anything on the track when we put this thing through the corners, soon.


Designed to be direct replacements for the ’82-’84 grilles for the Pontiac Firebirds (not including the ’83 Daytona Pace Car, ’84 15th-Anniversary and the ’84 Aero Package cars) PN HTAUS995 is the perfect solution to a very common problem on the early third-gens Trans Ams.

So what were we to do? With Pontiac long gone and GM having long sold out its stock, we did the next best thing and gave our friends at Hawks Third Generation a call, and ordered up their new ’82-84 Firebird/Trans Am grilles (PN HTAUS995) for Redrum. Designed as direct replacements for all Firebirds of those three model years (apart from ’83 Daytona Pace Car, ’84 15th-Anniversary and ’84 Aero Package), you’d be hard pressed to tell these high-quality reproductions form their originals.


Even at a glance, you can quickly see what we were up against with our grilles. Despite the overall ratty theme of the car, those grilles simply had to go. We’re ultimately keeping the “rat theme” but leaving debris on the track isn’t cool, so they had to be replaced.



Taking the screws out in a cross-paten fashion, we were able to remove them without any trouble at all.



Each grille is held on by six, six-point hex screws on each side. Even being attached to our car for over three decades, they came right off with a simple twist to the left with the hex driver.



Halfway through swapping our grilles out, we took a progress shot, to show you the difference between the original and the newly replaced Hawks grille. There’s certainly a night and day difference!



When we finally were able to get both grilles off of the car and onto the garage floor, it felt like they were going to crumble in our hands. We suppose that’s what thirty-two years in the hot Las Vegas sun would do to 1980s-grade GM plastics. We’re so glad to be finally rid of these.



With both grilles in their new home, the next order of business to get this thing cleaned up and ready for its next round of modifications. We have a lot more Hawks hardware ready to go in, as they’ll be hoping us with our LS-swap, interior and further exterior enhancements, and much more! Until next time…

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  1. ScreaminRedZ 16 May, 2016 at 15:51 Reply

    My first car was an 84 Z28 and my second was an 87 GTA, so I’m always a fan of these 3rd gen articles. It’s little touches like these that really start to bring a car back without spending a fortune. Keep ’em coming!

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