As you can see in the pics above, this 30 year old Trans Am is in very good shape. I bought the car in June 06 from a guy advertising it on Ebay.com in Michigan USA. The buying experience was fantastic. I had the most helpful and decent seller you could ask for. A genuine car enthusiast and very like-minded guy. It's a big risk sending thousands to a bank on the other side of the world and hoping there's something at the end of it for you. I never went over in person to see this car so it was a proper adventure and a real test of nerves to buy from just looking at a bunch of pics alone.
Not a cheap Trans Am by any stretch but then I wasn't looking for a cheap one to spend years and a fortune on restoring. I think it's false economy and pointless stress to buy a project and anyone who's done a project only to sell it once finished will say the same. I bought it to drive it - not to re-build it.
All I had to do now was ship it! Here's the short version...
Ebay was littered with ads for DAS ("Dependable" Auto Shipping). Their price seemed reasonable so they were hired to collect the car in Michigan and overland it to New York where it would be container shipped to a UK port. Cost for shipping - just over £1,200 including the overland transport to New York.
A guy from DAS came to collect the car within a few days of instruction, first he killed the starter motor. His next trick was to let the park brake off and let the car roll down the road so he could run after it in his best pair of denim dungarees :-0! It didn't colide with anything ... thankfully. DAS were immediately sacked once I got word of what their guy had done and RJ Shipping in the UK were hired as their replacement. RJS' US agent was in a different class - he collected the car carefully and delivered it to New Jersey docks..... ....were it stood outside for around six weeks until it was loaded onto a ship in late August. No that wasn't a typo. The car got to the UK (via Holland) in September - after I'd paid for it in June! Would you leave this car outside in the rain for one night if it was yours?!
When it finally arrived in the UK - RJS hired a company to deliver the car to me on a standard 2 deck UK car transporter. The transport driver was a complete twat - he managed to bust the sump of the car on the transport that was placed above mine and its oil pan spewed everything it had all over the Trans Am. The tit also managed to put the Trans Am over the rear axle of the truck so when the truck hit the first decent hole in the road, the axle bounced up into the wheel of the TA, grinding a nice chunk out of it and wrecking the tyre. With the loss of the tyre the car dropped a little lower! This enabled the knob headt to cleverly crush the bottoms of the headers while unloading the car - by just nailing the gas and dragging it off the truck bed while I turned away for a second. He also dented the driver's door in 2 places. The pics below are the first 'in the flesh' images I saw of the TA. The fact that my kids and half the neighbours were out to see the arrival of this TA saved the transport driver's life and me a stretch for justifyable homicide. This experience totally put me off buying from the US and shipping in myself. Shipping companies don't give a shit about your stuff - it's just another job number on a sheet to them whatever the ad says!
Fortunately the car was covered by shipping insurance so a new set of wheels were provided in two days. Not the HotWheels it originally sat on - they were on a long back order and could only be bought from one company who happened to be back in the US - imagine that for aggro - a 3 wheeled TA with a host of shipping injuries to sort out. Boyd Coddington Smoothies with 40 profile tyres went on courtesy of the insurance co. and the car now sat lower than your grannies tits at about 10mm off the ground. it became immediately clear that the car was unfit for use on the shitty pot holed tracks that we call roads in the UK - even drain covers would be a problem.
All brand new (standard) leaf springs and front springs have been fitted to raise the car to a useable distance from the tarmac. It's sat very high in the pic below but it is calming down now with a little normal road use. The pic below is taken 50 miles after new springs etc. and it looks like its impersonating a monster truck. The headlights looked a bit sad so brand new lights went in. A full set of five refurbished, specially commissioned SE (deep rimmed 8J) snowflakes were found in the US and shipped over in December 06. These cost a fortune but they really are amazing quality - you will not see better - anywhere - ever! 5 brand new BF Goodriches wrap those now. Oh... and a new Stater motor was fitted here too.
Because of the damage to the door that the shipping company's pet chimp caused - the driver's side of the car has been completely repainted (feb 07), along with the roof as there was glue around the window edge from an old rain trim strip. While in the bodyshop I bit the bullet and had the bonnet, nosecone and nearside wing re-painted - there were 2 extremely small chips on the ns wing (approx 2mm diameter each) and the nose had a few stress cracks. The standard of the new paint is absolutely fantastic. I am very particular - so coming from me that's something!
I've had the headers tidied up and the exhausts re-set so they sit better. I have a new pair of headers in a box but haven't bothered to fit them as there doesn't seem a need to right now. I've had all the electrics checked and little bits sorted that needed sorting (new courtesy/interior light and door switches).
All new factory correct graphics are now fitted. It's had a brand new Edelbrock performer intake manifold along with new Mallory leads and a brand new Holley 750 DP.
It's had new back brake shoes and a proper tune up. It makes a proper bark now under gas and pulls like a Trans Am should. I've been through a hell of a lot with this car to get it where it is today. Most recently (May 08) a small surface rust patch on the rear floor led to 80% of the floor pan being replaced with pattern parts from NPD and invisible welded so it looks like new under the carpet too now.
An aftermarket (small, lightweight) Borg Warner 4spd box has been fitted at some point. There's no radio - but maybe that's not such an issue - the engine noise is better than any radio I ever heard. I might get one just to fill the hoel in th dashboard some day. It looks a billion dollars and more in the flesh and really has to been seen moving to be believed if you're a car nut. These pics don't begin to do it justice.