Intrepidation

Europe's fastest street-legal car is... a 252 MPH Pontiac Trans-Am?!

53 posts in this topic

polly-motorsport-ta-580.gif

http://www.autoblog.com/2008/12/22/europes...-pontiac-trans/

"Have fun with KITT," sniffed some AMG engineers when a group of Norwegians showed up at Germany's Papenburg test track with a 1987 Trans Am. The smug smiles were quickly wiped off the faces of the Mercedes tuner crew when the ancient Pontiac's practice laps were as fast as the AMG cars, and the F-Body wasn't even working hard. Once warmed up, the 8.9-liter V8 unleashed all of its 1400 horsepower on the circuit, delivering a startling 407 kph (252 mph) also known as Bugatti Veyron fast. Better still, unlike the Bug, the Pontiac's lap is official.

Needless to say, there's not much stock underneath the skin on this particular Trans Am. The car is the work of Polly Motorsport of Norway, and there's a wealth of top tuner expertise beneath the mostly stock exterior. We're sure even in its heightened state of tune, the Polly Trans Am is infinitely less expensive than the $1.6 million you'd have to cough up for a Veyron, and its creators say it's still street legal. Hit this link for some videos, which would be even more entertaining if we could understand what they were saying. Props to reader Mitka who provided the synopsis that we've posted after the jump!

Subject: Fastest street legal official road car in Europe!

A 1987 Trans Am fastest official street legal road car in Europe!

Paul brought his Pontiac to the Papenburg car testing track, one of the newest and most advanced test tracks in the world. Mercedes where testing their new AMG sports models the same day as Pal was going for his personal speed record. Some engineers from AMG team criticized the optimistic Norwegian team for bringing an 80's trimmed American car to this super test track for the advanced European supercars. But what they didn't quite comprehend is that Pal Arvil Blytt and his Polly motorsport team from Norway works at a motor tuner garage in Godvik Norway and most important of all nothing more than the shell of this car resembles the stock Pontiac. With a brisk 8.9L V8 producing a whopping 1407 HP, Pal was soon doing AMG top speeds of 300km/h in his warming laps. After driving a couple of rounds around the track, Paul felt ready to see what his road machine would do! And after pressing the pedal to the metal the ARP technician Christoph Tharrey came over with his laptop computer with a big grin. Here we have the official numbers: 407.134 km/h

You may say well the 9FF team drove 409km/h in an extremely rebuilt Porsche 911 at the same track; this speed was recorded with their own equipment and therefore can be fixed and therefore is not recorded as an official speed record. Bugatti Veyron 407km/h is also recorded with their own equipment.

As the Papenburg track is to small for the Pontiac to reach its potential top speed of 435km/h and Volkswagen's test track costs 25.000 Euro an hour to rent. Paul is bringing his road legal car to the US in 2009 to challenge Shelby supercars official record of 412km/h.

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Now THAT is a Pontiac. :D

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Cool. This reminds me of a Car & Driver project car from the '80s..they modified a Trans Am to go over 200 at Bonneville.

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The current fastest production-based car in a production class @ Bonneville (not positive how old the info is) is an '89 Turbo Trans Am, which has averaged 297 MPH in the flying mile & hit 303 MPH. There have been numerous top speed builds based around the 3rd gen T/A, as when this car came out in '82 it achieved a .cd of .29.

According to sources that have run them, the T/A has better aerodynamic stability in 'multi-dimensional axis's (it was extensively tuned in GM's wind tunnel) , as opposed to the 'exotics' from ferrari, lambo, etc., which have proven to be relatively less than stellar in top speed runs.

Edited by balthazar
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I like how it can do more than go fast in a straight line.

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Cool. This reminds me of a Car & Driver project car from the '80s..they modified a Trans Am to go over 200 at Bonneville.

And IIRC, that car became one of the fastest Trans Am's ever to do 190 mph on it's roof. Oops.

It made for some entertaining reading, though.

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No surprise.

The third gen Firebird has been a top speed car of choice for a very long time.

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No surprise.

The third gen Firebird has been a top speed car of choice for a very long time.

Yes...IIRC, they were the or one of the most aerodynamic cars on the market at the time.

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Yes...IIRC, they were the or one of the most aerodynamic cars on the market at the time.

One of the most aerodynamic ever, actually.

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Yes...IIRC, they were the or one of the most aerodynamic cars on the market at the time.

What made it click so much aerodynamically? If you look at the new 0.001 CD humping modern car designs, this Trans AM looks like a Brick wall in a hurricane, yet people say that this car was aerodynamic and the records do prove that.

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You canNOT judge aerodynamics visually.

I don't see the T/A as being anything close to a "brick wall", either.

Gale Banks, the turbo aftermarket tuner, ran one on Bonne too (same car as referenced above) ?

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You canNOT judge aerodynamics visually.

I don't see the T/A as being anything close to a "brick wall", either.

Gale Banks, the turbo aftermarket tuner, ran one on Bonne too (same car as referenced above) ?

What meant was when you look at the bulbous shapes of the F430 or wind tunnel love child the Prius, this vehicle certainly has more sharp crests and creases. Modern wind tunneling is better advanced than 20+ years ago, unless GM knew something that Ferrari with its F1 experience does not. And I will not be surprised if they did, given their prowess. What does surprise me is if they could use these French curve defying lines to make a vehicle aerodynamic, they could have taken some cues to the Volt and made it a little less anonymous.

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What made it click so much aerodynamically? If you look at the new 0.001 CD humping modern car designs, this Trans AM looks like a Brick wall in a hurricane, yet people say that this car was aerodynamic and the records do prove that.

Well, the Firebird is very low in the front end (lower than most of today's cars), not remotely a brick... low nose, sloping hood and fenders, windshield laid back, very sleek wedge shape.....relatively wide and long, and with a sleek rear window, it would stable at speed, I would think..

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Funny thing I've always liked the 3rd gen Firebirds and Camaro, yet the 4th gen styling has zero appeal to me...

Edited by moltar
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Funny thing I've always liked the 3rd gen Firebirds and Camaro, yet the 4th gen styling has zero appeal to me...

That's why a 4th gen driveline has become a popular swap into 3rd gen cars lately.

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That's why a 4th gen driveline has become a popular swap into 3rd gen cars lately.

Yes.. a 3rd gen w/ a 4th gen engine would rock. A dark blue '87 IROC-Z would be nice to go with my red '87 Mustang GT.

Several buddies in high school had '86-88 Z/28s/IROC-Zs/Trans Ams/GTAs....alas, at our 20th reunion this summer, I don't think any of them still have those cars...most are mainstreamed into Camrys/minivans/SUVs etc now it seems. Myself and one other guy (who has a '75 Duster) still have our HS rides....

Edited by moltar
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Well, the Firebird is very low in the front end (lower than most of today's cars), not remotely a brick... low nose, sloping hood and fenders, windshield laid back, very sleek wedge shape.....relatively wide and long, and with a sleek rear window, it would stable at speed, I would think..

Again I am COMPARING the Trans AM with more aerodynamic cars of today, and am not calling it by itself a brick. Look at the cars below:

DSC00068a.JPG

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Ferrari-F430-Hamann-600.jpg

imgToyota%20Prius1.jpg

Pontiac has the straightest face (horizontally), most upright windshield, and least curves on its sides. None of that are signs of good aerodynamics. Those straight edges on its face lead directly to creation of vortices around them leading to a increase in drag. An upright windshield makes the trans am more on the slab sided than the other three hence my brickwall comment. Notice that despite Ferrari has more upright windshield than the Prius, it is more curved than the Pontiac's which is almost flat. Even the tucked in headlights lead to increased resistence. So my engineering question is how in the heck GM got that design right? I want to know how they achieved it. And if they did such a marvelous job, they could have certainly kept the original Volt design, which would not have been hard.

X07CC_CH060.jpg

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So my engineering question is how in the heck GM got that design right? I want to know how they achieved it.

Extensive time in the wind tunnel, I assume. The '84 Corvette was quite aerodynamic for the time also..

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Extensive time in the wind tunnel, I assume. The '84 Corvette was quite aerodynamic for the time also..

Then why the heck the production Volt is a bubble trying to beat the Prius in being a bulb? Couldn't GM apply a little bit from this extensive knowledge they gained from the Trans AM to keep the original concept?

Why did Pontiac's slab sided aerodynamics die to give way to these French curves we are looking at?

The more I look at the car the more it seems like an engineering miracle, I mean look at the car, the front lower diffusers and lower intakes are almost non existent compared to those huge ones in Ferrari.

Edited by smallchevy
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Then why the heck the production Volt is a bubble trying to beat the Prius in being a bulb? Couldn't GM apply a little bit from this extensive knowledge to keep the original concept?

Probably since the Volt is sharing a platform with the Cruze, etc they have to deal with shared production hard points, pedestrian law hood heights, bumper and light height laws, etc..so the car is going to have generic FWD proportions...and I'm sure the Volt is quite aerodynamic as it is.

Edited by moltar
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Probably since the Volt is sharing a platform with the Cruze, etc they have to deal with shared production hard points, pedestrian law hood heights, bumper and light height laws, etc..so the car is going to have generic FWD proportions...and I'm sure the Volt is quite aerodynamic as it is.

That would make some sense. But remember Lutz said that GM was surprised when they put the original design in the wind tunnel considering how bad it was. He went a step farther saying that it fared well from the rear than from the front.

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The Firebird was shorter (vertically) than the Volt and Prius, giving it less frontal area to create resistance. This is the biggest factor i can think of. Of course this is to the great detriment to interior space and passenger room.

The Firebird's nose may be flat but it is still lower and thinner than all the other cars'.

Judging just by looks, though, I'd say the Volt looks more like a brick, at least in profile. The Prius at least has that nice fastback.

Edit: Just did some quick research, found a something on http://fbodyreport.com/wiki/Firebird_1982:

The Firebird had been completely restyled for 1982, with the windshield slope set at 60 degrees, and for the first time a large glass hatchback. The new design made the Firebird about 500lb lighter than its 2nd Gen predecessor, and the Third Generation Firebird was the most aerodynamic GM production car ever. Drag of only .29 could have been achieved if they could have lowered the Trans Am by 1", unfortunately ground clearance ruled and the final drag coefficient was about .32. Every aero detail was looked at, even the small highlight indent in the front fascia was an aerodynamic feature that was intended to form the air envelope as they desired. Aero developments extended even to the wheels with optional finned aluminum wheels with smooth caps and a functional spoiler that produced about 100# at 100Mph and lowered the Drag Coefficient.

.32. That's the same as the Scion xB.

The Volt concept had a Cd of .42, and I never liked it anyway.

The F430 has a Cd of .34 (probably from those enormous intakes)

The Prius has a Cd of .26

The production Volt will probably be down around Prius-land.

So the Firebird was really aerodynamically unextraordinary by today's standards.

Edited by §carlet §wordfish
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The Firebird was shorter (vertically) than the Volt and Prius, giving it less frontal area to create resistance. This is the biggest factor i can think of. Of course this is to the great detriment to interior space and passenger room.

The Firebird's nose may be flat but it is still lower and thinner than all the other cars'.

Judging just by looks, though, I'd say the Volt looks more like a brick, at least in profile. The Prius at least has that nice fastback.

Drag coefficient and hence the resistance has nothing to do with height of vehicle it is a function of the area of foot print that is projected perpendicular to the flow of the fluid which in this case is air. Therefore, a 100x1 sq.inch board will have the same drag as an area of 10x10 sq.inch board.

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That is true. But please see my edit.

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