Bandit Rides Again: SLP connection adds legitimacy to this Transmaro conversion
Plenty of folks have cashed in on public nostalgia for the Camaro’s late, lamented F-body sibling by Firebird-izing and Trans Am-ifying Camaros, often just by replacing the front and rear soft trim with vaguely Pontiac-y styling cues. Tallahassee, Florida-based Trans Am Worldwide has endeavored to take that approach to a higher level, modifying or replacing virtually every panel on the car except the doors.
The examples on display in the concourse area at the NYIAS are all based on the recently departed Camaro, but tooling is underway to replicate this look on the new Alpha platform architecture. In the meantime, cars have been procured to produce a limited run of 77 special black and gold Bandit Editions. Old Bandit himself, Burt Reynolds, is completely on board with the plan and will personally sign each of the 77 copies, which are retailing for between $125,000-$150,000 USD depending on options. And if black isn’t your color, Nate Shelton, chairman of Hurst Performance Products, would be happy to sign a Hurst Trans Am edition in another colorâif they weren’t already sold out.
Standard equipment includes the fenders, quarters, hood, decklid, fascias, and lamps that transform the revised outside gauge faces that replicate the ’77 model’s, plus carbon-fiber trim to suggest an update on the engine-turned aluminum look featured on the original cars (and TAW produces its own carbon fiber in house). Pricing starts around $71,000 USD.
Options include an old-school T-top roof just like the one through which Frog flipped the sheriff off, a front-hinged hood, a hood-mounted tachometer, interior upgrades, brake upgrades, and a choice of three enginesâall with shaker hood scoops, naturally. The base engine is of course the LS3 that comes in the Camaro SS donor car. To that TAW will add an SLP TVS 2300 supercharger that ups output to a healthy 600 hp. Not enough? Go for the GM LSX 454-cubic-inch crate motor with a supercharger bolted on good for 840 hp and 790 lb-ft. That one gets a T/A-7.4 sticker on the shaker. The SS’ transmissions are fortified for this duty, with manuals getting a Hurst cue-ball shifter.
If SLP rings a bell, you’re probably remembering the Ed Hamburger’s Street Legal Performance, which used to build Pontiac’s factory-orderable SLP Firehawk models as well as supply the aftermarket with performance parts. That operation was bought out by Roush, and some of the folks working with TAW are ex-SLP and ex-Roush. These folks are currently at work hatching a plan to resume a relationship like the one that spawned the SLP Firebird, producing a special edition of the current-generation Camaro that will get drop-shipped to Trans Am World then shipped to your local dealership.
For now, to buy an ersatz Pontiacâeither a Trans Am or, if that’s too mundane for you, TAW’s GTO Judge conversion, which comes complete with hidden headlampsâcontact one of TAW’s distributors in Tallahassee or Los Angeles.