Part Trans Am, Part Camaro

There really is no better way to kill a morning – or an entire day for that matter – than by taking a walk through the incredible Canepa facility in Scotts Valley, California. While the place is home to rare machinery from McLaren, Porsche, Ferrari and other exotic manufacturers, I really like how you’ll also find lots of down-home American machinery in the mix as well. Take this Pontiac Trans Am for example.


Like most of the old machines that come through Canepa’s doors, this Pontiac has a long motorsport history behind it and has been restored to original, competition-ready condition. It began life as one of three Trans Ams built by Jerry Titus with his partner Terry Godsall for the 1970 SCCA Trans-Am season, and would go through a few changes over its racing career.


While some of the Titus Trans Ams ran de-stroked Pontiac motors, this one actually ran a small block Chevrolet. At the time, certain Canadian-market Pontiacs came equipped with Chevy motors, so the team convinced the SCCA to allow for the proven Chevy V8 rather than the more experimental Pontiac engine.


Also of note is that Terry Godsall had BF Goodrich sponsor the car, and using tires specially made by BFG, the ‘Radial Tire Bird’ became the first production car to win a race on radial tires. This happened during the Watkins Glen SCCA National Race in 1970.


The car went on to see action at a number of events in the early ’70s, including the Daytona 24 Hours and the Sebring 12 Hours. In 1971 it was actually converted to Camaro bodywork and that’s how it remained prior to its full restoration.


As it sits today, the car has been meticulously returned to its original form, and under the hood sits a fully rebuilt small block Chevy making 485 horsepower and 377 pound feet of torque in typical high-winding Trans Am fashion.


And as mentioned a moment ago, it’s not just a show piece – the Pontiac is fully sorted for vintage racing. Among its recent racing credentials are appearances at the Monterey Historics and more.


Stay tuned for more from my recent visit to Canepa as we take a walk through the workshop to see what else is cooking inside this incredible shrine of motorsport history.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia_media



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Oh hell yeah!


Their loophole was actually a bit of BS. Although all Pontiacs built in Canada used Chevrolet engines (Such as the Beaumont) all Canadian market Firebirds and Trans Ams were built in the USA and delivered to Canada and as such, used Pontiac engines. The SCCA didn't seem to mind though, as the more competition the better.


Man, just right. What size are those tires btw?


squidlyness probably standard 15x8 magnesium MIinilites NOT Watanabe RS's wich came about a decade lat...oh the tires ha. The original rules stipulated
they had to be as close to the original tire size as possible. 
Goodyear would call them 600/ 700x 15 wheels which refers to the sidewall width I believe? In normal tire speak they would be 275/60R 15's


NicholasDixon I think the decision was made because it would have been nearly impossible to stop them from just importing a Canadian version with the Chevy engine, pulling out the build sheet and saying "see, factory installed".


PowerTryp NicholasDixon What I'm saying is, no matter whether they were sold in the USA or Canada, all Firebirds were made in the US with Pontiac power. There was no such thing as a Canadian-market Chevy-powered Firebird. It was only the other models unique to Canada that were built in Canada and sol;d as Pontiacs that used Chevrolet engines.


Paizuri_4g63 squidlyness Thanks, me Ilikes seeing them sidewalls.


NicholasDixon PowerTryp I misinterpreted your statement. I see what you're saying now. Maybe the SCCA just didn't care to put the time in and confirm their statements. 
Either way, it makes for a unique and interesting racecar.


NicholasDixon Yeah things were certainly a lot more loose in those days. I'm not complaining though.


I live 20 mins from Canepa. Heaven on earth for enthusiasts. I got to go on the shop floor the day I foreman was a customer of mine. Bruce's brand new Mc L p1 was sitting next to 7 959s. Get there if u can TransAm cars too!


Don't know much about tires but it shore is going to be a beautiful day in heaven when Gabriel blows his horn? Spread the news!


squidlyness In the photo it's running a 295/50R15 rear so my guess is a 245 front. A 255/60R15 is taller than the 295/50. The wheels look to be minilite 15x8s (narrow for a 295 and wide for a 245).


squidlyness I actually work at one of the plants that makes these. I thought they looked a little wider than 275. If you blow up the picture, the rears are in fact 295/50R15!


Wait I'm curious, are those the tyres it similarly raced in period with the treads, or did it have  slick-like tyres?


The original Radial TA racing tires were stock ground down to 1/2 tread depth for cooling purposes and they only raced in short SCCA regional races like their first Watkins Glen race. It snowed in mid to late October and the car was #92, not yet the Tirebird, running away from AP 427 Corvettes, until the track dried. Later the tire mold shop made 1/2 tread depth molds, but still used stock street material. The Godsell shop had Camaro body panels and engines in reserve, because after the first year SCCA had checked and Firebirds in Canada had Pontiac motors. The Sebring race care had the Tirebird livery on a Camaro for endurance.


the car was very good 
really really like to see the car that shiny new car fits like made ​​for walking trailsthe car was very good" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> and very fast" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> mix of colors" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> from which to" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> make want pobud see hatnya" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> kecepatanya" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> was very nice ," rel="dofollow" target="_blank">  suitable for a "" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> sharp bend or not sharp I guess motorists like this is" very skilled in the speed I hope I can membilinya someday will whether there are new cars are better I" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> 'll wait for it , with a stylish car classic" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> style I" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> also like" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> to see would be whether there is a" rel="dofollow" target="_blank"> car that is as fast and forius like in the " movie , the car very good car designed a way apparently hopefully there will be new cars more good and the price is quite pantastis then chances are I can membilinya the same as you have at this time