Are you Bandit enough to hit the road in this visionary sixth-gen Trans Am?

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Trans Am Specialties of Florida

Just about every Pontiac lover still mourns the loss of one of America’s coolest car brands. Pontiac built some of the brawniest muscle cars of the ’60s and ’70s and paired them with lurid graphics that were, quite frankly, over the top. If you think the high-contrast graphics on the Judge were too much, or look at the garish, screaming hood bird on the Trans Am and clutch your pearls, perhaps a nice, understated Buick is more your speed—but to each their own. True Pontiac fans embrace the bold muscle cars, and a few even manage to bring some back.

2017 Trans Am Outlaw Edition
Trans Am Specialties of Florida

A die-hard muscle-car fanatic, Rick Dieters of Trans Am Specialties of Florida worked with the team at Trans Am Worldwide to make the model rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Dieters has been involved in getting new Trans Ams back in showrooms since 2013 when, using the fifth-generation Camaro as a foundation, his company began to build and sell new, legitimate Trans Ams. Designer Kevin Morgan worked with SCCA to obtain legal use of the name; even back in the ’60s, the SCCA licensed Pontiac to use the name of their race series on each model sold. While Pontiac was gone, Trans Ams returned.

The sixth-generation Camaro debuted as a 2016 model, but it took more than a year to develop the look and the parts required to make the sixth-generation Trans Am come to life. Automotive designer Bo Zolland, known for his gorgeous renderings and restylings of classic cars, was tasked with interpreting the spirit of the second-gen Trans Am using the Alpha-platform Camaro as a base. Zolland, along with engineer and designer Tom Sawyer, worked to infuse as much Pontiac DNA into the new car as possible.

2017 Trans Am Outlaw Edition
Trans Am Specialties of Florida

This latest interpretation of the Trans Am, while its legacy is clear from the gold graphics, is otherwise a substantial departure from its fifth-gen counterpart and uses mostly carbon-fiber body panels to accomplish the transformation. The roof, hood, rockers, and skirts are carbon-fiber; new carbon-fiber front and rear fascias and unique lighting complete the Camaro donor’s makeover. The optional T-tops make an unmistakable Trans Am statement.

All Trans Ams get a reworked suspension, a custom exhaust, and new wheels and tires. The result, even with an untouched LT1 V-8 drivetrain, is a lighter car whose finely honed handling exceeds even the high bar set by the sixth-gen Camaro SS.

2017 Trans Am Outlaw Edition
Trans Am Specialties of Florida

Some of the first production cars sold in this new design were Super Duty Trans Ams that paid tribute to the ’73 and ’74 Trans Ams equipped with potent 455-cubic-inch Pontiac V-8s. Engine builder Joe Arrington started with the Chevrolet LT1 architecture and managed to coax the small-block into that iconic Pontiac displacement. When topped by a Magnuson supercharger, the engine churns out more than 1000 hp.

We talked to Dieters about his car, an LT1-powered Outlaw edition honoring the Bandit Trans Am, which was the very first sixth-gen Trans Am to be hand-built by Trans Am Worldwide. His car is in full Outlaw regalia, with gold graphics and pinstripes over a black base. It’s also topped with a Magnuson supercharger, which brings output to 709 hp. He’s selling his car in part to finance the restoration of several second-gen Trans Ams that were damaged when Trans Am Specialties of Florida suffered from a devastating fire. Luckily, Dieters’ 2017 Trans Am only suffered a few minor blemishes.

2017 Trans Am Outlaw Edition
Trans Am Specialties of Florida

We asked him what makes these new Trans Ams so special. “It’s hard to ignore a black and gold car that screams ‘I’m the resurrection of the Bandit.’ It’s pure Americana,” Dieters says.

He’s also a Mopar fan, and has a ’69 Charger of his own, but he couldn’t resist the new take on the iconic muscle car from Trans Am Worldwide, which starts at $130,000, noting that it turns heads in Miami Beach like an exotic. Dieters did admit that the audacious car has its detractors, who complain that it still has the basic silhouette of a Camaro. Dieters doesn’t mind. “If this car looked like a Fiat or a Hyundai, then we’d have a problem. The Trans Am and Camaro are related.”

Dieters’ Trans Am is currently on eBay, with an asking price of $179,900, which matches the cost of an entirely new build in this same specification. Trans Am Worldwide is still building these Trans Ams, but if you’re hoping to skip the months-long waitlist, Dieters’ car is ready now.

Update: The listing has since been taken down by the seller—according to eBay, due to an error in the listing itself. Unless it resurfaces, those craving a sixth-gen Trans Am fix will need to take their business straight to Trans Am Worldwide.

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