This hot 1971 Trans Am is the junkyard mashup of your wildest dreams
Larry Chen’s latest Hoonigan Autofocus video features one of the wildest creations we’ve seen, an all-wheel-drive 1971 Trans Am with the five-speed manual transmission from an R32 Skyline GT-R and an active center differential from an R33.
Some of the best clips from the video are hearing the wail from the supercharged LS V-8 as it hurtles around the track at Speed Vegas, sending birds scattering into the sky. Reaction shots of Chen experiencing the all-wheel-drive acceleration give a hint at what the 600-horsepower beater is capable of, yet it’s the raw talent that went into the build that is the most impressive.
Built by Gregg Hamilton, who works as Ken Block’s lead mechanic, the Trans Am was inspired by Block’s AWD V-8 Mustang, the Hoonicorn. It’s the result of two years of work in between the worldwide travel required to keep Block’s various cars in tip-top mechanical condition.
You may have seen Larry’s stunning photos of Hamilton’s more polished Trans Am, a perfectly detailed black specimen with a ’78 front clip, ’79 taillights, and of course, a gold screaming chicken on the hood. That one is powered by a twin-turbo 5.3-liter Gen III Chevy V-8.
This desert-weathered hot rod takes a different approach, using a similar junkyard-sourced, 5.3-liter Chevy pickup engine as the foundation, but this time topped by a 6-71 Roots-style supercharger.
The engine is set rearward about 18 inches, far enough that the back of the blower intrudes into the windshield. It helped weight balance, but it was necessary to make room for the front differential, which in this case is actually the rear differential from an Infiniti Q45 that was also scored at a junkyard. The rear differential is from a 300ZX. The suspension was “all cobbled together from bits and pieces” as Hamilton put it, including Corvette uprights, and uses a custom pushrods to mount the coilovers inboard to make room for the halfshafts.
The polar opposite of his show-ready later Trans Am, Hamilton truly gets to enjoy this car. “It’s nice not to have to care about the outside of it,” he explains.
Chen and Hamilton go over many of the car’s build details in the in-depth video, which is definitely worth a watch. Hamilton’s use of rally racing build concepts are an inspiration and it proves that you don’t need perfect paint finish to build a perfectly fun car.