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The Pontiac Trans Am debuted in the late 1960s with a big-block V8 under the hood and power ratings of up to 500 horsepower. But by the mid-1970s it became a Malaise-era coupe that barely hit 200 horses. Still, the Trans Am soldiered on through the late 1970s as a popular nameplate, mostly thanks to the “Smokey and the Bandit” film.
That alone is a good reason to get a Trans Am with a Firebird decal on the hood, but what if you want a more powerful engine? Well, you can either upgrade Pontiac’s massive 6.6-liter V8 or you can take the LS swap route. There are plenty of crate engine options out there, but this build suggests that a Corvette-sourced LS is just as good.

This Trans Am hides an LS2 under its long hood. Interestingly enough, Pontiac offered a 7.5-liter V8 with the same name in 1973 and 1974 (there was an Oldsmobile diesel V6 LS2 as well in 1985), but this mill debuted for the 2005 model year. It was created specifically for the sixth-generation Corvette and provided oomph to the sports car until it was replaced by the LS3 for the 2008 model year.

This LS2 also powered the modern Pontiac GTO (the one based on the Holden Monaro) from 2005 to 2006 and it also found its way into the Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS. In stock Corvette spec, the LS2 was rated at a solid 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet (542 Nm) of torque. That’s a massive improvement over a stock 1978 Trans Am, which offered 220 horsepower in range-topping W72 form. Not to mention that the LS2 has a nice burble to it as well.

Engine upgrade aside, this Pontiac is also quite the looker thanks to a blacked-out exterior and a set of 24-inch Forgiato wheels with chrome spokes. And the interior is just as stunning due to an infusion of Chevrolet Camaro parts, including the dashboard and the door panels. And the Camaro dash was transplanted with all the modern tech too, including the infotainment system and the digital instrument cluster.

The Trans Am also boasts Recaro-style bucket front seats customized with Firebird badges and V-shaped stitching on the seating surfaces. And nearly every panel is draped in red leather, which provides a striking contrast against the black exterior.

Needless to say, it’s a fine example of how a Trans Am restomod should look like and it could be the perfect vehicle for a modern sequel to “Smokey and the Bandit.”