Friday, April 9, 2010

Phoenix Kit Transforms 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Into Trans Am That Never Was

Chevrolet Camaro was welcomed with open arms by the bowtie muscle car community as a welcome replacement for the pony car which had seen its production cease in 2002, there were a sizeable number of GM fans who felt left out by all of the publicity and fanfare. With the dissolution of Pontiac as a brand, there would be no Trans Am built on the Camaro’s platform, and the idea that the fabled muscle car icon would never again tread America’s highways was a huge disappointment to loyal Pontiac buyers.

Some Trans Am fans decided to actually do something about this perceived injustice instead of just hanging around on internet message boards and lamenting their fate. Stepping in was Trans Am Depot, a fierce devotee of the “screaming chicken” that has an excellent reputation in the automotive business restoring second generation Trans Ams. Distraught at the idea that the beloved vehicle had been left out of the muscle car resurgence currently gripping American automakers, the company decided to put together a kit that would transform any 2010 Camaro into what it felt a Trans Am would have looked like, had it actually been built.

Dubbed the “Phoenix T/A,” the conversion kit was designed by Kevin Morgan and was the result of several years of development. Aesthetically, it draws inspiration from the same late-70’s Trans Ams that Burt Reynolds made famous in the “Smokey and the Bandit” films. The kit includes snowflake wheels reminiscent of those sold on Trans Ams of the 1970’s, a new hood with a shaker scoop, fender slits, a new rear clip and an entirely new front end that resembles the split grille of early Pontiac muscle cars. A sticker package designed to emulate Trans Am graphics and a rear spoiler round out the exterior look. Inside, the car features aluminum accents, Trans Am badging and embroidered seats. Currently, the only performance enhancing aspect of the kit is a suspension upgrade that lowers the car up to 1.5 inches and also beefs up its sway bars, although Trans Am Depot has promised to eventually include optional go-fast parts.

The company has yet to release a price for the kit, but it will be showing a completed conversion vehicle at the upcoming 2009 Trans Am Nationals. The Phoenix will be sold as an installed kit only, meaning that customers would have to bring their vehicles to Trans Am Depot or a licensed installer in order to benefit from the pseudo-Pontiac treatment. In terms of official participation, little has been emitted by General Motors concerning the entire venture, which could either bode well for the Phoenix project or hang over its head like an ominous cloud in the shape of an intellectual property lawsuit. One thing is certain: for fans of the Trans Am, there is no better option on the market than the Phoenix conversion, and anyone who opts for the full treatment for their Camaro will own one of the most unique vehicles that GM never produced.

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