Pontiac Firebird “Smokey and the Bandit”: A Drag Racing Icon

Pontiac Firebird "Smokey and the Bandit": A Drag Racing Icon

Are you a fan of “Smokey and the Bandit”? If so, you’re in for a treat because George has transformed his Trans Am Firebird into a drag car with big tires. In this article, we’ll delve into the modifications George has made to his car and why they’ve made it such a force to be reckoned with.


George’s Trans Am Firebird is not your average street car; it’s a fully-fledged drag car that has been transformed from a regular street car into a beast on the drag strip. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the modifications George has made to his car to turn it into the powerhouse it is today.

George’s car started its life as a 1977 Trans Am Firebird, which he transformed into a drag car. He added a lot of modifications to the car to get it to the level it’s at today, both in terms of power and aesthetics.

The Engine

Under the hood of George’s Trans Am Firebird is a 383 small block Chevy engine. While many purists might frown upon this choice of engine, George believes that it’s better than the LS1. This engine is fully built and is pushing out around 450 horsepower.

The Nitrous System

To give his car that extra boost, George added a nitrous system. This system is responsible for adding two shots of nitrous into the intake manifold. At launch, George uses an 80-shot, and midway down the track, he uses a secret shot.

The Suspension and Brakes

To harness the impressive power output of his car, George understood the importance of upgrading the suspension system. He made several enhancements to ensure that his car could effectively handle the increased performance. Among the upgrades were the installation of CPP (Classic Performance Products) upper and lower control arms. These components provide improved stability, precise handling, and enhanced overall suspension performance.

In addition to the control arms, George added Hotchkis sway bars, springs, and leaf springs to further optimize the car’s suspension. The Hotchkis sway bars reduce body roll during cornering, improving stability and allowing for more confident and controlled maneuvering. The Hotchkis springs, on the other hand, contribute to the car’s ride comfort and responsiveness by providing the appropriate balance between firmness and compliance. Furthermore, the Hotchkis leaf springs enhance the car’s rear suspension, ensuring better traction and control during acceleration and cornering.

Recognizing the significance of reliable stopping power, George also upgraded the brakes with CPP’s C5 conversion. This conversion kit incorporates high-quality components designed to enhance the car’s braking performance. With improved brake calipers, rotors, and pads, George’s car benefits from increased stopping power and improved heat dissipation, resulting in consistent and reliable braking under demanding conditions.

By upgrading the suspension system and brakes, George has taken necessary measures to ensure that his car can effectively handle the increased power it generates. The combination of CPP control arms, Hotchkis sway bars and springs, and CPP’s C5 brake conversion provides a well-balanced and capable suspension setup. These enhancements not only improve the car’s overall handling and performance but also contribute to a more enjoyable and confident driving experience.

The Exhaust System

George is running Headman headers with a one and three-quarter inch full three-inch exhaust. The exhaust is made by Pipes and has been modified with Dynomax Ultra-Flow mufflers.

The Custom Splitters

George’s car showcases his craftsmanship and attention to detail through the custom splitters he personally constructed. Utilizing a large piece of ABS plastic, he skillfully shaped the splitters to fit his car’s design and aerodynamic needs. Using a grinder he purchased from Harbor Freight, George meticulously sculpted the splitters, resulting in a visually appealing and functional addition to his car’s exterior.

The custom splitters not only add a distinctive aesthetic touch to George’s car but also serve a practical purpose. By effectively managing airflow and redirecting it underneath the car, the splitters contribute to improved aerodynamics. This aids in reducing lift and increasing stability, particularly at higher speeds. George’s expertise in crafting these splitters highlights his dedication to enhancing both the performance and appearance of his car.

George’s resourcefulness in using readily available tools and materials showcases his passion for car modification and his ability to create custom components that align with his vision. The custom splitters exemplify his commitment to personalization and performance, ensuring that his car stands out from the crowd while delivering enhanced aerodynamics on the road or track.

The Wheels and Tires

The wheels and tires on George’s car are also impressive. He’s running 15-inch wheels with big tires that provide plenty of grip on the drag strip.

The Interior

In addition to the impressive exterior modifications, George has also focused on enhancing the interior of his car. Recognizing the importance of safety, he has installed a roll cage to provide an additional layer of protection during races. The roll cage serves as a sturdy and rigid framework that reinforces the car’s structure, minimizing the risk of injury in the event of an accident or collision. With the roll cage in place, George can confidently push his car to its limits on the racetrack, knowing that his safety is prioritized.

The installation of a roll cage not only enhances safety but also contributes to the overall rigidity and stability of the car. By reinforcing the chassis, the roll cage helps to reduce flex and torsion, improving the car’s handling and responsiveness. This ensures that George has precise control over his vehicle, allowing him to navigate challenging turns and corners with confidence. The roll cage serves as a vital safety feature while also enhancing the performance and structural integrity of the car.

George’s attention to detail and commitment to safety is evident in the addition of the roll cage to the interior of his car. By prioritizing safety and stability, he has taken the necessary measures to ensure a secure and controlled racing experience. With the roll cage in place, George can unleash the full potential of his car on the track, knowing that he is protected by a robust safety system that enhances both his confidence and performance.


In conclusion, George’s Pontiac Trans Am Firebird turned drag car with big tires is a testament to the versatility and potential of classic American muscle cars. Despite the modifications made, it still retains the iconic look and feel of the “Smokey and the Bandit” car that inspired it. From the 383 small block Chevy engine to the CPP control arms and Hotchkiss suspension upgrades, every aspect of this car has been carefully considered and crafted for both track and street use. George’s passion for building and modifying cars is evident in every detail of this build, and it serves as an inspiration to other gearheads and car enthusiasts looking to turn their own dream builds into reality. The Pontiac Trans Am Firebird turned drag car is a true embodiment of the American car culture, and it will continue to turn heads and inspire others for years to come.

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