Dad and Son Unveil 2,000-HP Firebird Trans Am

Race to the Summit: Pikes Peak

At SEMA 2023, some truly remarkable displays have been unveiled – yet the 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am built by father and son team Russell and Cavan Cameron takes the cake. This vintage American muscle car has been entirely modified to make it the perfect car for those who are searching for top-notch driving performance.

Cameron Sr. has been involved with IndyCar racing for more than 25 years, so it’s no surprise that there’s a strong IndyCar influence in the Trans Am. The car, dubbed ‘Hammerhead’, is said by Cavan to have “IndyCar DNA”. It features a six-speed sequential transmission, IndyCar brakes, shocks, and suspension, giving it the authentic racing feel.

“We just kept going and going with the car,” Cavan recounted, “cutting off what we didn’t want [and] what was rusted away. In the end, we were left with just the roof, so we grafted on some wide-body fenders.”

Pontiac’s response to the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro came in the form of the Firebird Trans Am. This iconic vehicle was a representation of the brand’s design prowess and effort to stand out within the competitive pony-car market.

This is no car to be simply placed in a garage and admired, and the Cameron’s are looking forward to racing their automobile after SEMA 2023. It’s easy to see why from its tubular frame structure, which provides sturdiness without needing additional bulk. What further adds to its firmness is that the transmission is incorporated into the composition of the Hammerhead.

Beneath the bonnet lies an LSR motor, as Cavan describes it, an LS-based racing V8 engine. It has the potential to generate more than 2,000 horsepower, thanks to its twin-turbo set-up. “We have shifted all the weight towards the rear, so the weight distribution is 55% at the back and 45% at the front. It should handle like a Porsche,” he said.

While the Trans Am is an unlikely beginning for constructing an IndyCar, no one can refute that it looks tremendous. From the incorporation of the front spoiler to the cabin and the enormous back wing, you can tell this vehicle was put together by people with expertise in the field. If you like to track the assembly procedure, you should take a glance at Horizon Motorsports on Instagram.

SEMA 2023: Check Out Hammerhead, Horizon Motorsports' 1973 Pontiac Firebird Build

For many years, the parent and child team have been refining their endeavor. Intriguingly, Russell began procuring components in advance of Cavan’s birth, meaning this enterprise has been a long time in the making.

“When we first started out, the budget was around $35,000,” Cavan recalled. “We had a collection of IndyCar parts and wanted to build a fun street car with a steel tube chassis, so I could learn more about fabrication.” But they quickly realized that they had exceeded their initial budget, and eventually got a sponsor in the form of Vibrant.

“Interestingly, the car has not been driven yet, but there are plans to take it racing at Pikes Peak,” said the driver. “We’d love to go racing with it. This car has so much potential and there aren’t many series that can accommodate it. We’re hoping to compete in a variety of global time attacks and hill climbs.”

In the past 12 months, Hoonigan has showcased a very special vehicle – the IndyTruck. This creative design is based on the Honda Ridgeline, and draws inspiration from an IndyCar.

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