It Was One of Those Days - Pt XXIV

Raven

Here - watch THIS!
Just as I was about to go upstairs and get a shower, I saw Jim’s truck pull into our drive. I went outside to see what all he had from the TTA while Kelly went on up.

“Hey, Steve. At least the rain’s stopped!”

“Yeah – and I’m glad too. Kel and I are going out for dinner tonight and we’re going to get brave and get out the ‘old car’…” I grinned as I said that, waiting to see if it clicked in Jim’s mind.

“You ARE?”

It had definitely clicked.

“Man! I wish I had time to stick around and check it out or see it run but I’ve got other commitments. Anyways – here’s the stuff from Teak’s garage. I had to bring the truck because I couldn’t get it all in my cruiser’s trunk… check this out…”

We walked around to the back of his big Ford F-350 4x4 and he dropped the tailgate. Tucked in the bed of the truck was an enormous assortment of wax coated, water-resistant boxes. But the boxes were also sealed in large, clear heavy mil plastic bags and tied shut with heavy duty reusable Zip strips. Even the rear axle assembly was wrapped up tight in clear plastic – Teak might be a drug dealer but the guy knows how to protect parts.

We carried the boxes into the far bay of the garage, stacking them in neat piles for easy access. I thanked Jim – after he stole a glance at the old car – and began to unzip the ties to see what all was there. In no time, I was amazed….

Everything that came off the car in its stock form was there – even gaskets. The turbo, turbo shield, intake, doghouse, up and down pipes, drive shaft, U-joints, shocks, intercooler (the TTA used the GNX intercooler, not the standard LC2 unit), suspension pieces including bushings, injectors, fuel pump, fuel filter, cam and lifters (!), the original black-face gauges, air intake assembly, MAF, oil filter, heads (the TTA had different heads than the LC2 that came in the Turbo Buicks – they were modified in the combustion chamber and exhaust ports), exhaust Downpipe, catalytic converter, torque converter, the stainless 3-into-1 headers, – well, you get the idea. EVERY stock piece that came on the car when it was assembled in the Van Nuys, California assembly plant back in the ’89 model year was in the sealed and waterproofed boxes. It might take a little time and effort but this sick TTA could easily be put back to stock. Stock? What is ‘stock’ you ask?

Let me explain a bit… 1989 TTA’s began life as any other 1989 model year Firebird being built in Van Nuys (as you know, the fourth-gen F-bodies were Canadian built). White Firebirds that were originally destined to be GTA’s were picked randomly and instead of getting the GTA-spec 350ci V8 and 700-R4 tranny, they got the killer LC2 V6/200-4R combo with the aforementioned mods. And while the TTA was rated at 250 hp and 340 lb/ft of torque which, like the Turbo Buicks, was severely underrated. Easily capable of low 13’s, these cars could handle as well as they ran straight lines. And the cars stopped as well as they ran – GM pulled the 1LE racing Trans Am’s brakes from the parts bin and installed the 12 inch front rotors and 11.7’s went on the rear. The Corvette’s aluminum dual-piston front calipers and single-piston rear calipers went on to haul the killer Bird to a stop.

Here is what the stock motor of a TTA looks like (all photos courtesy of GMHTP magazine):
0512gm_tta_02_z.jpg
The LC2’s were assembled by Performance Automotive Systems in Industry, California and were tweaked some versus the TR’s engines. The heads were slightly different (due to having to clear the F-body’s shock towers) and the TTA engines even had different pistons due to the different heads in order to keep the 8.0:1 compression ratio. Also, the crank was cross-drilled for better lubrication; a feature that the LC2’s in the TR’s did not have.

Here’s an exterior shot of a similar TTA but the one in the garage does not have the Pace Car decals. It’s a gorgeous car…
0512gm_tta_01_z.jpg


Here is what the interior of the car looks like but this one does not have the leather seats. Many people have given the F-bodies a lot of flak about the interior quality but as you can see, for a car built in the late ‘80’s, it was a very nice place to do business from!
0512gm_tta_03_z.jpg


Here is what the tires/wheels look like on the stock vehicle… equally gorgeous!
0512gm_tta_04_z.jpg



As I sat there inventorying and admiring the parts, awash in technological flashback, Kel came out to remind me that we needed to get moving if we were going to meet Brandon and Stacy at the new Tumbleweed Grille that had just opened the week before. I was torn a little – part of me wanted to keep looking at and touching/admiring the stock pieces (man, the headers were works of art!), part of me wanted to hypothesize as to what went into the car (the records for the work had yet to turn up), and part of me wanted to get the TTA and let it loose just to see how it compared to my GN. Oh yeah – and part of me was starving for a good steak so in the end, that was the part that won out.

I headed inside to get the shower I intended to grab almost an hour earlier… my stomach won out over my head.

*********_________**********

As we pulled the garage door shut behind us and walked out into the garage and through the walk through doors, we approached the door into the bay where it had been sitting ever since we had brought it home from Dollar-Bill’s farm. Sure – it had been out of the garage several times; sometimes for a joy ride, sometimes for test&tune clandestine runs in the dark of night, sometimes, just to go prowling about the blacktop jungle to see if anyone knew what the car was. In the state it was in and due to the rarity of the car, we had yet to have anyone come alongside or even pull up at the gas station and ask us about it. I guess for most people, it just looked like any other old 1970 Buick, albeit a shinier one than most you might see. Few noticed the scoop on the hood, few noticed the big spoiler on the rear trunk, and even fewer paid any attention to the golden stripe on the heavily muscled flanks of the beast… oddly, the car almost seemed invisible…

But I also remembered that most predators are like that. You never really ‘see’ them – until it is too late. Same with the Turbo Buicks – most people will look right at them and then right past them, not ‘seeing’ their killer disposition until the only thing. While the standard GSX colors of 1970 were Apollo White or Saturn Yellow, the car in the far end of the garage was black… solid black save for the gold trim stripes. 1971 would offer black as an option for the GSX but officially the 1970 never came in black. Then again, the 1970 models never came like the car we were about to open the door to either…

Kelly and I were always silent when we turned on the lights in Bay 3. I don’t know… maybe we did so out of respect for the rarity of the animal that waited there in the dark. Maybe, it was out of awe, as if we had stumbled back into the Jurassic period and had stepped into a clearing that harbored a killer Tyrannosaurus Rex with blood still dripping from its enormous teeth and mouth, fearing it would devour us next…

It’s just so hard to describe how seeing this car makes you feel… you feel like it’s 1970 all over again, not nearly four decades later. You can hear Led Zeppelin on the radio being played from Wolfman Jack’s turntables high in the sky from his syndicated radio show on a late Friday night… you can see the bell-bottom jeans that the college students were wearing… you can smell the dank odor of Mary Jane at the party you just walked into, knowing that some ‘rebel’ group of potheads were at it again, flipping the bird to society… you can just hear the chants of the anti-war crowd, “Hell, NO – we won’t go!”… you can just see the Huey choppers swinging low over the rice paddies, their .50 caliber guns blazing into the adjoining jungles trying to rid the area of ‘Charlie’… 1970… a time unlike any other in American history… this 1970 Buick Gran Sport GSX, a car unlike any other…

It was a malcontent; a dangerous, unruly, serial killer that was one of one… its only purpose in life was to kill all who might oppose it and who did not get out of its way… it didn’t offer any excuses for its attitude nor did it care if that bothered you… it just did what it had to do when it had to do it and it did it better than any other car that had a GM marking upon it, including the fabled LS6 Chevelle.

The LS6 SS454 Chevelle is no slouch. But if you were to ask the Chevelle how it would feel sharing a garage bay the this dark-souled GSX, it would answer “No” while avoiding making ‘eye-contact’ with the Buick; it knew who was king of the jungle….

Kelly and I stepped into the bay and stood there for a moment, admiring the lure and call of the A-body before us. We knew in our minds that this was simply an assembling of multiple parts made of steel, iron, glass, aluminum, fiberglass, rubber, cloth, plastic, and such, all bolted, screwed, welded, fitted, pressed, tucked, glued, and bonded together by men; men who took enormous pride in what they did and the things they were lucky enough to be part of creating. And like Dollar-Bill, Wendell, and the rest of his team took that pride to a new level – they dared to buck GM’s order to destroy this very prototype because they KNEW it would never be replicated again, at least not from within the walls of a GM building.

So, they saved it and Dollar-Bill was the lucky one to remove the car from the factory under the cover of darkness… darkness… the environment that the GSX was most comfortable in; like the deadly black panther that is invisible in the night, so is this GSX… but unlike the panther, this animal is not without sound.

It is loud. It is rude and unapologetic. It rumbles menacingly and it roars at the slightest provocation. And it will not dare to even consider that there may be an equal upon the face of this earth…

I opened the passenger’s side door for Kelly and she sat down on the big seats, bucked in and placed her purse on the floor in front of the seat, as one might do to secure their valuables before lift-off. I closed her door as she smiled up at me and walked around to my side… the lights overhead reflected deeply from the hood and fenders, almost appearing as if they were deep within the metal somewhere and that the actual reflections were up on the ceilings above me…

Pushing in on the door release button and pulling outward on the pull-handle opened the driver’s door. I sat down on the cool black vinyl seat and slid the key into the ignition. In a blink, I was back in Dollar-Bill’s dusty, hot barn the first time I started this car… I could see the haze of dust in the air, feel the sweat on my brow and trickling down my spine, smell the old/new car smells of plastic, glass and vinyl… the stabbing beams of light that were filtering through openings high above the barn’s floor and bringing some awareness of the enormous size of the hood before me…

Kelly sat quietly, as one might sit in reverence… waiting to be part of a moment that very, very few can ever hope to experience; a moment when history comes to life…

I pressed the garage door opener and watched the door rise, the light of day dwindling now as the evening was setting in…

It was time…

I pulled the door shut, paused for a second, pumped the accelerator pedal a few times and then rotated the key forward smoothly and quickly. As the key passed the ‘Run’ segment, I saw the gauges dance to life as demons may do when the King Demon comes into their midst… and then – the circuit was closed…

Electrical current flowed now from the battery through the wiring, relays and fuses, through the ignition switch, through and to the starter… the starter engaged and began to spin the massive flywheel as enormous amperage was being drawn from the big trunk-mounted battery…

Slowly and forcefully, the crank began to spin… bearing journals gave way as the crank bearings allowed movement… piston rods moved up or down, depending upon their point of the firing order… the hugely lobed cam rotated, opening valves as the gaping maw of the air filters sucked in fresh air… fresh, cooled and filtered air that was now mixed with high-octane fuel by the massive carbs atop the intake, to be compressed at the precise point the piston that was timed to fire reached its maximum compression point and at which a high-energy firing charge was sent down the appropriate spark plug wire to be energized with the heat of the sun itself in order to explode the charge of compressed air/fuel in the combustion chamber…

And when that first explosion occurs, it is as if the devil himself roared… immediately followed by hundreds of explosions all in synchronized order to develop torque and horsepower of unfathomable numbers to most corporate auto execs back in 1970…

I released the key to spring back to its ‘Run’ position… the car rumbled and bellowed… out on the street, a car slowed as it passed the house, most likely its driver thinking that our house was being devoured by a volcano of molten lava and sulfur…

Neither of us spoke… nothing could be said as we listened to Frankenstein come back from the dead… I watched the gauges for a few moments, ensuring that good oil pressure existed - *Check* -, that the fuel pressure was where it needed to be - *Check* -, that the idle speed was right - *Check* -, and that the car was stable. Well, as stable as a socially unacceptable being such as this car might be…

I pulled the light switch out to illuminate the parking lamps. I felt eerily comfortable with the glow of the instruments and I always enjoy seeing the reflecting red light on the back of the garage from the wide tail lights… it always reminds me of the reddish glow in the sky that one might see when approaching a burning town from the distance…
“Ready?”

She just nodded her head and leaned back a little more comfortably…

I revved the engine just a bit to get the idle to fall back from the Fast-Idle position of the carbs… the revs fell back to around 1100 rpm…

I grabbed the big meaty shifter handle and pulled the release latch upward that was located on the bottom side of the horizontal strap, the same shifter being in use in other GM A-bodies such as the Chevelle SS. The linkage felt stiff as always, as if to try and resist (and failing) the attempt to thrust all the torque from the massive V8 upon the drive-train… as the shifter passed from “P” through the ‘dead’ area of the shift linkage and then over the “R”, I felt the car shudder as the power was briefly passed through the tranny’s reverse gears but then released again as “N” was moved over…

And then – there was “D”….

As the shifter settled over the “D”, the car LURCHED as if ready to lunge angrily from the bay and the RPM’s dropped to ~850, but the idle was rough and unruly. Only by forcefully applying the footbrake could I restrain the powerful muscles beneath the hood… and I DO mean forcefully…

The car’s entire stance changes when the transmission is placed in gear. Several hundred lb/ft of torque is not easily constrained… and even with the massive high-stall speed converter, this car will not allow its driver a moment of distraction. To do so is to become a passenger sitting in the driver’s seat because make no mistake – this car will NOT yield its will easily.

I let just the briefest of pressure release from the brake pedal and we were surging out of the garage. The high-lift, long duration cam was loping us out in intermittent surges as power pulsed angrily through the drive line… as the rear end cleared the garage door, I reached up and clicked the door opener to close the garage door.

We were now at the bottom of the drive, the car idling roughly… waiting to for a passing car to go by, I snicked the tranny up into “N”… immediately, the demeanor of the car changed. The RPM’s jumped back up to nearly 1300 and the motor almost seemed to smooth out a bit… to the passersby, the noise might have sounded like I was trying to blow the motor up. But there were still several thousand RPM’s to go before the motor was happily smooth… the people in the Camry that drove by just didn’t know it…

I could feel the soul of Frankenstein stare down the passing Toyota… I knew the Camry did not dare even look our way, it knew it could be dead in less than the flash of a dimmer switch…

“Let’s go, Steve… let’s go for a ride…”

I looked over and the joyful anticipation one has when he or she might be sitting atop that Tyrannosaurus, waiting to be loosed from the chains that had it bound for the briefest of moments was on Kelly’s face. As I released the brake completely and we rolled out into the evening, I saw her smile. She looked delightfully frightened, knowing that she was terrified of the car’s power but grateful as I was to be sitting in its seats…

Few people can appreciate powerful beings that have the ability if not controlled to bring about your own imminent demise.

The GSX we were buckled into and heading into town with is such a being. It is a hybrid, a monster of collected parts, an assortment of war materials, and a being that is always looking for the chance to assert its rightful place at the top of the food chain…

Such is Frankenstein… and the town’s lights glistened and twinkled before us. Kelly, Frankenstein and I were all hungry. Dollar-Bill had named this car Christine - but it just did not feel right. This car was not a woman. It was not a lady.

Hell - it wasn't even a serial killer. Serial killers would run away crying from this monster...

No - THIS car has a new name, one that Kel and I agreed was appropriate.

Its name is also on its plate - FRKNST9

So into to the peaceful village we went, looking for something to eat; something to take the edge off our hunger.

But what I didn’t even know was this - that Frankenstein was the hungriest one of all…

To be continued…
 

Roc87

11 Second V6
No compliments I could write would even come close to how great this story is:D . I'll just say once again, great job and can't wait for the next chapter;)
 

Raven

Here - watch THIS!
Thanks again for all the support and enthusiasm!

I hope to get another chapter or two down in print this weekend but it may not be until the first of the week.

Wait until you read what happens in town with the GSX... :cool:
 

Blownbyyou

New Member
Thanks again for all the support and enthusiasm!

I hope to get another chapter or two down in print this weekend but it may not be until the first of the week.

Wait until you read what happens in town with the GSX... :cool:

Do I have a choice on the waiting, I would prefer not too if at possible.:D Thanks for taking the time to write the stories, they are excellent.
 

rb68rr

Active Member
Man! That may be the all time greatest description of a vehicle that I've ever read!!!! Keep it going Raven. Thanks, R.B.
 

jhanson1750

just a 10th quicker
I would like to thank you Raven for sharing your writing talent with us mere "mortals":D .. I would like to print the whole story once complete if you don't mind. I don't have the vocabulary to ever claim to have written such a masterpiece, so no worries of plageurism(?):biggrin: Thank you for your time and look foward to the next installment... Jon Hanson
 

zeus87gn

Automotive Neurosurgeon
Thanks Raven, I was wondering how to get that on a plate..."Its name is also on its plate - FRKNST9".

My Jeep has had that name ever since I got it in 99. But for different reasons. It is put together with parts from here, parts from there, etc. Not to mention I had to stitch the top back together with SS bailing wire for winter driving!! The name seemed to fit. :cool: I wish I had a picture of that.

I love the story. My wife and I have similiar feelings when we take Zeus out for the evening. Can't wait for the next chapter.

I definitely see a movie in the making.
 

Raven

Here - watch THIS!
I'm going nuts here wondering what's going to happen with the GSX

I need a fix

It's coming... I've just been covered up again with work and home stuff and no chance to spend time at the computer to write. Hopefully, this weekend will be a little easier. :cool:
 

1NSTYC5

New Member
Raven must have been taught the art or torture cause he sure is good at it, makin us wait anxiously like this.
 
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