Before you go dismissing this ’78 model as yet another Pontiac smog mobile, you had better think again. Nope, Telly Violetto’s legit Solar Gold SE, better known as a Y88 to the Pontiac faithful, packs a much more serious punch from under its hood then both of those two 6.6L engines did combined!
The history of Telly’s car begins with him picking it up as a 16 year old, and although the ‘Bird remained pretty much stock most of its life, it wasn’t until last year when he participated in the Faceoff at Road America that the Trans Am was transformed into what you see it as today; a road carving, show-quality, pro-touring machine with massive Baer stoppers and virtually no creature comforts.
Every power and convenience option was removed if it didn’t help improve the T/A’s performance around the corners, and by now I’m sure we have you wondering what lies beneath that screamin’ Shaker hood.
This isn’t your average, swapped-in LS1 or LS2 from a late model GTO. Nope, what you’re looking at ladies and gentlemen is the Corvette-derived, purpose-built LS3 stroked out to a healthy 416cui producing over 650hp.
Mr. Violetto stuffed it with the best parts he could find, and backing this ‘plant is a Jerico 4-speed, a Spraker Racing 9-ince rear with a Detroit Locker, housing Moser 21-spline axles, and 3.90 gears.
Obviously, the main purpose of a pro-touring car is the ability to handle, so all of the factory WS6 pieces were tossed in favor of a Jake’s Rod Shop Apex C6 subframe, front control arms, spindles, and rear torque arm. Bilstein shocks and Hyperco coil springs sit at all four corners, a Speedway Engineering sway bar rides in the front, and DSE mini-tubs were used for the rear.
Pulling double duty in keeping the car planted, and adding retro visual appeal with a modern twist is a set of gold-trimmed, 18-inch Forgeline WC3 rollers measuring ten inches in the front and twelve out back. These are slightly more significant than the original 15×8’s, no? A fiberglass hood and a pair of carbon fiber front fenders were all installed to help balance the weight distribution.
Wrapping up the visual appeal is the factory correct paint but with all of the standard issue pin-striping removed, in its place is a simple carbon fiber hood bird and a subtle set of “T/A 6.8” decals adorning the Shaker scoop.
A total of 8,676 RPO code Y88 Special Edition Trans Ams were built, and they were only available in ’78. They were essentially an inverse version of the ever so popular black and gold cars, but the pin striping and decals were actually a dark gold/brown color. According to Telly, his is a 1-of-1300 original 4-speed version.
The sad irony of all of this is that Telly has recently put the car up for sell after everything the two have been through together, in an effort to move to different area. Eighty-thousand dollars is Telly’s asking price. If you’re interested in learning more, or actually acquiring the car from Telly, head over to protouring.com to find out more!