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A Ken Block Hoonigan Mechanic Builds His Dream Firebird

by Sam Jemielity

Gregg Hamilton’s day job involves building and tuning cars for Ken Block. What does he do when he has time off from work? He builds and tunes his 1979 Pontiac Trans Am, of course. The transplanted New Zealander always wanted the quintessentially American V8 rear-wheel drive ride, and the Smokey and the Bandit style Trans Am perfectly fit the bill. Hamilton found one on eBay, bought it and flew to Alabama to pick it up, sight unseen.

Using skills honed in a career working on World Rally teams, Hamilton tuned up the engine with a twin-turbo, fuel injected 5.3-liter V8 and a six-speed manual, making the Trans Am “about as quick as a Z06.” He tweaked the handling, body, and interior, while still maintaining the 70s awesomeness of the Firebird. Considering that Hamilton pays the bills fixing up cars for Ken Block’s outrageous hooning, however, Petrolicious‘ video showcases a much mellower kind of automotive enjoyment, as the New Zealander cruises along under beautiful sunsets on long desert roads.

“I’ve put so much work into it, I’m quite proud of it,” says Hamilton. “It’s nice when people say, ‘Wow, that’s cool.'” Well, Gregg, that Firebird definitely is cool.

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