Johnny Sandhu's 1980 Trans Am
(In His own Words)
I have a 1980 TransAm that I compete with in autocross/slalom and hillclimb (paved) events in BC Canada, sanctioned by CACC. I don’t drag race, it is so boring going in a strait line! (No offence Dave!)
I have been doing this type of competition for over 10 years and have had a lot of time to develop the suspension. The engine was originally a 301 Turbo that was modified, heads, cam (tried many) and a hybrid T4/T3 turbo. While the 301T was quite a bit faster than stock I still needed a lot more, notably for the hillclimbs where horsepower is “king”.
When I first built my first 455 a couple years ago my head/cam/engine combination really didn’t build the type of horsepower I was hoping for (I paid good money for them too!) and I was plagued by valve train failures that neither my engine builder or I figure out. On my second cam failure, which took most of my bearings with it, I was ready to pack it in! Then a friend of mine luckily introduced me to Dave Bisschop.
Dave spent the time with my close friend, Mike Slusar, who is also my engine builder, to design a head/ cam/engine combination that would meet my needs and me. My particular application requires a very wide power band where the engine combination has to pull out of low RPM slalom corners but also provide great top end power for the long hillclimb straights. The right combination isn’t just about brute horsepower but having a responsive engine to supplement the rest of the car. Dave also provided invaluable help during the engine break in (which was done at Dave’s shop) and diagnosed/fixed all of my problems I was having with my valve train and other many other issues. Most importantly, Dave put this combination together while working within my budget limits, no more craft dinner! Dave is still working with me to further refine my engine combination and other issues such as oil control.
After my new SD Performance’d engine was reinstalled in the TA I came in second in my first event back (after four months of not racing!), Ioco Hillclimb. I went on to the next and last event of the season, the CACC Championship Series Event and I won! I am confident that without Dave’s help and experience in putting together the right combination for my car that I wouldn’t have been so successful, thanks Dave.