It was 2004 when Formula Drift, America’s top-tier slip-angle competition, saw drivers getting sideways like there was no tomorrow. Sliding aside, the competition has been delivering some of the most eccentric builds out there ever since but the variety of machines can still be improved. Case in point with this rendering, which brings along Formula Drift’s first classic Pontiac, a 1978 Firebird Trans Am.
As far as classic muscle cars go, FD has enjoyed beasts like Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s 1969 RTR-X Mustang or Ryan Hampton’s first-gen Camaro from the same year. No Ponchos, though, with the pro drift cars belonging to this now-departed brand sticking to more modern recipes—examples include the mid/late-2000s GTO and Solstice.
And this is where digital artist Sean Demetros (aka Demetr0s Designs) walks onto the stage. One of the industry’s rising stars, the pixel master seems to have a keen eye for what the motorsport world needs, with his recent Toyota GR86 rally car rendering being an example as good as any.
Just like in the real world, the artist has completely overhauled the ’78 Trans Am. So, while the body and the dashboard still tell the factory story, the rest is now up to the Formula D standards, which often see drivers going sideways at triple-digit speeds.
The list of mods includes the wide-angle steering, a composite rear window that leaves room for the oil cooler sitting close, a sturdy roll cage, the whole nine yards.
What swap could this be?
It’s not clear what engine lurks underneath that shaker scoop and we wouldn’t want to jump to conclusions. After all, Formula Drift only seems to get more vicious in terms of engine swaps by the season.
For the recently-debuted 2022 offensive, we’re enjoying beasts such as Chris Forsberg’s R35-powered 2023 Nissan Z (ahead of the car’s street arrival). Then there’s newcomer Darren Kelly’s V12-animated Aston Martin Vantage (keep in mind that the official V12 Vantage is not in production yet).
Steering well clear of the Bandit theme that seems to only grow in popularity, this 70s Trans Am is dressed up like a WWII fighter plane, from the dominating shade of green to the shark teeth on the sides. And with the side exhaust in the proximity of the said visual elements, the resemblance is even stronger.
However, we can’t stop obsessing about a particular element and this isn’t even a custom one: image this thing drifting along with those T-tops!
Besides, the sheer idea of a classic named after a 1960s sports car racing series transitioning into a modern-day form of motorsport simply sounds like it should happen. For this, and many other reasons, we’ll give the rendering an RPM (real-world project in the making) Potential rating of 9/10.