Ted Goneos is a Porsche guy. He’s endemic a cardinal of them over the years, including the 1980 911SC still in his care. However there’s one car in his small, mostly European agile that is a decidedly American icon: his black-and-gold 1978 Pontiac Trans Am. It’s not aloof any Trans Am, either—this is one of the DKM Macho T/As that were amid the few beef cars to cheep through the Malaise Era with their amount achievement appearance intact.
“I was attractive for a car to do One Lap of America at the time,” Goneos says. “One day, I saw Smokey and the Bandit on TV and I absitively to attending at Trans Ams to see if I could acquisition one aural my budget.”
This was in 2003, and the internet auspiciously enabled him to dive into online analysis for a T/A. That’s how he came beyond the adventure of Dennis and Kyle Mecham, who in the backward ’70s had switched apparatus from sales of new Pontiacs to souped-up versions of the once-powerful Trans Ams.
Federal law in those canicule appropriate that the cars be awash as “used,” alike admitting they were in absoluteness adapted new cars. The brothers alleged their smog-defeating beef revivals the DKM (for Dennis and Kyle Mecham) Macho Trans Am. The name may complete asinine now, but at the time, remember, mustaches and chest beard were all the rage.
When the Mecham Brothers began affairs their bigger Trans Ams in 1977, branch beef cars no best arranged the bite they already did in the backward ’60s, afore federally allowable ammunition abridgement standards and apple-pie air regulations affected automakers to amend the way they congenital cars. The brothers bigger the achievement of the branch 400-cubic-inch Pontiac V-8s by bribery with carburetor jetting and agitation timing, abacus headers and bifold bankrupt pipes (along with catalytic converters), installing Doug Nash five-speed chiral transmissions, modifying the awning scoops to be functional, tweaking abeyance systems, and abacus custom action seats. Eventually, the Mechams added a turbo option, too.
“What absorbed me was the Macho story,” Goneos says. “They alley raced the cars and had some success in SCCA racing.”
Unlike beforehand second-generation Trans Ams—most conspicuously the Super Duty cars—the Macho T/As were aural Goneos’ budget. He begin the atramentous and gold one for bargain on a archetypal car website. The car’s buyer at the time had bought it on a whim at a Barrett-Jackson bargain a few months earlier.
“He had been bubbler with a associate and placed a bid on the car,” Goneos said. “I don’t anticipate he knew what to do with it.”
Goneos offered him $1000 beneath than the bargain result, and the guy accepted. The car alike came with the Macho anorak that was accepted affair to anyone who had bought the cars new (in a address of speaking) from the Mechams.
Although the Macho modifications were absorbing in the eyes of backward ’70s buyers, Goneos capital to advancement his car with some avant-garde touches that would accomplish his Trans Am added aggressive adjoin the mélange of benumbed rides that were acceptable to appearance up for One Lap. He enlisted Lawrence Antagonism Engines to body a 461 stroker out of the car’s aboriginal engine, modifying the shaker awning beat to assignment with a high-rise Edelbrock assimilation manifold. Goneos says that dyno testing adumbrated 450 application and 560 lb.-ft. of torque at the crank—significantly added than the Pontiac agent would accept fabricated alike afterwards the aboriginal Mecham mods.
Goneos additionally had the aboriginal 10-bolt rear end swapped out with a 12-bolt Positraction unit, and the car’s Scheel seats were reupholstered with actual from the aggregation that had fabricated the aboriginal bench covers. He additionally replaced the aboriginal auto with period-appropriate 16-inchers, afore installing the better Wilwood brakes that would fit. The aftereffect is a car that pulls hard, handles abundantly for what it is, and looks like article that could vanish aback into 1978 after issue.
“It’s a fun car and it absolutely gets a lot of attention,” Goneos says. “Everyone wants you to do a burnout, but I’ve never done a addict in it.”
He collection the Macho in One Lap for a brace of years, and he occasionally drives it about rural New England. Although it has added in amount over the accomplished brace of decades, the Macho angry out to be beneath of an advance and added of a absolutely fun car with an absorbing history.
“If I had any accuracy aback then, I would accept bought a 911 for the aforementioned money,” Goneos says, acquainted the brief acceleration in Porsche 911 ethics over the accomplished several years. “But this car is atramentous and shiny, with a continued awning and a able engine. It’s aggregate you appetite an American car to be. It’s aloof cool.”
The column This Pontiac Macho Trans Am was (re-)reimagined for avant-garde times appeared aboriginal on Hagerty Media.