OPTIMA® Faceoff Preview- Brad Reikkoff's 1981 Pontiac Trans Am


If you hopped in a hot tub time machine and it if it dropped you off in the late-1980s, you might've run into a mulleted Brad Reikkoff and his 1981 Pontiac Trans Am, presumably rocking out Def Leppard blasting out of his tape deck. This was Reikkoff's daily driver for his high school years, but upon graduation, his finances tightened up on him and he was forced to sell the TA to his stepdad.

The Trans Am sat for more than a decade, until it was decided the car should run in a local Fourth of July parade. Unfortunately, the Poncho didn't respond well to sitting for several years and rod knock quickly manifested itself. The Pontiac never made the parade, but it did convince Brad's uncle that the engine needed to be replaced. However, the budget for that replacement was very minimal.

Brad was in his first few years of operation at West Bend Dyno Tuning and when his stepfather's budget was exhausted, the rest of the funding was to come from the business. In the corporate world, that scenario is referred to as a "challenge." Resources were tight for a few years, so it took a while to get rolling with the Trans Am. However, as time passed and West Bend Dyno's reputation grew, discounted parts started coming in and the project picked up steam.

The engine is now a supercharged, Wegner-built 416 cubic-inch LS3 producing 1,000 horsepower at 6,300 rpms and 940 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpms. While we let that sink in, we'll say that one of the very cool things about OPTIMA events is the fact that spectators and participants often get an up-close view of some incredible cars that have been featured in a variety of magazines and TV shows. Our events are also a place where spectators and participants can get an early glimpse of some incredible machines that will soon be hitting that same big stage.

The Faceoff marks the debut of Brad's creation, but we suspect it will probably become a fairly well-known car in the automotive aftermarket within the next year. Reikkoff's TA is more than just monster engine, as it has a subframe and four-link from Heidt's, AFCO triple-adjustable shocks, a Ford 9-inch rear end with Moser axles and a Strange center section sporting 3.50 gears.

Brad is trusting Wilwood brakes will bring 1,000 horsepower to a halt and also installed a custom 10-point roll cage for worst-case scenarios. Sparco has supplied the steering wheel, seats and belts and shifting is made possible with a T56 six-speed transmission, mated to a Centerforce clutch. Brad hasn't told us what kind of tires he will be running, but we do know they will be mounted on Formula 43 wheels.

Don't miss your chance to see some of the most-famous street cars in the country and those like Brad's that are about to hit the big time. Buy your tickets to the 2013 OPTIMA Faceoff at Road America today! Advance ticket pricing ends June 12th!!!