Timothy Ball from Payton, Colorado may have taken the old saying about hot rodding to a whole new level with his 1979 Pontiac Trans Am that he affectionately calls the “Fireturd.” All jokes aside, this is one really mean Pontiac build, built by a shade-tree mechanic, all from commonly sourced junkyard parts and it did nothing less than turn heads at one of the biggest LS gatherings of the year.
Starting with a mostly red 1979 Pontiac Firebird that has seen better days, Ball sourced an LS engine for the old bird and fitted it in the engine bay. He then proceeded to fit that engine with a pair of compound turbos. This is where the Ball really shows his ingenuity. Compound turbos are fairly common on diesel engines but not so much on gas-powered cars and there is a very good reason for that. See, what happens when you compound turbos is that one spools faster than the other which in turn helps the other to spool faster.
The result here is more boost that starts at a lower RPM and continues through the higher RPM range. As for the reason that compound turbos are not used on gas engines very often is because the higher boost is just too much for most stock bottom ends to handle. Although there is another benefit to this type of turbo setup that is hiding in the concept – stability. That was Ball’s goal. Low boost that started early and gradually compounded, all the while maintaining a consistently low intake temperature from a simple air-to-air intercooler.
Ball picked the Holley TerminatorX ECU to control his setup and to tune out all the kinks. While he is all about using his skills to do all the work he can with minimal investment, he does accredit Holley for making products that allow him to focus on other parts of his build. LS Fest West was clearly a success and we can’t wait to see more from Mr. Ball and his “Fireturd.”
Elizabeth is hardcore horsepower enthusiast with unmatched intensity for making things faster and louder. She wakes up for power and performance and only sleeps to charge up for the next project that’s heading to the track. From autocross to drag racing, Elizabeth is there with you, so stay tuned for her unique perspective on horsepower news, builds, tech info, and installs — with her, it’ll never be boring!