Twin-Turbo 461 cid Pontiac Engine - Engine Builder Magazine

Twin-Turbo 461 cid Pontiac Engine

If you’ve ever seen a properly built “Bandit-style” Trans Am, it’s likely one of your favorite cars. Our whole crew was jealous of Nick Weigand at this year’s Sick Week, as Nick showed up in Florida with a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am that was just built beautifully, and featured a twin-turbo 461 cubic inch Pontiac engine under the wing-adorned hood.

Engine of the Week is presented by

I don’t care who you are or how old you are, if you’ve ever seen a properly built “Bandit-style” Trans Am, it’s likely one of your favorite cars out there. Our whole crew was jealous of Nick Wiegand at this year’s Sick Week drag-and-drive competition, as Nick showed up in Florida with a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am that was just built beautifully, and featured a twin-turbo 461 cubic inch Pontiac engine under the wing-adorned hood.

We got some time to speak with Nick during day two of Sick Week at Bradenton Motorsports Park – that was after we got done drooling over the car. “I get that a lot,” Wiegand admits. “The car belonged to a friend of ours. We had it at our house to paint it and put a motor in it for over 10 years. Unfortunately, our friend passed away and we were able to take over ownership of the vehicle. I’ve had a childhood dream of building a Bandit Trans Am, so we had the opportunity and took it.”

That build took Weigand and his dad about two years to finish. They were trying to make it to Drag Week 2020, but when the event got canceled, they were able to calm down and focus on readying the car for Drag Week ‘21.

“That was its first debut, but it wasn’t in the black and gold trim,” Wiegand says. “It was just primer black, and it only made it to the second day. Last year, we didn’t do anything with it, but this year, we decided to take it to Sick Week.”

Nick was competing in the Pro DYO (Dial Your Own) class. As such, Nick had to get as close to his first-day pass as possible in an effort to have the smallest average spread for the week. His day-one pass at Orlando Speedworld was an 8.610.

The Trans Am’s engine and transmission setup was pretty much the same today as it was a couple years ago, according to Nick, but in that time the paint and bodywork has been completed.

“We did everything ourselves,” he says. “My dad did the body and paint. I did all the stickers and the fabrication from front to back. We built the motor. We built the trans. We built the rear end. Everything from front to back we did.”

Wiegand also stayed true to the Trans Am by putting a Pontiac engine under the hood. “The engine is a stock Pontiac 400 block and we added a Crower billet crank that is older than dirt,” he says. “The crank has been in many bracket cars and it’s working strong in this engine now. We got some Edelbrock heads that are CNC ported from a guy up in Canada. Nothing else in the engine is really that special. I built the intake for it, and it has a couple of BS Racing 78mm billet turbos.”

According to Nick, he was running about 22-lbs. of boost during Sick Week, but he’s had it as high as 26-lbs. Nick said he didn’t really want to go much further than that on the stock block in an effort to keep it alive.

While Nick has done a Drag Week event in the past, it was his first time at Sick Week, so his expectations were to just finish the event.

“I just want to make it through,” he admits. “My first event with this car, which was the only one, I only made it to day two before I had a lifter failure. I really just want to finish the week on a good note. That’s the only expectation I have.

“For my class, I need to average the number that I ran on day one, which was an 8.61. I just ran an 8.60 with a 3. I need to run a little bit slower than .61 to average it out to be a little better by the end of the week. So far, we’re on track and we’ll keep going with it like that.”

On the street, the car performs great, according to Nick. It’s got a 4L80E transmission in it with lock up and overdrive, which lets him cruise down the highway. As for horsepower out on the track, Nick hasn’t had the Pontiac on a dyno, but doing some calculations, he says the twin-turbo 461 cid engine should be making in the neighborhood of 1,150 horsepower.

“It’s not a lot, but it’s enough,” Wiegand says. “It’s not a light car either.”

Over the course of five days at Sick Week, Nick ran an 8.610 at 158mph at Orlando, an 8.603 at 159 mph at Bradenton, an 8.569 at 160 mph at SGMP, an 8.570 at 159 mph at Gainesville, and an 8.562 at 160 mph in Orlando for an average of 8.582 at 159 mph. Those times gave Nick a spread of .048, which was good enough for third place in the Pro DYO class.

Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade1Elring – Das Original and NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].

You May Also Like

Turbocharged 388 cid LS Engine

When you look at a Volvo wagon, all sorts of things come to mind, but running quarter-mile passes of any speed usually isn’t one of them. However, Mikael Borggren’s 1987 Volvo with a turbocharged 388 cid LS engine capable of 6-second passes is definitely a sight to see! Read up about all the engine details!

We first got a glance at Mikael Borggren’s LS-swapped Volvo wagon at the inaugural Sick Week in 2022, and we instantly fell in love with it. The unassuming, “soccer mom” vibes of the Volvo paired with the performance of a turbocharged LS engine made for a surprising result on the track – 6-second quarter-mile passes at 200+ mph!

118mm Turbocharged 540 cid Big Block Chevy Engine

These days, a 200+ mph pass at a drag-and-drive event like Sick Week, is commonplace. However, it’s not every race you watch a competitor’s doors literally get blown off. Stefan Gustafsson did just that while running a PR of 6.43 at 218 mph thanks to his C4 Corvette and its turbocharged 540 cid big block Chevy engine. See what’s in this 2,100+ horsepower engine!

Twin-Turbo 400 cid LS Next Engine

Achieving five consecutive days of mid-6-second passes and 1,000 miles driven on the street earned Michael Westberg the 2023 Sick Week overall win. His Chevy S10 features a 400 cubic inch twin-turbo LS Next engine. See what’s in this engine build done by ACE Racing Engines!

Turbocharged 388 cid LS-Swapped 1973 Toyota Celica

Proof that cars from the ’70s were awesome is Steve Groenink’s 1973 Toyota Celica. Saved from a farmer’s field, this Celica features a turbocharged 388 cid LS engine capable of 6-second passes. Check it out!

Twin-Turbo 429 cid Ford Boss Engine

Earl Schexnayder of Schexnayder Racing is a Ford guy through and through. As such, he has been entering drag-and-drive events with his 2000 Cobra Mustang and a twin-turbo 429 Ford Boss engine since 2011. Check out what makes this Ford combo a sweet one!

Other Posts

Diamond -2K Series Pistons for 6.2L and 6.4L Hemi Engines

These Hemi pistons are made from 2618 material for high horsepower, boosted applications and are rated for 2,000 HP.

Scott Mueller’s Supercharged 406 cid Small Block Chevy Engine

Scott Mueller is no drag-and-drive rookie. He’s been drag racing and daily driving his 1934 hot rod for a number of years. Helping him compete is a supercharged 406 cubic inch small block Chevy and we got the details during Sick Week 2023 at Gainesville Raceway. It’s our Engine of the Week. Related Articles –

Twin-Charged 3.0L EcoDiesel Engine

The 3.0L EcoDiesel is known for its incredible fuel economy and low-end torque, not necessarily for its high-horsepower capabilities. But that won’t stop some from building a formidable Pike’s Peak race engine with both turbocharging and supercharging. Check it out!

Jason Sack’s Turbocharged 429 cid LSX Engine

Jason Sack had arguably one of the nicest Novas we saw during Sick Week 2023. The car’s beauty had some sort of gravitational pull as we walked passed it in the pits. Naturally, we gave in and stopped to have a chat with Jason Sack about his 1969 Nova and its turbocharged 429 cid LSX