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My Wheels: Mohammed and his 1978 Eldorado Biarritz and 1980 Turbo Trans Am Indy Pace Car


Name: Mohammed Al Awadhi

From: UAE

Wheels: 1978 Cadillac Eldorado biarritz, 1980 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo Indy Pace Car

In the UAE: Born here

Welcome to wheels, Mohammed! We have seen some lovely Trans Ams over the years but your 1980 Turbo Indy Pace Car is absolutely fabulous! Where did you find this?

First of all, thank you for featuring me in wheels magazine! Well, I found this car in Canada and had it imported to the UAE. Since distance in Canada is measured in meters and kilometres, this car’s speedometer shows both KM and Miles and speaking of which, it only has 52,000km on the clock. I am only the third owner and it has been mine for the last three years now. After I sold my 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL, I was searching for another classic car and when the chance came to buy this I did not hesitate.

I was very attracted to it especially since my first car was a 1989 Trans Am GTA. I guess Pontiac Firebirds are in my blood!

This one is very rare, Pontiac only made 5,700 of these and there can’t be that many survivors left in immaculate condition like yours…

Yes, it is true, they only made 5,700 of these and they are very rare to find in this condition. Even though it is almost 40 years old, everything in my car works — even the turbo works perfectly with the original 301 V8 — and it is not often you’ll find a turbo in working condition in older cars!

This was Pontiac’s first turbocharged production car…

That’s right and so from a collector’s standpoint these are very sought after models. The V8 was unique in that it had a stronger block with thicker cylinder walls made from reinforced materials compared to the 1977-81 naturally aspirated 301. It also had newly developed internals such as forged pistons, mild camshaft, a high pressure oil pump and an Electronic Spark Controller using a knock sensor to retard timing when detonation was detected. It was very high-tech for the time and credit must go to Pontiac for keeping this car alive by creating this engine while all of its rivals were being killed off due to the US emissions regulations of the era.

Maintaining this car is not an easy job especially as almost 70 per cent of the engine is different than other Trans Ams with a 301. A lot of the other mechanical parts are different including the brakes and to repair this car you need an expert to help you.

Click here to read the full fascinating story and see more photos of these two classics!

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