There's a guy named Winston roaming around somewhere who hasn't a clue what he's done. It was a good year to be a rich kid in 1970, and as any spoiled punk would do behind the wheel of a brand-new daddy-funded Chevelle SS 454, Winston lit up the meats down his neighborhood street. His antics made quite an impression on a young Tim Reggio, and almost 40 years later, now Tim's the one laying patch with a 454 of his own. It's an LS-series motor based on a GMPP LSX block to be exact, a studly mill that dispatches 624 hp to the rear wheels of Tim's '98 Trans Am.
The journey hasn't been all fun and games, however, and Tim's horsepower itch has led to some profuse suffering through the decades. Thanks, Winston. Nonetheless, with all due respect to one of the greatest Rat motors GM ever built, if Winston's LS6 Chevelle were still around today, it would get thoroughly mopped up by what is one of the greatest engine platforms ever built, courtesy of Tim.
Despite our transparent attempts to paint a picture of animosity and contempt toward Winston-hey, we have to try to sell magazines somehow-Tim has only fond memories of that day. "I was in the street playing football with my buddies, and I heard Winston fire up his Chevelle," he recollects. "I lived on one end of the block, he lived on the other end, and he roasted the tires all the way down the street. The sound and feel of the car was so intense when it came past me that I'll never forget that moment. I've always had a thirst for power after that." Unfortunately for Winston, the cops showed up 20 minutes later and took him to jail.
Tim started feeding his power fix as soon as he was old enough, but his first round of tinkering didn't last nearly as long as he would have liked. He picked up a '76 Camaro and promptly blew up the stock engine. Using the skills he learned while enrolled in an engine-building class in college, Tim assembled a stout-for-the-day 355ci LT-1 that fared quite well on the street circuit. He later added a '70 Chevelle SS 396 to his collection, but the glory days came to an end very quickly. "In 1980, my wife and I purchased our first house, and it was in desperate need of a kitchen remodel," Tim says. "With that and two young kids to think about, we sold the Camaro and Chevelle within two weeks of each other, and I went into automotive mourning for the next 18 years. It was hell on Earth, and I read every article in every magazine just waiting to get back in."
Interestingly, even after their kids were all grown up, it wasn't Tim's idea to get back into the hot rodding scene. He was in the market for a new sedan for work use and went to the Pontiac dealership to check out a Bonneville. "When we brought the car back from the testdrive, the salesman had us park next to a new Trans Am," Tim says. "I mentioned to my wife, Laurinda, that it had a detuned version of the Corvette's LS1 engine, and she insisted on taking it for a drive. After we got back, she told the salesman that we'd take it. I explained that the Trans Am wouldn't cut it for my business needs, so she decided that I should have her Yukon and she'd drive what was supposed to be my new car. I got scammed by my own wife."