Shit for Brains, and the Greatest Hits Trans Am

It was an unfortunate fact of life that somehow the stupidest people somehow managed to get their hands on the coolest cars.  Back when I was in college there was this one dude in my fraternity, that everyone called (and I’m not making this up) “Shit for Brains”.  Now it was a lot easier to get into college in the early ‘80’s (They let me in.), but I swear, I don’t know how this kid ever even got into high school.  His father must have been an alumnus making major donations, or he had some compromising photos of the dean of admissions, or something.

Anyway, this dude, Shit for Brains, had a Trans Am.  “Big deal.”
In the early ‘80’s it was a big deal.  Trans Ams ruled from the end of the muscle car era, until then, by default.  Pontiac was stuffing 455’s, 400’s, and 403 Olds in those things, long after the biggest motor you could get in a Camaro was a 350, the hottest Mustangs you could get had 302’s, and Chrysler had just given up altogether.

No matter what you might say about them now, no matter how slow they actually were, no matter little 185 horsepower seems like compared to todays high performance cars, Trans Ams ruled the streets back then.  They could smoke just about anything else in stock form, and they looked the part.  When it came to tacking on plastic, Pontiac did it with more finesse and more success, on the ‘70 through ‘81 Trans Ams, than anyone else, before or since.

Well Shit for Brains’ car wasn’t just any Trans Am.  It was what I called “The Greatest Hits” Trans Am, and I only ever saw one other car like it, my life.  It had all the best pieces of Trans Ams made during that era.  It started with a ‘75 or later body, because it had the larger back window. (I always liked them better) but it had the ‘70-’73 front clip. (easily the best looking Firebird front end of the ‘70’s)  The rear bumper was off ‘74 or 5. They were the best looking non metallic bumpers on Firebirds of that era.  They had the black rubber strip that prevented the paint from getting scuffed.  It also had a 455 ci motor reportedly from a ‘70 GTO.  (Never confirmed, but it could sure make the car move.)  Of course, it had a four speed.




plus this

Equaled Awesome

 That wasn't all.  It had the shaker hood scoop, and ram air (the early ‘70’s style, that hung over the front of the hood), and the screamin’ chicken decal. Now you might say, “That’s stupid, a functional ram air system and a shaker hood scoop are mutually exclusive.”  That may be true.  “The hood would have been cluttered overkill.”  That was the beauty of it. The sheer outrageousness of it, was awesome.  For the early ‘80’s, it fit right in.  A car couldn’t have been more perfect for it’s time.  I never had any way of recording it’s actual performance, but I rode in it, and I assure you, it was deadly fast.

Now I sure that you knew all along that this story would end in tragedy, and it does.  Shit for Brains might have been able to get into college, but staying in was a different matter, and that was the last I ever saw of the Greatest Hits Trans Am.  A few years later, I asked a buddy who still had some contact with him, “What ever happened to Shit for Brains and his Trans Am?”  My buddy replied that he totaled it out in a head-on while he was driving drunk, and killed someone in the process.  I don’t know if the story was true or not, because most of my buddies were liars.  It was totally believable though.  Although this would have been the most tragic example, I must have known about at least ten stupid guys that together, ruined at least fifteen awesome cars.


  1. Look up the video from Johnny Cash One Part at a Time.

    1. I know the song well, and plan to write a piece that refers to it in the near future. Almost all of the cars and trucks that I have owned have been cobbled together with pieces from countless vehicles. The Greatest Hits Trans Am is just the most glorious example that I could think of.