Project Redrum: Updating the Cockpit and Various Trim

photos by: the author

Project Redrum Needed a Serious Update on the Inside 

Over the last year, or so, Project Redrum has undergone quite the transformation. No longer is it the left-for-dead, cruddy Trans Am it once was, it has since put down some impressive numbers on the dyno that you’ll read about soon enough. As mechanically mouth-watering as this car is now, we can’t overlook some of the little things that will make this Trans Am just a little bit more functional.

JDPMedium Rectangle

When we first picked up Redrum, we immediately realized a slew of problems with it. First and foremost, literally all of the key locks were trashed. Apparently, the car was broken into at some point during its tenure sitting outside in an outdoor storage lot in Las Vegas. The doors and rear hatch all needed new locks and the passenger side mirror housing was busted. Trying to get out from behind the wheel proved difficult, too, as the driver’s side interior door handle was completely busted off, forcing us to open the door from the outside!

A sagging headliner, missing dome light cover, faded sun visors and a cracked dash all left us wanting more from Project Redrum. Sure, the idea of the car is to have an overall ratty-theme, but we want the interior to be as comfortable and functional as possible. We’re not building a show car here, obviously, but we shouldn’t have to contort ourselves to simply exit the vehicle.

To add insult to injury, the rear hatch was basically inoperable and the hood wouldn’t stay up due to the worn hydraulic hood shocks. Redrum was in dire straights. So in order for us to make it right, we went ahead and brought the car up to snuff — just enough, to make it functional and livable.

We also considered upgrading the carpet, but despite the obvious wear in many other places, the carpet in the passenger compartment was holding up rather well. The same can’t be said for the carpet in the rear hatch area, but we elected to just remove it entirely.

Installing the Heatshield

With the understanding of how much heat the supercharged LS3 will produce, we took it upon ourselves to replace the old, original sound deadening from GM, and upgrade it using Heatshield Products’ Db Armor and Db Defender.

Heatshield sent us their Db Defender and Db Stealth Armor to install into Project Redrum. Being a 700+ hp track car with racing and boost in mind, it only makes sense to replace the ancient factory insulation in our Trans Am. Each of these two Heatshield products have their own benefits and both have a unique application. The Stealth Armor is designed for floorboards and trunk pans, to quell outside noise and to keep high levels of heat from the engines and exhaust from entering the cabin.

 

The Db Tool allows installation of Heatshield’s various heat and sound deadening materials into your vehicle much easier! Thanks to its ingenious design, it even helps get into the nooks and crannies of the floorboards and various other body seams of the interior.

Db Defender Features:

  • Twice the damping and less than half the weight of asphalt damping materials
  • Heat moldable, giving a “dipped in plastic look”
  • Paintable for the ultimate OEM look
  • 0.045” thick Vinyl Vibration Damping Sheet
  • Made in the USA

 

Db Stealth Armor Features and Benefits:

  • Power of Db Armor + HP Stealth Shield
  • Won’t turn your ride into a pig as it quiets noise and ACTUALLY reduces heat
  • Weight: 0.65 lbs. per square foot
  • 0.176” thick
  • Made in the USA

 

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Db Defender is more pliable than the Stealth Armor, and it’s designed to be as it’s perfect for wheel housings, inner fenders, quarters, etc. We applied ours to the wheel housings, inside the rear quarters, on the rear axle hump and on the ceiling of the car.

 

Hawks Rises the Phoenix

When it came to updating all of our trim, there was only one company that was on our call list: Hawks Motorsports. Hawks got their start in third-gen replacement and restoration parts, and they’re still at it today. We had a list of hardware we needed from The Hawks crew, and we listed it below:

  • Headliner
  • Sunvisors
  • Hood Shocks
  • Trunk Shocks
  • Passenger Sideview Mirror
  • Driver’s Side Inside Door Handle
  • Passenger Side Window Crank
  • Door Locks & Keys
  • Trunk Lock & Key
  • Dashpad
  • Sail Panels
  • Antenna

Everything we ordered are brand new reproduction parts that are currently offered from our friends at Hawks. All of the replacement components we ordered from Hawks Motorsports are high-quality, and look just like the OEM pieces that left GM 34 years ago!

Our original headliner was sagging, faded and basically looked terrible. Ditto for the sail panels and the sun visors. Hawks sent us brand new replacements. The headliner ships in a box, so you may need to give it a little time to open up and stretch out. We were pressed for time, so we shot this image shortly after removing it from the box. The headliner did flatten out on its own a few hours later.

 

 

Here’s a glimpse of the much-needed inside door handle, window crank and door locks. I know, it’s not the sexiest or most exciting thing we’ve ever installed into a car, but it’s certainly necessary and will make Redrum as functional as possible.

 

 

Hawks offers new replacement hydraulic shocks for the hood and hatch for GM F-bodies from ’82-02. Ours were shot at all four corners. Hawks sent us a set for the front and rear, and not only will they maker the car more functional, just as a vehicle, but will certainly help us during the build process as we’ll be in and out of the car, and under the hood, constantly.

 

OER

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Redrum needed a lot of love in the trim department, and the dash was no exception. Underneath the carpeted dash cover, was a dash ad that looked like a road map. With years of seating outside in that hot Vegas sun, it’s pretty common for these dash pads to weather and crack.

 

Our factory dash has more cracks and lines in it that a map of Los Angeles. It’s pretty common, but especially so with our car, that sat outside in the hot Vegas sun for decades. Thanks to the modern aftermarket, we were able to source an OER reproduction piece from Hawks Motorsports. It’s made from a similar material as the original dash, but with a higher level of quality built-in. It even comes complete with the speaker grilles on each side.

 

The detail and accuracy of the OER dash pad is impressive. It looks like it just rolled off of the GM assembly line and all of the correct lines, markings and mounting holes.

 

The dash pad comes out simple enough, with several screws holding it into place. They’re mounted underneath the lip of the pad, and they’re easily accessible and removable with simple hand tools. The new OER piece comes completely assembled, with the speaker grills in already mounted in place, as well as all of the correct mounting holes

For a long time, there was nothing you really could do in terms of finding a decent replacement. You could source one from a junkyard, pay big money for a new old GM stock piece or hide it under an aftermarket carpet, like a previous owner did with ours. There are now a few options these days, but OER is certainly a high-quality option.

Going Corbeau

It was a great feeling to get these ragged out and stained seats out of our Trans Am. They were fine for putting around town back in 1984, but for we have planned, hey just won’t cut the mustard. See ya!

There’s no getting away from the fact that our unsupportive stock seats just don’t cut the mustard in terms of needed support. They’re old, ugly, stained, they smell and the side bolsters are next to non-existent. They’re just not going to make it into the final product of Project Redrum.

There are many companies out there that make high-quality seats, and just about any one of them would suit Redrum perfectly, but thanks to a previous project of ours, we were kind of stuck on the Corbeau LG1 seats. They fit the car perfectly, look great, offer tremendous support and even have the necessary previsions for 5-point harnesses, which we also picked up from Corbeau. We’ll be installing those in an upcoming update from GMEFI.

Corbeau’s LG1 line is available in multiple colors, and color combinations. They’re retractable — much needed in a street car — and in your author’s opinion, are firm but still quite comfortable. Of course, it’s a matter of personal preference and we highly recommend “test sitting” any kind of racing seat before purchase. You can read more about them HERE.

The suede inserts not only add a touch of class and quality to the interior, but they further help keep the occupants in their respective places. Another great thing about Corbeaus offerings, is that they make direct bolt-in seat brackets, specifically for the ’82-92 Camaro/Firebird.

The seats themselves show up to your door assembled, with only the hardware and the seat brackets needing paired together and mounted into the car. The seat brackets have the provisions to mount directly into place of your factory seat mounts. So you basically replace the entire stock seats and seat brackets from those from Corbeau.

Now we should point out, when it comes to third-gens, Corbeau positions their seats a little bit higher than those from the factory as-delivered. If you’re of average height (your author is 5’11”), you should be fine but if you’re 6-foot or taller, you may need to modify the brackets to position the seat lower to their floorboards of the car. If you’re shorter than 5’7, it’s probably a welcome change. If you track your car, you have to remember to have enough headroom to clear your helmet.

 

Normally, this would be a wrap. However, with our gauges still unaddressed and our 5-point harness yet to be installed, we’ll be tackling both of those issues in future updates!

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Being infatuated with cars since he was a toddler, AutoCentric Media Founder and Editor, Rick Seitz, has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.

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