A father’s influence helps make the jump from basic bolt-ons to nitrous huffing, track day threat
When this 2004 GTO landed in Brandon Newsom’s hands a decade ago, it was treated to the sort of basic mods that most every car project begins with, but like so many others, it soon spiraled into a full-blown build, complete with a nitrous-huffing 408 stroker.
Brandon’s dive into car building was all but guaranteed given that his father, Brian Newsom, was a dedicated enthusiast, frequent drag racer, and owner of First Choice Auto Clinic where he performs high level classic car restoration. “My dad raced a 1970 Camaro with an ’81 nose and taillights,”
Brandon recalls. “He has a wide variety and quite a collection of classic cars that he restored most of, and having the opportunity to help and to drive these cars gave me the passion to start my own and build it up the way I’d like it to be.”
The first car he ever modified was a far cry from the GTO or his dad’s Camaro. “Being around and working on all those cars made me respect and love all the cars,” he says. “My first ever car was a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse painted to look like a car out of the Fast and Furious movies.”
As he neared the end of his high school days, he was handed this GTO as a graduation gift in completely stock form and, based on his previous car and his father’s influence, changes would start soon after.
At first, the updates were typical, with a new set of wheels and tires along with an intake and exhaust, followed by plenty of audio. That phase lasted for a few years until Brandon decided to sell the wheels and the stereo set up and change direction. “I started going more toward a street driven race car,” he says. “I got drag radials and turned the car into a fun bracket racer at National Trails for a couple of years.”
The progression only continued and how you’ll find a fully built 408 stroker under the hood.
The bottom end was fortified with a Scat 4340 steel crank, flat top pistons, and steel I-beam rods. There’s a BTR N/A stage 4 cam on board, backed by their Platinum valve spring kit and V2 rocker arm trunnion kit, and you’ll find one-piece push rods in place. The heads have been thoroughly ported and attached is an FAST LSXR 102mm intake manifold with cathedral port and matching Big Mouth throttle body.
Fast was also called upon for their 60 lb/hr injectors and billet fuel rail kit that’s fed by a 325lph Aeromotive in-tank pump and overseen by a stealth filter. When needed, there are a pair of nitrous bottles in the trunk armed with a 150 shot.
On the motor, 554whp and just over 600 lb-ft. of torque is realized and with that healthy shot of nitrous, the figures jump to 700whp and 750 lb-ft. of torque.
Knowing that all the power in the world won’t mean much if he can’t put it to the pavement, Brandon’s GTO was treated to a Mike Turner built 4L80E and billet clutch piston and clutch kit, and the driveshaft is now a 1350 aluminum version.
Zero drop rear springs and drag bags help Brandon dig out of the hole on race day.
The exterior of the GTO looks the part, with Weld S71s and Mickey Thompson meats giving the coupe an aggressive rake.
Walk around to the rear of the car and there’s more Maverick Man carbon fiber to contrast the bright red paint, with a Bolt On Spoiler on top of the trunk lid
and the bottom portion of the bumper filled with a Lower Rear Diffuser that outlines a pair of Magnaflow exhaust finishers.
Finally, a set of Billet Arrowhead emblems add the crowning detail to the car’s outward appearance.
The interior has been reworked as well with reupholstered seats in red leather by J&J Upholstery that included custom headrests embroidered by Powell Prints.
New carpet keeps the cabin young and the hydro dip process was applied to the steering wheel trim, center console, and diamond plate floor mats
as well as the pair of nitrous bottles in the trunk.
There’s plenty on Brandon’s to-do list, including a roll cage, Pro Charger, and an eventual upgrade to a 9-inch rear end, but all of this really comes as no surprise given his background.
He explains, “I grew up at the racetrack and growing up with my dad, I developed a passion for cars.
Seeing my dad race his car at a very young age lit a fire in me to have my own one day.”
Brandon Newsom’s 2004 Pontiac GTO
Engine Scat forged 4340 steel crank, flat top forged aluminum pistons 10.8:1, I-beam steel rods; BTR N/A Stage 4 cam, Platinum valve spring kit, V2 rocker arm trunnion kit, one-piece push rods; LS7 hydraulic roller lifter; ported heads; Fast LSXR 102mm intake manifold cathedral port, 102mm throttle body, precision flow fuel injectors 60lb/hr; custom All Speed cold air intake; Pacesetter headers w/Jet Hot coating; Magnaflow 3-inch steel cat-back exhaust; Aeromotive 325lph stealth in-tank fuel pump, stealth fuel filter; nitrous oxide kit; PCM tune by Brian Turner at Dyno Tune Motorsports
Power 555whp/603wtq, 700whp/750tq with 150 shot of Nitrous Express nitrous
Drivetrain Mike Turner built 4L80 E with reverse manual valve body; billet direct clutch piston and clutch kit; TCI Sfi-approved flexplate; 390 gear; 1350 series aluminum driveshaft; Harrop Sports differential cover; B&M Magnum Grip Pro Stick dual button shifter
Suspension 370m zero drop rear springs w/drag bags
Braking Wilwood calipers, drilled/slotted rotors, polymatrix pads
Wheels & Tires Weld S71 15x10 rear 7.5 back spacing rear, 15x10 2.5 back spacing front; 5x4.75 bolt pattern; Mickey Thompson ET street s/s radial 275/50 rear, Sportsman s/r street radial 26x6.00 R17 LT front
Exterior Maverick Man carbon fiber cowl hood, bolt on carbon fiber spoiler, carbon fiber rear bumper diffuser, front splitter, front/rear billet Pontiac arrowhead emblems, honey comb lower grill, carbon fiber SAP upper grills
Interior reupholstered factory red leather by J&J upholstery; custom headrest embroidered by Powell Prints; new carpet; hydro dipped steering wheel trim, center console, diamond plated floor mats, nitrous bottle; cut out and shaved spare tire well; relocated bottles/battery
Thank You My father Brian Newsom; First Choice Auto Clinic, Randy Hay, Tim Zoeller, J&J Upholstery, Rodney Lucas my cousins Josh Newsom and shawn newsom.
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Author -> Staff
Photographer / Photo Credit -> Robbie Paynter - @robbiefk8