Pontiac's Trans Am can fairly be considered a dinosaur, especially when fuel prices are rising. Trans Am as T. Rex. But when the Trans Am WS-6 is dismissed like that, many of its engineering attributes and excellent qualities are overlooked. And there are still people who enjoy an all-American four-seat sports car, with all its inconveniences and optional beastliness, simply because it's fun to drive. But maybe more than that, the Firebird reflects an enduring personal style.
Pontiac Firebird is available in coupe and convertible body styles and in three models: Firebird, Formula and Trans Am.
Compared with the base Firebird, the Formula adds speed-rated tires, performance suspension tuning, and a Monsoon CD sound system with 10 speakers.
The Trans Am gets further standard equipment: removable roof panels and a special spoiler on the coupe, and leather seats with six-way power adjustment for the driver.
The engine in the base Coupe or Convertible is the 3800 (3.8 liter) V6, yielding 200 horsepower and 225 foot-pounds of torque. The 5.7-liter V8 (overhead-valve LS1 with aluminum cylinder block and heads) comes in the Formula and Trans Am in two versions: 305 horsepower and 335 foot-pounds of torque or, with the WS-6 Ram Air package, 320 horsepower and 345 foot-pounds of torque.
Three transmissions are available: The base Firebird gets a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic; the Formula and Trans-Am get either the automatic or a six-speed manual in which both fifth and sixth gears are overdrive.