Pontiac's Trans Am can fairly be considered a dinosaur, considering that the market for muscle cars has all but dried up and its type is near extinction. Still, the Trans Am WS-6 has many engineering attributes and excellent qualities. And there are still a few people who enjoy a V8-powered all-American cruiser. Even with all its inconveniences and occasional beastliness, the rear-wheel-drive Firebird is still fun to drive and continues to reflect 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: 310 horsepower and 340 foot-pounds of torque or, with the WS-6 Ram Air package, 325 horsepower and 350 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.