In 1987 the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA was unveiled, it was the American automaker’s top-of-the-line sports car with an engine borrowed from the C4 Corvette and the WS6 high-performance handling package fitted as standard.
Americans looking for a sports car in the 1980s had a broad selection to choose from including models made in Japan, Germany, Italy, Britain, and the USA. The Firebird Trans Am would be a popular choice, helped along by the fact that the model was used as KITT in the “Knight Rider” TV series.
Fast Facts – Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA
- Upon its release in 1987 the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA was the halo car for the Pontiac marque with 250 bhp and 315 ft lbs of torque.
- The name GTA” stands for “Gran Turismo Americano,” an indication that this was the car in the Pontiac model range intended to compete with the GT cars coming out of Europe.
- The Pontiac Firebird model line first appeared in 1967, it was built through to 2002 over four generations and it initially shared its platform with the Chevrolet Camaro.
- The most famous Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is undoubtably KITT, the distinctive black custom car used in the “Knight Rider” TV series starring David Hasselhoff that began airing in 1982.
“Gran Turismo Americano” – The Trans Am GTA
The mid-to-late 1970s has been called the “Dark Ages of Horsepower” by some, it was a time when increasing emissions restrictions resulted in significant drops in horsepower, but by the mid-1980s that power was being slowly clawed back.
In 1987 Pontiac released the Firebird Trans Am GTA as their new halo model. It was based on the pre-existing Firebird Trans Am but it came with the 5.7 liter (350 cubic inch) Tuned Port Injection (TPI) V8 that was being used in the C4 Corvette.
The one key differences between the Corvette and Firebird versions was that the Corvette heads were aluminum and the Firebird heads were cast iron.
This engine would be mated to the TH-700R4 (4L60) automatic transmission which came as standard, air conditioning was included as were newly styled seats with inflatable lumbar and side bolsters, a GTA horn button, special badging, the WS6 performance handling package, and perhaps most noticeably, a color-colored body kit.
WS6 performance handling package included 36mm sway bars up front with 24mm sway bars in the rear, a quick ratio steering box, gas filled struts, and 16 inch wheels with 245/50R16 tires on all four corners.
With 250 bhp and 315 ft lbs of torque the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA wasn’t a particularly powerful car by modern standards but in the 1980s, as the world recovered from the extreme emissions-related horsepower losses of the 1970s, the power must have seemed like a breath of fresh air.
The 1988 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA Shown Here
The car you see here is a Pontiac Trans Am GTA from 1988 – just the second year of production. t’s finished in red with a grey interior, two-piece gold/chrome wheels, and of course, that color-coded body kit.
This is a one-owner vehicle with 17,913 miles on the odometer and receipts to verify the mileage. It comes with the window sticker and it’s fitted with the automatic transmission – as most of them are.
If you’d like to read more about this GTA or register to bid you can visit the listing here. It’s due to cross the auction block with Mecum in mid-October in Chicago.
Images courtesy of Mecum
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.