Thanks to PHS Online for some of these statistics.
Firebird Production Numbers
Trans Am 1LE
Trans Am Convertible
Turbo Trans Am
52,962 Recaro T/A's: 2,000
31,930 Daytona Edition: 2,500 Recaro: ??
55,374 Recaro: 1,321 15th Ann. T/A: 1,500
11,214 Notchbacks: 624
396: Firebird, T/A, and GTA all together
396: Firebird, T/A, and GTA all together
1,550: 1,555 including test cars
Introduction: The third generation Firebird was all new in many ways from the previous
generation. A full unibody hatchback body replaced the subframe construction of the
second generation and the Firebird received all new sheetmetal that greatly differentiated
it from the Camaro. However, under the skin, the Firebird was now even more like the
Camaro, and would use GM corporate engines (which were really Chevy engines) instead of
the previous Pontiac engines. A large part of its uniqueness was gone.
1982 Pontiac Firebird
Comments: The third generation Firebird was introduced in 1982 featuring all new sheetmetal.
The front end sported hidden headlights and sleak styling. The model lineup was simplified
to Base, luxury-oriented S/E and Trans Am. Base cars started with the obnoxiously loud,
rough, and underpowered "Iron Duke" 2.5 liter OHV inline four cylinder engine rated at a
truly pathetic 90 bhp. Most buyers wisely opted for either the S/E's standard 2.8 liter
OHV V6 rated at a still-pathetic 105 bhp or one of the V8s. Optional in the Base and
S/E models and standard in the Trans Am was a 5.0 liter (305 cid) V8 with four barrel
carb rated at 145 bhp and which could be matched up to either a four-speed manual
transmission or three-speed automatic. Optional in the Trans Am was the trouble-plagued
"Cross-Fire Injection" version of the engine which used Throttle Body Injection to crank
out 165 bhp, but it was only available with the automatic transmission. But the big news
for Firebird fans was the debut of "Kitt", a talking Black Trans Am that could out-act
David Hasselhoff on the hit TV show "Kight Ridder", which further increased the Firebird's
Comments: Not much changed visually for 1983, but under the hood, things were definitely
improving. The S/E's V6 saw its output rise to 125 bhp and a five-speed manual was now
available. A new "L69" 5.0 liter V8 with four barrel carb appeared mid-year with
available five-speed manual rated at a somewhat respectable 190 bhp. A new four speed
automatic transmission also was available.
In 1984, Pontiac recognized the Trans Am’s 15th Anniversary by releasing a special
Trans Am that was white with blue stripes, blue Trans Am decals and a blue "Venetian blind" decal
on the offset hood bulge. The car had a multi-tone gray interior that had Recaro seats,
a white leather wrapped steering wheel , shifter knob and parking brake handle. T-tops were
also standard on the package as were white aluminum wheels. The cars were powered by the
190 hp 5.0 liter "corporate" V-8 and a 5 speed manual transmission. Pontiac built approximately
1500 15th Anniversary Trans Ams.
1984 marked the fifteenth (15th) anniversary for the T/A.
Powerplants remained limited to five liters (5.0L), with the base engine checking in at 150 hp and the 5.0L HO motor showing 190 hp; the TBI “CrossFire” engine was dropped
For the first time, an optional aero package could be ordered for any T/A for $199 extra; it was a no-cost feature in the Y84 Special Edition Recaro T/A package
Again available in only black/gold, the Recaro T/A featured full leather trimmed seats for the first time as part of its luxury interior; the price for the package was,
reduced to $1,621
1984 also was the first year that the “Trans Am” logo was applied to the rear bumper on the RH side
Wheel design was again shifted as the finned 15” wheels lost their aero covers this year; the standard wheel was a deep-dish high-tech aero design, with the finned cast aluminum wheels a no-cost option
First seen in October 1984, the 15th Anniversary T/A was the second in the line of famous “anniversary cars”; produced in very limited quantities (1,500)
The 15th T/A featured virtually every option in the books; the 5.0L HO was the standard powerplant; priced at $3,499 more than a regular WS6 T/A, most cars went out the door with a $17,500 sticker price
Mechanically, this model was the first F-Body to sport 16” wheels and tires; the VR50 Goodyear “Gatorback” tires were used on 16” white “flush” high-tech aero wheels; some tests
complained that the suspension was not up to the level of the tire/wheel combo
Production: 55,374 Trans Am total units, including the 1,500 Anniversary TA cars Engines: 2.5 liter I4 90 bhp. 2.8 liter V6 125 bhp. 5.0 liter V8 145 bhp.
L69 5.0 liter V8 190 bhp. Performance: 0 to 60 mph @ 7.8 seconds, 16.2 seconds @ 86 mph (quarter-mile) Engine: 5.0L HO V8
1985 Pontiac Firebird
Comments: The 1985 Firebird featured a restyled nose, new taillights, and full rocker
and quarter panel extensions on the Trans Am to give it a more aggressive appearance.
The 5.0 liter V8 was now available with Tuned Port Injection (TPI) which allowed it
to produce 205 bhp, although it could only be equiped with the four-speed automatic.
A new WS6 suspension package was made available on the Trans Am, which also
included 16-inch wheels with huge P245/50VR16 Goodyear "Gatorback" tires.
In 1985, All Firebird models undergo redevelopement to boost sales.
LB9 Tuned Port Injected 305 is released
The new port fuel injected engine replaces the 305 H.O. as the hot ticket
Using a tuned runner design the 305 makes 215 hp
The new engine gains attention but is not available with a manual transmission
Carburated V6 is dropped and replaced with new multi port fuel injected 2.8L V6 making 135 hp
Borg Warner 9 bolt differential is available for first time
The new positive traction rear end is said to be stronger than the Dana 44
New improvements evolve the interior by adding new Recaro styled seats
a new dash with redesigned gauges that use an embossed graph patterned background
new door panels
new T handle shifter for autos
new ergonomic console
dash mounted map pocket
and new ergonomic steering wheel
Further attempts to put the Trans Am into higher regard include a new digital dash and a
new overhead console.
The console includes two manually adjusted reminder wheels
a positionable map light
a removable "Firebird" flashlight
and a small pocket for a garage door opener or sunglasses
T-tops are also redesigned to use pin mounting rather than the previous years latches
Trans Am drag coefficiant is .32 but capable of .29 with standard Aero wheels over the High-Tech turbo aluminums
At the time it was the most aerodynamic car GM ever produced
Firebird receives restyled nose with wrap-around strips known as "bumperettes" to replace the old grille/solid inserts
Wrap around strips also on bumper
New tail lenses introduced on Firebird
The Trans Am "Power Bulge" hood discontinued in favor of new flat hood with twin louvered nostrils that are not functional
Trans Am receives restyled nose with integrated fog lights
new redesigned ground effects now standard
New "low density" taillights have grid pattern
Trans Am receives previous years suspension as standard
WS6 is upgraded with new larger sway bars
Aluminum 16" 20 slot wheels now available on all Trans Am's
Recaro option no longer available, but Recaro seats were
The 1985 engines
1986 Pontiac Firebird
In 1986, All Firebirds receive center high mounted stop lamps as required by Federal legislation,
placed on top of back window.
Standard 2.5L 4 cylinder engine dropped
multi port fuel injected 2.8L V6 now becomes the standard engine
Firebird SE discontinued
New optional rubber/vinyl wrap-around rear spoiler introduced on Trans Am, available only in black
Mid year Pontiac introduces new light weight crosslace wheel available on Trans Am
Only 26 Trans Ams with the 305 H.O L69 in 86, Discontinued because of fuel boiling
Paint RPO's change for new base-coat, clear-coat process
The 1986 engines
1987 Pontiac Firebird
Comments: A new 5.7 liter (350 cid) V8 with Throttle Body Injection was the big news
for 1987. Although rated at just 210 bhp (15 less than the Camaro due to a more
restrictive intake), and only available with the four speed automatic transmission,
the engine's high torque rating and flexibility made it the best engine ever yet
installed in a 3rd generation Firebird. Furthermore, the 5.0 liter TPI engine was
now available with a manual transmission. To further improve the Firebird, Pontiac
eliminated the S/E model, the CHMSL bump (it was now incorporated into the spoiler),
and the pathetic four cylinder engine. A new budget performance model, the
Formula 305, joined the lineup as well as a new top of the line Trans Am called the
1988 Pontiac Firebird
Comments: There were a few changes for 1988 including a new steering wheel, new wheels
for the Formulas, and new radios. The carbureted 5.0 V8 finally disappeared.
The 1988 Engines
1989 Pontiac Firebird
Comments: For 1989, GM makes new N10 dual catalytic converter exhaust available,
freeing up 13% more power from some LB9 and L98 equipped Trans Am's.
Firebirds optioned with t-tops receive new Lexan plastic tops.
The new tops are lighter in weight and tinted darker, but are more dome shaped and age rapidly.
GM replaces many sets with glass under warranty, but the Lexan tops continue through 1992.
All rear disc brake optioned Firebirds now receive PBR brake calipers and larger brake rotors.
This resolved issues GM encountered with the earlier rear discs, and increased stopping power.
Introduction of GM's Vehicle Anti Theft System or V.A.T.S. makes all Firebirds more theft resistant
by incorporating a small resistor into the key. VATS equipped cars also display antitheft system
warning decals in the lower rear corners of side windows.
The Trans Am is selected to pace the Indianapolis 500. Pontiac markets another pace car replica.
This special 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am (TTA) based on the GTA is only available in white
with tan interior and comes equipped with a Buick 3.8L V6 with a turbocharger developed from the
Grand National. These replicas are as close to the actual pace car as any replica offered up to this time.
The only changes made to the cars that actually were on the track during the race were the additions
of strobe lights and safety equipment. 1,555 were produced, 5 being test cars.
Out of 1,550 cars produced by PAS, the actual pace cars were randomly selected and sent to Indy for
testing and modification. When they were released to the public they were underrated in power.
Not all came with T-Tops or came with leather either, there were hardtops and cloth cars.
Every car has an an automatic transmission, the 2004R.
The five test TTA's, because they were for pre-production use, were pulled off of the assembly line
without regard to color and they were not white. At least two of these test cars were sold to
private individuals. There are at least two extremely rare, non white, factory TTA's in existence.
Its known that one is red. GM did not offer a factory convertible TTA. However, one was created by ASC.
1989 20th Anniversary TA PRODUCTION FIGURES
1989 PONTIAC TURBO TRANS AM:
INDY 500 PACE CARS
PILOT CARS NOT SOLD
1,550 (1,555 inc 5 pilot cars)
The 1989 Engines
1990 Pontiac Firebird
Comments: The Buick turbo-charged engine was dropped, so Firebirds reverted back to their
regular engine choices. The base V6 was enlarged to 3.1 liters and rated at 135 bhp.
The 1990 Engines
1991 Pontiac Firebird
Comments: A new nose was introduced for 1991; some thought it was ugly, others thought it
made the Firebird more aggressive. The big news was the return of the convertible Firebird,
the first since 1969. Everything else was carry over.
Comments: There were only small changes for the 1992 Firebird, the last year of the 3rd
generation. GM added some adhesive to the joints and panels of the car's structure
to quiet squeaks and rattles, and the Performance Equipment Group boosted the TPI 5.7
liter V8 to 230 bhp.