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The 1982-92 Pontiac Trans Am is still the epitome of ‘80s cool

#1

The 1982-1992 Pontiac Trans Am needs little introduction. It embodies the ‘80s as much as the DeLorean and MTV. For the uninitiated, the Trans Am is the top dog of the Firebird lineup. If you wanted all the flair, performance, and technology you had to go with the Trans Am. It was the real star of “Knight Rider” after all, sorry Hoff. While the Camaro was more popular at the time, the Trans Am better embodies everything that is cool from the era, like denim jackets, Van Halen (not Van Hagar), and wild hairstyles. And if you like Van Hagar, that’s okay, I hear the IROC-Z is nice.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/05/10/1982-92-pontiac-trans-am-epitome-of-80s-cool
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#2

My girlfriend and I took a road trip this past weekend from Minneapolis to Kansas and saw some great barn-find Trans Ams parked under car-ports. Pittsburg Kansas seemed to have a cool 80’s-era muscle car everywhere I looked.

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#3

Larry The Cable Guy says if you owned a Trans Am with T-tops in his hometown you were considered to be royalty.

#4

I really enjoy reading these articles, hoping values on these Pontiac Firebirds/TransAms continue to grow as mentioned. It makes my storing of my first new mustle car even more worth it. I just uncovered for another year my 1987 Firebird Formula with TPI manual transmission I ordered when I was 18 Years old, all original and just turned 33,000 km, took it out for a drive and still enjoy its characteristics.

#5

I love my early Third Gens! I have a 1984 survivor and a 1982 that we converted into the KITT car from Knight Rider. Both are insured through Hagerty of course.
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#6

Obviously you don’t know Sammy did the song “Trans Am”.

#7

“Trans Am better embodies everything that is cool from the era, like denim jackets, Van Halen (not Van Hagar), and wild hairstyles. And if you like Van Hagar, that’s okay, I hear the IROC-Z is nice.” Huh…? Makes little sense to start with, and even less when one considers that Sammy wrote and performed the song “Trans Am” (and owned a Trans AM). Personally, I like both Van Roth and Van Hagar songs, and have seen both in concert (and Sammy solo, too); but, there is little question in my mind that Sammy Hagar is far and away the better songwriter and live performer, compared to David Lee Roth.

Oh, and yes - the IROC-Z, in fact, IS nice - just maybe not as nice as the Trans Am!

#8

When they redo “knight rider” they will all catch on! Kitt happens!
Happy owner of one , looking at another!
Love the OG muscle cars, but throw out the weak HP they came with and introduce something hefty, let the fun begin!
Awesome lines, loved the look on my rich cousins face when his wife thought I was “doing well” cause she thought I pulled up in a red Ferrari. Stain on the Lane way is what she left… the car right?!

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#9

Well, I’ve posted this picture in other threads, but this topic really fits best. My sister and brother in law ordered the 1986 from the factory. In 1996, they sold it to me. Unlike my other cars, I have kept it all stock. Had to have it repainted in 2014 because of clear coat delamination.

I bought a used 1989 Pontiac 20th Anniversary Trans Am in 2008. I pulled the original engine to preserve it. Then I put together a much stronger and powerful engine using much aftermarket parts. Using just half of available turbocharger boost and 93 octane gas, the engine makes as much power as any modern Mustang from the factory. Anyway, I enjoy driving my cars, but also enjoy a little bit of appreciation as the years go by. I seem to be stuck in the 80s as my “other car is a 1987 Buick Grand National”.

#10

I would say the return to performance for the 3rd gen Firebird was the L69 5.0 HO motor option in late 83. The early TPI (85-86) cars were automatic and not much faster. When the 5 speed became available for the 5.0 TPI and the 5.7 was added, then things really started to improve.

I owned both an 85 TA and a 90 Formulla

#11

1990 Formula 5.0 TPI 5 speed. Had the special performance options (3.42 posi, limited slip, dual cat exhaust, engine oil cooler, 4 wheel disk). 225hp 300 lbs tq. Real fun car and about as fast as 5.0 Mustangs at the time.

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#12

After owning and building many modified V8 engines, the fuel injected 1989 Trans Am 231 cubic inch V6 turbo convinced me to stop wasting my time on carburetors and normally aspiratedlarge cubic inch hot rodded engines with huge cams. By the time you make as much power as that little turboBuick based engine using a normally aspirated V8, you’ve significantly reduced your fuel economy, reliability and driveability as you change to larger and larger motors in search of more power. That’s ok for some, but I no longer see any reason for it.

#13

We ordered a 1982 Firebird V6 5 speed from Art Moran. It arrived from Lordstown. We were both working so we picked it up at night about half way home the check engine light illuminated. Turns out the UAW line guy had installed a damaged pulley that chewed the fan belt through in 5 miles. Being a reliability engineer I never could figure how a slew of defective parts could end up on 1 vehicle. That Firebird was the last GM vehicle we bought. Turns out the v6 5 speed had a design flaw a problem that took 3 years to figure out by the dealership, reverse power hop. Propshaft alignment was crucial. Twice it spend over a month at ‘Art Moron’. Bad radios, plugged A/C drain, pin hole in fuel pump left me stranded more than once, bad headlight mechanism, bad paint, ghastly wind noise…the list went on and on. A stunningly gorgeous car spoiled by the GM Zone Reps, the unconscious UAW workers and management. That GM never has held up their hands and admitted to shoddy work is disappointing.

#14

Looked at an '83 Trans Am new , but it was too small inside for me. Instead, I bought a new '83 Z28 with a gutless 5.0 and a five speed. It was still small, but just ok… Old pickup trucks could shut me down !! I loved the shape, and ‘‘ground effects skirting’’ of my brown metallic Z28. However, as others have said , quality control was sad. The ladies at gas stations loved it…That was a bonus !!

#15

We bought our ‘84 Trans Am on 5-8-84. 35 years later we still own it. It only has 101602 original miles. It’s been repainted and engine & transmission replaced. It runs and looks great.Uploading: 61D556CF-EB82-4C9C-ABB0-7CFE011E3C21.jpeg…

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#18

150hp but still turns heads.

#19


#90 20th Anniversary Cloth/T-Top (Festival Car at Indy) and ultra rare #1456 Cloth/Hardtop in Reno, Nevada. I have had both cars for nearly 20 years. I am a big fan of the 3rd Gen Trans Am/GTAs.