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The fourth-gen Pontiac Firebird pins the Badass Meter

Growing up in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I remember the fourth-generation Trans Am being the very definition of badass. Pontiac ran a series of commercials in that era showing Trans Ams prowling dark city streets in search of prey. Those commercials worked. As an impressionable teen, I wanted a WS6 Trans Am more than anything in the world. Fast forward to 2019 and a fourth-gen Firebird is still up there in the Pontiac fantasy garage. Although that WS6 I yearned for is now an SLP Firehawk.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/06/14/fourth-gen-pontiac-firebird-stunning-looks-stellar-performance
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Great Article!! It’s good to read someone paying tribute to the LT4 Firehawk, not many people know that car existed.

You mentioned the 35th Anniversary being a throwback to the original Trans Am, as much as I agree it’s one of the best looking 4th Gens built, I must point out it was a 30th Anniversary not 35th. Technically there was never a 35th anniversary. Pontiac celebrated the original 1969 Trans Am with their anniversary models (10th=1979, 15th=1984, 20th=1989, 25th=1994, 30th=1999). So with the Firebird line being dropped after the 2002 model year there wasn’t another chance to celebrate the Trans Am, making the 30th Anniversary Trans Am the last true anniversary model.

The yellow/black 2002 Collector’s Edition Trans Am often gets mistaken for a 35th anniversary, but that would be incorrect too. That special edition was simply a way to pay homage to the entire history of the Pontiac Firebird before the model was discontinued.

Again great article, keep them coming!!

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Good catch! That was a typo on my part. It should be fixed now.

Few corrections here…

  1. 4th gen Firehawks began in 1993, your pictured example at the end of the article even says it’s a 93.
  2. The performance exhaust wasn’t optional until 94, and became standard in 96 (had to order as an option in 94-95). Base Firehawk was 300 hp and with exhaust 315 hp (275 stock LT1).
  3. SLP blueprinted every LT4 they received from GM (this is not a rumor, it is a documented fact per SLP, and was done at SLPs Canadian facility). This was due to the fact that emissions certification was expensive and time consuming, so they were forced to use the stock LT1 fuel injection system and programming, which resulted in lower hp than in the Corvette, so they did anything they could to help get the power they were looking for.

My One-Owner 1999 Firebird Drop Top. Only 1245 made.

If I were to purchase another F-Body, it would be a 2000-2 WS6 Black or Silver 6Speed Convertible. My wife would certainly leave me, but hey, more space in the garage and driveway… hmmm

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Really,
A last ditch, heartless effort to revive a brand.
Had one. Slapped on plastic and pretty good brakes. That’s what I remember.

I LOVE my 2000 Firebird! It is 1 of 2200 with red with an RPO code of Y87…basically Trans-am lite. I believe it is called the GTA package (I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m mistaken, lol). My little six string sting is a fun car to drive, she’s quick, not necessarily fast…but quick. Quick off the line and has good speed build-up until about 80mph then starts to taper off as you’d expect from a six cylinder. The nice thing about her is that you can have all kinds of fun from 0 mph up to posted speed limits with the 373 rear end gears and still get 20 mpg around town with the air cond full blast. The coolest part is the looks and thumbs up you get from people out and about.Great article…but don’t forget the Y87 is a pretty special built car too.

You might also want to mention another rare car made by SLP called the Comp T/A. It was produced between '95-'97 with only 164 total units produced. It was known as a Firehawk in a tuxedo. The car was built to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the BF Goodrich Comp T/A tire.Car%20Picture

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Pontiac sold some over the counter parts that could be owner or dealer installed, that were called GT package. SLP also built some GT Firebirds in 01-02 using takeoff parts from the Firehawk program (dual exit exhaust, springs, shocks, wheels, tires, etc.). The only GTAs that I know of were the 3rd gen T/As. Your car is just a performance package car, and the factory axle ratio is 3.42 with limited slip, unless someone changed it to 3.73.

One model is unique to this generation. In 1994, the Trans Am GT was a one year deal. They loaded it with a nice leather interior, and power everthing. Mine has no T-Tops and I think of it as a trans am touring car. They should have named it a trans am SJ like my old grand prix. Lol. When all the Ram Air/WS6 parts, wheels and hood were added to my car in 1996 with the Borla exhaust, it became a nice car for touring and going for ice cream.

Very nice article. I bit the bullet and purchased a new 94 Firehawk with the exhaust upgrade and most options. Every time I walk into the garage I cant help but stop and admire my, “arrest me red” beauty. Some times I think, in my old age, I should sell it. Then I rumble out of the garage and excersize the freeway. Then I realize the car is worth far more to me than anyone would ever pay. Love this car. :grin:

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Awesome to see some 4th gen f-body love from Haggerty! As a long time 4g fbody owner I concur with most of what was written and of course my 99 Firehawk Vert IS insured by Hagerty


Most know me and this car as “CajunFirehawk”
99 Firehawk #157 67k miles

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It should be noted The Firehawk B4U option started in 1991, and was a different animal altogether, but there was 25 of them made… The 93-2002 Firehawks were stout, but not nearly as reengineered as the 91-92. SLP decided to install a Dana rear axle instead of the Saginaw, and it nearly bankrupted the project when they had to do backwards crash tests. I had an opportunity to purchase number 1 and number 26 from SLP in 1998, Offered them what I felt was fair at the time but it was turned down…

I am curious, how did the Dana rear axle affect the rear crash tests?

Love the Firebirds and Trans Ams! Pontiac always bucked trends and started new ones.
Have yet to own a 4tg gen but might in the near future (it’s just really hard to find a nice one)- black or blue 02 WS6 T/A please…
I currently own a 68 400 Firebird and an 88’ GTA, L98 with the digital dash…love both of them!

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Love the 68 Remember when they were new!!! Bought my wife a slightly used 95 Trans am rag top for $8800 Cdn with only 40k on it Young gal that owned it did a 360 and would not drive it again Lucky for us Wife loves it Looks good even beside by 69 GTO Love Pontiacs !!!

How about a black and blue 2001 WS6

TA%20Racing

Good Guys Autocross

Great article indeed, but actually there were a total of 19 and 2 prototype 35th Anniversary Firebirds built in 2001 and 2002 all 6 speed, 380hp, chambered exhaust,
s200 American racing rims… built by GMMG performance inc they were not built by Pontiac, but they were all ordered thru Carl Black Pontiac dealership in Georgia not many people know about these beauties super rare to find one for sale but if you do you jump on it, most of these cars are in bubbles all original and hidden away. All info on these cars and other GMMG cars can be found on gmmgregistry.com