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The Best Early 90s Pontiac Firebird Was Pretty Horrible

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Now here is an interesting piece about the 1991 Pontiac Trans Am GTA.


I love how auto writers who probably weren't born, let alone drove and lived through the 1980s and 1990s, write hindsight articles like this. It's my opinion that this writer has it all wrong. As an owner of a 3rd generation Trans Am, mine has a very anemic 305 Tuned Port engine with a whopping 195 HP. I will be the first to admit that the 3rd gen Firebirds, Formulas, and Trans Ams (and even Firehawks) are not the 300-600 HP monsters like you can get today.

In fact, in those days, GM was working hard trying to meet ever stricter CAFE regulations. That meant most of GM's fleet was FWD. The F-body and Y-body (Corvette) were the only RWD vehicles you could buy unless you wanted a truck or a Caprice/Roadmaster/Olds wagon/Impala SS (which ended in 1996). Fuel injection was still in it's infancy. The SBC 350 was the biggest motor you could get until the Chevy Silverado SS pickup showed up with a 454. The third gens were much more capable in handling and comfort versus the 2nd gens. The radios got better with the addition of BOSE radios and speakers (versus the old Delco radios). 4-wheel disc brakes became optional or standard, depending on the model. The 1LE package came out, which vastly improved handling to (then) autocross levels.

The base 350 Corvette engine in 1991 (the L98) was rated at 245-250 HP. The Mercury Marine-built LT5 motor was rated at 375, but that was for the top-of-the-line ZR-1 Corvette at the time too. So 240 HP for a 3rd-gen is very respectable compared to the Corvette - for 1991. So hinting that 240 HP and the GTA (as a whole) was bad back in 1991 is way off base, in my opinion. He's looking through his 2017 rose color glasses and comparing the GTA's performance to that of a modern performance car. They are two different cars altogether.


Edited by Frosty

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2 hours ago, Ringo64 said:

Agreed. Feel this article was just clickbait. 

clickbait :lol:

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They were also quite a bit faster than the Mustangs of that era...Used to see them getting smaller in rearview mirror all the time.......

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