1988 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 305 TBI from North America


80's classic muscle car! 5 litres of American freedom!


Minor stuff that needs replacing... bought the car for $500 and body was in fair condition with some rust spots that is to be expected from a 31 year old classic car. I sanded it and did a DIY paint job on it, and it looks much better than before... not professional level, but it looks decent now.

I also changed the spark plugs, spark plug wires, PCV valve and distributor cap and rotor, and the front brake pads and also added the Knight Rider scanner light in it.

General Comments:

I love driving this car, makes me feel like I'm driving KITT and it still turns heads. Also performance is still very good for a 31 year old car as the engine and transmission are both still very solid. 0 to 100 Km in 7 seconds. Not bad considering this is the base engine in the Trans Am and they are operating on 80's technology.

I also like that deep exhaust note it gives out when I start it and driving in the highway with the wide open throttle, plus the torque pushes you back in your seat. I also like the T-Tops! My kids love it when I take them for a ride with the roof off! I'm planning to keep this 80's time capsule and I will work on the body next!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th October, 2019

12th Oct 2019, 20:47

I like stories like this. Buy a reasonably priced car with decent mass appeal and some sportiness to it. You learned some skills. And a car not so overpriced to do irreparable harm to it. You can have fun with it. I did the same, eventually moving up without affecting any household responsibilities. Can always sell the car if every necessary without taking a loss. Or just hang on to it. Very smart move.

10th Feb 2020, 06:33

That is in my opinion the best way to do it! :)

11th Feb 2020, 15:31

The best bang per buck is a 5.0 Mustang Fox body or newer, if you are on a tight budget. Fun factor is very high. Try to find a convertible. Endless parts availability. Sell old parts easily and do performance upgrades. Plenty of power, fun to drive and easy to sell. Far better than boring and mundane transportation.

22nd Jul 2020, 17:38

The most bang for your buck was actually the Firebird Formula. It out classed the Mustang in performance, looks and price. It came with everything the Trans Am had minus the price tag. Depending on which car you chose back in that era though, you couldn't go wrong. Firebird, Camaro, Mustang and Corvette were the answer to the Japanese performance cars and they held their own.

23rd Jul 2020, 20:09

I would go with the Buick Regal "T" type with the turbo drivetrain. Couple thousand less than the Grand National and leaves the Mustang, Corvette, and Firebird/TA in the rear view mirror when it comes to HP and performance. Gotta love the "G" Body style also. By 1987 you could actually order any Regal package or trim level with the turbo. Interesting cars of the time.

1988 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA 5.7 Chevy TBI from North America


In fifty years of driving, nothing comes close


In all the years I've had this car, nothing ever went so bad that I couldn't drive to a parts store and fix it in the parking lot.

The worst problem I had was a blown rubber front brake line. Not only did I have to buy the line, but a bunch of tools, a one man bleeder... And I had all that stuff at home!

General Comments:

I went through the whole car before I started driving it. I look back now, and it was a CRAZY amount of money over the years. I usually fix things even if I think it may be going south.

I had the heads flow bench corrected, had a custom computer chip made by a guy who built Nascar engines, and fitted the highest speed tires I could find. I like replacing steel or plastic with stainless or titanium if it makes sense.

When I took it on the road finally, I was the happiest I've ever been. I think I moved some things inside my body to new locations, but it doesn't hurt.

Competition? No. Some bigger cc motorcycles, yeah. But they were all little light guys. Mustangs? Never. Several dozen of 'em bit the dust. Top speed? I don't know, but the needle was headed toward zero from the right, and it felt like a couple elephants were sitting on the roof. The spoilers made a huge difference. I was stuck to the road.

When I slowed down, and nothing had broken, I decided not to do THAT again.

But I did.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd May, 2015

20th Jun 2015, 20:08

The only disappointing part about these old Firebirds is GM's choice to discontinue Pontiac V8s. That 301 turbo had huge potential and could've possibly saw 300+ horsepower with some engineering refinements. It was already pushing 345 lbs of torque in its crude carbureted form.

14th Oct 2019, 07:56

The 301 Turbo would have needed some serious re-engineering before it could take more power. The block is hollowed out to save weight, and the whole engine couldn't take much more boost without a piston wrecking things. Also, GM was killing all of the divisional engines except Chevrolet's pretty quickly. The Tech IV was the last Pontiac engine. The 3.8 V6 was the last Buick engine. The 307 V8 was the last Oldsmobile engine. I'm surprised that Cadillac made a case for the Northstar, to be honest. But, yes, the 301 did have some performance potential, if you machined a new block for it and switched out the heads for better flow, and replaced the internals with forged parts. I kind of wish GM had adopted port fuel injection for it, and the other engines they made, rather than carburating a Turbo.

15th Oct 2019, 03:45

My last classic was a '77 Grand Prix with a regular 301 2bbl under the hood.

Even with that car considered a mid-size, the engine was way too small and the car way too big. I even changed the carb and intake to a 4bbl, changed the rear end gears and deleted the emissions components which were very little for the time.

This woke up the engine on the highway, but off the line it was still a slug.

Don't get me wrong, that motor was a strong and smooth runner. I never had a problem with it.

It was mainly built to comply with CAFE standards just like every other small CID V8 from the time. Pontiac claimed it weighed in at just over 450 lb. It was really more suitable for the downsizing of the full size cars in '77 and the midsize following in '78. Then a little later came the Pontiac 265 V8 which we won't talk about.