1989 Pontiac Firebird Reviews

1989 Pontiac Firebird GTA 5.7 350ci from UK and Ireland

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2011
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 5.7 350ci Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired108000 miles
Most recent distance110000 miles
Previous carToyota Soarer

Summary:

A fast fun car that makes driving exciting

Faults:

Seats and roof lining are quite common to go around this mileage.

Rubber/foam spoiler paint cracks in hot weather.

Various engine sensors need replacing.

Gearbox mounts replaced.

General Comments:

A very sporty looking car, a true 80's icon.

The car has character, which is lacking in newer cars these days.

The last true real muscle car (as they were meant to be).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd April, 2011

1989 Pontiac Firebird GTA 5.7L V8 350 smallblock from North America

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 5.7L V8 350 smallblock Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired82000 miles
Most recent distance83000 miles
Previous carSaturn ION

Summary:

The enbodiment of American muscle and design

Faults:

Considering it's 20+ years old...

Distributor, new speaker system, all ignition/ spark plug wires. Intake manifold gaskets wore out. New wheels. Steering control pump, various old rubber hoses in engine bay.

Overall for 20+ years old, it's been surprisingly cheap and low maintenance.

General Comments:

Car is fast for stock. Plenty more in potential alone. Every day I learn something new about my car that makes me smile. With 3,000 in mods, you can make this car a 500+ HP racer.

I've got the GTA (top of the line, aside from the turbo model) back in the day with WS6 performance package for better suspension, handling, drive-ability, etc.

Seats are camel leather, very luxurious, interior after 20 years still smells new. Not so much room in the back seat, but it's not a 4 seater kind of vehicle. Trunk space is lacking for every day convenience usage, but still fits what is needed when it's needed.

Car handles very well, easily handles turns and bends with no body roll whatsoever. Four wheel disc can bring you to a stop real quick.

Acceleration and fuel economy –

SPEED. 140mph top speed, 0-60 in around 6-8 seconds (stock everything). Enough power to spin the wheels if not left in check. Fuel economy on 93 Sunoco Ultra is still lacking, but V8’s are not fuel efficient. Would only recommend 92+ unleaded to compensate for the older engine. Transmission could be revamped with a different ratio of gears. First gear seems all too short, second and third seem to last forever, and fourth is an enigma unless driving 80+mph with overdrive ON.

Deceleration and handling –

Emergency stopping power even with four wheel discs is lacking (for me at least). The car feels too heavy for the brakes to stop effectively. Normal every day braking is fine. I’d hate to see drum brake versions of this car. The car with its WS6 performance package hugs the corners and rips through bends. Very little noticeable body roll, even in intense steering maneuvers. Before replacing the steering pump and tires, the car would follow lines in the road or try to turn itself (very scary at higher speeds). The problem was resolved with above fixes.

Interior and sound system –

Real camel leather seats with power adjusting lumbar, contour features. Even at 20 years old, leather is still healthy and looks great. Storage compartments are lacking, but it’s not a car for hauling your junk. Plenty of room for driver and passenger. No room for rear seats, but rear seats fold to make useful shelving for storage. Doors are extremely heavy, and hard to open/close, but are simplistic with no maintenance needed ever. All controls are on the center console and are easily reached without taking your eyes off the road.

T-Tops leak due to age, but were easily remedied with some hardware store materials ($10.00 to fix), and are great in the summer to remove and enjoy the sun. Trunk space is also marginal, but functions for light trips. Power trunk pulldown keeps things nice and tight, but I had to replace mine recently.

Maintenance and repairs –

Considering its age; very little has needed to be repaired with this car. Reliability; it's like a rock, and considering it shares a lot in common with its Chevy Camaro cousin, parts are easy to come by and quick to replace. Due to its popularity, plenty of veteran mechanics know the ins and outs of this car.

Overall experience –

When I am not worrying about my paint job or every rattle I hear; EXTREMELY FUN to drive. I was not a car guy before setting eyes on this beauty.. I’m now learning everything about it! Car looks gorgeous and really roars like a lion when you punch it. I have no qualms about washing it weekly and giving it a fresh coat of wax. I will be extremely upset when (IF) it ever dies on me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st November, 2010

27th Sep 2013, 00:18

What was your 10 dollar fix so the T Tops don't leak?

Average review marks: 7.6 / 10, based on 30 reviews