The 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Is the Muscle Car That America Took for Granted
The prices for used cars are insane right now, especially for popular makes and models. In the past few months, we’ve seen used Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords selling for as much as their original MSRP when they were new, and even older cars are selling for more than they should.
But there are some cars in the current used market that can still pose a good value. These are cars that aren’t as popular as their mainstream counterparts. Interestingly enough, one such car is the fourth-generation Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
The Pontiac Firebird was a four-seat Corvette
What do Smokey and the Bandit and Knight Rider have in common? Both of them drove Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams. So if you want to be cool like them, then you might want to look into Firebirds on CarGurus or your local classifieds. While you’re at it, we recommend checking out the fourth-generation Firebird Trans Am made from 1993-2002. That’s the newest version and the best part about it is it was basically a Corvette with four seats.
For the unaware, the Pontiac Firebird was a sports coupe built by GM from 1967 to 2002. While it went through a host of changes inside and out through the years, some say that the best version was made in the last few years. Specifically from 1998, which is when the Firebird received its final facelift. That’s when GM gave the Firebird distinctive flared-out nostrils on the hood in addition to a lot of other aggressive styling cues that many think of when picturing a Firebird today. But the real noteworthy addition was found under its hood.
In 1998, the Firebird Trans Am was outfitted with the brand’s LS1 engine, which is the same V8 that powered the C5 Corvette at the time. The Firebird’s 5.7-liter V8 produced 305 hp, but if you opted for WS6 trim level, then the ram air scoops provided an additional bump in power. The WS6 put out 320 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque, which was routed to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.
According to Motorweek’s testing, the 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6 could get from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds and down the quarter-mile in 14 seconds flat. That was impressive by yesterday’s standards and still respectable for a streetcar today.
If you want to save money, then the Firebird Formula is the way to go
If you don’t care as much about the top-end power that the Trans Am produced, then you can try and find yourself a Firebird Formula trim of the same generation. The Formula trim level came with the same pop-up headlights, flared fenders, and aggressive hood as its Trans Am stablemate, but it lacked the aero package and dual exhaust tips. That being said, the most important part was that it still housed the same potent V8 and transmission as its Trans Am older brother.
Fortunately, while the Formula trim level is a rarer find nowadays, you can still find them selling for around $12,000 to $15,000, as opposed to the higher $20,000 price tag like the Trans Am. Judging by today’s market, it looks like the Firebird (in general) has long been overlooked by car enthusiasts and the general public.
Car prices are insane right now, but it’s still a good time to buy a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
While car prices for more popular cars — like the Chevy Camaro — are crazy right now, you can still find good deals in less-popular sports cars like the fourth-generation Pontiac Firebird. Since it never commanded as much of a demand as the Camaro or the Corvette, the Pontiac Firebird can be found for a reasonable price. A nationwide search on CarGurus reveals that many are selling for around $15,000 to $25,000, depending on the car’s condition and location.
Sure, it might not be the most practical car, but it still has four seats, a big V8, and can still be found for under $20,000 nationwide. What more do you need?