Today's car of the day comes from Firehawk73's collection and is Johnny Lightning's 1985 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
The third generation F-body weighed less than its predecessor and offered sleek, aerodynamic styling that was particularly reflected by the Firebird. GM's CCC (Computer Command Control) engine control system also continued to evolve, simultaneously increasing engine performance, raising fuel economy, and lowering emissions. This combination of factors helped the Third Generation Firebird to re-energize its fading pony car image. By the end of the 1980s, thanks to world class aerodynamics and state of the art computerized engine management, a Firebird would average around mid to high 16 seconds in the quarter mile.
For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Pontiac Firebird
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All Firebird models underwent redevelopment to boost sales as a number of power train improvements were introduced. The Firebird received a restyled nose with Black wrap-around inserts known as "bumperettes" to replace the grille inserts; wrap-around "bumperettes" were also added to the rear bumper. The tail lights remained unchanged from the previous "louvered" style design. The carbureted V6 was replaced with a new, multi-port fuel-injected 2.8L V6 making 135 hp. The interior evolved with a new dash design containing redesigned gauges that used an graph-patterned background, a slightly refined dashpad, new T-handle shifter for automatics; a padded and more ergonomic center console design, updated stereo and HVAC faceplates, and an optional version of the previous year's more ergonomic 15th Anniversary's steering wheel.
The Firebird S/E underwent some changes as well. It too used the new for '85 nose and rear bumper, but it now included some new items to set it apart. It received a new special hood, similar to the new Trans Am hood except with only the front vents, the new Trans Am tail light design, color coded Firebird logo medallions on the sail panels, (similar to the '83/'84 Recaro version), and a color coded rear Firebird logo on the center section of the tail lights. Cloth Recaro seats were also now available.
The Recaro T/A was no longer available, but cloth Recaro seats were optional on the Trans Am.
The Trans Am also underwent changes. The LG4 & L69 continued on, but a new fuel injected 305ci was now available in the Trans Am. The LB9 Tuned Port Injection (TPI) 305 was released, using a tuned runner design. The LB9 produced 210 hp, which brought it suitable attention from buyers despite being unavailable with a manual transmission. The "Turbo Bulge" hood was discontinued in favor of a new flat hood with twin louvered vents or "nostrils" that were slightly functional, with heat exhaust vents on the rear edges. The Trans Am also received a restyled nose, integral fog lights, and newly redesigned ground effects. It utilized new "low density" taillight lenses with a grid-style pattern rather than the "louvered" pattern in use since 1982. The Trans Am came standard with the "High Tech" 15-inch concave aluminum wheels from the previous year, but it was also now available with the a version of the 15th Anniversary's WS6 suspension and its "Aero Tech" 16-inch aluminum wheels, but in finished Natural Silver. A Borg-Warner 9-bolt differential was made available for the first time, and was said to be stronger than the standard corporate 10 bolt axle. Further attempts to put the Trans Am into higher regard included overhead console from the Camaro lineup, which included several manually adjusted reminder wheels, a positionable map light, a removable flashlight with "FIREBIRD" script, and a small pocket for a garage door opener or sunglasses. The standard rear spoiler from previous years was still standard, but an optional wrap-around "Aero Spoiler" was now available in black and gave the car a new more modern look, (it is unique for 1985 & 1986 as it had a texture). The Trans Am drag coefficient was measured at 0.32 but was as low as 0.29 with the standard Aero wheels instead of the High-Tech turbo aluminum wheels. At the time, it was the most aerodynamically-efficient car GM ever produced.