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My journey of daily driving various firebirds and Trans ams for the past year has brought my much joy as well as bringing me closer to people I would have never met otherwise, but it was not all ponies and rainbows.
My father had always owned (at least 1) fbody. His passion started with his 1990 Camaro RS which led him to buy his 2000 Trans Am new, which he still has. Growing up with these thundering V8 legends made me obsessed with not just cars in general, but the General Motors Fbody. I have owned 5 Firebirds in the last year, all of which appealed to me for different reasons.
My journey started with my first love, my 1995 Trans Am. Everybody said letting a 16 year old kid drive a 300hp Trans Am was a bad idea, and to an extent they were right. While the accident I had in that car 3 months after getting my license was not related to the car at all, it showed my lack of experience. The car was totaled, but I was ok. If comforted me that the accident was not due to the misuse of such a powerful car, but just a simple left turn was the end of that car thanks to a speeding minivan driver. I felt guilty, it was my fault that car was totaled, but we both recovered eventually. She lives on to this day with another owner
My next love was a 1989 Firebird Formula. It was lust, not love. I saw the car on craigslist after my accident and decided that was the car for me. While i quickly grew bored of the 200hp 305ci and auto trans, I made many memories with the car and dont regret a second of it.
Next is a two-for. I bought a 1988 Trans Am as a project car and a 2002 Firebird as a daily. This setup worked really.well for me and I miss both cars dearly. The 88 will be bought back by me shortly, that car had the biggest impact of all. The v6 car was honestly very impressive and if I had the financial means I would love to keep it.
Next is the big one, my 2001 Trans Am. I saw it on ebay, the one I had been waiting for. A 6spd LS1 trans am in pewter metallic. I sold both my 88 trans am to my dad and my 02 v6 to pay for it, why he wanted these cars I still dont know. But it was worth it, the ls1 trans am truly is a monster.
As far as living with these firebirds on a daily basis goes, its about what youd expect. Gas milage is horrible, things break, the usual scenario. As a young person, I never minded the fact that my cars were “piles”. Loud, american, manuallly shifted cars were my forte. My father and close friends all thought I was insane, and they had a point. Most teenagers search for their first car hoping it will be cheap to run, easy to maintain, and somewhat cool. Daily driving a 350hp Trans Am is not easy. Its expensive, inefficient, loud, and you smell like america every time you step out of the car. But I would not have it any other way. Every day I pull into my high school parking lot, 30min outside of detroit michigan I see the sea of cheap economy cars, and low end Jeeps leased for my classmates by their parents. Daily driving a Trans Am gives you a sense of pride, confidence even. Seeing all these cars given to my friends, people just going along with the motions… It makes me thankful I went down my own path and purchased a Trans Am. Is it sensible? not in the slightest. Is it comfortable, well built, luxurious?nope, none of that.
Daily driving a Trans Am makes even mundane trips to school, the store, to work, wherever you go, more fun. Every second in that car is worth it. Behind the wheel of a Trans Am is home.
The modern day internet is not kind to the Trans Am. Youtube reviewers bash it, jalopnik bashes it… everybody bashes it. However from what I have found, most people who bash it have never driven it, let alone live with it—every single day.
Yes the interior quality is horrible, yes it is horrendous on gas. Thats not what this machine is about, it is about speed, power, taming a beast who is out to kill you at every chance it gets.
My friends like it, its loud and fast, whats not to like. Women? Not so much. To them its old and uncomfortable. Every woman who has been in any of my firebirds has complained about some thing or another at one point. Trans Ams do not get chicks, they just dont.
So coming from someone who has been with fbodys literally my entire life, I can tell you, they are the best bang for buck car, ever. Maybe its an aquired taste, something you grow to love. I guess I just love it for the feeling it gives me. I hear stories about my dad putting me to sleep as a baby in the back of his Trans Am because the rumble of the ls1 soothed me. And now owning an LS1 Trans Am of my own, its a special thing. The fbody has been out of production for almost as long as i have been alive, but it is not dead,no where close. For as long as I live, the fbody shall live on. This post does not really have a focus, as you can tell by this point. It is more of a summary of my thoughts on the pontiac firebird, and how it has effected me as I have aged. I will forever own a T/A