1987 Pontiac Trans Am GTA
So, with all this hype I'm spewing about the GTA (and Hi-Po Trans Ams in general), would I really recommend this car to anyone?
The answer, curiously enough, is no.
I may live, breathe, and eat anything related to GTAs, but as I've told many friends, it takes a certain amount of patience to live with a car like this.
So what's wrong with it, you ask?
Well, you have to live with:
- V8 gas consumption.
It may be relatively economic for a V8, but with regular 18-20 mpg (US gal) figures for combined city/highway usage, it ain't no Civic CX, that's for sure!
- Ride and comfort.
It's all relative, but some folks just don't go for a suspension that allows you to tell if a coin is heads or tails when you roll over it! I do, but I'm weird. I enjoy driving with my ass 2 inches from the ground. The handling is remarkable, though.
Luggage storage is minimal, in the little well behind the gas-tank bump in the hatch area. Poor performance/safety in wet conditions. Let's not even talk about winter prowess.
Some days, you'd think an interior panel is about to loosen itself and smack you on the side of the head. Other days, it feels nice and tight and quiet. Such is life with a car designed with poor structural rigidity. The stiff suspension, needed to make up for the structural shortcomings, doesn't help in minimizing interior noise at all!
- Possible leaking T-tops
Do you really think I stopped driving the car on rainy days because black is a tough color to keep clean? That's part of the reason, but let's not kid ourselves. Again, some days it would leak bad, others not a single drop. Chalk that one up to the wonderful structural rigidity.
- Substandard fit and finish
Interior trim pieces that are prone to cracking or altogether ill-fitting.
Now, for those willing to live with the above shortcomings, you get to enjoy:
- GREAT around-town driveability.
That TPI induction system makes the 305 feel like an engine twice its size around town! Give the pedal an order to "go!" and the engine responds as if you had appended a "right NOW!" to that order! (and
25-27 mpg US in pure highway driving is obtainable without much effort)
- One of GMs fine automatic transmissions.
With numerous updates for 1987, the THM700-R4 clicks off shifts as reliable as sin.
- That WONDERFUL small-block Chevy sound.
The exhaust note that begins as a low subsonic growl and rises to a roar and then to that wonderful shriek as it approaches redline. Pure classic tones...
- BRUTAL handling.
Handling so crisp, your knees will get weak when getting out of the car after a good run.
- The LOW WIDE stance of the Third-Gen F-body
The next "classic" f-body generation in a few years.