1987 Pontiac Trans Am GTA


Mechanically speaking, this particular 1987 GTA came equipped with: Initially, I was reluctant to believe the original owner when he informed me that the car was equipped with a 305 TPI. I had never heard of a GTA being equipped with a 305 TPI engine AND an automatic transmission, but I bought it anyway. I have to admit I was a little panicked to confirm it was indeed a 305, but a little research with GM proved my car was legit, and actually a little rare considering some other options it came with.

The 305 didn't turn out to be such a bad little engine after all. I initially had all sorts of plans to modify it and do stuff like replacing the exhaust, upgrading the intake, installing an aftermarket PROM in the ECM... but by the end of 1994 I realized it was all I could do to keep up with repairs and maintenance. Cars don't like to sit still for many years and parts tend to deteriorate through disuse. So once I was past the storage-related gremlins, I got to enjoying the pretty decent pull of the little 305, thanks to the long tuned runners of the intake.


Here's a rather unflattering shot of the 305 as it looked for the first few years I owned the car. This shot was most likely taken around 1993 or 1994.


Around 1996 I really got down to cleaning up the engine bay and giving the old girl a real thorough freshening-up. This consisted of all the dreaded clichés surrounding trailer queens: mountains of rags, gallons and gallons of cleaners and degreasers, toothbrushes by the crate. Surprisingly, all it took was a solid weekend's worth of elbow grease and patience, and the results were pretty satisfying. All it takes now to keep it up is a simple wipe-down now and again, which is pretty easy considering the car sees minimal rain since that first big cleanup in 1996.


One of the really satisfying features of this car is the suspension. To make up for a not-so-rigid chassis (especially with T-tops), Pontiac dialled in a pretty great suspension as part of the GTA package... the legendary WS6 suspension option. The car's original owner used the often- quoted cliché "handles like it's on rails!", but with this car it's an understatement. The steering is precise and predictable, and feedback from the road is all too clear (perhaps borderline jarring, but a small price to pay for such handling prowess).

(emblem below map pocket on dash)

I'm happy to report that most of the car is still pretty much all original, with the obvious exceptions of such items as battery and wear-and-tear maintenance (water pump, alt, plug wires). However, there are some surprising survivors. Both fog lamps are still the factory originals, as is one headlamp. All taillights and interior lights are factory original. So is the muffler. The belts, even considering their age and mileage, are still the originals as well.
Update 2000: the last original headlamp burnt out. damn...

Even though family and home life commitments prevent me from indulging in the car show fanaticism that once possessed me throughout the late 90's, I still intend on keeping the car 100% all factory stock and as original as possible.