Pontiac Firebird Trans AM 1. Generation Ram Air III Coupe 1969

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Firebird Trans AM 1. Generation Ram Air III Coupe 1969





The Trans Am was a specialty package for the Firebird, typically upgrading handling, suspension, and horsepower, as well as minor appearance modifications such as exclusive hoods, spoilers, fog lights and wheels. In using the name Trans Am, a registered trademark, GM agreed to pay $5 per car sold to the SCCA. Four distinct generations were produced between 1969 and 2002. These cars were built on the F-body platform, which was also shared by the Chevrolet Camaro.

Despite its name, the Trans Am was not initially used in the Trans Am Series, as its smallest engine exceeded the SCCA's five liter displacement limit.

Pontiac’s 1969 Firebird Trans Am established the template for the most enduring entry in the first muscle car era. The Trans Am was introduced in virtual obscurity, and Pontiac sold only 697 in that first year, but that number included one of the most potent engines ever dropped into a production Pontiac. Dubbed the Ram Air IV, it was essentially a marginally detuned racing engine using 4-bolt mains, high compression pistons, round port heads with redesigned combustion chambers and large valves, a radical cam and an aluminum intake manifold. The Ram Air IV was conservatively rated at 345 HP and 430 lb-ft of torque, but lighting one up could take the Trans Am to 14-second quarter mile times at over 100 MPH on contemporary bias-ply tires – no small feat. At $558.20, the Ram Air IV found its way into only 55 1969 Trans Ams. Only nine coupes were produced with the optional 3-speed automatic transmission; of those, two were actually produced with column-mounted shifters, a counter-intuitive measure if ever there was one.

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