Back in 1989, production sport cars were considerably slower compared to what you would get when purchasing a sports car these days. Thanks to the shortage of fuel and the bad economy, the ’80s were a breeding ground for poorly performing sports cars. In the late ’80s, Buick brought some relief with their ’86-’87 Grand National. A two door sedan with a V-6 intercooled turbocharged motor would hit the streets with impressive performance stats, in fact, for the two years that Buick produced the Grand Nationals, they would be the fastest American made production vehicles at time.
In 1989, Pontiac would prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the beloved Trans Am. For the anniversary addition, Pontiac would go outside of the box and for the first time would produce a Trans Am with a V-6 motor, the same V-6 motor that Buick used for the dominating Grand National. For this special anniversary edition, Pontiac would produce 1,550 turbo Trans Ams in different combinations of hard tops or t-tops and leather or cloth interior.
GM did not offer a factory convertible TTA, but one was created for Jeff Beitzel the president of PAS, a custom car production company. The car is unique in that its origins were shared with other custom made vehicles that PAS were involved with building: the Syclone, the Typhoon and the ASC-built GNX. The world’s only ragtop TTA has changed hands several times and is presently owned by a wealthy Mexican oil baron who loves Pontiacs.
With Pontiac’s 20 great years of Trans Am success, the Turbo Trans Am would be rewarded by being named the official pace car of the Indianapolis 500. So, just what kind of performance stats can this turbo Trans Am produce? You can except 0-60 times of 4.6 seconds while stopping the ¼ mile clocks at an average of 13.4 seconds, and if you keep going with your foot on the gas, you will reach a top speed of 162 mph. But the possibilities of much faster times are completely feasible with affordable upgrades and the correct tuning.
To complete the package, the turbo Trans Am would come with a 200-4R 4-speed transmission with a lock-up converter. Four-wheel disc brakes, dual piston aluminum calipers with vented rotors were also installed. The Trans Am’s chassis was also impressive, which included front MacPherson struts, a limited slip rear live axle with front and rear torque sway bars.
Sticker price for this turbo Trans Am was around $32,000. Nowadays, depending on condition and how many miles are racked up on one, you can find them for sale anywhere from $12,000-$45,000 give or take. This car is definitely an American classic and if you’re lucky enough to own one, it would definitely be in your best interest to take care of it.