New Car Review
1994 PONTIAC 25TH EDITION TRANSAM
by: BILL RUSS
SEE ALSO:Pontiac Buyer's Guide
Despite the many economic, environmental, political and ecological pressures that have prevailed since its introduction in 1969 the Trans-Am has survived to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. Born in the muscle-car era of the sixties, it managed to outlive the downsizing and depowering of the fuel economy era in the seventies and early eighties and make it to the mid-nineties with its sporty power and performance image intact. To commemorate this event Pontiac has built 2,000 special 25th Anniversary editions of the 1994 Trans-Am. Each of these special models is finished in a bright white exterior with a center blue racing stripe and the special Firebird emblem on the hood. Distinctive front design, and a rear spoiler plus sporty wheels and tires add to its sporting image. If your local dealer doesn't have these special editions in his inventory, a stock Firebird Trans-Am GT should suffice, as long as you carefully check out all of the options excluding the distinctive white color.
In its 25 year history Pontic's muscle car has had its ups and downs. Ironically the Trans-Am was named for an SCCA racing series, but never raced in it because its original 400 cid V8 was far too large. But, over the years the Trans-Am has kept its racing image, and today it still projects distinctive sporty styling, and spirited performance as well as reasonable EPA fuel economy ratings.
In order to test its full-performance capabilities I had the opportunity to take a few laps around Sears Point International Raceway in addition to my regular street and highway test driving.
APPEARANCE: The 25th anniversary Trans-Am is eye-catching! Outside its brilliant white finish is highlighted by a broad deep blue racing stripe, plus a large "25th" on each door in front of the Trans- Am logo. Driving lights peer out of the integrated plasticized front bumper, and the headlights retract into its broad hood. The high rounded rear spoiler gives it a pronounced wedge shape, while special 16" white alloy wheels and Goodyear speed-rated, low-profile tires proclaim potential performance.
COMFORT: Inside the bright white 25th anniversary theme is continued with white leather seating and door trim. The front manually adjustable bucket seats are supportive but low, while the rear ones are snug. They do fold down for added storage space.. The leather covered tilt steering wheel also has convenient remote controls for the high-fidelity AM/FM/CD 10-speaker sound system. Interior cabin temperature is maintained by easy to set and use rotary switch controlled air-conditioner. All instruments and controls are highly visible day or night. Remote keyless entry, plus power windows, doors and rear hatch release are part of the Trans-Am packages, as is cruise control. The trunk is accessible through the large rear hatch and will hold enough luggage for a weekend for two. This anniversary model is equipped with so many standard features that only three options are available; a CD player, a T-top and a four-speed automatic transmission.
SAFETY: With the Trans-Am's performance potential it is reassuring to know that it is equipped with many safety features. Among them are dual front airbags, three-point seat belts, anti-lock braking with powered four-wheel ventilated discs, pass-key anti-theft system, and 5-mph bumpers.
ROADABILITY: This latest Trans-Am maintains its low and wide stance. The Goodyear Eagle GS-C high-speed, low profile tires leave a big footprint on the pavement for excellent traction. Its traction is further enhanced by limited slip differential. The ride is sports-car firm due to its rigid chassis and sports suspension, but comfortable, thanks in part to the adjustable snug fitting driver's seat. While it steers somewhat heavily, it tracks true and is fun to drive. Heavy commute traffic was a chore, but it was compensated for when I hit the open highway, or drove over twisty mountain roads.
PERFORMANCE: GM's classic 350 cubic inch short block V8 push-rod engine provides the Trans- Am with 275 horsepower and a robust 325 pounds feet of torque. This power is delivered to the wide rear wheels via a smooth six-speed manual transmission. First and second gears are for starting, third and fourth for city or performance driving, and fifth and sixth for highway cruising. 1500 rpm in sixth gear at 65 mph makes for economical cruising. The twin dual-port tuned stainless steel exhaust system delivers the sound of power that can only be provided by a pushrod V8 engine.
CONCLUSION: For years Pontiac's slogan has been, "We Build Excitement". The 25th anniversary Trans-Am does deliver excitement, along with handling, comfort, safety, convenience and fun. It is a large All-American sports car aptly demonstrating high-performance is still made in North America.
1994 25TH ANNIVERSARY PONTIAC TRANSAM
Base Price $ 21,819 Price As Tested $ 23,530 Engine Type V8, ohv - pushrod, spfi Engine Size 5.7 liter/350 cid Horsepower 275 @ 5900 Torque (ft/lbs) 325 @ 2400 Wheelbase/Length 101"/197" Transmission 6-speed manual w/od Curb Weight 3500 Pounds per Horsepower 13 Fuel Capacity 15 Fuel Requirement Unleaded 87/91 oct (91 oct recommended) Tire Goodyear Eagle GS-C P245/50ZR16 Brake anti-lock standard vented disc/vented disc Drive Train front engine/rear drive PERFORMANCE EPA Economy - miles per gallon, city/highway/observed 17/27/21.8 0 to 60 mph 6.6 sec 1/4 mi (E.T.) 14.7 sec Coefficient of drag (cd) .32