This 2001 Trans Am that sold at RM Sotheby’s Auburn Fall sale might not have been the best bargain at the event, but it’s close. With a #4 (fair) value of $15,200, this 86,000-mile WS6 drop-top has some rock chips but appears to be in solid condition. It’s an automatic, which puts a 10-percent ding in the price, although with low miles and such a clean interior, this car looks like it was well bought.
We’ve noticed that the $10,000–$15,000 part of the market is often where the hottest cars will be, as there’s lots of competition among buyers. This Trans Am proves that there are still great bargains even in the heart of the market.
There’s a saying amongst Camaro fans: “It’s easier to make a third-gen fast than a fourth-gen pretty.” The third-generation F-body has sleek lines and they’ve aged remarkably well—on the outside, at least. Their engine options leave something to be desired; they came with some decent V-8 powertrains, but their top 350-cubic-inch mill wasn’t paired with a manual transmission, and tuned port injection meant the bigger V-8 ran out of steam at a shockingly low engine speed.
The fourth and final generation of F-bodies brought competent suspension and, in 1998, the Corvette’s LS1 engine for a potent package that remains a performance bargain and is still making waves in the automotive aftermarket. It also brought love-it-or-hate-it styling.
The answer for many Camaro fans, alluded to above, is choosing to modify the third-gen with the engine and suspension upgrades so plentiful in the aftermarket.
Of course, there’s also another solution—the other F-body. Pontiac’s Firebird and especially the Trans Am took the fourth-generation’s raked windshield and futuristic proportions to the snarling, flared-nostril extreme, and it paid off. Today, the last of the Trans Ams are worth nearly the same as a comparable Camaro on the top end, but 25-percent more in #3 (Good) and #4 (Fair) conditions. Chalk it up to their looks and also to being the last of their name.
2001 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6 Convertible