1989 Pontiac Firebird 20th Annv Trans Am GTA Indy Pace Car
6-cyl. 3.8L 231cid/250hp Turbo SFI
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
1989 marked the 20th year of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Pontiac capitalized on the marketing opportunity by rolling out the 20th Anniversary edition, but that was only the tip of the iceberg for ’89 Firebird updates.
Pontiac rolled out the Turbo Trans Am (TTA), using the 3.8-liter turbocharged V-6 from the Buick Grand National. These cars were built in partnership with Prototype Automotive Services and required a bit of massaging. The changes they made to fit the engine in the narrow Firebird engine bay actually yielded better airflow from the headers, and the turbo V-6 engine made a rated 250hp. When new, the Turbo Trans Am was capable of 0-60 mph 4.6 seconds, which was incredibly quick for the day. All TTAs came with an automatic transmission, and it could to 162 mph. Of the TTAs, the 20th Anniversary hardtop and convertible variants are the rarest, with 40 of the former and just three of the latter.
For the 73rd Indianapolis 500, Pontiac was tapped to build a Firebird pace car, and this was the last time it would ever get that distinction. The pace car was based on the TTA, and just over 1,500 replica Pace Cars were produced.
The Pontiac Firebird Formula and Trans Am were both available with a new dual catalytic converter system. In the 305 cid LB9 engine, it raised output to 225hp, and in the 350 cid L98 V8, it now put out 235hp. The 350 was only available with an automatic transmission, and the 305 was available with both manual and automatic transmission options.
T-Top models received a new acrylic plastic roof panel design, which was lighter and had darker tint, but these tops often faded quickly, and were replaced with glass by the dealer. You may be able to find an aftermarket solution if you don’t want the heavier glass T-Tops.