For the 1987 model year, there were not may major changes to the Pontiac Firebird, but there was the addition the GTA and the dropping of the SE trim. The lineup now started with the Base Firebird, equipped with the V-6 engine. For all models, the center high stoplight was moved. It was now sandwiched between the decklid and rear spoiler.
All V-8 engines now received roller camshafts, spurred by demand for more power. The L69 V-8 engine was phased out and two 305 cid V-8s were offered, one with four-barrel carburetor and one with tuned port fuel injection (TPI).
GM now offered the new 5.7L (350 cid) TPI engine. It made 210hp and 315 lb-ft of torque, and was only available with the automatic transmission. The smaller V-8s could be had with the 5-speed manual or automatic transmission. It was reported that this combination of 305 cid V-8 and manual was faster than the new top-dog motor. Many think this 350 is directly out of the C4 Corvette, but the ‘Vette used aluminum heads, while the Firebird used iron heads.
Pontiac debuted the Firebird GTA for 1987, or Grand Turismo Americano. It featured 16-inch gold wheels, seats with inflatable side bolsters and lumbar support, body-colored ground effects, and a unique horn button. It also featured the WS6 performance package, which included tighter-ratio steering, larger front and rear sway bars and upgraded struts. ZR-rated tires would also come on later models with the WS6. That means you should be able to find ZR-rated tires for a WS6-equipped model for this year. The WS6 was available on the Firebird Formula as well.
A Pontiac Firebird Convertible was finally offered in 1987. Some coachbuilders had already been creating ragtop Firebirds, but in 1987 you could order one from a dealership. Interestingly, the process of converting the Firebird into a drop-top lowered the fuel economy, which would have incurred a gas-guzzler tax, so dealers would order a Firebird T-Top and ship it out to third-party ASC to perform the job. Just 173 were built in 1987, making them quite rare.