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My 1988 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA
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My 1988 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA

The GTA at the Memphis 2000 and 2001 F-body Events.

Photo Gallery of pictures taken on August 15, 2004.

It was a long wait, but I finally entered the torque and tail-out world of the GM F-body.  I took delivery of a 1988 Firebird Trans Am GTA one Saturday in May 1999.  I bought it from a very special friend.  He lives in Canada, and I live in the Old South (Memphis).  He drove the Trans Am down to me.  I flew him home with frequent flyer miles.  Here's his internet page with all his cars past and present!  Barry's cars.

Just weeks before selling it, he made his first and last bracket race in the GTA.  In ten runs it posted ETs from 14.82 to 14.89 seconds all at 91.x mph.  All 60' times were 2.0x with BFG Drag Radials.  He and the car are extremely consistent.  He won the Street Class that weekend.

With similar weather conditions (~70-80 degrees), I was able to make four passes at my local test-n-tune.  My best was a 15.20 at 91.98 mph with a 2.2x 60' time (with worn Michelins). 

When purchased the only thing not stock on the GTA was a Dynomax catback. Its times were consistent with road tests conducted by the magazines in '88.

The GTA has the standard 5.7L (350) Tuned Port Injection engine rated at 225 hp and the 700R-4 automatic transmission.  The shifts are great, and it does not have a shift-kit.  The GTA has the standard 3.27 rearend and rides on factory 16x8 gold "crosslace" or "diamond spoke" wheels. 

I have done the following:

  • Fabricated a cold-air induction system and used a K&N filter.  (about ~$70 if that much using bits and pieces)
  • "Ported" / gasket matched the TPI's intake, runners, and plenum (also ground down the 1/4" humps in it).  (was free plus cost of gaskets)
  • Added an adjustable fuel pressure regulator (AFPR) and bumped the pressure from 46-47 psi to 49-50 psi. (~$80)
  • Advanced the spark timing from 6 degrees initial to about 10 degrees. (free)
  • Added a custom PROM chip from Ed Wright/Fastchips ("Stage II with custom fan temps, ON at 190F, off at 180F).  (chip was $150)
  • I have bought, but have not installed, SLP "4-into-1" 1-3/4" headers. They were around $400 and I bought then still in the box from a local guy that couldn't get them to fit the heads on his race engine. I will probably have them Jet-Hot coated.

All of the mods were added over a sad period of time when the weather was awful. I'd add a mod and due to weather, it would run slower. At one point, I ran 15.55 at 88 mph. There were a few trips to the track in which despite good air, it ran slower than I expected. Finally, in May 2001, it all came together. I pulled a 14.42 at 95 or 96 mph at the F-body.Org event. The temp was in the low 80s. (The previous September I had run 14.5 at 94.5 in Bowling Green, KY.) The improved ET was due to the 60 foot time. I pulled a 2.07 with my SZ50 Firehawks. Previously high 2.1xs was all I could manage.

In 2003 in about 75 degree air, it ran two 14.35's at 95 mph with a 2.0x 60', but with the stock PROM.  I had hoped for low 14s with headers, and for all intents, I am already there.  I hope with the headers and custom tuning, I will see a high 13. 

The mods combined have added about 25 hp. The 1/4 mile trap speeds indicate about 250 hp. That's not a lot of HP.  Tuned Port Torque pushes this thing down the track!  Once I drove it daily for an extended period of time and managed 17 mpg in my city cycle.  EPA numbers when it was new were 16 city/25 hwy. 

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