Mystery 1:     If this car is a WS6 Trans Am, and the RPO code build sheet proves this, then what happened to the original 16x8 inch deep dish high tech turbo aluminum wheels?  If the car was meticulously taken care of for 20 years, how did the original factory wheels come to be removed and replaced with 15x7 inch wheels from the base model Firebird / base level Y99 suspension TA?  With brand new rubber all around on top of that?

Answer:    Unknown.  I still don't have an answer for this bit of nonsense.  The original reason I had any hesitation about buying this car was it had 15x7 inch wheels which normally meant that it was not a WS6 car (and thus did not have the goodies like a limited slip differential, four wheel disc brakes, heavy duty suspension parts, etc.).  I knew that I could buy the car, swap out the heavy duty parts from the Formula and have a pseudo-WS6 car but it still wouldn't be a "factory" WS6 car which was important to me.  The car was just too good to pass up and, WS6 or not, I bought it with the intention of keeping it and restoring it.  When I bought the car and checked the RPO codes, I was very surprised (and amazed) that it actually was a factory WS6 car.  The 15x7 inch wheels threw me off and it appears that I have a full WS6 car in everything but wheels and rubber.  The RPO codes show that the car has the full WS6 package and came from the factory / dealership with 16x8 high tech deep dish turbo "feather design" wheels.  Where, when, how, why and who in the last two decades swapped them out for the smaller wheels is the real mystery, especially the "why" part.  The RPO code shows that the original wheels were painted gold from the factory.  I've seen the gold painted wheels and they look gaudy.  In hindsight, perhaps one of the other owners thought the same way and traded the gold painted wheels for a set of natural aluminum finish wheels.  The point is open for debate though I doubt an answer will ever be found.


Mystery 2:    Was this car a two tone black and gold Trans Am in a previous life?

Answer:    Yes.  This car was originally, as it left the Norwood, OH assembly plant, a two tone black and gold trans Am.  Here's the evidence as I have put it together. 

I wondered why a black car would be adorned with gold emblems / decals, a tan Recaro interior and be painted monochrome black.  Most of the solid black cars were black and silver.  I always wanted a two tone black and gold third gen TA (like the one pictured far below) and when I bought this car, I intended to paint it that color scheme (since all I would have to do is paint the ground effects gold, add in the TA name to the front bumper, add the "square-dot-fade" stripe all around and voila!

Apparently, I am not going to have to "modify" the "original" paint scheme so much as I am going to have to reverse some initial damage and restore the car to its previous "correct" factory paint scheme.  Here are the RPO codes which prove to me that the car was originally black and gold.

















As you can see, when this car left the factory at Norwood, Ohio, the primary exterior color was black (41U) with black body molding (19Q).  The trim was light saddle (62D and 62I).  That much is still evident on the car.  The mystery is, looking at the RPO codes, the car supposedly has a secondary exterior color of "light taupe" (629) which would be gold.  The car left the Norwood factory with a two tone accent color stripe (81A).  The wheels are also listed as being beige (gold) at RPO code (60P).

The final part of the mystery was found in the RPO code WW5 which indicated that the car had originally come with the #5 option of the aero package. 

If you look at the factory build sheet, you find this listing for the color choices for the W62 aero package (which, if you look above, this TA came with the W62 aero package (as did all 1986 TAs)).  Option five is ... Champagne Gold Metallic.  Black on top, gold all around.

WW5 - Champagne Gold Metallic, optional with 41 color (which is black).  So, yes, she was originally a black and gold TA.


The 81A two tone stripe, the front TRANS AM name, the PONTIAC emblem in the driver's side headlight and the champagne gold metallic aero panels are not present on this car meaning that parts of this car have been repainted in the last 20 years.

Here is what the car looked like on the day that I bought her in North Carolina:

Here is what it should look like, complete with black on black on gold paint scheme, all colors and striping intact (note the TA name on the front left nose, above the driving light) and the correct 16x8 inch factory issue "feather" wheels with the deeper dish rim.  The wheels shown above came from either a base model Firebird or a standard non-WS6 equipped Trans Am.  I think that one of the previous owners was trying to turn this black and gold TA into a GTA clone.

Original two tone black and gold factory color scheme with the 81A two tone accent stripe
and N96 wheels in natural aluminum finish with black vent inserts.

This is what the TA will look like when I restore it



Considering that the 16x8 wheels for 1986 either came in aluminum with black in the "vents" or gold with an aluminum (natural) finished rim, you can see why if this car came with the gold / beige colored wheels that one of the previous owners might have wanted to ditch them.  For all the beauty of the 1984 to 1986 16x8 "feather" wheels, the gold / beige painted wheels really were little more than gaudy.  I prefer the look of the aluminum finished wheels with the black painted "vent" inserts and when I restore the car, it is the natural finished wheels rather than the gold / beige colored ones that I will be using.

This TA originally came with the RPO N96 wheel from the factory (check the RPO codes above).  You can see above that it currently wears the N24 wheels. Where the original N96 wheels went is as big a mystery as where the dinky N24 wheels came from.

Well, it looks like I finally did get the LB9 TPI powered black and gold Trans Am with WS6 and T-tops like I always wanted.  Now I just have to do some restoration to get her back to original factory shape.  Obviously, some assembly is required to get the car that I wanted back to being the car that I wanted.  Interesting.  The adventure thickens.


Mystery 3-    Where are the front "TRANS AM" name decal on the front left bumper and the plastic "PONTIAC" emblem in the groove of the front left headlight?

Answer:    Unknown.  They're probably somewhere near the missing original factory wheels.  These two items will be restored with the sanding and re-spraying of the ground effects.