Gone in 1985 was the functional power bulge hood of the 1982 to 1984 TAs.  Trans Ams became true bottom breathers in 1985 with the new fascia which closed off forever the front end for both engine breathing and engine cooling.  The louvers in the hood (front and sides) were also merely decoration, having no purpose other than cosmetic ornamentation.  Pontiac claims that the hood vents are functional but one look at them up close proves otherwise.  The side fender air extractors behind the front wheels were also said to be functional but their performance was questionable at best.


Note the LB9 TPI engine callouts ("5.0 LITER F.I.") on the lower ground effects and also on the door handles.  I always thought the door handle "FI" emblems looked cheap, like one of those stick on accessories you found in the Tacky Crap isle (you know the isle I'm talking about) of your local Autozone or other big chain auto parts store.  The door handle emblems were so, so, so J.C. Whitney, even for their day and looked better when installed on the 2.8 liter MPFI V6 Firebirds rather than the TAs.  Shame on you, Pontiac!

You'll also notice that despite the LB9, 700R4 and the Recaro interior, this car appears to be a non-WS6 car.  That's what I thought at first as well because those are the standard 15 x 7 inch factory Firebird / Y99 base suspension level Trans Am wheels.  Normally, a Y99 option level car would mean that I would be looking at rear drum brakes and a non-posi 10 bolt differential probably packing highway gears in the 2.77 or so range.  I was pleasantly surprised (and mystified) when I took possession of the car and discovered that she is indeed a WS6 car sporting the full suspension, 9 bolt heavy duty Borg Warner rear end, limited slip differential, 3.27 gears and rear discs.  According to the RPO buildsheet in the center console, this car came from the factory with the correct N96 16x8 inch aluminum high tech deep dish turbo wheels but somewhere, along the line in the last 20 years, the original wheels and tires were replaced with these much smaller 15x7" versions. 

The real mystery of this car is:  "If the previous owners maintained this car in such great shape, why did they change out the wheels to something far smaller and less effective at handling?"  That just doesn't make sense.

I'm also going to paint the lower skirting gold and add a factory gold "square dot-fade" stripe strip from the factory to separate the gold from the black.  I'm not sure if I'll go back with the engine callouts or not.  Probably not..


Those 15 inchers look dinky, don't they?  We're definitely going to have to do something about all of that space in the wheel wells.  Bigger tires and lowering the car with some Eibach springs should make a world of difference in stance and appearance.  I've never been fond of the fender mounted air extractors as they always seemed to be a hold-over from the 2nd Gen cars and while the 2nd Gen cars were fully functional, these don't look like they are anything more than decoration.


The 1986 Firebird model year was notable for two main things in the Trans Am; the infamous "peanut cam" on TPI engines and the CHMSL "Chimsel" or Center High Mount Stop Light which Pontiac stuck in a barbette in the middle of the rear hatch window.



The previous owner added a Flowmaster muffler and included the tail pipes that stick 3 inches out from the bumper.  WTF is wrong with people these days?  Doesn't anyone know how to install an aftermarket exhaust the correct way?  The first thing I'm going to do when I get back to Columbia with this car is to put some new exhaust pipe extensions on, ones that don't poke out farther than your average trailer hitch.  Note factory TA blackout taillights which look especially nice on a black car.


The "F" in the 8th digit place (from the left) means that she is a factory LB9 TPI car.  The 208668 means that she is the 8668th Firebird produced in 1986.  During the model year, Chevy starts at 100000 and Pontiac starts at 200000 on the VIN, moving up 1 for each car produced (so 208668 is not the 208668th Firebird produced but rather the 8668th unit produced since "zero" started out at 200,000 and the first Firebird of the 1986 model year would have had the VIN code of 200001.  The first Camaro of 1986 would have been 100001.).  Don't ask me, I'm sure it makes sense to GM (and the guy who designed the numbering system )...





Interior is like factory mint.  Car is a non smoker.


The Recaro interior is a very rare factory option that added $975 to the cost of the car in 1986.


Previous owner replaced factory radio with this aftermarket AM/FM CD unit.  Original radio was acquired from owner at time of purchase for future use in restoration.  I wanted to put the original radio back in for shows and the tour circuit reasoning that I could always listen to my personal MP3 player if I want CD quality music.  When I picked up the car, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the owner had installed the original factory ETR radio back in the dash and that it worked (though the factory subwoofer system did not).

My coworker showed me a MP3 player that plugged into your cigarette lighter and played through a FM modulator into your factory stereo system.  Perfect.  Now I can keep the factory stereo and still enjoy MP3s without breaking away from the stock look.


48,757 original miles.  Note 140mph speedometer mated to a 8000 RPM tach.  1986 was the first year for the upgraded clocks in the Pontiac Firebirds.  Previous year had a 5.0 liter TPI engine capable of taking the car to 140mph and it came from the factory with a 85mph speedometer.  Go figure.  You have to love Big Brother.  He means well but he's so near sighted and ignorant most of the time.

High performance Recaro seats are in showroom quality condition.




All original.  No rat or mouse chewed wires.  No nests for wild critters under the hood.  Beautiful.  Just as nature and GM intended.  The blue sticker on the radiator cowl designates that the car has been converted from Freon to R134A.  Grrrrrr.  WHY?!  You can still get Freon, it's expensive but with a good, maintained system, you don't need more than a can every now and then and R134A isn't as efficient as Freon.  In case you didn't notice, this is a dark car with lots of glass on top which means that it is going to get hot and the previous owner has now switched to a coolant system that is ten percent less efficient than the stock system?  I just don't understand some people...

The "stop sign" decal on top of the airbox warns that there is a K&N filter under there and not to throw it away when maintenance is carried out on the car.



LB9 5.0 liter Tuned Port Injected 305cid V8.  1986, the year of the infamous "Peanut Cam" which effectively neutered the previous year's LB9 from 215 horsepower down to 205 horsepower and 270 lbs-ft of torque.  I'd weep openly if 205hp wasn't more than enough to get from point A to point B and if I didn't intend to just cruise around in it for a while.