Pontiac’s ticket into the pony car class, the Firebird debuted in 1967, with a long production run across four generations that sadly ended in 2002. Each generation of Firebird had something special, and the third generation’s claim to fame is screen prominence as KITT on the series Knight Rider. The third generation thus enjoys a strong following, and had a ten-year production run between 1982 and 1992. This 1989 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA is a veritable time capsule to that era, and quite a rare bird as this enthusiast-owner car has done just 17,100 original miles as reported by the seller.
It’s not hard to see why the writers of Knight Rider chose the third-generation Firebird Trans Am as the base for KITT and his evil nemesis KARR. The design was positively futuristic, clean, and crisp in the Eighties, and has aged well over the decades. This 1989 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA doesn’t have the signature black paintwork that KITT would have, showing itself off in a burgundy shade with gold and silver 16-inch wheels. It’s got Trans AM GTA badging, and a prominent rear deck lid spoiler that extends to the base of the rear windshield. All lighting looks clear and functional too. The interior sports a tan color theme with seating for four occupants. The driver seat enjoys partial power adjustment, and the driver faces a set of clear analog gauges. The steering wheel is a four-spoke affair with an early version of multifunction, courtesy of twelve buttons to operate the radio functions. The radio in question is another time capsule, a Delco radio with auto-reverse cassette deck, push-button operation, digital display, and five-band equalizer. You’ve got air conditioning to keep you cool as well. Cruise control is present as well, controlled by the left-hand stalk that also controls the windshield wiper functions.
Whilst early third-gen Firebirds were somewhat strangled in power as they were just recovering from the US emissions regulations of the Seventies, power figures healthily improved into the late Eighties and beyond. This 1989 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am GTA packs a 350ci (5.7L) Chevrolet Tuned Port Injection V8 engine that drives the rear wheels via a four-speed THM700R4 automatic transmission. The power output was rated at around 235hp when new.
1989 Model Year Pontiac Firebird GTA Burgundy exterior Tan interior Automatic transmission 17k original miles reported by seller 16" wheels 5.7L V8 engine 4 speed automatic Cassette Radio w/ equalizer Enthusiast owned