2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Ram Air
The last of the F-body Firebirds, an unbroken line going back to 1967, is a marriage of old-school muscle and modern power. That gives it some quirks—anachronistic pop-up headlights and a decidedly last-century solid rear axle—but at least the latter is well-suited to dragstrip duties. The handling of this ‘bird is excellent by muscle car standards, pulling nearly 0.90 lateral G’s on a skid pad. More important for any Firebird connoisseur is straight-line G-forces, and with a 325-horsepower LS1 V8 under the hood snorkeling fresh, cold air through the functional Ram Air hood nostrils, those G’s are in abundance. That puts the Firebird in mid-13 second range for the quarter mile, and a whole ton of smoky, tail-happy fun on a road course. Excellent brakes help haul down the Firebird from speed, and a smooth six-speed keeps the engine on the boil—all benefits of being the ultimate development of the fourth generation F-body. While Pontiac is now resigned to that great junkyard in the sky, the final Firebird is a fitting tribute to Pontiac’s performance driven heritage.