Pontiac TRANS AM: black version with 6.6 L (223 HP)
Third generation (1982–1992)
The availability and cost of gasoline (two fuel crises had occurred by this time) meant the weight and the fuel consumption of the third generation had to be considered in the design. In F-body development, both the third-generation Firebird and Camaro were proposed as possible front-wheel-drive platforms, but the idea was scrapped. Computerized engine management was in its infancy, and with fuel efficiency being the primary objective, it was not possible to have high horsepower and torque numbers. They did manage to cut enough weight from the design so that acceleration performance would be better than the 1981 models. They also succeeded in reducing fuel consumption, offering a four-cylinder Firebird that would provide 34 miles per US gallon (6.9 L/100 km). GM executives decided that engineering effort would best be spent on aerodynamics and chassis development. They created a modern platform so that when engine technology advanced, they would have a well-balanced package with acceleration, braking, handling, and aerodynamics.
The Firebird and Camaro were completely redesigned for the 1982 model year, with the windshield slope set at 62 degrees, (about three degrees steeper than anything GM had ever tried before), and for the first time, a large, glass-dominated hatchback that required no metal structure to support it. Two concealed pop-up headlights, a first on the F-Body cars, were the primary characteristic that distinguished the third-generation Firebird from both its Camaro sibling and its prior form (a styling characteristic carried into the fourth generation’s design).
In addition to being about 500 pounds (230 kg) lighter than the previous design, the new design was the most aerodynamic product GM had ever released. Wind tunnels were used to form the new F-Body platform’s shape, and Pontiac took full advantage of it. The aerodynamic developments extended to the finned aluminum wheels with smooth hubcaps and a functional rear spoiler.
Firebird S/E (1982–1987)
Firebird Formula (1987–1992)
Firebird Trans Am