1969 was the first year for the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am model, which took the basic Firebird platform and pushed it towards the moon in both style and performance. There are lots of things to like about these cars, and this particular car has ‘em all.
The most obvious difference between a base model Firebird and the racy Trans Am is the styling. Pontiac designers added all the right elements in all the right places to make this car stand out. The nose features clean, body colored headlight bezels and a narrow chrome bumper that doubles as the grille surround. Trans Am cars received their own special dual-snorkel hood with a functional ram air system to feed the 400 cube V8 all the fresh air it could handle. Functional air extractors are mounted on the fenders to help heat escape from under the hood… and these Pontiacs were capable of making some heat on the street!
The rear view is crowned by a sleek 2 pedestal rear spoiler that wraps down on the ends to follow the contours of the quarter panels, a look that is far more integrated than many bolt-on spoilers of the time.
In fact, all the Trans Am additions to the body appear “designed in” and not just added on, but one of the coolest features are the stripes. These cars were only available in Cameo White with two Tyrol Blue stripes that start at the nose of the car, and go up over the roof… then back down the rear deck ending in the solid blue tail panel. Now factory applied stripes were pretty unusual in 1969, especially stripes going over the roof of a car. The look is like nothing else on the road, and to me, this Firebird almost appears to have aerospace theme to the design.
And because these cars were all the same in appearance… you couldn’t get a green one with silver stripes, for example.. they have great uniformity, almost like the Air Force Thunderbirds for the street. You almost expect the driver to step out in a matching flight suit, helmet in hand and aviator shades in place. You don't just own a 1969 Trans Am, you’re a member of an elite street squadron.
Of course, the hairy Ram Air IV V8 and close ratio 4-speed make up the other half of this car’s awesome personality. And I have to tell you, I drove this car a bit, and it all lives up to the hype. The car has the right sound, the Hurst shifter feels great, and the suspension is smooth and tight. Trans Ams got stiffer springs and shocks, a bigger front sway bar, and this one rolls on Rally II wheels, although steelies and caps were standard. The car makes smooth power that pours on as you demand, and the Trans Am dashboard gauges keep you well informed of what’s going on under the long hood. This one has a matching blue interior with comfy bucket seats, and we dig the no-console look of the 4-speed stick on the floor. The car looks like a hero, and you feel like one when you drive it! From The Brothers Collection.
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1969 Pontiac Trans Am Ram Air IV Muscle Car Of The Week Video Episode 310 V8TV
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