1000 HP Trans Am! 1999 Pontiac Firebird

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Few 20th Century cars look more ready to blast into space than the fourth and final generation Pontiac Firebird, especially the performance champion Trans Am. With a claimed 1000 HP on tap, this 1999 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am in Midland, Texas promises adequate thrust to hurtle you through time with a ferocity guaranteed to trigger your fight-or-flight reflex. After about 50,000 miles in stock form, the engine ingested enough water to require a rebuild, which led to all manner of wickedness including a 383 cubic inch stroked LS3 V8, twin turbochargers, intercooler and related piping, and engine management to match. Fewer than 1700 miles later it comes to market here on eBay Classifieds, where $24,900 wraps a straightjacket around all that crazy and parks it in your driveway.

LG Motorsports in Anna, TX got the call on this project, applying their extensive knowledge of GM tuning from the Corvette world to the stroked LS3, which first tested street tire grip in the 2008 Corvette. The engine management system offers six stages of tuning, the mildest delivering 750 engine HP on 93 octane pump gas. Level six enters the rarified four-digit realm at 1050 on 105 octane racing fuel. “That…,” to quote the late Keith Jackson, “…will wreck your parlor.”

The spacecraft styling continues at the rear, with the Trans Am taking everything a notch higher than the Firebird and Firebird Formula of the day. I’ve driven fourth-gen F-body GMs, and even in stock form they deliver prodigious torque. My 300 HP modified 2002 Buick Regal GS more than overpowered traction control, so be prepared; only your right foot and ninja reflexes will keep this 700+ HP monster between the ditches when the Boost Fairy swings her velvet-wrapped 2×4.

All-business black envelopes the pilot and passengers, only fitting for a machine capable of intense malice. Without aggressive acceleration or a Skip-Shift Eliminator, drivers will never see 2nd or 3rd gears when upshifting the six-speed manual gearbox. At least it’s not an automatic! Fans of relaxed cruising or the Silver State Classic Challenge might relish the 0.50 top gear on this two-overdrive T56.

Electronic exhaust cutouts let you set the Rumble-o-meter for the angry dispatch of, well, nearly any car under $100,000, or, say, taking Grandma to the dentist.

My first comment changing the spark plugs on my friend Michael’s 1997 Chevrolet Z28 (sibling to this Trans Am) was something like “Dude; half your engine’s under the dashboard.” Low-mounted turbochargers push the limits of already-constrained F-body packaging, but drop the hammer and you won’t have time to complain. How often would you let the crazy out if you owned this high-powered Trans Am?

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    This thing could be a ton of fun.

    Like 7
  2. angliagt angliagtMember

    For when 999 HP just isn’t enough.
    Some parent will probably buy this for their teenager
    who just got their license.

    Like 2
  3. Dan August

    Why us the handbrake lever up so high? Looks like it’s ready to launch a projectile.

    Like 3
  4. Stephen

    Skinny tires. Lack of suspension. 0 to 60 time. Traceable?

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      Even if this car has 1,000 horsepower it’s likely never been anywhere the business end of a drag strip. The vast majority of owners that throw out high horsepower numbers, especially at car shows, don’t have anywhere near what they claim. It’s just empty claims to impress people walking buy or their buddy’s, parked with them, who will never run their car at a track either.

      I ran Wednesday nights or worked tech at the local track for years, you very rarely see cars that actually have this level of horsepower. Even when one shows up, they often don’t run very well because the driver doesn’t know how to get it down the track. Unfortunately, they typically bring at least one of their buddy’s who will mercilessly rag on them, because they don’t want their friend to put up a quick number, fearing that would force them to run their car. Some owners with street cars would show up, there was this one guy with a really nice 56 that had a 800 hp Rehr Morrison, it was a “show” car without any requisite safety gear, like this Firebird, my friend teched the car and told him if it ran quicker than 11.50 or 130 he’d get a warning to slow it down, if he did it again they’d send him home. His first run he went 11.70’s at almost 140, his second it ran high-10’s with a slightly faster mph, (mph, is related to horsepower, it won’t vary much regardless of the ET). He was happy as could be, he just wanted a time slip so his buddy’s at the shows would shut up. The moral of this story is, if they have the horsepower they claim, they’ll go to the track and won’t care if the get kicked out. If they are poseurs, they won’t.

      Steve R

      Like 12
      • Todd FitchAuthor

        Hello Steve R. I’ve seen those “paper power” cars at shows as well. When I owned a powder coating company I’d setup my booth at a car show then walk around and chat with the owners before the crowds came in. One guy had a Shelby Mustang clone with a built 351W that he said was 500 HP plus a “500 Shot” of nitrous in the trunk. Add them together and you get 1000 HP! I know a local guy who can built you a dyno-verified 400 HP 351W once a week on the cheap, but 500 HP will cost you a ton more money, and the magic power-doubling nitrous system? That dog don’t hunt. Show me the dyno printout. That guy was sticking to his story, no matter what 95% of the people there though about it.

        Like 4
  5. BoatmanMember

    Great job, Todd!

    Like 4
    • Todd FitchAuthor

      Thanks, Boatman!

      Like 1
      • Tony Carter

        Todd, I’m looking at buying a car similar to this, (Camaro, Firebird, etc.) of a similar vintage, (’94 to 2000), any thoughts on what you think would be the better make/model/year to buy??
        Appreciate you thoughts buddy.
        Tony in Australia

        Like 2
      • Todd FitchAuthor

        Hello Tony Carter. I’m no expert, but personally I’d go with the 1998+ when they gain the LS V8, and you could consider the final year 2002 Firebird. My personal favorite is the Firebird Formula, sporty but without the flashy add-ons of the Trans Am. Six-speed manual of course. Collector-wise there are some specials like the SLPs and Camaro 1LE, but any 4th-gen can be made to corner great and go as fast as your budget will allow. If you want ABS, I believe it was optional, at least in the early years, and only on V8 cars as I recall. Good luck!

        Like 3
  6. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    This would no doubt be a furball on wheels and would turn in to a semi legal but maybe uncontrollable endorphin pusher! But IMHO the vintage of this ride would really necessitate a very thorough going over before turning all those ponies loose at one time.

    Todd, it’d be no surprise to some of us to find you’d run in the Silver State Challenge, and I’ll bet you’ve even driven the annual Virginia City Hillclimb on more than one occasion.
    Is this a car you would race in either, or what would you build?

    Like 2
    • Todd FitchAuthor

      Hey Nevadahalfrack. You are a keen observer! The SSCC is on my bucket list. Near the end of the last century, I started preparing a 1966 Dodge Coronet for “Touring Class,” where you simply average 105 or some reasonable MPH. Even the license plate kept with the Open Road Racing theme. Sadly the logistics of driving or transporting a car 2000 miles each way when I only had two weeks of vacation proved more than I could manage. Some day! Now I have to add the Virginia City Hill Climb to my list. Thanks!

      Like 6
      • angliagt angliagtMember

        I’m amazed that those events in this day & age.
        I’ve seen videos of Virginia City,& it’s totally INSANE!
        I’ve run hillclimbs in the NW US,& had a blast.
        They run one near my old home town – Korbell Hillclimb.
        There’s also the NHA (Northwest Hillclimb Association.
        North Carolina has an SCCA hillclimb too –
        Chasing The Dragon.

        Like 1
      • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

        The SSCC was the lifeblood for Ely’s economic survival more many, many years. The town is doing better now and yet they’re keeping it going👍🏻. As you know there are some absolutely insane vehicles that show up and many are actually driven there!
        Ditto with the VC Hillclimb, and now that the county has a newly elected sheriff that is a hardcore rat rod & Motörhead (2 & 4 wheels, especially sport bikes) we may see a resurgence in events like those up there.🤞🏻
        https://www.virginiacityhillclimb.com/

        Like 2
  7. BA

    Todd bravo sir on a well written & entertaining article that has me laughing & coming back for more ! The boost fairy with its velvet wrapped 2×4 is my nomination for Barn Finds best line of the year award ( There should be one) & when reading a article is almost as entertaining then the subject a 1000 horsepower Trans Am your on to something! Keep up the good work Todd

    Like 4
    • Todd FitchAuthor

      Thank you BA. Someone with the skills of the late Ken Block could do epic things with a car like this. I have to admit that’s not me, but I’d love to see the video on YouTube. Roll film!

      Like 2
  8. rich

    Seems like a decent deal. Motor alone is probably worth 10K, NO?

    Like 1
  9. Jay E.Member

    Ad says the title is clean, but the descriptions says the car was totaled by the insurance company (salvage title?) An interesting ride for sure. Hope it is pointed straight when the turbo’s light up.

    Like 0
  10. Patrickj

    Curious about the radiator hose. In the center of the turbo.

    Like 1
  11. Rod Lustila

    Driving this around ,how could anyone not have a permanent smile on their face!

    Like 0
  12. Scotty GilbertsonStaff

    Great post, Todd! I agree about the velvet-wrapped 2×4, that’s a keeper, nice work!

    Like 2
  13. Howie

    I clicked on seller’s other items, over 1,000 items listed and it looks like all vehicles!!

    Like 5
  14. GIJOOOE

    OOOOHHH MMYYYY GOD this T/A is right up my alley. There’s a gas station near me that sells 106 octane race gas for around $10 a gallon, but honestly 750hp on 93 is more than enough to make me happy. I have a dream of flying out west, buying something like this T/A and making a vacation of driving it home to upstate New York, maybe some day it’ll happen. I absolutely love 4th gen Camaros and Firebirds, and this one has enough miles that I wouldn’t feel guilty about driving it every day the weather is nice enough. God forbid you get caught in the rain in something like this, though. I know from experience that even the lightest breath on the throttle will send you ‘round in circles, so keep it in the garage on rainy days!

    Like 3
  15. Tony Carter

    Todd, thanks for the advice on the Firebird/Camaro, I have to sell my 1998 supercharged Jaguar XJR first but will definitely take your thoughts into consideration when choosing which car to buy.
    Tony C.

    Like 2
  16. JC

    This car has been on ebay for a really long time selling FSBO through a broker…

    Like 1
  17. SirRaoulDuke

    Twin turbskies, hell yeah brother, someone call Cleetus.

    Like 1
  18. josh

    I actually ended up buying this car! The guy selling it was using a third-party service to broker it for him. Their terrible writing of the ad ended up with me getting one heck of a deal since most people never reached out to him. If you have questions about it, fire away! It is an incredible machine

    Like 3
    • Todd FitchAuthor

      Congratulations josh! Glad you’re pleased with the purchase. I’ve only driven the stock version of this generation F-body, and it was quite satisfying, and I can only imagine 500+ HP in the same chassis. We’d love to hear how it works in normal driving, or any numbers you might get from a dyno or a run down the quarter mile. Happy motoring!

      Like 0
      • Josh

        Sure thing! The car came with about $60k in build receipts from LG motorsports dating back to 2008. It is truly museum mint condition inside and out. Hands down cleanest f body I’ve ever seen. Full interior, big stereo, AC, cruise, it’s just so well done. Since I bought it I’ve added a CarPlay head unit and some weld wheels with new tires; the old tires were from 2012. I have dyno sheets from LG on low boost and 93 octane and it was spinning on the dyno while laying down over 700whp. The best part about this car is it drives absolutely like a stock trans am until you get in boost about 3200rpm. Then it takes off like a rocket. It will spin the tires at 70mm with EASE

        Like 3
      • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

        Right on, Josh!! Give a feature story about this sceamin’ machine when you have a chance.
        And give us a heads up too if you’re doing the SSCC!!!

        Like 0

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