16k Original Miles: 1989 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

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While Firebirds and Trans Ams aren’t exactly a car you’d call “pretty,” it’s entirely appropriate with this gorgeous 1989 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 listed for sale with just 16,783 original miles. The seller notes it is spotless inside and out, with original features preserved and seemingly no obvious flaws. The color combination of what looks like Flame Red over gold mesh wheels is about as good as it gets, showing that once again, it’s hard to go wrong with gold. The Trans Am comes with the numbers matching 5.7L “Tuned Port” engine and lots of other desirable factory options. Find it here on craigslist for $23,900.

The tinted taillight panel is one of my favorite design features of a Trans Am from this era, and a detail I wish would come back into style. The paint work is gorgeous, with no signs of bumper bashing or other flaws; clearly, this Pontiac was kept as a collector’s item from Day 1. This, to me, makes way more sense than attempting to preserve a pace car replica for the long term: there are likely far fewer original Formula WS6 cars like this in similar condition simply because it wasn’t viewed as collectible when it was new. Now, try and find one as nice as this – I’ll wait. Meanwhile, you can likely find a half-dozen pace cars of different generations with this kind of mileage.

The interior is immaculate, as you’d expect, and certainly a welcome sight considering how vulnerable that tan upholstery would be if left unprotected. The Pontiac retains all factory controls, including the original radio headunit, along with a full assortment of features like power windows, locks, mirrors; leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with stereo controls; power lumbar seats; and cruise control. The plastic trim remains in spotless condition and the bolsters on the bucket seats show no obvious signs of wear. While a manual gearbox would make it even sweeter, it’s not enough of a detriment to pass up on a clean Formula WS6 like this.

The WS6 performance package was essentially a marketing gimmick, but it had some real upgrades made to the chassis. These included lower, firmer springs, and thicker sway bars. Four wheel discs were sometimes included as part of it, and it also got you the unique mesh wheels seen here. These improvements certainly made handling sharper, and some owners even felt it actually improved the ride quality. Regardless, this one will likely feel as tight as it did the day it left the showroom, as it looks to remain in near-perfect condition. And with the asking price, it seems like a far smarter buy than a pricy pace car.

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  1. Matt

    This is a GTA with the WS6 package, not a Formula WS6. In fact there’s no such thing as a Formula WS6 because all of the suspension components of the WS6 package came standard on the Formula. Although the GTA was top trim in 1989, the Formula was faster as it weighed about 300 pound. The fastest 1989 Firebird though was actually the very much underrated turbo Trans-Am.

    Like 20
    • PRA4SNW

      Yeah, not sure how the word “Formula” made it into this article. The original CL ad does not mention it.

      Like 2
  2. Jcs

    Beautiful car. These things drove great. I special ordered a black on black one (not fond of the grey or the saddle interiors) equipped exactly like this new in 89 which was stolen in 92 and I have never seen another with black guts since. The L98 was a strong runner with a very broad torque curve, 345 lb-ft. peak, underrated IMO. Many dynoed at 365 or better.

    WS-6 was far from a marketing gimmick, not sure what you mean by that, Jeff. The option was full of equipment bundled together that added tremendous value and increased performance as well as markedly improved fun to drive factor. Not much out there that could get away from it in the twisties.

    1989 was certainly not a banner year for muscle but these were definitely at the top of the list at the time.

    This one on offer looks great, I like the red even better than the black, and certainly easier to keep clean. The seller is just a tad proud on the price but rightfully so. He just might get very close to it.

    Like 15
    • jwzg

      Hated to restate a lot of what you said, but wanted to clarify what made these special. The black interior was uncommon, for sure. The only knock on the L98 in these was that intake was restricted a bit more, so power was just short of the Camaro and Corvette versions.

      Like 2
    • MG

      Had a 91 Black on Black no t-tops. Was my Favorite of all my cars. Would love e to have it back. Hard to find.

      Like 1
  3. jwzg

    I’m rarely publicly critical of articles, but this one is not well written starting with “numbers-matching 5.7L”, as these engines weren’t matched to a serial number. Second, the only way to get the manual was by downgrading to the 305, which made the heavier GTA a bit of a turd in the performance department, so “sweeter” is in the eyes of the beholder. Third, this isn’t remotely a Formula which had far fewer options. Fourth, the WS6 package wasn’t just a gimmick it included:

    – 16x8rims, 245-50ZR16 Tires (different offset, IIRC)
    – Gas filled Struts and shocks
    – 36mm front 24mm rear sway bars
    – Fast Ratio Steering box
    – Specific Springs

    The WS6 cars were noted for being the second-best handling domestic car (just behind the Corvette and even better than the Z28).

    I love this website, and you guys normally do a fantastic job. Just doing my best to keep you honest here.

    Like 25
  4. Erik Tisher

    Looks like Dwight Schrute’s car

    Like 7
    • banjo

      I was gonna ask if there was a flyer for Shrute Bed and Breakfast in the glovebox! hahaha. That aside this is a nice car and you might even be able to have people pay to take their picture with it at a Comi-Con.

      Like 2
  5. Fred

    beeeeeeutiful car sheeeeesh Yup I agree love those tinted back lights

    Like 2
  6. J_PaulMember

    Granted, I was 15 in 1989 so this is going to hit a nostalgia sweet spot by default. But damn, the design of this has aged really well.

    Like 3
  7. Superdessucke

    These GTAs took a lot of heat back in the day. Gearheads looked down on them. They were considered to be flashy, heavy and bloated. Performance guys would buy the Formula or an IROC with this same drivetrain, or an LX 5.0.

    Still, with hindsight, they looked great, and truthfully, none of these cars are even close to top tier compared to modern performance cars. So why not?

    Like 2
  8. Erik

    Not pretty? They are gorgeous. Pretty sorry overview in general from Barn Finds on this one. Any other year, I’d blame it on a Christmas party caused hangover.

    Like 4
    • ADM

      One writer said the ’66-67 Chargers were ungainly. Couldn’t disagree more.

      Like 3
  9. JC

    Hagerty has this car at $18600 @ #2 (Excellent condition)… very few cars are rated #1 and sold on Craigslist… its a nice car but I doubt he will get his asking price… I’d be interested at 15k… I sold a very nice 87 GTA with 52k miles on it 4yrs ago for $5800.00… and the GTA badges should be a clue that this car is NOT a Formula, smh.

    Like 3
  10. Roger h

    Its not a formula its a GTA trans am they all came with the gold flake rims no matter what color GTA it was and only that model ive owned 2 GTAs an 87 and 89 still have the 89 for 24yrs now and I had an 86 trans am not a GTA back in 87/88

    Like 1
  11. Ron

    I bought one like this for my wife in 1990, except with a gray interior, it was a great car, we both loved driving it.

    Like 1
  12. md

    I like the car, and I like the tan interior. Just wish it had t tops (i know others will disagree). Much better looking than the notchback on bat the other day imo.

    Like 1
  13. Sal

    The weight difference between the GTA and the lighter Formula was not 300 lbs, more like 100-150 similarly equipped. I owned A Formula and a T

    Like 1
    • Sal

      Trans Am. Weighed them both at the track. Weight difference really came down to plastic cladding, and it doesn’t weigh that much.

      Also, you could get a manual if you ordered the 5.0 TPI. Which was no slouch. Only 10 less hp than the 5,7, and still 300 lbs of torque. The gearing made up some of that torque difference too.

      Like 0

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