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1-Of-150 Motor Sport Edition: 1983 Pontiac Trans Am

Pontiac produced a number of limited-edition versions of its Trans Am over the years, but it was external companies that rolled out cars in truly low numbers. Some of these vehicles have become well known and desirable classics, while others have been more obscure. This 1983 Trans Am is a Motor Sport Edition, and these were produced by Mecham Racing. This one is an original survivor, although it is now looking tired. Someone will have to choose whether to treat it to a cosmetic refresh or retain its survivor status. It is located in Gillette, Wyoming, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $5,600 in what is a No Reserve auction.

The Motor Sport Edition (MSE) was built by Mecham Racing between 1982 and 1986, and it sold in ever-decreasing numbers throughout its production life. The 1983 model year saw 150 cars roll out of the factory, and this car is #123. It is finished in a combination of Red and Silver. Cosmetically, the MSE package brought unique front and rear spoilers, along with special alloy wheels, a rear louver, and special decals. The only one of these features that is missing is the louver, but the spoilers and wheels are present and in good condition. The decals, like the paint, are now looking very tired, and a cosmetic refresh is undoubtedly warranted. However, the majority of the paint is said to be original, which might prompt someone to preserve the car as an unmolested survivor. The panels sport a few dings and marks, but there are no rust problems to address. The vehicle features a glass T-Top, and this seems to be in good condition. A look at the interior reveals no signs of leaking seals.

Powering the MSE is the standard 305ci HO V8, which produces 190hp. This is backed by a 5-speed manual transmission. The drivetrain is all standard Pontiac equipment, although the package did include a functional ram air induction system. It also included Koni shocks and struts, urethane suspension bushes, along with a 1″ lower ride height. The Pontiac has come in for some recent mechanical work, which should help stand it in good stead. This includes a full fluid flush, all new hoses, a new fan, and a new thermostat. The owner does admit that the Trans Am will run warm on hot days with the A/C running, so that is something to consider. The car rolls on a fresh set of BF Goodrich tires. The owner doesn’t indicate how well the MSE drives, as it has only been moved on and off a trailer since the work was completed. Included in the sale is PHS documentation on the vehicle.

The interior of the Pontiac presents reasonably well, and it has received a bit of recent work. The seats have all been treated to new covers, while a fresh headliner has been installed. The dash is in good condition, as is most of the remaining plastic and the carpet. There appears to be an issue with the console lid, so a replacement might need to be found. As well as air conditioning, the Pontiac is equipped with power windows and power locks. Looking around the interior reveals a few more of the unique MSE components. These include a dash insert, a numbered plaque on the console, a unique leather-wrapped wheel, and a 170mph Mecham Racing speedometer. Most of these items are in good condition, although the leather on the wheel looks quite aged. It isn’t clear whether this could be revived or whether it would need to be fully restored.

Mecham Racing produced the Motor Sport Edition for two reasons. The first of these was to celebrate the organization’s success in the 1982 SCCA Trans Am Series. In a similar approach to that of Enzo Ferrari, they also used the sale of the model to raise funds for their racing effort. Sales results were probably indicative of their success in the Trans Am Series because after selling 500 cars in their first year, the 1983 model year saw 150 cars find new homes. The following years saw the number drop to around 50 vehicles, while the final years saw numbers fall even further. Mecham Racing could see no financial benefit in maintaining production, so the MSE was quietly axed. Some of these third-part modified Trans Ams can command a premium over a standard vehicle, but the presence of the MSE package doesn’t make a huge difference here. The low production numbers mean that they don’t hit the market very often. When they do, excellent examples sell for around $10,000. That means that these are more of a motoring curiosity today than a highly-sought classic. Still, if the bidding stays low, it might not be a bad buy.


  1. jeffro

    170 m.p.h. speedo? That was good for a giggle. Decals must of added an extra 300hp!

    Like 15
  2. Vin_in_NJ

    These are stock wheels. MSE only changed the plastic center caps,

    Like 7
  3. michael h streuly

    Nothing to see here move along.

    Like 8
    • Ryan Snaidauf

      Drive one and report back on that statement

      Like 1
  4. Classic Steel

    It has an extra pedal at least 👍

    Not desirable to me but it has all the bells with ram air .

    The overheating could be as simple as thermostat needs replacing. The radiator could need boiled out at the radiator shop.

    If that didn’t work check if it has a radiator fan then check if functional. If no radiator then add one to solve problems.

    I guess with that high speedometer one could go out west in cooler temps and wind it out for about 25 miles to bury the speedometer 😂👀👀👀😂

    Like 2
  5. brianashe

    It’s funny that GM made an unlimited number of “limited editions” in the ’70s and ’80s.

    Like 2
  6. Mitchell Gildea Member

    That spoiler tho

    Like 4
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      Was gonna say…. Can’t remember ever seeing one like that on any GM car. Reminiscent of the ones Saleen installed on Mustangs in the 80’s.

      Like 2
      • Ryan Snaidauf

        Saleen copied Mecham.

        Like 0
      • Ryan Snaidauf

        Saleen copied. He raced for Dennis Mecham in 1982-1983. Stole everything he did from MSE. Look at the first 84 Saleen car and a loaded 82 MSE. All becomes clear.

        Like 0
  7. 200mph

    Dennis Mecham made a good effort trying to become Pontiac’s “Shelby”. He modified road cars and won Trans Am series races and the championship. Pontiac maintained an arms length relationship though, while helping with parts and engineering support.

    That rear wing became a Pontiac parts counter option, IIRC.

    Like 1
    • mike

      I built everyone one of those cars from day 1. until they went out of business

      Like 2
      • Ryan Snaidauf

        Mike, find me on the 82-86 MSE owners page on Facebook. I’m the Admin

        Like 0
  8. Ron p

    I don’t think it would do 170 if you drop it out of a plane

    Like 1
  9. Gus Fring

    …and, it’s “Motor Sports Edition”, not “Sport”.

    Like 0
  10. lynn finlayson

    well, i cut up a 1987 blue trans-am GTA, with tune port HO 305, 4L60. was under a pile of junk, in a friends junk yard. was abandon. i kept the motor, trans, wiring, seats and rims. going to use the rims under a future project. would post a photo, but dont see anyplace to click to post..

    Like 0
  11. Phlathead Phil

    Even at $10,000.00, it’s a better buy than the ‘87 Choo, Choo El Camino.

    Like 0
  12. Ryan. S

    I was the one who purchased the car. MSE cars are quite possibly some of the best Thirdgens you could buy back in the day, and even now. Out of the box, they came with a handful of suspension mods under the Talon suspension option (koni yellows, front end reinforcement bars, LCA straps, lowering springs). This car has an L69 with the MSE Git-kit (headers, Upgraded carb). New the car most likely was sitting around 240 hp. Which in 1983 was a respectable number. You see a lot of mixed emotions with these cars. Understandable. But just remember. MSE did all this before SLP, and before Saleen. As for Saleen. Steve was on the Mecham race team back in the day, and Denis built a racing foxbody mustang In 1981. The Saleen mustang spoiler, decal placement, and suspension mods look a hell of a lot like the 82-86 MSE cars dont they? Weird huh? The dude copied.

    Like 3
    • Jconger

      I owned the #120 car from 1983. It’s to bad these folks never drove one. Really cool car in need of horsepower upgrade. Even with the “get kit” 305ho it was a strong runner. I pulled the cat on mine and installed a 120 shot of NOS. With those up grades it was a fast car. Where this car shined was handling. The Talon suspension worked really well!

      Like 2

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