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3,600 Mile 1981 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo!

This 1981 Pontiac Trans Am NASCAR Edition was purchased from the original owner in 2019 and it has accumulated only 3,600 miles since new! Located in Tallahassee, Florida, the car is listed for sale for $60,000 here on Facebook Marketplace. The car has been cleaned up since removing it from the barn and is said to still smell new inside. The car comes with its factory paperwork and everything is original except the battery, tires, plugs, and fluids. This was the first year for the computer-controlled engine and the carburetor has been rebuilt.

When I was in high school, my parents took a vacation and left their 5 sons at home. They probably need a break! The sitters that stayed with us were a young couple and the husband was in the last months of med school. I was a year away from buying my first Trans Am but my older brother had a 1976 Trans Am that mesmerized me.

After school one day, I drove home with my twin brother and there in my driveway sat a new 1981 Pontiac Trans Am NASCAR Edition just like this one. The husband had gone to the Pontiac dealer that day and drove it off the lot. It was my first ride in a Recaro equipped Trans Am. I was in love!

The 1981 Turbo Trans Am delivered 200 horsepower from its turbocharged 301 cubic inch V8 engine and ran the quarter-mile in about 16 seconds. The NASCAR edition was the only 2nd generation Trans Am to be equipped with Recaro seats from the factory. I later bought a 1979 W72 400 4 speed Trans Am and fitted it with aftermarket Recaro seats because they were simply the best on the market at the time.

While I never got to drive the car that day in high school, I did ride in it and, to this day, I think it is one of the most beautiful Trans Ams built. I now own a 1981 NASCAR Edition Trans Am with 55k miles and it is has been modified by TTA Performance (TTA Number 3). If you want a practically brand new 1981 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am NASCAR Edition, this might be your only chance!


  1. Pat L Member

    Sorry Bruce, for $60,000 there are so many more cars that I would choose over this. I’m thinking $30-35,000 max.

    Like 30
    • Bruce Johnson Bruce Staff

      I agree that it’s overpriced. It’s probably worth $30k in my opinion

      Like 10
      • Ike Onick

        That is a lot of money for a pair of Recaro seats.I would put my $30K towards something worth driving. I won’t bore the BF crowd, but I can think of 100 cars off the top of my head I would consider before this car would even cross my mind.

        Like 3
  2. Mitchell Gildea Member

    It’s nice but not $60K nice. I agree with Pat L. 30-35K max

    Like 14
    • Bruce Johnson Bruce Staff

      I’d rather have a car I can drive and enjoy. I paid $25k for my car plus the mods

      Like 6
  3. flmikey

    For 60K I can buy 3 of the Cobra’s featured earlier today…and have enough left over for the Dart, also featured earlier today…now, just gotta dig up the 60,000 clams….nice T/A but way overpriced…

    Like 18
  4. Arby

    200HP from a turbo 5L V8?

    That chicken isn’t screaming, it can barely squawk…

    Like 26
    • Angrymike

      I drove one of these when they were new, I had a 340 Road At the time. What a dog, I think my 86 Monte Carlo SS had more balls than this slug !

  5. Jack M.

    I know that yours has had some improvements done to it Bruce. I took a Turbo Trans Am out for a test drive back in the 80’s, it lit up all of the lights in the hood but performance was way less than my 1978 Z28.

    Like 6
    • Bruce Johnson Bruce Staff

      Jack, you’re right. From the factory these were dogs. TTA Performance dyno’d a stock motor at 170 hp. With TTA Performance mods they’ve gotten as much as 350 hp. It makes it much more fun to drive

      Like 3
  6. JoeNYWF64

    It would look a lot nicer if it had a ’70-73 nose, hood, & rounder wheel flares. Makes no sense(time for greed?) that you had to get a/c to get the turbo motor. For all prior years with big motors, you could order heavy duty cooling without a/c.

    Like 3

    The disco era was as sexy and wild as it got. Sadly the de-clawed cars of the late 70s into the 80s for the most part just never inspired lust in my heart. Ain’t
    no buyers at 60K…and whoever does take it home is sure to give that puppy a serious horsepower upgrade .My cargo van that I haul tools around in…pumps out 280hp from a six banger.

    Like 5
  8. Skorzeny

    Hot Rod magazine got a stock 6 liter LQ4 LS motor up to 1482 hp under 28.5 pounds of boost before a stock rod failed, so the 200 hp stock pales a bit. But that’s technology for ya.. This car is gorgeous, and you can have whatever you want under the hood.

    Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      I wouldn’t try that with many big pontiac motors that had CAST factory rods. lol

  9. Bob C.

    A friend of mine bought the same car, only it was red. It was two years old at the time with the 301 turbo. It didn’t take long for him to become disenchanted with it and he traded it in about a year later.

    Like 3
    • Dan Bayne

      I bought a new one also and the turbo waste gate gave out so quickly. Love the style, just no power!

  10. Jwzg

    I would love to see the pictures of the engine as well as the undercarriage. I wouldn’t pay 60 for it if you parked a Brinks truck in my driveway, but it would be a pretty cool car to cruise around in.

  11. TOM S

    Bought this exact car right off the showroom floor car looked wonderful turned heads everywhere neat recaro seats dash lights glowed red but that car was so slow it was embarrassing stayed in shop all the time always thought I should have kept but now that I see it again glad its gone just sayin.

    Like 4
  12. B-ryan

    My Chevy Cruze is running over 200 with mods obviously and would eat that in the 1/4

    • JoeNYWF64

      Where’s the 2 door Cruise (successor to the Cobalt)?
      Young single people should not have to drive 4 doors!
      Wouldn’t be caught dead in 1 in the ’70s.
      Car makers today should be ashamed of themselves, considering ALL american cars(big & small) prior to the ’76 seville were available as a 2 door. & subcompact pinto,vega, &gremlin were only avail as 2 doors – even the wagons!
      & there were plenty of car commercials back then for young single people drivin 2 doors. Today? ONLY for families.

  13. Superdessucke

    I believe this was the first Trans Am to wear Recaro seats.

    Like 2
  14. Mtavant

    These really were meant to be something more from the factory..we knew a GM development guy who said the computer limited boost and a higher rear end gear due to emissions really neutered these cars, the development mules had over 300hp

    Like 3
  15. Jerry C

    I had the ’80 Pace Car version of this. It’s a show car, barely a sleeper. And when the turbo goes out, like it did in mine, then the show’s over. These are pretty when cleaned up, and fun to drive with the t-tops off. This one is way overpriced. I think $30k is still too much also. $20k tops for me, regardless of the seats.

    Like 2
  16. Vincent Sgroi

    There are so many other cars to consider if you have 60k to spend on a collector car. A Turbo T/A in my opinion, is no that car. If you search the internet, you could find a C6 Corvette ZR1 for that kind of money

  17. Claudio

    The Government killed horsepower to save lives , it did work but the columbian cocaine did the job and sent many disco goers to their graves ! Dont Ask me how i know …
    Beautiful car but the seller is a drug user !

    Like 1
    • Ike Onick

      You have taken what may be an insurmountable lead in the “Most Whack BF Comment of 2020” contest. Well played.

      • Claudio

        Oh man , these disco years made us all really crazy …

  18. Mike Brown

    I just want to find a Turbo T/A parts car for its hood! I don’t have a Trans Am of ANY kind but I want that scoop for another project! I don’t even care if it has the back part where the lights are, I’m just looking for the scoop itself.

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