Barclay Brown: 1981 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am

Originally, the second generation of Pontiac Trans Ams came in only two colors – Polar White and Lucerne Blue – in 1970. By the end of the run in 1981, the Trans Am was available in several different colors including this unique Barclay Brown. This 1981 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am is for sale here on eBay. The car is located in Butler, Pennsylvania. With 7 days remaining in the auction listing, the car is bid to $22,800. There are aftermarket performance options for these cars sold by TTA Performance in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

While the Turbo Trans Am horsepower numbers looked good on paper, the torque from the motor came at higher RPMs than earlier cars and the quarter mile took 2 seconds longer than the W72 400 cubic inch V8 equipped Trans Am produced just 2 years earlier. Pontiac rated the engine at 200 horsepower in 1981. The engine compartment looks to be very well detailed and completely stock, almost showroom. The air cleaner inlet has been replaced and use the W72 adapter to feed fresh air from the fender to the air cleaner.

Few cars were comparable to the 1970-1981 Trans Am and the interior was one area that was better designed than any other muscle car. With plenty of room, a engine turned bezel and velour seating, this Trans Am is well equipped with power windows, tilt steering, air conditioning, cruise control, power locks and a deluxe interior. This car was also ordered with the famous WS6 performance handling package. When this box was ticked, the owner received 15×8 wheels, fatter sway bars and tuned shocks.

This picture looks like it might have been taken a few years ago when the car was bought at a dealership but that is just a guess. The car looks to be in great condition inside and out. The selling ad states that only 800 Trans Ams were built in this unique brown color in 1981. The odometer reflects only 45,621 miles.

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  1. SubGothius

    Interesting rendition of the Screaming Chicken on the hood, don’t think I’ve seen quite that variant before.

    Like 2
    • Jimmy

      That is how the turbo TA chicken looked.

      Like 8
  2. Mike

    The screaming chicken varied on each year model & that one was what the factory offered in 81.

    Like 3
  3. James427

    Had one that was exactly like it in the early 80’s. Girlfriend was driving it and it was T-boned hard on the passenger side and with the T-tops it folded like a banana and was totaled. About ten years later I get a call from Alabama state patrol telling me they have found my stolen car! I was tempted to go down and get it, but I suspected there was another stolen car hiding under my totaled car’s VIN tag so I told them the story and they checked. Sure enough, it was a stolen car retagged with my car’s vin info.

    Like 9
  4. Ralph

    Back in the day I worked for a company that did the “factory” t tops in Texas.
    We would have to install adjustable spreader bars in the door openings of these, (and all cars) before the roof was cut off. If that step was not done the cars would literally fold into themselves. I had seen cars brand new that were totaled out from this issue.
    I never wanted a T top after seeing how weak the bodies really were.
    Even saw a few after the accidents, the T top structure would literally pop loose from the windshield header and roof area in back edge of the T top frame.
    With the T tops, these were literal death traps. They had the structural integrity of a 7 UP can, very unsafe…
    And by this time the front end styling of the Firebirds was really hard to look at. GM seemed to have very little imagination by the late 70s when it came to body styles, or design workmanship…I bid tree fiddy. These were Loch Ness monsters.

    Like 3
    • Gary Rhodes

      Ralph, GMs crappy styling continues to this day. I have a 2006 GMC pick up and it is the last GM product I like.

      Like 2
  5. Gary Rhodes

    I worked at a Pontiac, Cadillac, Honda dealer back then. When we prepped them we test drove them if course. Absolutely gutless. A V6 Fiero would out run them

    Like 3
  6. JBD

    These turbo TAs have potential with modern turbo upgrades. Years ago I remember cracked hot side exhaust manifolds and typical cheap GM build quality.

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