Ultra Rare 1987 Pontiac Tojan

This is a rarely seen Pontiac Tojan, a factory-backed aftermarket production that its supporters – like the seller – will describe as a production car, not a kit, despite being based on an F-body Firebird. That’s what’s underneath this example, with its swoopy bodywork and extreme flares, along with a “tuned” V8 engine under the hood. There was an actual conversation happening inside GM headquarters about how to build a Ferrari for the people when the Tojan was introduced, but it was a short-lived experiment with at most 300 cars being ordered. Find this convertible-bodied model here on craigslist for $25,000.

Now, I get why fans of the model will say it’s not a kit car. It certainly wasn’t conceived that way, with the custom bodywork and drivetrain doing their best to make the Tojan a standalone model. But at the same time, with an interior that is clearly lifted straight from a Firebird and the general proportions being hard to mask, I have a difficult time calling this a production line model. It’s somewhere in between, in my opinion, as without the Firebird underpinnings, the Tojan likely wouldn’t exist. Pontiac was willing to go along with the experiment provided they didn’t have to build an entirely new platform.

If it had been more successful, might GM have thrown some more weight and cash behind it? Probably. The background research indicates they were generally pretty serious about building a Ferrari beater. But if you base that interest on whether the public responds by placing thousands of orders, putting a test mule out there that looks just like an F-body inside is a great way to guarantee limited interest. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy if you put out a product that won’t appeal to Ferrari shoppers and then claim the Ferrari buyers not showing up is a reason not to build it. Anyway, the final tally estimates that just 150 cars were ever built, so it’s quite rare to find today.

All the fake wood trim in the world couldn’t hide the fact that this is otherwise a standard dashboard and fascia from a Firebird. Still, the Tojan got some worthwhile upgrades like Compomotive wheels (or Gotti, depending on who you ask), Recaro seats, a digital cluster, upgraded suspension, power disc brakes, and more. Still, it’s hard to ignore the standard GM ignition in the bottom of the frame here, and turning the key in an exotic like a 1980s Ferrari is a far different sensation than the one found in a base model domestic sedan. Some of these Tojans have sold for strong numbers at auction, but the $25K ask here for a car with a salvage title, dead A/C, and “slight hesitation in the transmission” seems like a long shot.

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Comments

  1. Cadmanls Member

    Cool looking Firebird drop top, but could understand the salvage title. Get in a fender bender and no replacement parts. Have to fix what you got.

    Like 5
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    And not one picture with the top up.
    Wait….does it even have a top?

    Like 10
    • Tom

      Ad says new convertible top … no pix because it must make the car even uglier.

      Like 26
  3. Haig L Haleblian

    If the Trojan fits, wear it. Yes I know it’s called a Tojan. Just couldn’t help myself. Sorry

    Like 28
    • Todd

      Pretty cool. Not something you see at the car shows

      Like 3
    • Frank

      Actually, it made me think of ToeJam.
      🤪

      Like 18
      • Stilbo

        You beat me to it

        Like 1
  4. Ralph

    Gosh this just makes the eyes hurt, a lot.
    This looks like the Vette under the hood line and front valance, the Brickland and Porsche 944 at the rear end and down the fender flared sides, the hood area looks like a cross between a Toyota Supra and RX Mazda…
    The dash looks like some Cadillac Cimmaron want to be with all the cheap crap looking fake woodgrain everywhere.
    I am grateful that this never caught on, can’t imagine having to look at these for 25 yrs till they all rusted away.
    I guess there was still some folks with common sense at Pontiac GM back then.

    Like 15
    • chrlsful

      built by committee. This is Y GM failed. Tooooo big a corporation.

      For me? just too long @hood, frnt fender to back, & the trunk. The curve at trunk onto tail lights is too bulbous, tail lghts set in is too deep. The 2nd jump for the hood (as seen frm frnt) is weird. And the air dam underneath it is weird.If that is package shelf on pass’s side I like that. Funky steer wheel tho. For me? this one demonstrates ‘rare is not desirable’.

      Like Ralph sez…

  5. Mutt

    Likely to be the only one at Tojans and Coffee…

    Like 10
  6. B-boy

    Who came up with that name?

    When you hear it, you think either Trojan or Toe Jam.

    Neither one is good.

    Like 30
    • stu

      Instead of Tojan, why not ass wipe?
      Couldn’t resists….

      Like 1
      • ChingaTrailer

        Many of us recognize and appreciate truly well thought out, insightful comments that reveal a keen intellect and superior cognitive skills . . . Thank you for sharing yours.

        Like 2
      • stu

        ChingaTrailer…..
        One sec, there was a bit of humor in my comment but as you can see from the majority of comments on this thing….
        Not Great!

  7. Will Fox

    “Ultra rare”…..and I can see why. Sorry; never have been a fan of kit cars of any type. All I see here is a back yard cobbled mess that doesn’t have any real value as anything ‘collectible’. It’s just a Firebird by any other name. And $25K for this is a dream I hope I never have. Pass.

    Like 13
    • Stan Hunt

      This is NOT a kit car, please do some research before trying to spread false information.. Thanks..

      Like 4
      • Don P

        Factory endorsed kit car. Is that better?

        What feature could beat a Ferrari? Maybe price?

        Like 10
  8. Tom

    One word describes this car – fugly

    Like 15
  9. 370zpp

    Nobody’s wife would want him to bring this thing home.
    I’m afraid it would simply rubber the wrong way.

    Like 27
    • Eletrik

      ha ha!!!!!!

  10. Superdessucke

    This vehicle is utterly ghastly.

    Like 5
  11. Tagg

    Yeah the car is not very attractive but it WAS designed/built in the 80’s so that makes perfect sense. The accompanying photos are basically terrible so we really can’t tell what it really looks like anyway. It’s actually very interesting once you know the model’s backstory and it’s most definitely collectible no doubt. I’m sure I wouldn’t spend $25k on it but I’m equally certain that some Pontiac guy (or girl) will.

  12. racer417

    Factory-backed? Any sources for this claim?

    Like 5
    • Apex ARC 8

      Yes it’s “factory backed,” as in the factory putting its boot in the posterior of the person who designed this mess on the way out the door!

      Like 1
  13. A.G.

    Blame or praise Roger Smith. GM went many different ways under his reign. Some were good and some not so much. He kept the General in the black.

    Like 1
  14. Clement

    What a mess!

    Like 3
  15. ChingaTrailer

    It’s funny, if the first few comments are negative, then everyone chimes in about how bad a car is, if the first few comments are positive, then everyone praises it. I think for myself and I like this ugly car. And for the record, a kit car is owner built from a kit of parts. Just being fiberglass or aftermarket doesn’t make it a kit kar!

    Like 8
    • MBorst

      It came as parts, that makes it a kit car ! Someone had to put this piece of crap together. That’s what it looks like. I owned a GTA the online nice about this car is the instruments which I had and the motor

  16. tompdx Member

    Definitely falls into the “never seen one” category for me, so that’s pretty cool in itself.

    Like 8
  17. uncle al

    …my wife never liked “Tojans”…she wanted three kids, so I was not allowed to wear one……oooooooops, I thought you said ” trojan ” …..

    Like 5
    • unclemymy Member

      This could be a good poster child for a condom company’s “Don’t Let This Happen to You!” promotion.

  18. Russell Ashley

    The side view looks pretty good to me, but I’m not loving the long front end. I noticed it was built by Knudson company. Wasn’t there a high up person at GM with that name? maybe that’s how it got built with a GM connection.

    Like 5
    • JoeBob

      Russell, you’re thinking of Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, 1912 – 1998, Pontiac general manager in the mid 50s and Chevrolet general manager in 1961 vice pres of GM in 1967, moved to Ford sometime around 1968.

      • Ike Onick

        Can we assume “Semon” wanted nothing to do with the “Tojan”?

        Like 1
  19. PairsNPaint

    Ugly then, ugly now.
    And Pontiac HAD a car that could have been a “Ferrari for the masses”. It was called the Fiero. Had GM fully developed it with a V8, Pontiac might still be around.

    Like 7
    • Scott L.

      The Fiero Mera of the same era as the Toejam was a far better execution, IMHO.

  20. Dale S.

    French’s mustard could purchase it, and slap their logo on the doors. They could use it as their promotional car.

    Like 1
    • Ike Onick

      Or slam it into the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.

      Like 2
  21. Jaker76

    These were built in Omaha Ne when I lived out there and they were ugly and not a large seller then and now! Major ugly and the extra cost for the fussy styling made for a boat anchor then and now!!! If I remember right the demo the builder brought over to our speciality dealership had a turbo or a supercharger on the tuned engine and it would go, but just wasn’t anything but a firebird with extra fiberglass panels!! Luckily they faded away!!!

    Like 1
  22. Marshall King

    When these were first introduced, I saw some at the New York Auto Show. They had two red ones and a black one. I didn’t mid them, thought they were different enough to be kind of cool, at the time. They looked better in person than in pictures, but as a Firebird fan, I preferred the stock Bird, especially for the money.

  23. Big Al

    That steering wheel is too fugly to touch,…I think if you rub it 3 times the car starts………?

  24. Big Al

    Fugly steering wheel,…rub it 3 times and car starts……..??

    Like 1
  25. Leslie Martin

    You have to be a “Trojan Man” to be seen in this thing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu_yhawKzkQ

  26. Lash

    Only GM…

    • stu

      I’ll tell you what’s happening with these big companies….

      Some big wig had an idea in his or her head as a kid that just wanted to see it in production….this is the result…
      no thought, planing, feedback, taking a second opinion, and this is the aftermath!
      Junk!!!

  27. stu

    Oh yeah, I forgot…..
    THE NAME TOJAN!
    Really…Seriously…really….
    Why would the think this name would catch on?

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