Rare Notchback: 1988 Pontiac Trans Am GTA

The notchback Pontiac Trans Am GTA is a true rarity among 1980s muscle cars, combining a custom rear hatch section with the traditional Firebird looks. You’d be forgiven if you didn’t notice the subtle tweak out the back, which deletes the rear glass canopy in favor of a buttress of sorts to emulate the notchback design. This GTA may have 140,000 miles but it remains in excellent condition. Find it here on craigslist for $8,500.

I’m always surprised these don’t command a higher price, just for the rarity alone. The seller notes that Pontiac made just 624 Notchback GTAs, and I doubt that many still survive. Of course, many enthusiasts found the notchback body off-putting, so it may be a case of rarity alone not driving a higher selling price. Regardless, red over gold will always look good.

Besides the rarity factor, the best feature of this notchback GTA has to be the interior. I’m personally shocked the craigslist listing makes no mention of an interior refresh, as it seems way too nice for the miles. The notchbacks featured a novel rear seat setup, consisting of rear buckets with dedicated headrest cushions.

The seller notes the 5.7L L98 engine is the same one found in a Corvette, and that the four-speed automatic transmission shifts well. Air conditioning works, too, which is a pleasant surprise (though, the seller lives in Phoenix, so perhaps it shouldn’t be). Overall, for a rare but not hugely valuable (yet) Trans Am, this looks like a potentially smart way to enjoy a well-preserved GTA with a potential upside due to the limited notchback production.

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Comments

  1. TimS Member

    Maybe a tad bit overpriced and maybe not. I love Pontiac F-bodies and the uniqueness of the notchback. Despite not being a fan of red, many more miles could be put on this car, and if it were green or blue I’d probably do evil things to get it.

    Like 3
  2. Dirtyharry

    I can see this making sense in the desert. That huge rear glass reminds me of what we first said about the Barracuda, “ass under glass.” I had many F body cars and was always tinting the back glass just so the AC could keep up. Also used T-top shades, so my head didn’t cook. I think it looks good and made for a literally cooler ride. But it was done just to spice up these models. I am a fan of TPI cars, they were a big leap forward on a very old engine design. The TPI cars were the last of the basic original small blocks replaced by the LT1, with a different basic design.

    Like 2
  3. Sal

    I think I might actually like it better. From a direct rear shot, it looks slightly exotic.

    Like 2
  4. Copocamaro

    You could buy those from an aftermarket company back then as well.

    Like 7
  5. Steve

    I never realized that the notchback was available from the factory. Makes me wonder if the few I saw were factory or aftermarket installs.

    This looks to be a very well taken care of car, especially with 140k miles! (The kind of car that sellers like to try and represent as being 40k instead of 140k… I wonder if the third gen f body had six digit odometers… )Judging from the “over paint” on the SPID label, t looks like there is evidence of paintwork and/ or collision repair. I thought that paint looked too shiny to be 30 years old!

    Like 3
    • John

      Hi Steve, having had a few of these 3rd gen T/A’s back in the day, I can confirm the odometer was six digits.

  6. Vin_in_NJ

    There were aftermarket companies that made a notchback for the F-bodies, but this one seems to be the real deal

    http://www.gtanotchback.com/what-is-gta-notchback.html

    Like 2
  7. CanuckCarGuy

    I like the hatch conceptually, but fitment is spoiled by that gap on the hatch/body marriage. As an aside, I saw a Dodge Daytona for sale with a similar hatch the other week…had no idea they also existed for the Mopars.

  8. AndyinMA

    Yes just yes. Great color combo, great wheels.

    Like 1
    • Ron Persechini

      No fan of f bodies , but I gotta say I really like these notchback GTA,s Back in the day it was between this and a designer T type regal I ended up with the regal

  9. afterburner6794

    I owned an ’84 Z28, and always liked the looks of these notchback TA’s. My odometer only had 5 digits, but then again my speedo only went to 80mph as it was split with kmh. BTW, that car was a dog, way down on power. Was always jealous of the slightly newer TPI F-Body cars. Either way, this is my generation’s “muscle” car, so I have a soft spot for them. This one is beautiful.

    Like 1
  10. Andy

    I much prefer the notchback to the bubble glass. I have always thought the bubble glass was ugly.

    Like 1
  11. Jim

    The owner swapped out the original seats for some 4th gen seats.

    Like 1
    • JR

      I was wondering the same thing looking at those seats and saying wow they look really good for their age and then realizing they are about 15 years younger than the car!

    • Jon

      Um, nope. Those are stock GTA seats.

      Like 1
  12. TheGasHole

    Wow….yet again you find a car that i never knew existed! Have always liked the GTAs and the notchback seals the deal. Now if I can locate a lower mileage example…….

  13. S

    I used to own this exact car and still have the service parts sticker that was located in the console.
    I had the car repainted due to major sun fade, not damage.
    I also had the front seats done at a shop in Scottsdale using a kit from Hawks made from marine grade vinyl as leather wasn’t available at the time. Those are the factory seats, very comfy.
    The AA8 rpo code is for the notchback.
    Those seats luckily were also used in the 87-92 turbo Trans Ams or there wouldn’t be a kit.
    It was a fun car.

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