Special Seats: 1983 Firebird Recaro Edition

Ask most cars guys (and girls) and at least some of them will claim to have been distracted by a nice seat. I’m guilty – I have spent far too much time chasing sport seats in one configuration or another, from Recaros installed by the factory to simply generously-bolstered buckets of the no-name variety. Perhaps that’s why Pontiac created a Recaro edition of its classic 1983 Firebird, like this example here on eBay with an $8,900 Buy-It-Now. 

Of course, when you get down to it, Recaro supplied its classic sports seats to numerous manufacturers, from Volkswagen to Ford to Pontiac. And if you were really hankering for a set of these seats, it wasn’t too hard to find a supplier who would sell you a set. For Pontiac to sell a version of the Trans Am with a standard set of Recaros was indeed unique in the marketplace, but the buckets themselves were not all that exotic. Fortunately, this Firebird has remained in preserved condition throughout, so it’s not just the seats that look nice.

The body looks quite sharp, too, and black and gold is always a tasty combination. The turbine-style wheels look clean in matching deep-gold paint, and the seller claims that with only 900 or so ever made, few Recaro editions remain on the road that are as nicely preserved as this one. Frankly, I’ve never seen a Recaro Trans Am in the flesh, so I’m not inclined to dispute his feelings that this example stands apart. However, for the asking price, you are buying this car purely for the exclusivity and not much else.

Equipped with the 305 Crossfire V8 and an automatic transmission, acceleration will be leisurely. But at least you’ll be comfortable in those Recaros! All told, I used to be obsessed with these buckets, until I sat in the pair of Konigs I snagged out of a junkyard 2002 last summer. Now, those are comfortable seats that will keep you in place and not grow tiresome after a long drive. This is an interesting car for the Firebird / Camaro collector, but if I’m on the hunt for a limited edition model, make mine an ’88 Firebird GTA. What’s your favorite limited edition Firebird?

Fast Finds


  1. Curtis

    Certainly miss my black on black t-top 88 that I let go way to low & don’t see this car being worth $9,000 to me. Spending that much I’d look for an 88-92 or a 98-02 at an upcoming Mecum event.

  2. KevinW

    Bought an ’88 from my sister in law(now ex). She told me it probably needed a new battery. Well the price was cheap so I trailered home. That thing had the Worst electrical problems! All the dash lights and headlights would come on by themselves, and drain the battery. It was like it was possessed or something, haha. Sold it to a wrecking yard and was happy to lose money just to be rid of it!

  3. John Ferguson

    I will take back my loaded ’88 GTA with leather and 350 any day. And I had a GT ’87 Fiero which was even more fun!!!

  4. grant

    I can’t see one of these in this color without seeing my slot car set from when I was 10. With that said, I had a crossfire 305 in a Camaro (83 or 84) that I thought was pretty decent for such a small V8.

  5. Sukey

    Bc transit in Victoria Bc had GM new look buses with Recaro seats, they were very comfortable.

  6. Rock On Member

    The best 3rd generation Trans Am to get is the 1989 20th Anniversary model with the turbocharged Buick V-6 engine out of the Grand National.

    Like 1
  7. irocrob

    Looks like a good car but I think a little expensive. That crossfire had gremlins when new.

  8. Aergun

    in 1987 I had two identical cars (minus the recaro edition), same color, same engine that I bought at a police auction, one year apart. They weren’t the fastest thing on the road but plenty quick. Both cars looked to be identical but one was significantly faster. Never knew why. Didn’t know if a higher output version was available. Sold both before going off to college and got something more practical and better on gas.

    • Miguel

      Because they were made in Van Nuys California, there was a huge difference between a Monday car and a Wednesday car. I worked at a Chevrolet dealer in Burbank during the 1987 and 1988 model year and even on cars that were equipped exactly the same, there were huge differences in performance. When you trace back the day of manufacturer, you can see what day they were made.

      Also the day I took a tour of the Van Nuys plant, at the end of the line every Camaro started with no problem, but not one Firebird started. I don’t know why but that night that was the way it was.

  9. Rolf Poncho 455

    Nice but again my 73 455 is best

  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I’ve owned 2 cars that came with factory Recaros: an ’85 Merkur Xr4Ti and ’00 Audi S4. While they are good seats, a little on the hard side, I’m not sure that I would buy a car specifically for the seats.

  11. 427vette

    I personally like the Formula 350’s from 87-92. They have a clean “muscle car” look to them without all the extra bodywork of the 3rd Gen T/A, and with a Corvette Tuned Port Injection, are plenty quick. I just found this one here in Texas, still within 100 miles of where it was purchased new. Original owners kept it until 2013, and I got the original window sticker, sales order copy, and tax receipt with the car when I bought it. The Yellow was a Formula only color, and only offered for half the year in 88, so they are quite difficult to find. I was thrilled to have found this one in my backyard.

    • Miguel

      That looks like a great car. I hope you enjoy it.

  12. Miguel

    I am looking at this car to buy. It has gray leather seats in it, but I am not sure if they are original to this car. He wants about $3,000 US for the car which I don’t think is out of line.

  13. Miguel

    The same week I found the KITT looking car, about 100 miles away this car was offered for sale for about the same price. I can have KITT and KARR at the same time.

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