Including road tests, media comments and published performance figures.

Compiled by Ron Kristin

Revised 2/11/1997

Major Articles-Test reports

AutoWeek, May 1, 1989
Speedway Rocket Sled
0-60 5.5 sec
"The rush as the car shot from legal highway speeds to 'you're going to jail, son' reduced us to giggles once."

Car Craft, December 1988-Volume 36 Number 12-pp. 94-95, 97
1989 20th Anniversary Pontiac Trans Am
0-60 5.4 sec, 1/4 mi 13.5@103 mph
"We feel its performance has set the high-water mark for the decade."

Car & Driver, October 1988-Volume 34 Number 4-p. 81
'89 New Cars-Pontiac Trans Am-Quick test
"...the turbo anniversary model (rated at 245hp but probably putting out more like 270) should be the quickest TA in the lineup."

Car & Driver, June 1989
20th Anniversary Pontiac Trans Am
0-60 4.6 sec, 1/4 mi 13.4@101mph
"This is a car for muscle-car mavens, pure and simple."

Hot Rod, November 1988-Volume 41 Number 11-pp. 90-91, 93
20th Anniversary Trans Am: Pontiac's Excitement Package
0-60 6.0 sec, 1/4 mi 14.21@97.8mph
"With all the power and handling you could ask for in a production performance car, it definitely qualifies as one of the absolute best buys of '89."

Motor Trend, March 1989-Volume 41 Number 3-pp. 50-52, 54, 55, 58
Pontiac 20th Anniversary Trans Am
0-60 5.4 sec, 1/4 mi 14.18@95.8 mph
"A drive in this killer Pontiac is the most fun you can have with your clothes on."

Popular Hot Rodding, March 1989-Volume 28 Number 3-pp. 62-64
King of the Hill
"It is with little doubt one of the finest super cars we've ever had the privilege to drive."

Road & Track, January 1989-Volume 40 Number 5-pp. 92-94
Pontiac Turbo Trans Am
0-60 5.3 sec, 1/4 mi 13.9@99.5 mph
"...this 20th-anniversary rocket can't decide whether to pace at Indy or enter."
"An excellent coupling of turbo engine and auto trans."

Turbo & Hi-Tech Performance, May 1989-Volume 6 Number 3-pp. 40-43, 63
White Heat-Pontiac's Turbo GTA: The New Pace In Performance
0-60 4.89 sec
"...we took a leisurely drive...overall performance was to say the least...impressive."

Other Major Articles

AutoWeek, May 15, 1989-Volume 39 Number 20-pp. 26-28, 30
Lapping Up Indy History
"Touring the Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and getting there in a Trans Am Turbo pace car both qualify as blasts from the past."

Cars Illustrated
Special Edition, Modern Musclecars-Volume 4 Number 3
Turbo Trans Am

Corvette Fever, October 1989
TTA vs. '89 Vette. Vette gets stomped, but remember whose magazine it is.

High Performance Pontiac, December 1989-pp. 16-18
GTO vs. GTA Shootout, Who's the Boss?
1/4 mi 13.74@101.8 mph

Motor Trend, June 1989-Volume 41 Number 6-pp. 42-47, 50, 54
Flat-out Fastest American Cars II-the Sequel
TTA does 162 mph at Arizona Test Center.

Motor Trend, November 1989-Volume 41 Number 11-pp. 42-46, 48, 52-55, 58-59, 62, 64, 66-68, 72, 76
Bang for the Buck
0-60 5.11 sec, 1/4 mi 14.18@98.86 mph
TTA takes top honors in points after six phases of testing among seventeen cars.
(Don't you love it when they split up an article into nine sections!)

Muscle Car Review, October 1988-pp. 62-67
Turbos and the King
Picture of hardtop pilot model on Riverside race track along with close-up of engine. Four paragraphs on TTA along with write-up on other hot performers from Pontiac for '89.
"Mid-range acceleration is stunning...Step on the gas, turbo spools up...yea, what a rush! What a car!"

Muscle Car Review, July 1989-pp. 24-26, 57-59
GNX vs. Turbo Trans Am Shootout: Boost -Bird vs. bad-to-the-bone Buick
Here's the lowdown on the article that everyone's been wondering about. Two individually owned cars, each untouched, with less than a 150 miles on them. Roy West brought the GNX and Lee Gorman brought his TTA. Both drivers also own other Buick turbo cars which are raced on a regular basis. After some warm-up, the cars stage for round one and the GNX takes a decisive win. Round two proves to be much closer but again the GNX takes the win by the narrowest of margins. But don't despair fellow TTA owners, read this quote from the end of the article: "By the time class racing rolled around, Lee Gordon had gotten the hang of launching the Pontiac. He rolled over the competition-including the GNX-to win his class."

Muscle Cars, November 1989-Volume VII Number 6-pp. 52-54
GTO vs. GTA Shootout, Who's the Boss?
1/4 mi 13.74@101.8 mph
1965 389 Tri-Power GTO 4-speed vs. a TTA at Englishtown. The classic GTO was no match for the modern muscle of the TTA, which won every run fairly easily. Some good photos, although all in B&W, including a photo of Ed Kozinski's TTA vs. the test report TTA. Also see article under Individually Owned TTAs for more details on Ed's car.

Road & Track Special Series, Supercars-August 15, 1989-pp. 80-83
High-Boost T/A Turbo-Great white snark
0-60 6.50 sec, 1/4 mi 14.80@104.3 mph
Pontiac Engineering takes the Turbo TA one step further by adding a Corvette six-speed, GNX ceramic turbo, and other assorted goodies. While acceleration is considerably slower from 0-60 and in the 1/4 mile, the top end is the highlight of the car possessing potential for an even faster speed than the 178 mph it posted.

Brief Mentions

AutoWeek, October 24, 1988-Volume 38 Number 43-pp. 24-25
The Best and the Brightest
Press photo; Best second car for Buick GNX owners.

Car Craft, October 1988-Volume 36 Number 10-pp. 46-47
The Hot 89's
Brief mention of TTA in '89 Pontiac lineup.

Car Craft, January 1989-Volume 37 Number 1-p. 14
Press photo in front of winner's circle; announcement of TTA as pace car.

Guide to Muscle Cars, April 1989-Volume 7 Number 2-pp.26-31
Birthday Bird, Trans Am Celebrates It's 20th!
Although a rather extensive article, it mostly covers the history behind the TA from the beginning. Only a short paragraph on the TTA and also no pictures. Does include, however, many photos of previous models and production figures from 1969-1986. Also a test report of '89 GTA in same issue.

High Performance Pontiac, December 1989-pp. 4-6, 19-22, 26
Pages 4-6, Editorial-Honey, I want one. 700-R4 mistakenly listed as trans. Picture of burnout in TTA on page 6.
Pages 19-22, Pontiac Playthings. Visit to PAS with Scott Kelly and Jeff Beitzel. Pictures of convertible and 3.8L HO that goes 181mph with a six-speed.
Page 26, Seems Like Old Times. No text, but picture of TTA with T-tops and decals.

Hot Rod, October 1988-Volume 41 Number 10-pp. 51-53
Performance '89
Two photos of hardtop pilot model, brief mention of TTA in '89 Pontiac lineup.

Hot Rod, January 1991-p. 54
Silver State Classic Challenge III
TTA with buckled hood. Blew off intercooler/intake hose, ran out of gas, and still ran a 118.96mph average!

Popular Mechanics, October 1988-Volume 165 Number 10-pp. 64-65
Sweating the Details-Detroit '89
Picture of pilot hardtop and mention in '89 lineup.
"If the 5.7 V8 is a Mustang-fighter, what do you call the GTA with the turbocharged V6?

Popular Mechanics, January 1989-Volume 166 Number 1-pp. 57 & 116
Motown Muscle
Great photo of a hardtop TTA in a tire-smokin' launch.
"Unlike the supercars of the pre-OPEC era, the TTA is a balanced machine, with brakes and handling to match its awesome power."

Motor Trend, January 1989-Volume 41 Number 1-p. 35
Press photo in front of winner's circle; announcement of TTA as pace car.

Motor Trend, November 1990-Volume 42 Number 11
Top Ten Car Investments
First car mentioned in article. Picture of '69 TA with '89 TTA.
"The '89 Turbo Trans Am Indy Pace Car was General Motors' dream car of the '80s."

Motor Trend, Special Collectors Edition-100 Years of the Automobile in America-p. 179
Picture of '89 TTA with original '69 Trans Am & brief caption.

Muscle Car Review, June/July 1994-Volume 11 Number 4-p. 28, 30-31
Trans Am 25th Anniversary-A brief history of Pontiac's fabulous Trans Am.
Recap of history of TA leading to the 1994 model. One paragraph on TTA with press photo of car at speed on track. Issue also includes 1969 TA vs. 1994 25th Anniversary TA.

Muscle Cars, November 1989-Volume VII Number 6-p. 69
Factory Hot Rods You Can't Buy...Yet-Pontiac Firefox
Mention of Jeff Beitzel and PAS as builders on TTA as well as Firefox. A few more prototype cars were mentioned including a 5-speed TTA. Same issue mentioned in Other Major Articles.

Road & Track Special Series, Guide to the All-New 1993 Pontiac Firebird-pp. 19-20
"best performing Trans-Am was the 1989 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans-Am...improved engine, outperforming either Buick - 5.0 sec 0 to 60mph, 100 mph plus in the quarter, top speed over 160 mph." Press photo of car in front of Gasoline Alley.

Turbo & Hi-Tech Performance, Best of, 10th Anniversary Issue 1985-1995-pp. 8, 46-47
0-60 4.98sec
Recap of White Heat article, picture of pace car. Also lists GNX as the most significant production turbo car with honorable mention to the TTA.

Individually Owned TTAs

Car Craft, August 1996-p. 104
Tech Talk
1/4 mi 12.0@118.00 mph
Cat back system. Mention of Pro Stock bike racer John Meyers and his 12-sec TTA.

High Performance Pontiac, June 1996-Volume 17 Number 3-pp. 22-26
Modified Madness
Herb Powers' TTA takes top honors at Englishtown running.
1/4 mi 12.5@109.42 mph

High-Tech Performance, December 1995-Premier Issue-pp. 38-40, 68-69
Welcome to the Jungle
Roger Grotyohann's TTA vs. Chevy 406 vs. 5.0.
1/4 mi 11.96@113.00 mph

High-Tech Performance, July 1996-Volume 2 Number 2-pp. 40-45
Blower Madness
Mike Strobl's TTA and other various turbo/supercharged cars; notice the picture of the TTA shown twice, once with the wrong caption.
1/4 mi 13.47@102.937 mph

Muscle Cars, November 1989-Volume VII Number 6-p. 55
One Step Beyond!
Veteran performance enthusiast Ed Kozinski takes his TTA to another level with a dose of late-model muscle. A few upgrades from ATR and a test pipe and Ed's car is running consistent 13.2s! Same issue previously mentioned under Other Major Articles.

Turbo & Hi-Tech Performance, July 1996-Volume 12 Number 4-pp. 42-45, 80, 82-83
Plain-Wrapped Pavement Pounder
Bill Sakes' hardtop 9 second streetable TTA. Also see GSX-tra March/April 1996.
1/4 mi 9.891@139.79 mph


AutoWeek, May 29, 1989-Volume 39 Number 22-pp. 32-33
The Magnificent Seven; center 2 page spread w\entire '89 Pontiac line inc.Turbo GP and, of course, the TTA, in front of winner's circle at Indy.

Car Craft, June 1989-Volume 37 Number 6-pp. 74-75
"Only one race is run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And that race is run on just one make of tires." Two page Goodyear Eagle ad showing rear 3/4 view of TTA on one page with text and Rick Mears winning 1988 Penske Indy car on opposite page. Same ad also run in 1989 Indy 500 program and 1989 Indy 500 yearbook.

Car Craft, July 1989-Volume 37 Number 7-pp. 102-103
"Both of these special, limited edition Pontiacs leave the factory on just one make of radial tires." Same as above but with Turbo Grand Prix in place of Indy car on text page.

Car & Driver, May 1989-pp. 150-151
The Magnificent Seven as mentioned above.

Sports Illustrated, Swimsuit Issue 1989-p. 118
"The 20th Anniversary Trans Am. The Only Modification It Needed To Pace The Indy 500 Was A Decal." This is the infamous ad of the car sitting on the track. So far, this is the only magazine I've seen it in. Kind of funny in the fact that it's not even an automobile related magazine.

Other Publications/Newsletters

GSX-tra, March/April 1994
How the TTA Compares to the 1986-87 TRs, by John Pearcy.
Production figures, TTA unique items compared to T-Types.

GSX-tra, July/August 1994
GNX vs. TTA-Benchracing-Idle Thoughts, by Rich Lasseter

GSX-tra, March/April 1996-p. 4
Article on Bill Sakes' hardtop 9 second streetable TTA! Other useful info on TTA included in the newsletter. Also see Turbo & Hi-Tech Performance, July 1996.

WinStorm Advisor, Winter 1995-p. 1-2
Production number's listed along with a decent article on TTA and other interesting tid bits of info.


Firebird Buyer's Guide by John Gunnell, published by Motorbooks International. Pages 192-196.
Covers 1967-1992 Firebirds and Trans Ams. Small press photo of TTA but majority of text for 1989 line covers the TTA. Included in the text are summaries of magazine articles, details and specs for the TTA, and miscellaneous facts and figures. Also, the only publication I've seen that mentions the two convertible TTAs that PAS made using Camaro parts. Notice the typo in the last paragraph (PSA?).
Press photo with Bobby Unser on back cover.

Firebird & Trans Am 1967-1994 by Bill Holder and Phillip Kunz, published by Motorbooks International. Pages 100-104. Not much text but good photos including close ups of spark plug wires and engine compartment. Nice two page photo of front 3/4 view.

Firebird: Pure Excitement From Pontiac by James M. Flammang and The Auto Editors of Consumer Guide. Pages 74-75. Covers 1967-1994. Two pages on TTA with photos of rare hardtop with cloth interior (1 of 15). Again, not much text.

Pace Cars of the Indy 500
by L. Spencer Riggs, published by Speed Age Inc. Pages 246-250.
Covers all pace cars from the first in race in 1911 to the TTA in 1989. One page of text along with four pages containing five photos.

Indy 500 Pace Cars by The Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, published by Publications International. Ltd. Collector's Edition. Pages 192-193. Covers all pace cars from the first in race in 1911 to the Viper GTS in 1996. A well put together book with vivid color pictures. Photos include: TTA in pit lane, winner Emerson Fittipaldi with his Indy car, TTA in pace lap with another TTA in pit lane, cover of 1989 program, and a cut-off picture of the festival cars lined up at the start/finish line. Text is good, although brief. Too bad they didn't make it into a four page spread like most of the other pace cars.

Standard Guide to American Muscle Cars, edited by John Gunnell, published by Krause Publications. Page 271. A supercar source book 1949-92. 1989 1/2 Pontiac 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am Indy 500 pace car. One page with two photos and text. One photo is press photo with the car in front of pit lane. The other photo mistakenly shows the 3.1L Turbo from the Turbo Grand Prix as the TTA's powerplant.

The World's Fastest Cars by Gabbard, Robson, & The Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, published by Publications International. Ltd. Pages 206-211. 20th Anniversary Pontiac Turbo Trans Am. 0-60 5.3 sec. 1/4 mi 13.9sec. Larger book with photos from Indy and a picture of speedo and tach with turbo gauge. 700-R4 mistakenly listed as the trans.

A special thanks goes out to the following friends, family, and fellow owners who have contributed to this list:

Jim Palecek

Dave Folmer

Darrin Kremer

Jay Arrigo

Kris Kristin

Scott Mueller