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My First Car

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#1 Assasinge


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  • Model: Trans Am
  • Engine: V8
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Posted 15 May 2017 - 04:41 PM

I'm currently 17. Eversince I saw Knight Rider when I was little I've always had my eye on the Third gen trans am as my first car. Now I have 2 months to decide my car and while I really want the trans am, it is not practical for me as I've learned because I'm a new driver, the car is pretty fast and is unreliable in terms of repairs and break downs. Instead, I panned over to the fourth gen instead, and it looks more better for me. I'm having trouble finding a v6 instead of a v8 just for safety etc. But what do you people recommend? Would the fourth gen be fine as a first car, given I am responsible and respect the power it brings that is under my feet? My neighborhood and city is fairly small so I don't expect to be speeding and racing (forget racing, that's a bad thing to do for a first timer). I know my insurance is going to go up, but the insurance is bound to be high for a first timer, and a v8 only makes it even higher than a v6 would. Still. has anyone here had a similar experience? Or had a Trans Am as a first car?


Please move this to appropriate sub forum.

#2 Injuneer


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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:46 AM

Welcome to Firebird Nation ! ! !

Glad to see there is still an interest in the Firebird. 3rd Gen covers a lot of ground from 1982 - 1992. There were a lot of different engines, different size V6's, different size V8's, even a 4 cylinder. Then there's the choice of carb vs. fuel injection. Up until 1985 the V8 was the 305. More powerful than the V6, but not all that "unsafe". In 1986 they started using the 350 V8 as well, and some of those were a bit peppier. The L98 350ci V8 was the top performer at 225 - 240 HP, depending on year. While not impressive on HP, the L98 had very good low end torque. All the V8's to this point were 1st generation small block Chevys (SBC). This is good, because parts are plentiful and relatively inexpensive.

When you go to a 4th Gen, the V8 from 93 - 97 is the Gen 2 LT1 SBC, rated at 275/285 HP depending on year. Also an option called WS6 in the later years that added a few more HP. Problem is the LT1 is a relatively lower production engine, with two "quirks" (Optispark distributor and reverse flow cooling system) that can drive you crazy. In 1998 GM moved up to the Gen 3 SBC called the LS1, and that made serious HP.



381ci all-forged stroker - 10.8:1 - CNC LT4 heads/intake - CC solid roller - MoTeC M48 Pro engine management - 8 LS1 coils - 58mm TB - 74# injectors - 300-shot dry nitrous - TH400 - Gear Vendors 0.78:1 O/D - Strange 12-bolt - 4.11's - AS&M headers - duals - Corbeau seat - AutoMeter gauges - roll bar - Spohn suspension - QA1 shocks - a few other odds 'n ends. 800HP/800lb-ft at the flywheel, on a 300-shot. 11.5 @ 117MPH straight motor



#3 ZumpTA


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Posted 16 May 2017 - 12:02 PM

Something else to consider is 3rd gens are finally seeing an increase in value. Mostly to low mileage excellent condition vehicles at this moment, but, value will soon trickle down gradually.

Injuneer is right about '93-97 birds. Look at '98+ they have a little more style anyway. I see the later 4th gens (v6) for sale CHEAP everyday. One with around 100,000mi in very good condition can be found for around $2500-3000.

3rd gens in that price range are in considerably worse condition these days.

While something older and not computerized is simpler to work on, but engines and computers have came a long way. The computers are more sophisticated and the engines are damn near bulletproof.

Tough decision as both are the right choice. Best of luck to you.

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#4 taman76


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Posted 17 May 2017 - 02:00 AM

Great to have you here.  


There are lots of v6 powered 4 gen cars out there to find.  Parts are easy to get for them and they drive great.  


If you do go with a 3gen car, don't shy away from the V8.  the V8's in those are not really much different than later V6 power.  Plus you will end up with a car that is more desirable to sell in the future, should you choose to do so.


The 3gen cars are starting to gain collector interest and rise in value. So finding one in good shape, at a good price is getting a bit more challenging.  But not impossible.  Parts are still easy to get and there are now more places making reproduction parts as well.


As far as safety goes, of course with airbags and crush zones, the later 4 gen cars are safer in a crash than any 3 gen car.  


Reliability?  both generations are very reliable.  hard to beat a small block in a 3 gen for being reliable.  But keep in mind, you will likely find cars with lots of neglect.  Parts get old and wear.  This means to get things back up to like new reliability, no matter what you get might take a bit of work.  Keep in mind, even an 02 Firebird, is now 15 years old.


Both generations would work. Both would be great to improve your mechanical and driving skills. 


Don't be afraid to use the resources here and people to help you get the right car.  

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#5 sea dog

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 04:12 AM

Welcome to the forum.


I have both 3rd & 4th gen cars. Where the 4th gens shine is in handling. With rack & pinion steering, they feel much tighter than the old steering system used in the 3rd gen.

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