Since 1911, pace cars have been a staple of the infamous brickyard in Indianapolis. Almost every brand has been represented, and many models re-occur over the years. Mention “Pace Car” in general conversation and inevitability talk will turn to Corvettes and Firebirds as some of the most recognized and memorable models. Find this 1980 Pontiac Trans-Am Turbo Pace Car for sale in Birmingham, AL for $12,000 via craigslist.
1980 marked the first year a Firebird was used for a pace car. Pontiac chose to submit their Turbo Trans-Am model for consideration and commenced to make 5700 examples. Johnnie Parsons & Don Bailey shared driver duties during the official race on May 25th. The seller lists this example as being assembled at the Van Nuys plant in California ans states everything is numbers matching.
The 4.9L (301 CID) turbocharged V8 used a Garrett AiResearch unit set for 9 PSI and produced a claimed 210 HP. The turbo version of the 301 was beefer than the NA version and sported a higher capacity oil pump for cooling purposes. To reduce pre-detonation, compression was reduced to a paltry 7.6:1.
All Y85 code pace cars received the same color schemes and interiors. Custom Oyster vinyl seats with hobnail inserts and an embroidered bird between the two rear seats were signature to the cars. This example looks well cared for with minor staining showing on the lower door carpeting. The white looks very good for the age and most likely spent idle time out of direct sunlight.
Firebirds…Trans-Ams specifically…have a die-hard following. Built in much lower quantities than its boisterous cousin the Camaro, riding around in one of these naturally commands more attention than a Z-28 of the same era. Although the optional Indy 500 door decals are not present on this example, there is no mistaking the obsession Pontiac had with gaudiness and the Saturday Night Fever tones they used extensively during the era. At a reasonable 12K asking price, I fear many a Trans-Am addict has spent much more $$$ to have a ride anywhere close to the condition of this example. Taking a full 8 seconds to reach 60 MPH when new, there would be no problem Stayin’ Alive!
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