Other General Motors vehicles had downsized in the late 1970s, and now it was Firebird's turn, shrinking to a 101-inch wheelbase and losing more than eight inches in overall length. The third-generation Firebird also measured an inch narrower and lost 500 pounds.
Split grilles sat inside air slots in the ultra-low nose, which featured electrically opened quartz-halogen headlamps. Every coupe had a contoured, frameless, all-glass hatch. Underneath, MacPherson struts (with inboard coil springs) served up front, while coils positioned by twin trailing links replaced the old-fashioned rear leaf springs, and a huge torque arm helped control axle "windup."
Trans Am buyers had a choice of two 305-cid V-8 engines: the 145-horsepower carbureted version, or an extra-cost edition breathing through Cross-Fire fuel injection, delivering 20 extra horses. Base price was $9,658, versus $7,996 for the entry-level (four-cylinder) model and $9,624 for the touring-ready V-6 S/E.
Inside, a redesigned full-length console sat integral with the dashboard. About 2000 Trans Ams had a new Recaro interior option with Parella cloth front bucket seats, hatch roof, and performance package. All were painted black with gold accents.
Both Trans Am and S/E wore full-width, black-lens taillamps. Only Trans Ams displayed the traditional front-fender air extractors, along with flared wheel openings and turbo-cast aluminum wheels. Trans Ams were even more slippery than their Firebird mates, registering 0.32 coefficient of drag. Less garish than the last of the second-generation Trans Ams, the '82s still looked formidable, despite the abandonment of their immense hood decals.
If you want to learn more about muscle cars and Firebirds, check out these pages:
- Firebird Reviews by Consumer Guide
- Muscle Cars