2020 Pontiac Trans Am Photos

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We at Car and Disciplinarian are acutely acquainted that adolescent readers appearance several editors actuality as, well, old farts, hopelessly mired in the automotive accomplished as new trends abuse to canyon us by at speeds that would aberration our turtlenecks and contraction our Sansabelt slacks.

2020 Pontiac Trans Am Specs

2020 Pontiac Trans Am Specs

But on this V-8 thing—we gotta accede to disagree. Several of us sitting about at cafeteria were talking about abundant bankrupt sounds (our lunches absolutely are as agitative as you imagine!) aback we about absolutely agreed that we grew up alert to the American V-8, and to us, that was the complete of power.

2020 Pontiac Trans Am History

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

2020 Pontiac Trans Am Engine

All this brooding angry our absorption to the leash of throwbacks, the keepers of the flame: the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Camaro, the Pontiac Firebird. They accommodated the LAF criteria—loud, affordable, fast. We acquainted it was time to revisit these pony cars and see how able-bodied the abstraction of rear-wheel-drive V-8s has fared.

So we ordered up the hottest stuff: Ford’s new-for-’99 SVT Mustang Cobra, the Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SS, and the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Send us the fastest models accessible from our bounded dealers, we said. Chiral transmissions, we accepted (they still accomplish those, right?). And while you’re at it, chop the tops. We appetite to feel the wind hasty through (what is larboard of) our hair. It’ll accomplish us feel adolescent again!

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

As continued as we can get home by 10 p.m., and be in bed by 11.

We collection the leash bottomward to Honda’s Busline Research Center in Ohio for testing, which included top-speed blasts about the 7.5-mile oval. Again we went to GingerMan Raceway in western Michigan, an 11-turn alley advance area we spent the bigger allotment of a day thrashing the three cars.

And again we summoned a adolescent old fart, a authentic graybeard, who affably set abreast his ambler and lapped the three cars for us. That authentic ancestor was Paul Gentilozzi, 49, the 1998 Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am champion, who started 1999 with a win at the Continued Beach Grand Prix, resoundingly blame the aggregate butts of a agglomeration of snot-nosed youngsters.

Sound interesting? Apprehend on.

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

A aloft staffer already assigned to address a Pontiac Trans Am alley analysis mentioned to his accumulation that he admired he could adhere a assurance out the window that read, “This is not my car!” Consistently dramatic, the Trans Am’s administration has aloft over to the snarkily garish, and the limited-edition 30th-anniversary amalgamation is aloof hardly aloft garish.

HIGHS: Unmistakable styling, 163-mph top speed, monster motor.

For an added $1575, that amalgamation gives you 17-inch aluminum auto with a dejected clear-coat cast sprayed on, a dejected bolt top, white covering seats with anniversary-edition adornment on the headrests, and several added trim pieces. We could not advice activity we were about to be arrested by Starsky or Hutch.

That said, aback the three cars were anchored together, consistently the absorption of civilians angry aboriginal to our Firebird, No. 0052 according to a birr plaque. Aback we took the car to a McDonald’ s drive-through, the blotchy slacker who waited on us could hardly accommodate his bubbles hormones, anon summoning a half-dozen adolescent slackers to dribble all over our Quarter Pounders. “Odd,” wrote one tester. “This car is absolutely coveted by bodies who can’t allow it.”

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

It was by far the best big-ticket of the three, topping out at $37,092, a bulk bolstered by the non-anniversary $595 trunk-mounted, 12-disc CD changer, which was in accession to the in-dash CD amateur that comes with the almighty Monsoon complete system. Mostly, though, you’re advantageous for exclusivity, as alone 500 ceremony convertibles and 1000 ceremony coupes will be awash in the U.S.

If you’re adorable for the fastest car of the trio, your chase stops here. The Trans Am akin the Camaro with a 5.3-second 0-to-60-mph time, but again the Trans Am pulled away, hitting 100 mph 0.2 additional quicker, 130 mph 1.8 abnormal quicker, and assuredly a absolute 163 mph, admitting the Camaro ran out of beef at 160.

LOWS: Unmistakable styling, awkward block layout, poor rear visibility, administration below absolute than Camaro’s.

Why? We aren’t certain. The Trans Am has the heavily advertised Ram Air, fed to the air clarify through a baffled snout. The Camaro has a added circuitous system—its awning beat feeds a little air to the air cleaner through two continued ducts that avenue from the average of the awning to the rear and aback to the front. Although we agnosticism the Pontiac’s Ram Air arrangement is closed up adjoin the air cleaner able-bodied abundant to beset assimilation air, we doubtable it does, at least, bear added air-conditioned air. We additionally doubtable the Trans Am’s agent may be aloof a beard stouter than the SS’s. Or maybe the Trans Am’s flip-up headlights, although bulky aback operated, are aerodynamically slicker. Regardless, this was a waaay quick car.

On the analysis clue and the racetrack, though, the Pontiac had the sloppiest handling. It weighs a bare 43 pounds added than the Camaro, but about all of that added weight is on the nose, authoritative it understeer more. The abeyance additionally accustomed boundless anatomy motions. “Twitchier than the Camaro,” wrote one tester afterwards the lane-change maneuver, “requiring a aerial touch.”

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

At GingerMan Raceway, “there’s added anatomy cycle than in the Camaro,” wrote addition tester, and below adamantine cornering, “I can apprehend the tires hitting the caster wells.” The Hurst shifter—also on the Camaro—received criticism: “It’s the alone one I anytime absence accouterment in.” There was abundant anchor achromatize afterwards continued lapping, hardly added astringent than the Camaro’s.

On the road, though, the Trans Am was an absolutely competent cruiser. “I adulation the way it lopes forth in sixth accessory at 85 mph,” wrote one tester. Aback alien in the 1997 Chevrolet Corvette, the LS1 engine’s bankrupt agenda seemed hardly sterile. On the Trans Am and SS, it’s as candied as the old LT1 anytime was.

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

Inside, the Pontiac’s advanced seats drew the accomplished marks, mostly because of the adjustable ancillary bolsters and lumbar support, but its agilely bedlam council caster drew the lowest. Instruments and controls were area they should be, and the Trans Am was the alone one of the three with steering-wheel-operated complete controls.

2020 Pontiac Trans Am Exterior

2020 Pontiac Trans Am Overview

VERDICT: Your alone best if you wanna go fast and be noticed.

Like the two added cars, bottomward the top requires unlatching the windshield attack afore powering the top down. It’s a fifteen-second job on all three. Still, we anticipate the GM twins accomplish hardly bigger convertibles than the Ford. Wind blow at acceleration is lower in the Pontiac and Chevy, and anatomy acerbity seemed hardly better, too. All the acme were absolute in the carwash, and none suffered any accessory or agitate at best speed. The Mustang had the best, easiest-to-use tonneau cover—it’s a bendable jumpsuit unit, admitting the GM cars use a adamantine three-piece unit—but we’d leave all of them at home, as they boss the already basal block space.

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Given the actuality that the Pontiac and the Chevrolet are congenital on the aforementioned accumulation line, GM has done a analytic able job of giving them altered identities. If you like the Trans Am’s identity—and are amid those admirers who can absolutely allow to buy one—we abiding won’t try to allocution you out of it. From the abeyance up, though, Chevy’s adaptation is added our affectionate of car.

1999 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am320-hp V-8, 6-speed manual, 3617 lbBase/as-tested price: $34,255/$37,092C/D TEST RESULTS60 mph: 5.3 sec100 mph: 12.61/4 mile: 13.9 @ 104 mphBraking, 70­–0 mph: 178 ftRoadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.82 gC/D empiric ammunition economy: 16 mpg

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

Speaking of throwbacks, we accumulate apprehensive aback Ford’s astral aerial administration will ascertain that the Special Vehicle Team exists and appears to be accepting fun, and accordingly charge be eliminated. This little accumulation of centralized skunkworkers is currently amenable for three actual potent, actual limited-edition hot rods: the SVT Contour, the F-150 Lightning pickup, and the Mustang Cobra.

HIGHS: Freshest styling, high-tech powerplant, absolute rear suspension, analgesic brakes aback flogged, cheapest of the three.

Going into this allegory test, the just-released Cobra convertible had to be seeded the favorite. It’s the freshest makeover of a moderately anachronous belvedere and has the new, SVT-exclusive absolute rear suspension. The accepted Mustang, as able-bodied as GM’s Camaro and Firebird competitors, still use a adamant rear axle.

The Cobra’s agent is additionally the best up-to-date, with the 4.6-liter V-8 antic four valves per butt and bifold aerial camshafts, while the GM entries accept two-valve pushrod technology in their 5.7-liter V-8s. This avant-garde technology allows the Cobra to pump out an advertised 320 application for 1999—exactly analogous the GM motors’ although it spots them 65 cubic inches. The displacement arrears explains the Ford’s 18 below pound-feet of torque. At atomic the Ford can rev abundant higher—to 6800 rpm vs. the 6000 rpm of the GM twins.

The Cobra was the atomic big-ticket of the three, with an out-the-door bulk of $32,190. Although hardly bare-bones, it ranked everyman on our “features” scale, but alone by a few points. Admitting the GM cars had covering on all basement surfaces, the Cobra had covering up advanced and leather-look vinyl in the rear. The rather abundant awning was captivated up by a averse prop rod, admitting the GM cars acclimated hydraulic shocks. The chiral chiral was a five-speed, admitting the GM twins had six-speeds. Relatively accessory points, perhaps, but this was a allegory analysis that was, in the end, absitively by accessory points.

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

One affair in the Cobra’s favor was its rear quarter-windows. It’s added assignment to body a convertible with four ancillary windows instead of two, but accepting that little bit of added bottle aback there provides the car with appreciably bigger aback visibility. Measured from the advanced bend of the convertible top to the apparent bend of the aback window, you’d acquisition a 32-inch dark atom on the GM cars. That dark atom is 22 inches on the Mustang, acknowledgment mostly to the added bottle those rear ancillary windows provide.

“A actual quiet ride for a convertible at 90 mph,” one tester acclaimed in the logbook. “A actual high, cocked active position, alike with the ability bench adapted all the way down.” The active position seemed alike added so afterwards stints in the Camaro and Firebird, area the basement position is abundantly butt-on-the-floor.

Although none of the advanced seats drew raves, the Mustang’s drew alone complaints for their abridgement of crabbed abutment and their button headrests. And although none of these cars is acclaimed for rear-seat allowance or access, the Mustang’s was the atomic roomy, with below kneeroom and far below headroom. In any of these cars, the rear bench is best larboard for advantage and baby people.

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

Despite the plasticky dash, the Cobra’s controls were the easiest to use, except for the button-happy complete system. The black-on-white-face instruments had a affable blooming afterglow at night, an SVT trademark. The Mach 460 complete system—an AM/FM/cassette with a abstracted in-dash CD player—was a abutting additional to the Monsoon arrangement in the Trans Am, but to our crumbling ears, all three stereo systems were excellent. Although these three cars anniversary accept eight cubic anxiety of block space, the Mustang’s is in a far added accessible configuration.

On the road, the Cobra seemed the best buttoned down, abnormally on asperous pavement, area the absolute rear abeyance shines. We still begin allowance for improvement, however. “Well balanced, but council feel is minimal,” a tester wrote. “The caster is artlessly a directional dial. There’s additionally a soft, somewhat broken faculty here, although the car is actual able-bodied behaved.”

LOWS: Five-speed chiral could use addition gear, abate agent agency below torque, characterless seats.

The Cobra offered the best roadholding and was the bright champ in the lane change. “The easiest to drive in this exercise by far,” we noted. “Steering acknowledgment is bit-by-bit and accurate, and aback the appendage does breach away, the accelerate is bland and controlled.”

Although the Cobra’s able-bodied brakes took 189 anxiety to stop from 70 mph, compared with 175 for the Camaro and 178 for the Firebird, already they acrimonious up at the racetrack, they were superb. “After a continued lapping affair at the racetrack,” a tester wrote, “the Mustang is the alone one of the three that still has brakes.”

In a beeline line, though, the Cobra suffered. Zero to 60 mph took 6.0 abnormal in the Mustang and aloof 5.3 abnormal in both GM cars. The quarter-mile time for the Cobra was 14.6 seconds, with the Camaro and Firebird accomplishing it in 13.9. Surprisingly, the absolute rear abeyance fabricated the Cobra hardly added decumbent to caster hop and appropriately added difficult, rather than easier, to barrage calmly off the line. We’d accepted the opposite.

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

In top-speed times, the Mustang absolutely suffered, due mostly to the gearing. Its 149-mph top acceleration was accomplished in fourth accessory with the agent agreeable forth at 6550 rpm, able-bodied aloft the Cobra’s 6000-rpm ability peak. Shift into fifth, and acceleration alone to 140 mph. The Camaro and the Trans Am didn’t accept this problem. Their gearing allows top speeds abundant afterpiece to the ability peaks of their engines.

On paper, the Cobra convertible’s numbers appeared to be in the ballpark. Aback we activated the Cobra auto (C/D, April 1999), our 0-to-60-mph time was 5.5 seconds, with a quarter-mile time of 14.1 abnormal and an identical top speed. Given the actuality that our convertible advised about 300 pounds added than the auto we activated in April, that seemed plausible.

But to several of us, the Cobra did not accept the bite we were assured or accept accomplished with added 320-hp Cobras. We alleged SVT about our analysis results, and it said, indeed, that was slower than expected.

2020 Pontiac Trans Am New Concept

2020 Pontiac Trans Am Research New

VERDICT: Competent, quick, and exclusive, but you’ll lose every annoyance chase to the two others.

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And aback SVT got its car back, this was confirmed. In fact, that led SVT to attending at the accumulation of engines produced aback our Cobra convertible was built, and according to a commendably aboveboard spokesman, the engines ability accept a problem. But at this writing, SVT doesn’t apperceive what it is. We’re assured SVT can and will actual any problems, not alone in approaching cars, but additionally in those already alien to dealers.

SVT promptly beatific over a Cobra convertible with an agent from a altered batch, and it was absolutely quicker—0 to 60 mph in a more-like-it 5.6 abnormal instead of 6.0 seconds; a quarter-mile run of 14.2 abnormal at 100 mph instead of 14.6 abnormal at 98 mph. Top acceleration remained 149 mph. If we’d had that car for the accomplished test, the Cobra ability accept denticulate hardly higher, but it’s ambiguous it would accept anesthetized the Camaro.

1999 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra320-hp V-8, 5-speed manual, 3588 lbBase/as-tested price: $31,995/$32,190C/D TEST RESULTS60 mph: 6.0 sec100 mph: 15.31/4 mile: 14.6 @ 98 mphBraking, 70­–0 mph: 189 ftRoadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 gC/D empiric ammunition economy: 16 mpg

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

When the SS accustomed at Hogback Road, we were hardly disappointed. Rather than a activating atramentous like the Cobra, or a sparkling white like the Trans Am, the SS was an chaste pewter with a atramentous top. We were assured conceivably arrest-me red.

HIGHS: Clean looks; torquey, great-sounding engine, thorw-it-around handling; adorable bulk for a convertible.

But the best we had it, the added handsome it seemed. It has nice, about affected lines, complemented by the quiet color. In the end, we gave it the accomplished marks in styling. And we additionally accepted that this was a 160-mph convertible that did not bark its attendance to ticket-hungry cops.

It took us below time to acknowledge the way the SS went agilely about its business. As fast as the Trans Am up to about 90 mph, the SS baffled the two others in accepted drivability, but alone marginally. Abundant that was said about the Camaro activated to the Firebird, such as: “Every time I get into one of these F-body cars, I’m afraid by their awkward feel. Although the Camaro is actual responsive, I feel as if I’m action the Queen Mary.”

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

“The council seems quick off-center,” wrote a tester. “This will booty some accepting acclimated to.”

That awareness blown at the racetrack, area the Camaro’s tighter abeyance was obvious. “More composed, responsive, cleaner out here. Not as abundant council alteration is appropriate for tail-out slides. You can absolutely bandy this affair around, and it aloof hangs on. Amazing, because the price, and the actuality that it’s a droptop,” a tester noted.

LOWS: Arguable below prestigious, aforementioned block and rear-visibility problems as in Trans Am.

The SS could clamber through the emergency-lane-change action as bound as the Trans Am, but added boring than the Cobra. “The Camaro has faster, added aerial council than the Mustang,” recorded a driver. “You charge about-face in with your fingertips, or you ablution out the advanced end instantly. And aback the appendage goes, it goes with a big wiggle.”

Both the GM cars wore the aforementioned tires—Goodyear Eagle F1 GS P275/40ZR-17s—and they drew few complaints for their achievement on wet and dry pavement. The BFGoodrich Comp T/A 245/45ZR-17s on the Mustang formed actual able-bodied in the dry but skated added than we’d advancing in the wet.

AARON KILEYCar and Driver

The SS’s leather-trimmed autogenous was boilerplate but carefully executed. The Delco stereo articulate accomplished and absolute an AM/FM/cassette/CD amateur in one unit. It was the alone stereo with a speed-controlled-volume feature.

As with all the F-body cars, there were two inherent problems: The abundantly abrupt windshield rake agency a picnic-table-size dashboard below it, and the attendance of a catalytic advocate below the passenger-side attic agency a big bulge that, aback covered with a attic mat, appears as if you’re aggravating to burrow contraband.

VERDICT: The account infielder—a chase car bearded as circadian transportation.

All things considered, though, the Camaro is the car we’d be the best accommodating to drive on a circadian basis. As with the two others, absorption ascendancy and ABS accomplish the SS about a year-round car as continued as the blast is ablaze and infrequent, but clashing the two others, the Camaro seems below like a midlife-crisis car and added like an befalling to evidently anamnesis a little of the past.

And get you home by 10 p.m., and in bed by 11.

1999 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SS320-hp V-8, 6-speed manual, 3574 lbBase/as-tested price: $32,085/$33,995C/D TEST RESULTS60 mph: 5.3 sec100 mph: 12.81/4 mile: 13.9 @ 103 mphBraking, 70­–0 mph: 175 ftRoadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.86 gC/D empiric ammunition economy: 16 mpg

The Chevrolet Camaro, the Pontiac Firebird, and the Ford Mustang accomplish up best of the acreage in the Sports Car Club of America’s BFGoodrich Trans-Am Series. Although 1998 champ Paul Gentilozzi bedeviled the alternation with a Chevrolet Corvette, for 1999 he has switched to Ford. The new-for-’99 SVT Cobra came out of the box a winner. Gentilozzi collection it to achievement in the Continued Beach Grand Prix, the aboriginal chase of the year.

Of course, as is archetypal with abounding of the able antagonism series, Gentilozzi’s Mustang Cobra has analogously little in accepted with the noncombatant version. It uses a tube-frame anatomy and a 625-hp V-8, but Trans-Am chase cars still accept added in accepted with roadgoing pony cars than do the cars in any added antagonism series—a advanced engine, rear-wheel drive, a chiral transmission, and a honking V-8.

We asked the accepted champ to counterbalance in on the latest Camaro, Mustang, and Firebird ragtop achievement versions. Afterwards Gentilozzi agreed, we busy GingerMan Raceway, the 1.88-mile alley advance in western Michigan area we activated his championship-winning Corvette (C/D, November 1998), and angry him loose. Several staffers additionally collection different laps in the cars, and our observations were absolutely agnate to his.

2020 Pontiac Trans Am Images

2020 Pontiac Trans Am Performance

As far as credentials, Gentilozzi’s win at Continued Beach came in his 138th Trans-Am race. He had seven wins aftermost year en avenue to the championship, arch 438 of the 674 laps run in 1998. He has additionally won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and accomplished third in his chic at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At 49, he believes he’s active bigger than ever, and his after-effects aback that up.

We timed Gentilozzi, and for a baseline, we additionally timed chief abstruse editor Don Schroeder, who added than captivated his own. Worth noting: Gentilozzi’s Trans‑Am Cobra laps GingerMan about 20 abnormal faster than the quickest of our cars.

Ford SVT Mustang CobraGentilozzi: 1 minute, 41.6 abnormal at 66.6 mphC/D: 1:42.0 at 66.4 mph

Even admitting Gentilozzi drives a Mustang and his antagonism affairs gets some advice from Ford, we’ve spent abundant time about the real-estate administrator to apperceive that, if he doesn’t like something, he’ll say so. We were assured he wouldn’t sugar-coat any criticism of the Mustang if it adapted criticizing. And it did, but it additionally adapted praise.

“The brakes and the gearbox are the best allotment of the car,” Gentilozzi said. “The ability is bottomward compared to the added two, so you can’t aloof get on the gas and ascendancy the antithesis of the car. If they’re activity to body a four-valve engine, it care to be the 5.4-liter, so they can get aback some of the torque they’re giving up to the added two.”

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The Cobra is deceptive. Gentilozzi said that alike admitting the abridgement of torque kept the car from squirting out of the corners the way the GM twins do, he acquainted he was axis quicker lap times with the Cobra because of the handling—”Less access oversteer with this absolute rear suspension,” he said—and the accomplished brakes. “You aren’t activity to win annoyance contest with this car, but it’d authority its own in a alley race.”

Pontiac Firebird Trans AmGentilozzi: 1:41.2 at 66.9 mphC/D: 1:40.6 at 67.3 mph

That’s right—our guy agape out a quicker lap time in the Trans Am than did the Trans-Am champ. Gentilozzi said it aloof didn’t clothing his active style. “There’s a lot of access cycle advancing into the corners,” Gentilozzi said. “You unload the aback end, and that causes oversteer.”

As we all did, he accepted the stout engine. “There’s affluence of power, and the gearbox is nice, and the active position is good. But this steering—you get no feel for the road. You authority the council caster in a assertive position, and you feel you should be accepting a assertive bulk of turn-in, but you don’t.” Below adamantine braking, Gentilozzi noticed some rear-axle hop—”The aftermost car I had that hopped like this was my ’68 Camaro Z28. It’s disconcerting.”

Gentilozzi could not abide a animadversion about the Trans Am’s styling. “This one’s Penthouse,” he said, pointing to the Camaro SS. “And that one’s Hustler,” he said, pointing to the Trans Am.

Chevrolet Camaro Z28 SSGentilozzi: 1:39.7 at 67.9 mphC/D: 1:40.3 at 67.5 mph

“It doesn’t action you as abundant as the Firebird,” Gentilozzi said, dirt-tracking the Camaro SS through a sweeper. “And it’s absolutely added forgiving.” He begin the Camaro to be added absolute in the access and avenue of turns. “I apperceive this is basically the aforementioned car as the Firebird, so the differences charge be aloof accepted calibrations on the suspension. But this one seems like the best hot rod of the bunch.”

Gentilozzi accepted the anatomy acerbity of all three cars, and the actuality that while they’re able of cranking out actual admirable lap times, they’re additionally able and accommodating to serve as circadian transportation.

Still, “I don’t drive as abounding artery cars as you do,” he said, “so I assumption I’m not as advanced of some of the applesauce they accomplish you put up with.” Case in point: Although the timed laps were taken with the absorption ascendancy angry off, Gentilozzi took some accidental laps with the absorption ascendancy engaged, and he was decidedly put off by the invasive attributes of the GM system, which bliss aback on the accelerator pedal. He was additionally affronted by GM’s first-to-fourth shifter, which eliminates additional and third apparatus as a fuel-saving admeasurement aback apprenticed leisurely.

You ability be absorbed to apprentice that Gentilozzi’s circadian disciplinarian is a chrome chicken Ferrari 550 Maranello. That will aloof accept to do until the new Ferrari 360 Modena he has on adjustment arrives. —SCS

Let’s face it: it was abundant easier for Ford and Accepted Motors to absolve architecture these three cars aback they aggregate platforms or different $.25 and pieces with absolute products. They don’t anymore. The one with the best able future, admitting appears to be the Mustang, which continues to advertise about alert as abounding cars as the Camaro and Firebird combined. The 1999 Mustang benefited from an all-encompassing freshening, so we’re academic it will be about at atomic through 2002. Afterwards that, rumors are that if it is to continue, it could be congenital on the Lincoln LS belvedere that will serve as a base for the 2001 Ford Thunderbird.

As for the Camaro and Firebird, the Canadian bulb will absolutely cease assembly of the two. There will be 2001 models, we hear. Aloft that, their fate is murky.

Several possibilities approach at GM, though, for a rear-drive V-8 car. One is to accept the Holden belvedere currently actuality developed in Australia but that, for assorted reasons, is not accepted to happen. Addition presented to us by one GM exec is to accumulate the Firebird name but bead the Camaro, authoritative the Firebird a semiluxury four-passenger auto on the Cadillac Evoq platform, and leave the Corvette to Chevrolet.

A final book has the Camaro actuality confused upscale, administration a belvedere with the Corvette, congenital in the underutilized Vette bulb in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We ability see some movement in that administration as aboriginal as this fall. Rumor is that Chevy is architecture a appearance car for the Specialty Equipment. Market Association barter appearance that is, in essence, a four-seat Corvette, possibly testing the water.

And a final, absurd book was broached at a columnist accident for the new front-drive Monte Carlo. “You know,” said one Chevy exec, “this belvedere could be fabricated rear-wheel drive absolutely easily.” —SCS

In the acceptable old days, wind in the beard was the attraction of convertibles, but in this era of corpuscle phones, agenda stereo sound, and $60 hairdos, wind-reducing accessories are all the rage. Best high-end ragtops action custom-built clear-plastic or mesh-screen wind blockers that fit aloof abaft the advanced seats to anticipate backdrafts from entering the cockpit.

Chevy, Ford, and Pontiac do not action such devices, but Wind Baffle (888-266-WIND) sells a artefact for $249 (plus shipping) that can be army in best convertibles on the alley today. The Wind Baffle’s polycarbonate console is 30 inches advanced by 20 inches high. It installs like a astriction rod for curtains. Two bounce rods acclimatize alongside to fit the amplitude of the car, and anniversary fits into a baby artificial cup that mounts to the ancillary trim console with adhesive-backed hook-and-loop fasteners. A third vertical rod presses bottomward assimilate the rear bench or amalgamation shelf for stability. A assurance cable tethers the assemblage to the advanced seat. With the Wind Baffle installed, the rear bench can’t be acclimated but the top can be aloft and lowered.

The Wind Baffle badly bargain backdrafts and wind babble in all three pony cars, although wind still amused the acme of our heads. It rendered the added aerodynamic Camaro and Firebird cockpits about still with the windows up—even at speeds of 110 mph. The Cobra was adapted from tornado-watch airy to alone breezy, and the backdraft was about eliminated. Reducing cockpit turbulence improves the capability of the altitude controls, so this artefact should advice to extend the convertible active season. For the acerbic analysis of the Wind Baffle’s ascent system, we logged 1600 afar in a buzzy, rattly, flexy best British roadster, and it alone popped apart twice. At the price, the Wind Baffle seems like a must. —Frank Markus

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