37,500 Original Miles


Manual Transmission
5.7L V8
285 hp @ 5000 rpm*
325 lb/ft torque @ 2400 rpm*
Capable 0-60 MPH: 5.5 seconds
Top Speed: 164 mph
*Base Price in 1996: $25,284


*Seller Asking:


Fast Facts:
  • Buyers could choose between the base V6 Firebird, the top of the line V8 Trans Am, or the “sleeper” V8 Formula. The Formula lacked the aggressive body kit of the Trans Am (saving almost 50 lbs) and looked virtually identical to the V6 Firebird. The infamous WS6 was merely a performance option package that could be had with either V8 model
  • The Firebird’s LT1 V8 (shared w/ the Camaro and Corvette) featured GM’s Opti-Spark – a high resolution optically triggered ignition system that could measure crank position 360 times per rotation. This was achieved with an optical sensor aimed at a slotted spinning wheel containing 360 slots. The wheel is connected to the spinning camshaft
  • Opti-spark was superior to a conventional distributor in many ways. During sudden rapid acceleration, for example, ignition variation can be skewed up to 30 degrees with a traditional distributor. With Opti-Spark, the timing variation can only be a maximum of one degree off
  • While the concept worked, early versions were notoriously troublesome thanks to a fatal flaw – the housings were known to collect and trap moisture. The water would literally blind the optical sensor to the point where it couldn’t properly distinguish the spacing between the slots on the spinning wheel. This resulted in a crossfire/misfire – similar to what a cracked distributor cap would cause. But that was just the beginning
  • As the moisture builds up, it would begin to flow throughout the crevices within the Opti-Spark. Since electricity takes the path of least resistance, the high-energy secondary voltage would eventually follow the moisture down into the cap and bridge the spark plug under cylinder pressure. The high voltage would either burn through the rotor or through the slotted wheel, completely shutting down the engine
  • Thankfully, GM caught on to this issue and released an Opti-Spark with an updated housing on ’95 models (’94 for Corvettes). The new housing was vented, allowing any trapped moisture to escape. It even came with a serviceable cap and rotor, for good measure (the early units weren’t serviceable at all). In the end, Opti-Spark was a revolutionary breakthrough in ignition technology that was spoiled by an improperly designed housing
Key Model Year Changes:
  • New dual catalytic-converter exhaust system raises horsepower to 285
  • First year of OBD-II
  • First year of the available WS6 performance package w/ Ram Air induction hood, but only on coupes. The option wasn’t available on convertibles until the following year
  • The previous year (1995) was the first year of the newly designed (vented) Opti-Spark distributor, addressing a common problem that plagued all LT-1 engines of years past
  • The following year (1997) saw daytime running lights, a digital odometer, and polished 5 spoke wheels (vs the silver painted finish of 1996)


Seller Notes:
  • 37k miles
  • Like new
  • True V8 6spd Formula
  • Top works great
  • Power everything


  • Location: Dubuque, Iowa – (more photos below)
  • View Seller’s Ad
  • Disclaimer: New Old Cars LLC is not affiliated with or endorsed by Craigslist


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1996 Pontiac firebird formula trans am for sale classifieds

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*SAE rated from factory. May not reflect current output.
*Performance numbers pulled from either the factory brochure or reputable automotive road tests.
*Base price when new does not reflect original MSRP of this particular car, nor does it reflect what the original owner paid for it.
*Advertised price at time of posting. Sellers can raise or lower prices on their original ad at any time. Click on the original ad to view current price/availability.
Mileage Disclaimer: NOC has not confirmed if the mileage stated by the seller is true and accurate. It is up to the buyer to verify these claims. Vehicle history reports, service records stating mileage, and even inspections of odometer tampering are recommended.

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