Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

For years GM's F-bodies, the Camaro and Firebird, fought the good fight in keeping American muscle alive in the face of rising gas prices and performance strangling emissions requirements. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe F-bird is a blast from the past and a special edition, but will its price mean the seller won't soon flip this bird?

Getting your hands on a police edition of a big American sedan isn't all that hard, but getting the bacon smell out can be a chore. I kid, I kid. Any law enforcement here? I love you guys. And 56% of you loved yesterday's 1995 Caprice 9C1 with its six speed stick and Shamrock Shake underhood hose ensemble, enough for it to take away a squeaker of a Nice Price win. Looks like it has the right to remain awesome.

Also potentially awesome, especially if you happen to ascribe to the sharing is caring school of automotive decal adornment, is this loud and proud 1981 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am, Recaro Edition. Oyster white with a black T-top roof, this Firebird with the fancy seats represents the last hurrah of Pontiac's second generation F-body. The Trans Am - named for SCCA's long-running road race series, and requiring a monetary tithe to the organizing body for every car carrying the appellation - had for years played second fiddle to its sister Camaro Z28. Then along came a little movie called Smokey and the Bandit and all of a sudden it was zee twenty- who?


Of course by the end of the seventies both the bitchin' Camaro and the Firebird - chicken-strutting and otherwise - had their horsepower confiscated as their makers attempted to wrangle both emissions and craptastical fuel economy. The ability for American car makers to achieve both reasonable power and exhaust cleaner than a nun's bum would sadly have to wait until the ‚Äė80s. This '81 ‚Äėbird is an attempt to bring back some semblance of performance as it rocks the 301 V8 onto which has been bolted a Garrett TBO-305 turbocharger. That pressurizer feeds an 800 cfm Rochester Quadrajet, with super rich secondaries that tag-team to make a for-the-era healthy 210-bhp. It also gives you 336 ft-lbs of Chubby Checker's favorite dance, and both those numbers are better than any found under the hoods of Firebirds since the 455 of 1975.

Typically with turbocharged cars you can tell when you are on the spool by the unmistakable sound - the high-pitched whiz of the turbines - but in the Turbo Trans Am you also get a visual indication in the form of lights in the rear of the asymmetric hood bulge. That hood accoutrement also provides a place for the screaming chicken decal's mouth emanation - garlic breath I suppose - to go. It all just works together. The rest of the mechanical additions of the LU8 RPO package include a THM350C lockup gearbox and 3.08 Positraction rear end.


All of that could be had on pretty much any Formula or Trans Am that year, but what really makes this 63,000-mile Pontiac special is its red with black trim Recaro front bucket seats. Those luridly colored thrones indicate this to be one of 2,000 NASCAR Safety Car special editions built in ‚Äė81, and this claimed to be one-owner car looks to be in especially nice shape for its 31 years of age. The seller says it has led a sheltered life, being garage bound when not out showing off the bling of its faux engine-turned dash and ostentatious Trans Am bodywork. Little description is given beyond that or the seller's contention that it is collectible and comes with a fair price.

That price happens to be $22,000, which will buy you a lot of more modern Firebirds - cars that are lightyears more efficient in turning dead dinosaurs into tire smoke and speed. But none of those offer quite the emotive experience that does the second gen cars, after all who doesn't imagine a Sally Field doppelganger dropping through your own T-tops and into your heart?


For that to happen, you'll need to have both that twenty two grand and, of course, the patience of Job. What do you think, is that possibility - as well as the car - worth the price? Or does that price make this an F-Body that makes you say no F-ing way?

You decide!


Seattle Craigslist or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to hypothetical zuul for the hookup!

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