During the final years of F-body production, several dealerships had offered tuner versions to not only send the cars out with a bang, but to whet the whistles of die hard collectors and enthusiasts. Berger, Earnhardt, Nickey and several others had teamed up with GMMG and commissioned Camaros to suit the needs of the hardcore enthusiasts, with additional aesthetic attributes, improved performance from the LS1 mill and specific serial numbers to ensure their authenticity.
However, there were one or two Pontiac dealerships out there that offered the same theme for the Camaro’s sibling, the Firebird. Dubbed the Blackbird, and using the already potent, 325 hp Trans Am WS6 as a basis, Carl Black Pontiac of Roswell, Georgia took the radical Bird to a whole new level.
Equipping it with a high-flow air lid, chambered exhaust, specific tuning calibration and without the politics of “not stepping on the Corvette’s toes” hindering the advertised horsepower numbers, the output jumped from the quoted 325 hp from GM, to a full 380 hp from Carl Black.
Upping the ante in the braking and handling characteristics came by way of 17×9-inch American Racing 17-inch Torque Thrust II wheels, Eibach 1.5-inch lowering springs and dimpled front and rear brake rotors all around. So not only would your quarter-mile elapsed time fall, but your Blackbird would outmaneuver and out-brake a standard-issue WS6.
Of course, what’s the point in simply outperforming the “normal car,” if you can’t even tell the two apart? In addition to the aforementioned TTII rollers, Carl Black Pontiac also applied specific metallic silver stripes with 380 hp callouts to the side of the hood scoops and Blackbird badging on the fenders The rear bumper received a painted, metallic grey valance section (aka, the CETA mod). On the inside, were Blackbird white-faced gauges, Hurst shifter and shift ball.
Only 50 were built, so when we ran across one on Craigslist, our attention was immediately captured. To boot, it’s also the red #03 car, which was used in the various adds that ran in all promotional materials and in magazine ads. It has since seen several upgrades (listed below), and has collected 112k miles on the odometer. Wear and tear aside, this is still a very collectible and rare vehicle to add to your collection.
Phase 2X Upgrade (2008 at GMMG)
1 3/4″ Dynatech Long-Tube Headers/Catted Y-Pipe
Hood repainted w/475 decals
Red painted valve covers and brake calipers
New OEM A/C compressor and all hoses
Monster stage 2 clutch
Tick adjustable master cylinder
Stainless braided speed bleeder
Rebuilt Stage 3 transmission
Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3’s
New ACDelco alternator
Replaced both headlight gears w/anodized aluminum gears
Replaced both DRL housings (no more burned out bulbs)
Updated tune from Mike Carnahan of Vengeance Racing in Cumming, GA
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.