SLP, which evolved into SVE, was the driver behind the Firehawks, and a fourth-generation iteration would show up in 1999, with very little differences from the model reviewed. The formidable fourth-generation platform, the first time an LS showed up in an f-body, was a great platform for SLP to build upon.
Available as a Firebird Formula, or Trans Am, the Firehawk was supposed to receive fixed headlights, in place of the flip-up style lights, in 1998, which would ultimately be the reason the year model was skipped. The projector lamps with carbon fiber housing would go on to show up as a popular aftermarket modification, for people who preferred the look, and wanted that 11-pounds of weight savings.
The composite hood with larger inlets and heat extractors on the reviewed 1998 Firehawk would go on to appear on the 4th-generation models, as well as in the aftermarket as one of the most popular hood swaps for the generation. Taking duty at the rear of the test car is the standard Trans Am spoiler, but a two-tier spoiler was also available from SLP. 17×9-inch wheels were another standout Firehawk option, available in paint or chrome, and wrapped in low-profile Firestone tires.
As we already know now, the looks were just a warning to competitors about the performance the Firehawk brought to the table. The freer breathing induction system and high-flow exhaust boosted the Firehawk to 327-horsepower and 345 lbs-ft of torque. The model tested had a six-speed transmission with an optional Hurst shifter, a heavy-duty option for the car. Performance upgrades amounted to a 0-60 mph sprint in just 5.1-seconds, with a quarter-mile time of 13.4-seconds at 106 mph, but we’ve all seen them go faster when stock.
The suspension was addressed with a level 1 kit on the tested model, giving it more impressive road and track handling characteristics. This package included thicker sway bars, Bilstein shocks, and progressive rate springs, offering smoother transitions and quicker turns. On the inside, the only unique identifier is a Firehawk badge, and the reviewer notes the big beautiful dash, which is hard to find intact these days.
In theory, buyers could visit the dealership and order the WU6 package on a Formula or Trans Am, which added $3,999 to order, but we know now that wasn’t happening in 1998. Adding this to the MSRP, the lowest you could get the Firehawk was set to be $27,600 for the Formula, and the as-tested car was $33,801, which is cheaper than you can get a 1999-up one now, due to their explosive popularity on the collector’s market.
Elizabeth is a hardcore horsepower enthusiast with unmatched intensity for making things faster and louder. She wakes up for power and performance and only sleeps to charge up for the next project that’s heading to the track. From autocross to drag racing, Elizabeth is there with you, so stay tuned for her unique perspective on horsepower news, builds, tech info, and installs — with her, it’ll never be boring!