Way back in 1994, when such things as record stores still existed and gas was around $1 a gallon, GM’s still-thriving Excitement Division saw fit to roll out a limited-edition Trans Am to acknowledge and celebrate the moniker’s quarter- century in existence. Production would be limited to 2,000 units, comprising hardtop, T-top, and convertible versions, with standard auto shift or optional six-speed manual transmission (not available on convertibles).
Powering the iconic Bird would be the newest version of GM’s corporate small-block V-8, which was designated LT1. Introduced on the new-for-’93 Fourth-Gen Firebird platform, the 5.7- liter, sequential-port, fuel- injected, 350ci cast-iron mill made 270 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. It was the start of the modern musclecar wars, as V-8–powered Firebirds now dictated their street prowess in a way not seen since the ’70s.
The 25th Anniversary Trans Am reminds me of the early ’70s 400- and 455-powered T/As I saw every day cruising the streets looking for trouble in the neighborhood
Shod in GM Bright White paint, all of these rare birds wore a Tyrol Blue center stripe running from beak to tail feathers, with only T-tops or a convertible top interrupting the stripe’s run. The color scheme carried over into the well-appointed cockpit with the usual Pontiac flair for the completely cool. Completing the appearance package were special “25th” decals and badges, embroidered head rests and door panels, and crème de le crème 16x8-inch, aluminum, five-spoke wheels wearing the same white hue as the body and adorned with unique call-out center caps.
Fast-forward to spring 1998. David Bergman - a lifelong Pontiac enthusiast who resides in Hempstead, New York - was about to have a date with destiny.
David’s admiration of Pontiacs began early on, that is the day his dad pulled up in a brand new 400-powered Meridian Turquoise ’68 Catalina. Growing up in Queens, he was “surrounded by hot rods and muscle cars.” He believes he was born to be a car guy.
He attended Brooklyn’s Automotive High School, and graduated with a specialty in paint and bodywork. Upon getting his license, a 400/four-barrel ’67 Grand Prix took the honor of being his first steed. He recalls that others thought he was in an old-lady car, “But I knew what I had,” he says.
Though a dark blue interior would be a more accurate nod to year number one, the 25th Anni
The 25th Anniversary Trans Am’s cabin received an impressive 155-mph speedo instead of the
Both door panels received “25th Trans Am” stitching.
As Third-Gen Birds began their reign of power, Dave would pilot two: a black ’86 T/A (5.0L/auto) and an ’87 Bright Blue Metallic (5.0L/five-speed) T/A with the last of the optional full-sized hood birds and silver BBS rims. Living in Queens with a Trans Am and no garage, both of David’s Pontiacs would become statistics when they were stolen from his driveway. These unfortunate events would eventually dictate the level of protection and use of his next Trans Am.
Through the mid-to-late ’90s, David worked as a car-dealer buyer and frequented wholesale auctions to get new inventory. In April 1998, he received a call from a friend, who went on to pick David’s brain about a 25th Anniversary Trans Am he was interested in buying. David knew of the commemorative-edition Bird, sang its praises, and gave his approval. His friend eventually decided not to buy the scarce edition, but for David it was a sign of things to come … quickly.
The next morning, David arrived early at a New Jersey auction to get a jump on the other buyers and prepare for the mornings lots. As he peered down the long train of pre-owned vehicles, his gaze caught the unmistakable jet-like front fascia and blue roof stripe of another 25th Anniversary Trans Am. As he drew closer to the sleek white beauty, he remembers thinking, I’m not leaving here without it. One day later, he rejoiced, seeing the 8,000-mile Bird perched atop a car-carrier like a falcon on its master’s wrist waiting release into the wild blue sky. It was his.
“The 25th Anniversary Trans Am reminds me of the early ’70s 400- and 455-powered T/As I saw everyday cruising the streets looking for trouble in the neighborhood,” he says. Soon he would learn that his Bird was 1 of 322 automatic-equipped hardtops produced in the edition.
On top of the aforementioned standard T/A GT’s 25th Anniversary goodies, Dave’s T/A came mandatory with the GU5 performance rear-end, which houses stout yet highway-friendly 3:23 gears; the new-for-’94 4L60-E transmission; the upgraded UT6 10-speaker sound system with steering-wheel controls; an engine oil cooler; a GT-style rear spoiler; and a performance ride-and-handling package.
Here’s a sample of the ephemera that the aftermarket produced to join in on the 25th Anniv
The dual round exhaust tips fill the rear fascia openings well and let out a nice deep bur
David relegated his rare Bird to garage duty soon after his acquisition of it, apparently suffering from posttraumatic stress brought on by the theft of his two Third-Gens. Now residing in Long Island, New York, he enjoys his ride more and more, cruising to local car gatherings, and thrilling onlookers young and old alike with the quick passing flash of his beautiful Trans Am. Dave’s special Bird only takes flight on sunny, dry spring and summer days, which explains the meager 12,000 miles on the odometer, and that’s just how he likes it.
It’s 20 years since the 25th Anniversary Edition Trans Am left its factory nest, and for 16 of those years David has pampered, protected, and prized his rare example of the now-extinct ponycar. With the end of Firebird production in 2002 and the demise of Pontiac in 2009, it’s up to collectors like him to keep our beloved Birds flying high into the future.
As for the ’94 25th Anniversary T/A, it is only a matter of time until it receives the status of an iconic American classic, which it deserves.
“The 25th Anniversary Trans Am reminds me of the early ’70s 400- and 455-powered T/As I saw every day cruising the streets looking for trouble in the neighborhood”