In 1998, the LS1 Trans Am was born as an impressive upgrade to the already beloved F-body. Was it impressive enough to make stop lights fall onto the streets like Pontiac conveyed in one of the car’s commercials we found on YouTube? Not quite, but it did make a big enough impact that the LS1 Trans Am lives on in the hearts and garages of fans nation wide.
The Trans Am was a big deal in 1998. Not only was it the epitome of a modern muscle car at the time, but the Trans Am also got an aggressive facelift – complete with a large snorkel hood and aggressive body lines for the late fourth-generation. But the new look only went skin deep and wasn’t the real reason people were so impressed with the car. That awe factor was left up to the potent 320hp LS1 engine under the WS6 hood.
Up until the debut of the ‘98 Trans Am (and Camaro), the LS1 engine had only been used in the Corvette, something Pontiac was not about to let potential customers forget about when it came to raw power. Thus, the depiction of a Trans Am blowing a stop light apart with its “almost scary” horsepower in the commercial above.
Fourteen years later, this commercial seems a bit corny. After all, even a base V6 Camaro today will produce an “almost scary” amount of horsepower comparable to the first-year LS1 Trans Ams. Nonetheless, fans of the LS1 Trans Am don’t seem to be dwindling. Maybe that’s because it’s the last of the Trans Am configurations or the most powerful of the bunch. Or maybe it’s because the LS1 Trans Am is truly impressive enough to blow stop lights apart, metaphorically of course.