Drive plays Smokey, Bandit with turbo Trans Am

The modern trend for powertrains can be summed up with the simple maxim: cut displacement and add forced induction. Whether you are looking at the just-introduced 2016 Chevrolet Cruze or a BMW M3, this adage holds true. However, Pontiac's attempt at the idea goes all the way back in 1980 with the Firebird Trans Am and its turbocharged 4.9-liter V8. Drive's Mike Musto takes out a 1981 example to explain what makes this largely forgotten muscle car so special, and it certainly isn't performance.

While a 4.9-liter V8 might sound like a lot in the modern world, keep in mind that only few years before the second-generation Trans Am was available with up to a staggering 7.5-liters of displacement. Turbocharging of road cars in the early '80s was quite archaic by today's standards, and the Firebird only managed around 200 horsepower with this mill. Without much go, the turbo Trans Am made up for a lack of power with lots of show. As Musto points out, the famous flaming chicken adorns practically every surface you can see on the coupe, and boost lights on the hood illuminate when the turbo is spinning.

Musto still finds a lot to like about the turbo Trans Am. He even calls it "Burt Reynolds as an automobile." Find out why the coupe is so special in this entertaining clip.

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