View Full Version : Another car that had so much potential....

Valentine One Radar Detector

10-10-2010, 08:12 AM
Ah, what might have been:


The 301 was Pontiac's last V-8; it was available in turbo form for just two years (1980-'81). Pontiac had planned to use it in the updated '82 Trans-Am (these cars had the same off-center hood bulge as the '80-'81 models, to accommodate the turbo) but GM killed off Pontiac's V-8 engine program, so no further development was done on the 301.

Such a shame.

With fuel injection, intercooling and a better cam, this could have been a 300-350 hp engine.

In the early 1980s!

10-10-2010, 04:09 PM
It is a shame as the 301 Turbo's legacy is to be a boat anchor.

10-10-2010, 04:23 PM
It is a shame as the 301 Turbo's legacy is to be a boat anchor.


This engine gets a lot of abuse for its weak performance in stock trim. But people forget that the early versions of the turbo Buick 3.8 V-6 were just as weak - or even worse. And yet, with development, that engine became the most potent domestic-built mass produced engine available in the 1980s - achieving low 13 second quarter mile times (and 160 mph top speeds) in the 1989 Trans-Am turbo. By this time, of course, technology such as EFI was available and engine management systems were much better than they were in 1980-'81.

The 301 was particularly hobbled by being carbureted - and carbs (much as I love them) suck with turbos. You just can't make the most of the set-up. Plus, the turbo used in the '80-'81 TAs was actually designed for a four-cylinder engine!

With a turbo built for the V-8, with EFI and an intercooler, that 301 could have been putting out 300-plus horsepower by the mid-'80s, which would have made it one of the strongest engines then on the market.

And a third gen. ('82-93) Trans-Am with a Pontiac V-8 under its hood would have been something more than just a Camaro with Pontiac trim!