Ever since the Pontiac Firebird was first introduced alongside the Camaro in 1967, it has always had to live in the shadow of its Chevrolet-badged sibling. This remains somewhat perplexing, considering the fact that several Firebird models over the years were better performers than their Camaro counterparts. Take the 2002 Pontiac Trans Am WS6 for example, which is arguably the ultimate F-Body muscle car to ever come out of GM. Thanks to everyone’s favorite gearhead Jay Leno, we now have a chance to take a peak around his personal example of this iconic muscle car.
The WS6 Performance Package is a legendary bit of kit among Pontiac enthusiasts, as it helped transform the Firebird into what can really be described as a four-seat Corvette. WS6 models came with quite a few performance-enhancing modifications, including a billet-steel camshaft, larger fuel injectors, an upgraded 3.42 rear axle ratio, and a heavy-duty suspension setup. Under the hood sits a 5.7L LS1 V8 engine, which is fed air by two Ram Air intakes that give the Trans Am WS6 its signature look. Power output is up compared to the standard Trans Am or Camaro SS models, rated at 325 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough juice to send the muscle car from 0-60 mph in just 5.2 seconds, if the six-speed manual gearbox is equipped. It’ll even rip off a respectable 1/4 mile time of 13.4 seconds at 106.2 mph.
Jay Leno took ownership of his dark blue Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6 after he drove a Firebird Pace Car in the 2002 Daytona 500. Like most of the vehicles in his collection, this particular example appears to be in amazing condition. That said, your cars might also look as nice if you had several hundred to choose from every morning. Either way, Jay makes it clear that this old Pontiac is a hoot to drive even though he has some truly special vehicles at his disposal.
Sadly, 2002 was the final year of the Pontiac Firebird. As we all know now, Pontiac itself would be defunct just a few short years later. Watching this Trans Am WS6 rip around and hearing it’s LS1 sing only highlights what a shame that truly is. In an era of hopped-up muscle cars with 700+ horsepower on tap, we would love to be able to see a modern take on the Pontiac Firebird WS6. Thankfully, we still can rely on Trans Am Depot for that sort of thing.