Photos by Larry D’Argis / Winnipeg Free Press
Dan Labossiere spotted his dream Trans Am while driving past West Perimeter Auto Sales on his way to view a Corvette he was considering buying.
The Pontiac Firebird has been a great seller since its mid-year introduction in 1967. In 1969 Pontiac Motor Division brought the new Trans Am edition to market. With added spoilers, suspension and performance options along with its definitive striping, the Trans Am became the ultimate Firebird.
Even through the fuel crunch and mandated pollution control era of the ’70s, the Trans Am was always looked at as the top General Motors performance pick, riding only one notch behind the Chevrolet Corvette. Made famous in the late ’70s with the Smokey and the Bandit movies, the Trans Am became folklore and a driving statement that North America wasn’t going to let the performance car simply fade away.
With platform upgrades, radial tuned suspension, new powertrains and advances in fuel injection and braking systems, the Trans Am provided buyers with not only show, but also handling and go power. Today, the Trans Am is a solid collectible automobile, sought out by collectors and enthusiasts alike.
For Dan Labossiere of Winnipeg, finding a late-model Corvette or Trans Am was a priority to him. “I wanted to buy a late-model Corvette or as a second choice a low-mileage Trans Am,” says Labossiere. With the latter proving to be a near impossible task, Labossiere went out to see a prospective Corvette. On the way, he passed West Perimeter Auto Sales and spied a Trans Am on their lot. Proprietor Harold Neudorf explained the car had just been brought in and wasn’t even listed for sale yet.
Finished in Bright Red, with black bucket seat leather interior upholstery, the 2002 Trans Am Collector Edition had just over 27,400 kilometres on it. A quick test drive showed Labossiere all he needed to know and with his 2013 Cadillac SRX as a trade-in, the deal was done.
Powered by the LS1 5.7-litre V-8 and backed by a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, it had everything going for it, along with the coveted WS6 handling package. The only additions to factory equipment are a Kenwood stereo and a pair on Magnaflow stainless mufflers and exhaust tips. Equipped with factory options including power four-wheel disc brakes, power steering, glass T-Top roof, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, tinted glass, it’s safe to say it’s fully loaded. Rolling on the factory alloy wheel with 17-inch B.F. Goodrich G-Force Comp-2 radial tires, it can carve through corners with ease.
The only changes Labossiere wants to make to the Trans Am are the inclusion of red accents in the door panels and seats. Offered recently as an aftermarket addition, it breaks up the mono-black upholstery look and helps tie the interior into the red exterior paint.
For those out there wondering what a future collectible vehicle looks like, this is it. Labossiere’s Trans Am is one of only 1,066 Collector Edition WS6 coupes produced. A further breakdown shows it to be one of only 120 produced for export to Canada and only one of 37 equipped with the A4 automatic overdrive transmission. Safe to say that with the right amount of maintenance and TLC, this Trans Am is as good of an investment as any bank term deposit.
Labossiere, who is a collision repair and refinishing instructor at Kildonan East Collegiate, along with the other instructors and students would like to invite everyone to the Kildonan East Collegiate Show & Shine, tomorrow, Saturday May 25 at the school, located at 845 Concordia Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. A $10 vehicle entry allows the driver a complementary pancake breakfast. The show is free to spectators with food and refreshments available on site. There are several awards up for grabs including the Grant Smart “Wild Thing” Alumni award and best paint sponsored by Kolors Autobody Supplies.
Labossiere’s Trans Am is one of only 1,066 Collector Edition WS6 coupes produced.