Never heard of it? You're not alone.
The Pontiac Firebird is long gone and the future of its corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Camaro, is still up in the air. But the situation wasn't always like this. The Firebird and Camaro duo were still going strong back in the 1980s during their F-body heyday. Front-engined, rear-wheel-drive and optional V8 power is now a rare combination for new sports coupes but it was a winning formula for decades. At the time, Pontiac had not quite become the body-cladding-happy brand within GM's stable that helped contribute to its 2010 downfall.
There was some genuinely creative and exciting thinking going on then, and the Tojan is a prime example. Pontiac wanted to compete against Italian exotics from Ferrari and Lamborghini, and figured the F-body architecture was up to the task. Some outside help was needed in order to make this project a reality.
GM commissioned performance company Knudsen Automotive to upgrade Firebird GTA coupes and convertibles with improved styling, power, and handling. Pontiac shipped Firebirds to Knudsen's Omaha, Nebraska plant for final assembly, along with LB9 Tuned Port Injection 305 V8 engines and unique automatic transmissions. Knudsen's upgrades included a Knight Rider-like digital dashboard, three-piece wheels, power disc brakes at all four corners, a beefier suspension, and exotic bodywork directly inspired by the likes of the Ferrari 305 and Lamborghini Countach.
Owners also enjoyed a wooden dashboard, cruise control, power windows and mirrors. It was the '80s and those types of features weren't always standard. Beginning in 1985 and ending in 1991, no more than 300 examples were produced, each built to order. Buyers simply had to go to their local Pontiac dealership to make the purchase.
Pricing began at $21,995 and could reach as high as $55,000 depending on options, such as a B&M supercharger, a big Lambo-like rear wing, and an "Equalizer" AM/FM cassette player. It should come as no surprise that Tojans are pretty hard to find, but now there's one up for sale in Florida. Posted on Craigslist, this 1987 Pontiac Tojan comes with a new convertible top and 99,999 miles on the odometer. The bodywork seems to be in good condition, but it's hard to see details in the provided photos.
The $25,000 or best offer is not entirely unreasonable given the car's rarity. Anyone interested should act fast. Who knows when another '80s gem like this will appear again.