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Jay Leno's 2002 Pontiac Firebird WS6 Reminds Us That The Early 2000s Were Pretty Awesome

Jay Leno’s 2002 Pontiac Firebird WS6 Reminds Us That The Early 2000s Were Pretty Awesome

It’s one of the most pristine-looking Firebird WS6s we’ve ever seen

The Pontiac Firebird is one of the unsung heroes among American sports cars. In fact, Motorweek said in a review from 1998 that the Trans Am was the synonym of “Corvette performance for a minivan price.” The reason for that? For 1998, Pontiac fitted its sports car with a 305-horsepower LS1 engine.

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Top 10 Fastest Used Cars Under $20K

Top 10 Fastest Used Cars Under $20K

These performance cars are cheap, fast, and have all had previous owners

With the prices of cars increasing, a $20,000 used sports car has become harder to obtain these days. Not too long ago, you could afford a decent runner for $20,000 and still have enough change to buy a few cosmetic kits. But that’s no longer the case today, or at least, not for the most part. Look hard enough, though, and you can still score some good deals on used sports cars for $20,000 or less. These cars aren’t world-beaters by any stretch of the imagination, but they should still have enough juice to get the adrenaline flowing. They’re out there in the world. All you need to do is look for them.

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10 of the Fastest Cars Available for Under $15,000

10 of the Fastest Cars Available for Under $15,000

There are excellent examples out there, provided you are okay with buying pre-owned cars

There are a lot of benefits in buying a pre-owned car. Instead of being stuck on a particular segment due to budget constraints, you can actually choose a car from the higher tiers when you look at the used market. You don’t have to worry about the depreciation hit in the car as well. And, when it comes to fast, cool cars, you don’t have to wait for the run-in period to complete and you can redline it from day one. In fact, if you spend some time researching, you can find some real treasures as well. To help you out, we’ve listed ten of the fastest cars that you can get for less than $15,000.

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Tony Stewart and Mobil 1 Reimagine "Smokey And The Bandit" - Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Tony Stewart and Mobil 1 Reimagine "Smokey And The Bandit" - Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Mobil 1 and Tony Stewart — Smoke to most of us — are up to a whole new bag of tricks with their commercials. This time around, they borrowed the plot of one of every car buff’s favorite classic car flicks, Smokey and the Bandit. As expected, Tony plays the Bandit — a role once reserved for Burt Reynolds — and he is driving a Trans Am nearly identical to the 1976 Trans Am that originally starred in the movie.

So far, Mobil 1 has released three episodes of the six-part series and a trailer. If you’ve watched the original Smokey and the Bandit movies, then you will appreciate that a lot of the scenes are nearly identical to the original, save for a few humorous modifications. If you have not seen the original movies yet, I suggest watching them before checking out this series — you’ll definitely need to have the original plot in mind to really grasp these remakes.

We’ll pass on the remaining episodes as Mobil 1 releases them, so keep it locked on TopSpeed.

Click past the just to see the videos.

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2010 Pontiac Trans-Ams at the 2009 SEMA Show

2010 Pontiac Trans-Ams at the 2009 SEMA Show

The one comment that every automotive enthusiast made when they would pass one of these modified 2010 Chevrolet Camaros at the 2009 SEMA Show is what kind of a bonehead move it was for GM to bring an end to Pontiac. The Firebird has always been a fan favorite for performance enthusiasts with its attractive styling, powerful engines and affordable price. Well have no fear because the screaming chicken is back, after all what is the automotive aftermarket for.

The American tuner Lingenfelter has prepared a 655 HP Trans-Am using one of American Specialty Cars conversion kits and a set of honeycomb wheels. Offering something for everyone, Smokey and the Bandit fans will appreciate the black and gold 2010 Pontiac adorned with a kit from Kevin Morgan that would even make Burt Reynolds shed a tear. Even though GM has officially ended our hopes for a new Firebird, enthusiasts can still build their own if they really want to.

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2010 Pontiac G8 GXP

2010 Pontiac G8 GXP

The Pontiac G8 GXP is a tremendous performance bargain, built with the best parts from the GM parts bin; the GXP offers owners quite possibly the best fun/dollar ratio on the market. It comes complete with a 19 inchCadillac CTS-V inspired wheel and brake package as well as an LS3 V8 from a Chevrolet Corvette sending 415 HP to the rear wheels via an optional six-speed manual and a very racy limited slip differential. This is all good for a quarter mile time of 13 seconds flat at 108 MPH and a 0 to 60 MPH time of, with the luxury of four doors.

There was once a Car and Driver comparison with a subtitle that read: Dundee and Goliath: A dark knight from Down Under rattles the BMW M5, and you’ll never guess who builds it. The car that author Aaron Robinson was comparing with the luxury performance sedan back in 2001 was the Holden Commodore HSV GTS R 300. Think Cadillac Catera body on top of an LS1 Corvette power train and whatever other special parts that GM had ad their disposal. At the end of the article, the BMW squeezed ahead thanks only to fit and finish, but the fun to drive award went to the Holden. This was even more astounding because the special edition HSV was selling for only a fraction of the pride of the M lineup.

Since the turn of the century General Motors has invested heavily in their rear wheel drive platform and imported another Australian V8 super car, the Holden Monaro based GTO with LS1 power. After the initial test run, Pontiac brought over the 21st century goat’s cousin, the Commodore, except it was more commonly known at the G8, which is a tremendous performance sedan. With the recent demise of the brand the Pontiac G8 could go the same way as the ill-fated GTO, but if that means no more GXP we are going to have to ask Obama for our bail out money back. It would be just like an American automaker to kill a $37,610 sedan that makes a BMW M5 seem ridiculously overpriced. GM is offering a $3,500 cash incentive on all variations of the G8 Sedan.

Continued after the jump.

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Initial thoughts: Pontiac G8 GXP

Initial thoughts: Pontiac G8 GXP

We have just received a real gem into our Top Speed test fleet. The once endangered and now recently saved Pontiac G8 is an excellent performance sedan. The stylish sedan came from the land down under where the Australians prefer their race cars with a V8 up front and four doors all around. It was this rear wheel drive formula that made the G8 such a hit when it originally debuted with either V6 or V8 power. However this is no ordinary G8, this is the high performance GXP version, a model that combines the fun of rear wheel drive, the power of an LS3 and the control of a six speed manual and is said to compete with much higher priced sports cars like the BMW M5.

Our Sport Red Metallic car rides on a set of stylish 19 inch polished aluminum rims that when combined with the oversized Brembo brake calipers, bears a striking resemblance to the Cadillac CTS-V. Aside from the impressive rolling stock the exterior of our G8 GXP looks just like any other of the four door imports from Queensland. The only other features that hint at the outstanding performance under the bonnet are the pair of sport inspired hood scoops and a set of reasonably flared fenders. Apart from the cleared out taillight lenses and the aforementioned details, there is no other way to tell this hot rod G8 apart from any other of Pontiac’s rear wheel drive grocery getters.

The Onyx interior is about the same as a base Pontiac G8 except that the aluminum sport pedals and GXP logos embroidered into the backrests of the leather wrapped front sport buckets hint at something special. That sensation is further reinforced by the Corvette-like shifter. The grip is connected to a six speed manual that sends 402 HP and 402 lb-ft of torque from the 6.2 Liter V8 through a limited slip differential directly to the rear wheels. The G8 GXP should be good for a 0 to 60 MPH time of about 4.7 seconds and a quarter mile time of 13.0 seconds flat.

Continued after the jump.

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