With corporate limits curtailing bigger designs, the engineers at Pontiac chose to focus on various new Ram Air configurations for the 400 CI engine package that had first debuted in 1967. After the Ram Air II package of 1968, the Ram Air III and IV engines were at the top of the Pontiac power pantheon in 1969, the year that Mr. Shaffer’s unrestored Trans Am came off the assembly line.
Outfitted with special paint, spoilers and handling pieces, the 1969 model year was the first for the Trans-Am equipment package and the only year it was available on the first-generation Firebird. At 335 HP, the new 1969
Ram Air III made use of the High Output engine components that had been part of the new performance-oriented 400 CI packages of 1967-68. Standard in the Trans Am model, it came equipped from the factory with the Ram Air-type air cleaner and fresh-air induction components. In the case of Shaffer’s car, this particular vehicle was found in a Detroit-area garage after 25 years of storage. With its numbers-matching engine package and 4-speed combination, this car has been recognized by a ZZenith Preservation Award at the 2012 Bloomington Gold Survivor Show. Indeed, unrestored Trans Ams from this era are very scarce.
Of the mere 697 Ram Air III Firebird Trans Ams built that year, only 14 came with the Parchment White interior found in this Trans Am. The car also comes with some amazing original artifacts including the factory key set and dealer document pouch, plus PHS documentation. In conclusion, this 1969 Ram Air III is a spectacular example of preservation, particularly important of a classic single-year-production package.