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What's a WS6
Formula FAQ
Below is some basic info on the Formula and it's aspects. It is in FAQ form, with questions I get every day in the mail:

The return of the Ram-Air Pontiac (originally debuted on the late '60s GTOs). This was part of the WS6 performance package. It's just like the Firehawk except the openings on the hood are a little more forward. The package had a freer-flowing exhaust, tighter suspension (32mm front sway bar, 62 Nm front springs, 23-30 Nm variable-rate rear springs, and new valved shocks), and 17" 5-spoke wheels. HP was rated 305. SLP made the WS6 modifications at their plant after the cars left GM's factory.

Q: My Formula has the WS6 Performance Option. What is included in this package?

A: WS6, like most 3-digit buzzwords you hear, like BC4 and 1LE are known as RPO codes (Regular Production Order). This was what the buyer decided they wanted, and while your car was being assembled, this handy sticker, now stuck in your center console or glove box, was stuck on the frame of your new Formula. It contained codes, like YL1 for leather, or K30 for Automatic tranny with cruise control. This was the guide for what your car had and din't. And the most famous of all RPO codes is WS6, a performance package. Here is, by generation, what the WS6 package included:

70 1/2 - 81:

15" X 8.0" aluminum wheels shod with 225/70R-15 Goodyears
1.25" front anti-roll bar with hard plastic bushings
.75" rear anti-roll bar
Stiffer rear springs
Stiffer rear shackle bushings
Firmer shock valving
Closer ratio steering
Lower control arm supports

The 1979 (possibly even the 1978) WS6 package added rear disc brakes and a 14:1 constant ratio steering box in place of the 15:1-13:1 variable ratio unit.

The lower control arm support is not really on the control arm, but about that area on the curved part of the sub-frame that was on the WS6 cars. This support is small and relatively thin. It is about the size and length of a big pencil connecting frame to frame for the inside of the curve.


WS6 was standard an all Formulas in the 3rd generation.

16-inch polished "Pontiac Snowflake" aluminum wheels
R-rated tires from the factory
Tear-drop cowl hood
Larger front/rear anti-sway bars
Stiffer shocks
Tigher ratio springs
Dual oulet mullfer

*Note: the WS6 package changed slightly in 91-92, as did the entire car, but changes are minor:

16-inch five-point wheels
36MM Front Stabilizer Bar
24MM Rear Stabilizer Bar
Performance Bushings

The Formula package also included:

(2) Large "Formula" or "Formula 350" door decals
(2) Small "Formula" bumper decals
(3) Medium Firebirds for sailpanel/nose
(2) "5.0 Liter F.I" or "Formula" cowl decals (or similar)
(4) WS6 Centercaps
(1) Performance Suspension passenger dash tag


In the 4th Generation, WS6 was no longer just a package, it was a car complete with tags and Ram Air.
Ram Air Performance Package

Ram Air induction system
specific tuned suspension
high polished 17-inch aluminum wheels
P275/40ZR17 speed-rated tires
dual oval high polished exhaust outlets

(2) Small "Formula" door decals
(1) Small "Formula" bumper decal
(1) Small "Formula" headlight decal

WS6 was the option code was available on both the Formula and the Trans AM.
This option boosted power to 305 HP and 330 ft-lbs torque on the 96 and 97 models.
In 1998 the WS6 boosted power to 320HP and 345 ft-lbs torque.


Q: What is a Formula?

A: Most cars have three basic options:
1. Cheap, plain and not very good
2. Expensive, too much and perhaps overkill
3. Just right

Respectivly, Pontiac has the Firebird, the Trans Am, and the Formula.

The Formula began in 1970 1/2, and the simple concept was a Trans Am in a Firebird's body. It added improved handling, style, and added a bigger engine, without all the flash and added weight of the ground-effects laiden T/A. It was touted as Pontiac's true street muscle machine, it was for the enthusiast who wanted performance on a budget. Usually, the Formula shares close to the same body as Firebird in all generations, but in the 2nd generation, they have giant scoops, in the 3rd they have special hoods, wrap-around spoiler and wheels (see WS6 package above), and in the 4th generation, they have dual quad tips and lack of "Firebird" decal on the rear filler-panel, but little more over the base Firebird body-wise. All Formulas are identified by VIN codes and large body decals. The Trans Am, and I can't stress this enough, is a body and appearance package. Trans Am's simply have ground effects, up level spoiler (standard in 95), fog-lighted fron nose, and badging. The also recieve standard eqipment, such as leather and Monsoon sound in convertables. The performance and engine of Trans Ams and of Formulas are the same, the Formula's performance may be even slightly better...
Trans Ams weigh, throughout all generations, around 60-80 lbs. more than the humble Formula, due to the ground effects, rear wing, etc.. And any drag racer can tell you that 100 lbs. = .10/sec in the quarter mile. Add to that the drag of the air dam and side-skirts, and you can deduce that, in theory, a Formula really is the true Pontiac street machine, even more so in it's WS6 setup. And Formula WS6 was the king, until..
Until you see what SLP calls a Firehawk. It is a true muscle car, with standard Ram Air and lots of other goodies, good for about 340 hp, around what the GM flagship, the Corvette, pulls. Guess which model the Firehawk starts as? The lean, mean Formula, of course. It was available as an upgrade to the Formula* model starting in 1993. The package includes:

Functional ram air hood scoop
Reworked exhaust manifolds
(starting in 1995) resulting in 305 HP and 335 ft-lbs of torque
(300 HP and 325 ft-lbs prior to 1995).
An optional freer flowing exhaust system brings HP to 315 and torque to 342 ft-lbs.
The stock wheels and tires are replaced with 5-spoke 17" ZR-1 style wheels with 275/40ZR/17 tires.
Hurst shifter and floor mats were available options starting in 1995.

Bilstein shocks, stiffer rate springs/bushings, and a larger front sway bar make up the optional Level-II suspension which was an available option starting in 1996
along with a Torsen differential, up-level (Trans Am) spoiler, fog lamps, and car cover (all separate options).

"Firehawk" badges replace the "Formula" badges on the front fenders and rear bumper. Badges are also added to the front-lower doors. Stickers showing the HP rating were placed on each side of the hood scoop from 1993 to 1995. All cars were shipped as stock Formulas to Street Legal Performance (SLP) Engineering where the above modifications were made through 1997. After that, GM made the modifications on its own assembly line. Production is limited: 1993 = 250, 1994 = 500, 1995 = 1,000, and 1996 = 500. Twelve 1994 Trans Am GTs were shipped to SLP as pilot cars and were equipped with the Firehawk setup, of which two are 25th Anniversary convertibles and three are 25th Anniversary hardtops. Some of these pilot cars also had headers installed bringing them up to 325 HP (although it's more like 340 HP). Because of late production (est. 7/98) the Firehawk was not available as a 1998 model, but as a 1999 model.

But the Firehawk is second only to the big daddy of ALL F-bodies, the Lingenfelter Hurst Firebird. It too begins life as a Formula. In 1997, the Lingenfelter Hurst Firebird was available. Lingenfelter took a black Firebird Formula with the WS6 Ram Air package and added a 58mm throttle body, LPE intake manifold, LPE CNC ported LT4 heads with hardened pushrods and guideplates, Competition Cams 1.6:1 roller rocker arms and heavy duty dual valve springs with titanium retainers, aluminum driveshaft, Hurst shifter, shorty headers and Borla cat-back exhaust. Power was set at 350 HP. The exterior has a wide gold stripe running the length of the car with Lingenfelter Hurst/Firebird decals and ground effects package. Inside, the head rests and floor mats we embroidered with logos and the car came with a dash plaque, alarm, and custom car cover. The price tag was ,458.

*note: In 1998, the Formulas no longer used cheap decals to identify themselves, and GM upgraded to the Trans Am style badges, made of plastic on the doors. Here is what they look like on a '98: photo These can be ordered from your dealer and used to perk up any fourth gen car, here is an example.


Q: What other Firebird models have been produced over the years?

A: You thought there were three? Five at most, right?:

1979 10th Anniversary
1980 Trubo Indy Pace Car
1981 NASCAR Recaro Turbo Trans Am
1984 15th Anniversary
1989 20th Anniversary Turbo T/A /Pacecar 1994 25th Anniversary
1995 Richmond T/A Pacecar
Firebird 326 H.O.
Firebird GT
Firebird SE
Pro-Am III Firebird
Formula WS6
Formula 400
Formula 455
Trans Am
Fire Am IROC Trans AM WS6
Notchback Trans Am
Special Edition Trans Am
Limited Edition Trans Am
Gold Edition (Bandit) Trans Am
Trans Am WS6
'83 L69 H.O Trans Am
Twin Turbo Trans Am
Trans Am GT
GTA Trans Am
Harley Davidson Edition Trans Am
Macho Trans Am
DKM Macho Trans Am
MR MSE Trans Am
Lingenfelter Hurst Firebird
Comp T/A
Firehawk LT4

And I'm sure there are more.


Q: Why did I see a V6 Formula in the paper/on the net?

A: There were no V6 Formulas made, ever. If you see one, it is a fake. Fake models have become a big trend. Firebirds are cheap and easy to make into fake Formulas with a few decals here and there. The biggest thing, thanks to SunCoast and ASCD, are fake WS6, Firehawk, and Camaro SS models of F-bodies. The wheels, hood and badges are all too easy to buy. If you take a Formula and drop in a 350, then your car is by all means a Formula 350. But if you take a V6 Firebird, slap a Ram Air hood on it and call it a Firehawk, all the people who you are trying to impress will know that your car is a fake.


Q: What does the "F" in "F-body" stand for?

A: The "F" on F-Body doesn't stand for anything. GM has code names for each of it's sports car lines. Corvettes are Y-bodies, Monte Carlo's are G-bodies, Z24's are J-bodies, and so on. The "F" refers to the "carline" code on the VIN, the 4th digit. But the letter really doesn't stand for any word, like the "Z" in Z28, does not. It just sounds good and markets well.


Q: Where can I get licensed OEM decals, badges, etc?

A: The best place to look for licensed GM restoration decals is Phoenix Graphix. They are the company you may have seen advertising in the back of Hot Rod and other magazines, but now they have a website and offer quality decals and the only 1-peice hoodbird available.
For the bagde, such as the "PERFORMANCE SUSPENSION" in the 3rd generation Formulas, a good place to get OEM products is from the free Ames, the nation's largest supplier of Pontiac parts (up to 92).


Q: Where can I get a factory CD player?

A: The best place to look for used CD players at a good price, from to , is in the F-body classifieds. You can also try classifieds at FBody.com, and V8 F-body. You can usually find one in a few days. Just make sure they send it COD. The next best place would be from Yoni Distributors, a company out of LA that sells all kinds of OEM CD players. They have the 93-97 Pontiac CD player with EQ for .99. And they are factory serviced items. They have a one year replacement warranty, though.
Yoni: Phone: 1-800-966-4213 Fax:(213) 629-5129

You can get a '98-'00 style Delco CD player, for , from radiosandmore.com. Newell Electronics has Delco CD players remanufactured for .
If you can't find one anywhere else, you can get one from your local Pontiac dealer, but it will cost a lot, of course. Also keep in mind that the 93-97 Formula CD players are the exact match as those put in Firebirds, Trans Ams, Bonneville, and Grand Prix of the same years.

3rd gen CD players are a little harder to find, but classifieds do exist and the Bonneville and Grand Prix up to '91 have the same Delco OEM CD.


Q: What are the "generations" of F-bodies?

A: Formulas were first made in 1970 1/2, so here are the gens:

1970 1/2 to 1981 = 2nd generation
1982 to 1992 = 3rd generation
1993 to present = 4th generation


Q: How can I tell if my 3rd gen V8 is TPI or TBI?

A: The difference between Tuned Port Injection and Throttle Body Injection is huge when it comes to horsepower output of a 305, and 350's only came with TPI. If you have the large, round aircleaner in the center of your engine, you have TBI. If you have runners and a tube to the intake, you have TPI.


Q: I cleaned my factory aluminum wheels with some wheel cleaner spray, and now there is a white haze that won't wash off. How do I get rid of it?

A: Just get some WD-40 and spray a lot onto the wheels, then rub it in with an old rag. They'll shine with no permanent damage.


Q: How can I shed some weight for the track?

A: Everyone knows that 100lbs= 0.1sec on the track. Losing weight is a good addition to your list of mods. Some of these ideas may sound small, but everything adds up.

Parts removal air pump spare/jack stereo/speakers back seats/passenger seat carpet/padding STB (if you have one)

Aftermarket Lightweights carbon fiber driveshaft carbon fiber/fiberglass hood lightweight brakes lightweight racing seat(s) lightweight aluminum heads plastic T-Tops skinny tires upfront alloy/aluminum wheels


Q: Where can I get a dual inlet aircleaner for my custom ram/cold air project?

A: There was an ad that caught my eye for an airbox with dual inlets. Here is the ad I scanned. You can e-mail them at ramairbox@wchat.on.ca, or check out any Hot Rod for the ad.


Q: When I accelerate there is a loud clunking from under the center console. It feels like someone is kicking it from underneath. What is this, and how can I fix it?

A: The problem is a broken, actually torn, transmission mount. You have three options to replace it:

OEM replacement
1LE mount
Poly tranny mount
The OEM is weak, and you will most likely break it again. The 1LE is a little stiffer, it is hardened rubber. The polyurethane piece, available from Energy Suspension, is very stiff, and will not break. It does make the ride a little rougher at first, but it will loosen up in a few hundred miles. The shifts are slightly firmer as well. They cost about .


Q: Will the taillights from a '98-'99 Formula fit the set from a '93-'97 Formula?

A: The taillights will fit, using all original harnesses and bulbs. You can get the lights and center peice from the dealer, as they are hard to find used. They will bolt right up and are the exact shape and size.

About Saving In Gas Money
As someone always low in funds, I've learned a few things about saving money on gas: First, make sure you service your car regularly. If your engine isn't working properly, you're losing money on gas. Also, if your tires aren't aligned or filled with the proper amount of air, then you aren't getting optimal gas mileage. Another reason why your car may be guzzling gas is your driving habits. Do you speed? Go to drive-throughs instead of going inside? Run your AC at all times? Constantly run errands? A little planning can save you gas--do all of your errands at one time, and don't do them during busy driving times, where you may idle at stoplights for a larger amount of time.


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