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In 1988, GM offered F-body owners more then just the standard Formula and T/A. It was selling race-ready F-bodies that were just an option box away. Coded "1LE", these specially ordered Firebirds and Camaros have come with everything from bigger brakes to aluminum driveshafts and special gas tanks. Most people are unsure about the early 88-89 1LE cars. No literature or road test really exists for them, at least nothing that explains the option.

The reason 1LE cars exist is because of SCCA showroom stock racing. As the name implies, Showrrom Stock racing requires that all competing entries be absolute production cars. Natureally, GM wanted to widen its advantage over the competition, so to utilize items like bigger brakes and lighter driveline pieces on its race cars, it first needed to make them available on the production cars. It wasn't until 1990 that automotive magazines, dealerships and the general public really started to catch on to these cars. They started popping up in everything from Car and Driver to Popular Mechanics. The word had leaked out about these killer factory race cars and, suddenly, everybody wanted one.

To get your hands on one of these machines, all you had to do was order the G92 Performance Axle Package, which got you 3.23(350 auto), or 3.42(305 5 speed) gears, along with a limited slip differential, an engine oil cooler and a freer-flowing exhaust. This option along with C41, would also net you bigger brakes with PBR aluminum calipers and larger 11.4 inch rear disc brakes with matching aluminum PBR calipers. Also included in the 1LE option was a special fuel tank with increased baffling for reduced fuel starvation in the corners. You also ended up with a specially balanced aluminum driveshaft that decreased reciprocating weight in the driveline considerable. Special shocks, struts and srpings were also included with the 1LE package, and in '89, a new dual cat converter exhaust system also became standard on the 1LE's adding another 10 horses to the TPI engine. Something you couldn't benefit from were any of the birds many convenience items. About the only choice you had when ordering a 1LE car was exterior color and license plate bracketry. This was GM's way of discouraging average people from buying these cars. The result was low double digit numbers for these cars, in every year of production for the third generation. More 305 5 speeds were produced than A4 350s, but the 5 speeds are harder to track down because the majority of them went straight to the track.

Source: High Performance Pontiac.

4th gen 1LEs

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The intro of the 4th gen F-bodies brought some change to the 1LE package. No longer was the option hidden beneath any other option codes. You could now simply order the 1LE package by itself. When doing so, you received the same aluminum driveshaft that was installed in the third-gen cars, much stiffer deCarbon shocks, and the same front and rear springs as the standard V8 F-body. Some of the parts that were no longer included with the 1LE package were the larger front disc brakes and the special gast tank. The new F-bodies now had standard front brakes that measured 11 inches. Unfortunately, you still had to delete A/C in order to get a 1LE, so sales remained failry low

At the end of 94, some minor changes were made on the 1LE. No longer was the larger 21mm rear sway bar necessary, because all 1LE cars now received increased-rate springs all around. In 95, only one change was made. They received the same radiator baffling used on A/C equipped cars to increase cooling. The changes made on the race ready option during the 96 model run were the most significant. For one thing, A/C now became standard on all cars, including the 1LE. Koni double adjustable shocks now also a pat of the 1LE package were a great upgrade. Also, in order to order a 1LE, you had to buy the WS6 option.

The only options required to order a 96-97 1LE car is the basic option group (1SA) and the WS6 performance package. You must also specify 6-speed only. Your remaining choices are limited to rear window defogger and/or a front licence plate bracket

Source: High Performance Pontiac.