Just like the music and clothing industries, the automotive aftermarket is very fashion- driven. So for a company to survive, it has to offer buyers a product that is so stylish that it’s always in demand. For the folks at SLP Engineering, that product has always been horsepower. For the last decade, SLP has delivered hopped-up versions of the Pontiac Trans Am known as the Firehawk. And we’ve enjoyed them one and all. So for 2001, SLP is celebrating with a special 10th anniversary Firehawk. So let’s blow out the candles, light up the tires, and wish SLP a very happy birthday! And what better birthday present to SLP’s thousands of horsepower-loving fans than more horsepower! It comes wrapped up in the limited-production 2001 10th Anniversary Edition Firehawk. A package that pushes Pontiac’s Firebird F-body platform that much closer to the outer-limits of live-axle muscle-car performance. The newest Firehawk comes, to quote another famous automaker, in any color that you like ö as long as it’s black. To which SLP adds screaming gold racing stripes to the composite ram-air hood, along with head-turning 10th Anniversary graphics all around, and a set of golden 17-inch alloy wheels with ultra-low profile Firehawk tires. There’s also expected Firehawk add-ons, like the IROC-style rear spoiler, and the dual heat extractors on the hood. But like most presents, the best bits lie behind the wrapping. Or in this case, under the hood. That’s where you’ll find the Firehawk’s pumped-up 5.7-liter LS1 V8. It makes 335 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, which pumps to the rear wheels through an F-body standard 5-speed manual transmission, and SLP’s optional Auburn high-torque differential. The combination is good for a 0-to-60 blast of only 5.1-seconds! And a best 1/4 mile run of 13.5-seconds at 108 miles-per-hour! That’s within a breath of the Corvette ZO6. Peak power comes on super-strong, but surprisingly smooth, from a mere 1,500 rpms up. The only fly in the ointment is the notchy gear-change, always a hit or miss proposition in GM F- bodies. To match its acceleration, our Firehawk came equipped with the optional handling package consisting of new springs, Bilstien shocks, sway bars, endlinks, and lower control arm bushings. A package we put to the test on West Virginia’s Summit Point Raceway. It gives the aging F-body platform a responsiveness and ability to soak up high speed bumps that’s lacking in the factory Firebird. Though heavy mid-corner understeer, and the ease of inducing power oversteer, means that this is not a car for the amateur driver to take on serious high-speed curves. Which when braking into, we experienced a fair amount of fade in the standard ABS- equipped 4-wheel discs as they heated up. Time for SLP to work their magic on the old stoppers as well! Out on the road, SLP products continue to impress us with just how drivable they are in everyday traffic. A machine with this much raw grunt and macho character should not be so easy to drive. But it is. In fact, we think that Pontiac owes SLP a debt of gratitude for helping keep the F-body competitive in a market dominated by newer, stiffer platforms. As does Chevrolet, which actually supplies SLP’s most popular model, the 2001 Camaro SS. Like the Firehawk, the SS gets a makeover this year, though this one is more subtle, with touches like the composite ram air hood, the available SS logo grille, and the 10-spoke alloy wheels, with either a painted or chrome finish. The SS also benefits from SLP’s engine induction expertise, with the 5.7-liter V8 making 325 horsepower and 345 pound-feet of torque. Our car’s optional SLP exhaust system raises horsepower to 335 and torque to 350 for those who wish to match their Firehawk-owning friends. Though in our test, the SS came up a hair shorter, running to 60 in 5.5 seconds. And finishing the 1/4 mile in 13.8 seconds at 107 miles-per-hour. Like the Firehawk, the SS proved to be a potent, if somewhat demanding, track tool, and a surprisingly civilized street car, and further proof of just how much pony-car performance you can buy from SLP. And you can buy it through your local GM dealer. How easy is that! Pricing for the 10th Anniversary Firehawk starts at $33,489. If the Camaro SS is more to your liking, the power price starts at $27,730. And if your budget doesn’t quite allow for really big horsepower, SLP now offers packages for V6-powered Camaros and Firebirds. Dubbed the Camaro RS and Firebird GT, these packages offer modest styling and performance upgrades for a lot less money than their big bore brothers. But, as in all SLP packages, you get much more punch for your money than any other high performance tuner we know. So after 10 years of bucking, or simply rolling over, every fashion trend that popped up, SLP continues to offer muscle car enthusiasts exactly what they want, and then some. While the GM F-bodies are schedule to be gone after 2002, we’re confident that SLP is destined to continue decades more of their hard hitting, tire smoking magic.