Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

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Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

1970 - 1976
310 bhp
4 spd. man /3 spd. auto
Top Speed:
132 mph / 176 kmh
Number Built:
4 star
 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
While the original Firebird appeared in 1967, it wansn't until 1970 when the re-styled versions were released that interest in the marque grew.

The 1970 re-design represented a new high for Pontiac styling - the front bumper and grille were molded out of "Endura" rubber and were painted the same color as the car to give it a bumperless appearance.

The sides sported rounded full wheel cut outs without any extra trim (the Camaro had more squared off wheel cut outs). Suspension revisions included the addition of a rear stabilizer bar.

Perhaps the most dissappointing of the re-design was that the new model no longer came available as a convertible - perhaps a true muscle car could not be marketed successfully as a drop-top. For whatever reasons, the Firebird lineup was reduced from six to four.

At the bottom of the line up was the Base Firebird, whose Pontiac 250 I6 was replaced by a Chevy built 250 I6 rated at a meager 155bhp. Most buyers wisely opted for one of the optional V8s. Next up was the Espirit, which featured the Pontiac 350 V8 rated at 255 bhp.

The Formula 400 featured a unique twin-scooped hood with a 400 V8 rated at 335 bhp. At the top was the Trans Am, which was fitted with air dams across the bottom of the front and in front of the wheels.

A large decklip lip and small spoilers in front of the rear wheels completed the package. These aero pieces were claimed to generate 50 pounds of downforce on the front and rear of the car at highway speeds. Trans Ams also received a rear facing shaker hood scope to feed the standard Ram Air II engine.

Optional on the Trans Am was the Ram Air IV engine, whose output had increased to 370 bhp due to bigger ports, better heads, swirl-polished valves, and an aluminum instake manifold. Only 88 copies were made. Rarer still was the Ram Air V, an over-the-counter, special order engine that included solid lifters and tunnel port heads and made up to 500 bhp.

A four speed Hurst shifter was standard, but a three speed Turbo Hydra-matic automatic was available. Inside, complete instrumentation, including a tach turned on its side to red line at 12 o'clock just like a race car, completed the performance image.

The Trans Am featured one of the best tuned suspensions of any car (including the Corvette) and its European styling gave it instant class. The Trans Am was now available in either Polar White or Lucent Blue, with contrasting stripes, a relatively modest bird stencil at the tip of the nose, and the words "Trans Am" across the rear spoiler.

1973 saw some significant new changes to the Firebird, including a new eggcrate grille and a revised front bumper. Perhaps the 73 model is best remembered for its "Phoenix" bonnet decals, although 1973 is remembered by many Pontiac enthusiasts for the demise of the powerful 455 310bhp big block cars with the addition of so much anti-pollution gear that the sting was taken out of the motor.

Things were only to get worse as legislators tightened up on US car manufacturers, with 1976 being the end of the big block cars.

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