The vehicles were powered by various four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and V8 engines of different GM divisions. While primarily Pontiac-powered until 1977, Firebirds were built with several different engines from nearly every GM division until 1982 when GM began to discontinue engines it felt were unneeded and either spread successful designs from individual divisions among all divisions or use new engines of corporate architecture.
First generation (1967–1969)
The first generation Firebirds had a characteristic Coke bottle styling. Unlike its cousin, the Chevrolet Camaro, its bumpers were integrated into the design of the front end and its rear "slit" taillights were inspired by the Pontiac GTO. Both a two-door hardtop and a convertible were offered through the 1969 model year. Originally the car was a "consolation prize" for Pontiac, who had initially wished to produce a two-seat sports car of its own design, based on the original Banshee concept car. However, GM feared such a vehicle would directly compete with Chevrolet's Corvette, and the decision was made to give Pontiac a piece of the pony car market by having them share the F-body platform with Chevrolet.
The base model Firebird came equipped with the OHC inline-6 and a single-barrel carburetor. The next model, the Sprint, had a four-barrel carburetor, developing 215 hp (160 kW). Most buyers opted for one of the V8 engines: the 326 CID (5.3 L) with a two-barrel carburetor producing 250 hp (186 kW); the "H.O." (High Output) engine of the same displacement, but with a four-barrel carburetor and producing 285 hp (213 kW); or the 400 CID (6.6 L) from the GTO with 325 hp (242 kW). A "Ram Air" option was also available in 1968, providing functional hood scoops, higher flow heads with stronger valve springs, and a different camshaft. Power for the Ram Air package was the same as the conventional 400 H.O., but the engine peaked at a higher RPM. The 230 CID (3.8 L) engines were subsequently replaced by 250 CID (4.1 L) ones, the first developing 175 hp (130 kW) using a single-barrel carburetor, and the other 215 hp (160 kW) with a four-barrel carburetor. Also for the 1968 model, the 326 CID (5.3 L) engine was replaced by one with a displacement of 350 CID (5.7 L). An "H.O." version of the 350 CID with a revised cam was also offered starting in that year, developed 320 hp (240 kW). Power output of the other engines was increased marginally. In 1969, a $725 optional handling package called the "Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package,", named after the Trans Am Series, which included a rear spoiler, was introduced. Of these first "Trans Ams," only 689 hardtops and eight convertibles were made. There was an additional Ram Air IV option for the 400 CID engine during that year, complementing the Ram Air III; these generated 345 and 335 hp (250 kW) respectively. The 350 "H.O." engine was revised again with a different cam and cylinder heads resulting in 330 hp (250 kW). During 1969 a special 303 cu in (5.0 L) engine was designed for SCCA road racing applications that was not available in production cars.
The styling difference from the 1967 to the 1968 model was the addition of Federally mandated side marker lights: for the front of the car, the blinkers were made larger and extended to wrap around the front edges of the car, and on the rear, the Pontiac (V-shaped) Arrowhead logo was added to each side. The front door vent-windows were replaced with a single pane of glass. The 1969 model received a major facelift with a new front end design made of an Endura bumper housing the headlights and grilles. The instrument panel and steering wheel were revised. The ignition switch was moved from the dashboard to the steering column with the introduction of GM's new locking ignition switch/steering wheel.
Due to engineering problems that delayed the introduction of the all-new 1970 Firebird beyond the usual fall debut, Pontiac continued production of 1969 model Firebirds into the early months of the 1970 model year (the other 1970 Pontiac models had been introduced on September 18, 1969). By late spring of 1969, Pontiac had deleted all model-year references on Firebird literature and promotional materials, anticipating the extended production run of the then-current 1969 models.
|1967||230 cu in (3.8 L) Pontiac OHC I6||326 cu in (5.3 L) Pontiac V8||326 cu in (5.3 L) Pontiac H.O. V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air V8|
|1968||250 cu in (4.1 L) Pontiac OHC I6||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||350 cu in (5.7 L)Pontiac H.O. V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac H.O. V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air II V8 (mid-year release)|
|1969||250 cu in (4.1 L) Pontiac OHC I6||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac H.O. V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac H.O. Ram Air III V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air IV V8|
Second generation (1970–1981)The second generation debut for the 1970 model year was delayed until February 26, 1970, because of tooling and engineering problems; thus, its popular designation as a 1970½ model, while leftover 1969s were listed in early Pontiac literature without a model-year identification.
- Firebird Esprit
- Firebird Formula
- Firebird Trans-Am
- Firebird Trans-Am WS6
- Firebird Skybird
- Firebird Redbird
- Firebird Yellowbird
- Special Edition (popular 'Bandit')
- Gold Special Edition
- Macho Trans-Am (made by one of the Pontiac dealers)
- 1976 50th (Pontiac) Anniversary Edition
- 1979 10th (Trans Am) Anniversary Edition
- 1980 Pace Car Indy 500 Edition (turbo Trans Am)
- 1981 NASCAR Edition (turbo Trans Am).
Replacing the "Coke bottle" styling was a more "swoopy" body style, with the top of the rear window line going almost straight down to the lip of the trunk lid—a look that was to epitomize F-body styling for the longest period during the Firebird's lifetime. The new design was initially characterized with a large C-pillar, until 1975 when the rear window was enlarged.
There were two Ram Air 400 cu in (6.6 L) engines for 1970: the 335 hp (250 kW) Ram Air III (366 hp (273 kW) in GTO) and the 345 hp (257 kW) Ram Air IV (370 hp (280 kW) in GTO) that were carried over from 1969. The difference between the GTO and Firebird engines was the secondary carburetor linkage which prevented the rear barrels from opening. Bending the linkage to allow full carburator operation resulted in identical engines.
A distinctive, slant-nose facelift occurred in 1977, redone somewhat in 1979. From 1977 to 1981, the Firebird used four square headlamps, while the Camaro continued to retain the two round headlights that had previously been shared by both Second Generation designs. Curb weights rose dramatically in the 1973 model year due to the implementation of 5 mph (8.0 km/h) telescoping bumpers and various other crash and safety related structural enhancements; SD455 Trans Ams weighed in at 3,850 lb (1,750 kg).
The 455 engine available in the second generation Firebird Trans Am was arguably the last high-performance engine of the original muscle car generation. The 455 cu in (7.5 L) engine first made its appearance in 1971 as the 455-HO. In 1973 and 1974, a special version of the 455, called the SD-455, was offered. The SD-455 consisted of a strengthened cylinder block that included 4-bolt main bearings and added material in various locations for improved strength. Original plans called for a forged crankshaft, although actual production SD455s received nodular iron crankshafts with minor enhancements. Forged rods and forged aluminum pistons were specified, as were unique high flow cylinder heads. A 1967 GTO Ram Air camshaft with 301/313 degrees of advertised duration, 0.407 inch net valve lift, and 76 degrees of valve overlap was specified for actual production engines in lieu of the significantly more aggressive Ram Air IV style cam that had originally been planned for the engine (initially rated at 310 hp (230 kW) with that cam), but proved incapable of meeting the tightening emissions standards of the era. This cam, combined with a low compression ratio of 8.4 (advertised) and 7.9:1 actual resulted in 290 SAE net horsepower. Production test cars yielded 1/4 mile times in the 14.5 second/98 MPH range in showroom tune – results consistent for a car with a curb weight of 3,850 pounds and the rated 290 SAE net horsepower figure some sources suggest was "under-rated," High Performance Pontiac magazine dyno-tested an SD and gave it 371 SAE net rating. During a 1972 strike, the Firebird (and the sister F-body Camaro) were nearly dropped. Pontiac offered the 455 for a few more years, but tightening restrictions on vehicle emissions guaranteed its demise. Thus, the 1976 Trans Am was the last of the "Big Cube Birds," with only 7,100 units produced with the 455 engine.
The 1974 models featured a redesigned "shovel-nose" front end and new wide "slotted" taillights. In 1974, Pontiac offered two base engines for the Firebird: a 100 hp (75 kW) 250 cu in (4.1 L) inline-6 and a 155 hp (116 kW) 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8. Available were 175 hp (130 kW) to 225 hp (168 kW) 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 engines, as well as the 455 cu in (7.5 L) produced 215 hp (160 kW) or 250 hp (190 kW), while the SD-455 produced 290 hp (220 kW). The 400, 455, and SD-455 engines were offered in the Trans Am and Formula models during 1974
The 1975 models featured a new wraparound rear window with a revised roofline. The Super Duty engines, Muncie 4-speed, and TurboHydramatic were no longer available in 1975. The 400 and 455 engines were optional above the base six and V8 in the 1975 and 1976 models.
In 1976, Pontiac celebrated their 50th Anniversary, and a special edition of the Trans Am was released. Painted in black with gold accents, this was the first anniversary Trans Am package and the first production Black and Gold special edition. In 1977, Pontiac offered the T/A 6.6 Litre 400 (RPO W72) rated at 200 hp (150 kW), as opposed to the regular 6.6 Litre 400 (RPO L78) rated at 180 hp (130 kW). In addition, California and high altitude cars received the Olds 403 engine, which offered a slightly higher compression ratio and a more usable torque band than the Pontiac engines of 1977. The 1977 Trans-Am Special Edition became famous after being featured in Smokey and the Bandit. Later on the 1980 Turbo model was used for Smokey and the Bandit II. Beginning in 1978, Pontiac engineers reversed years of declining power by raising the compression ratio in the Pontiac 400 through the installation of different cylinder heads with smaller combustion chambers (1977 pontiac 400 engines also had the 350 heads bolted to the 400 blocks, these heads were known as the 6x-4 heads)(taken from the Pontiac 350). This increased power by 10% for a total of 220 during the 1978–79 model years. The 400/403 options remained available until 1979, when the 400 CID engines were only available in the 4-speed transmission Trans Ams and Formulas (the engines had actually been stockpiled from 1978, when PMD had cut production of the engine). 1979 marked the 10th Anniversary of the Trans Am, and a special anniversary package was made available: silver paint with a silver leather interior. The 10th Anniversary cars also featured a special Firebird hood decal, which extended off of the hood and onto the front fenders. In 1979 Pontiac sold 116,535 Trans Ams which still holds the record to this day.
Up until the 1979 models, the performance of 400-equipt Firebirds could still be brought up to pre-1970 levels by disabling emissions equipment- removing the catalytic converter and blocking off the exhaust gas recirculation system- and opening up the block off plate to make the hood scoop functional. However, in 1980, due to ever-increasing emissions restrictions, Pontiac dropped all of its large displacement engines.
1980 therefore saw the biggest engine changes for the Trans Am. The 301, offered in 1979 as a credit option, was now the standard engine. Options included a turbocharged 301 or the Chevrolet 305 small block.
In the final year of the Second Generation Firebirds (1981), Trans Am still used the same engines as it had in the previous model year, with the only change being the addition of a new electronic carburetion system.
|1970||250 cu in (4.1 L) I6||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air III V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air IV V8|
|1971||250 cu in (4.1 L) I6||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac H.O. V8 (low compression)|
|1972||250 cu in (4.1 L) I6||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) H.O. (low compression)|
|1973||250 cu in (4.1 L) I6||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac H.O. V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) S.D. V8|
|1974||250 cu in (4.1 L) I6||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac H.O. V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac S.D. V8|
|1975||250 cu in (4.1 L) I6||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8|
|1976||250 cu in (4.1 L) I6||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8|
|1977||231 cu in (3.8 L) V6||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Chevrolet V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||403 cu in (6.6 L) Oldsmobile V8|
|1978||231 cu in (3.8 L) V6||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Chevrolet V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||403 cu in (6.6 L) Oldsmobile V8|
|1979||231 cu in (3.8 L) V6||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Chevrolet V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||403 cu in (6.6 L) Oldsmobile V8|
|1980||265 cu in (4.3 L) Pontiac V8||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Chevrolet V8 (automatic only)||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac turbo V8|
|1981||265 cu in (4.3 L) Pontiac V8||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Chevrolet V8 (4-speed only)||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac turbo V8|
Third generation (1982–1992)
The availability and cost of gasoline (two fuel crises had occurred by this time) meant the weight and the fuel consumption of the 3rd generation had to be considered in the design. In F-body development, both the third generation Firebird and Camaro were proposed as possible front wheel drive platforms, but the idea was scrapped. The state of the art of computerized engine management was in its infancy, and as long as saving fuel was the primary objective, it was not possible to have high horsepower and torque numbers. They did manage to cut enough weight from the design so that acceleration performance would be better than the 1981 models. They also succeeded in the fuel consumption department, offering a 4-cylinder Firebird that would provide 34 miles per gallon. GM executives decided that engineering effort would best be spent on aerodynamics and chassis development. They created a modern platform, so that when engine technology advanced, they would have a well balanced package with acceleration, braking, handling, and aerodynamics. For the time being, they would have world class aerodynamics and handling, and excellent fuel economy. (Little did they know that by 1989 the fastest American car on the market would be a Firebird.)
The Firebird and Camaro were completely redesigned for the 1982 model year, with the windshield slope set at 62 degrees, (about 3 degrees steeper than anything GM had ever tried before), and for the first time, a large, glass-dominated hatchback that required no metal structure to support it. Two concealed pop-up headlights, a first on the F-Body cars, were the primary characteristic that distinguished the 3rd Gen Firebird from its both its Camaro sibling and its prior form; (a styling characteristic carried into the 4th Gen's design). In addition to being about 500 lbs (227 kg) lighter than the previous 2nd Gen design, the 3rd Generation Firebird was the most aerodynamic product GM had ever released. Wind tunnels were used to form the new F-Body platform's shape, and Pontiac took full advantage of it. The aerodynamic developments extended to the finned aluminum wheels with smooth hubcaps and a functional rear spoiler.
Fourth generation (1993–2002)The fourth-generation F-body continued the aerodynamic formula initiated by the previous generation, but saw declining sales. As before, the Camaro kept the exposed headlights and the Firebird its pop-up units, with some minor changes. The overall styling of the Firebird more strongly reflected the "Banshee IV" concept car than the 1991 "face lift" received by the Third Generation model.
From 1993 until 1995 (1995 non-California cars), Firebirds received a 3.4 L V6 with 160 hp (120 kW), or the 5.7 L 275 hp (205 kW) LT1 V8. The 1993 Firehawk (only available in Formula trim for 1993–1997) received the SLP package with a functional hood scoop and other performance enhancements that increased power to 300 hp (220 kW). Only 201 were built for 1993, with the same engine as in the 1993 Corvettes. The LT1 in the Formula and Trans Am was very similar to the one in the Corvette C4, except with 2-bolt mains and a more restrictive intake/exhaust system. The 1993 model year V6 models had angular cable driven throttle body units that later changed in 1994 to multi-port fuel injection.
The 1994 model year marked the 25th anniversary of the Trans Am, and another Anniversary Edition was released, painted white with a single blue stripe down the center of the vehicle that was reminiscent of the 1970 Trans Am. It was also the debut of the 4L60e 4 speed electronically controlled automatic transmission in the F-body, which took the place of the non-electronic 700R4.
The 1995 models were the same as those of previous years, but traction control (ASR: Acceleration Slip Regulation) was now available. The steering wheel was also changed. It was borrowed from the Grand Prix. An optional performance package included polyurethane bushings, suspension upgrades, as well as a freer intake/exhaust similar to that on the Chevrolet Corvette, supplying 315 hp, but this package was seldom ordered. The 'Transmission Perform' button was available only in the 1994 and 1995 Formula and Trans Am. This option was stopped for the 1996 and later models, but the connections are still there for 1996 and 1997 Formula and Trans Am.
The mid-1995 and later models had a 200 hp 3.8 L V6 as the base engine, and the power rating of the LT1 had been raised to 285, due to a new dual catalytic converter exhaust system that was optional in previous years.
The 1997 Firehawk LT4 model, made by SLP Performance Parts and sold through Pontiac dealerships, had 330 hp (243 kW) and 340 ft·lbf (459 Nm) of torque.
In 1998, the Firebird received a "face lift" dominated by a new front fascia (now with four pop-up headlights) as well as other modifications, the most significant of which was the introduction of the latest Corvette small block V8 engine, the LS1. Initially, the color "Bright Purple Metallic" had been available, however it was discontinued due to poor sales. The color was replaced with "Navy Blue Metallic," but not before a total of 12 Trans Am models with the WS6 Ram Air package (10 coupés and two convertibles) made it out of the factory dressed in "Bright Purple Metallic."
For 1998–2002 Pontiac used the same heavy duty brakes, steering ratios, fuel pumps and shocks (non-WS6) on both V6 and V8 models.
The all-aluminum 5.7 L V8 engine was sourced from the Corvette C5, and produced 305 hp (227 kW) at 5,200 rpm; 335 ft·lbf (454 N·m) at 4,000 rpm, (310 after 2000) or 320 hp (325 after 2000) in the WS-6 "Ram Air" version. In 2001 and 2002, models equipped with a V8 received the high-flow LS6 intake manifold and a high-performance clutch. A Firehawk model, produced by SLP and sold through Pontiac dealerships, had 330 hp (335 after 2000, 345 in late 2002 models equipped with the optional Blackwing intake. The V6-equipped Firebirds were rated at 205 hp (153 kW).
1999 "The Big 3-0" A new 30th Anniversary Limited Edition Trans Am added a little distinction to the 1999 Firebird offerings. Otherwise, there were only minor changes. Formulas and Trans Ams now had a four-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment. Buyers could choose from it or a six-speed manual, which had a Hurst shifter. Traction control was available on V-6 Firebirds. Specific V-6 Firebirds also got a Torsen II slip-reduction rear axle as standard equipment. An Electronic Brake Force Distribution system and solenoid-based Bosch anti-lock brake system enhanced stopping capabilities. Also new was an upgraded sensing and diagnostic module to improve the passenger-protection system. COLORS 10=Artic White, 11=Pewter Metallic, 13=Silver Metallic, 20=Medium Blue Metallic, 28=Navy Blue Metallic, 31=Bright Green Metallic, 41=Black, 79=Blue-Green Chameleon and 81=Bright Red. FIREBIRD – SERIES F/S – V6 The availability of GM's Traction Control system was extended to the V-6-powered Firebirds this year. All Firebirds with V-8 and some with a V-6 had a Zexel Torsen II slip-reduction rear axle. An Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) system replaced the old hydraulic proportioning valve for improved brake performance. Also new was a solenoid-based Bosch antilock braking system. An enhanced Sensing and Diagnostic Module (SDM) recorded vehicle speed, engine rpm, throttle position and brake use in the last five seconds prior to airbag deployment. Standard equipment for the Firebird coupe included extensive acoustical insulation, dual front airbags, air conditioning, a black fixed-mast antenna at right rear, a brake/transmission shift interlock safety feature (with automatic transmission), power four-wheel disc brakes with four-wheel ABS, the UPC L36 3800 Series II 200-hp SFI V-6 engine, cruise control, electric rear and side window defoggers, Solar-Ray tinted glass, instrumentation (including electric analog speedometer, tachometer, odometer, coolant temperature indicator, oil pressure gauge, voltmeter and LED trip odometer), sport exterior mirrors (left-hand remote controlled, right-hand manual), a day/night inside rearview mirror with reading lamps, left- and right-hand covered visor-vanity mirrors, a Delco AM/FM stereo ETR radio and cassette (with seven-band graphic equalizer, touch control, search-and-replay, Delco TheftLock, clock, seek up/down, remote CD pre-wiring and four-speaker coaxial sound system), reclining front bucket seats, four-way driver and passenger front seat manual adjusters, a rear two-passenger folding seat, a four-spoke sport tilt steering wheel with adjustable column, the PASS-Key II theft-deterrent system, P215/60R16 touring tires with a high-pressure compact spare, the UPC MM5 five-speed manual transmission, controlled-cycle windshield wipers and bright silver 16-in. five-spoke cast-aluminum wheels. Model Number: F/S; Body/Style Number: 87, 67; Body Type & Seating: 2d hatchback, convertible-4P; Factory Price: $18,700, $25,320; Shipping Weight: 3,340, 3,465 lbs.; Production Total: 17,170, 1,245.
|1993||3.4 L (207.5 cu in) L32 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LT1 V8 (iron block, aluminum heads)|
|1994||3.4 L (207.5 cu in) L32 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LT1 V8 (iron block, aluminum heads)|
|1995||3.4 L (207.5 cu in) L32 V6||3.8 L (231.9 cu in) L36 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LT1 V8 (iron block, aluminum heads)|
|1996||3.8 L (231.9 cu in) L36 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LT1 V8 (iron block, aluminum heads)|
|1997||3.8 L (231.9 cu in) L36 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LT1 V8 (iron block, aluminum heads)||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LT4 V8 (iron block, aluminum heads) in Firehawk by SLP|
|1998||3.8 L (231.9 cu in) L36 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LS1 V8 (aluminum block and heads)|
|1999||3.8 L (231.9 cu in) L36 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LS1 V8 (aluminum block and heads)|
|2000||3.8 L (231.9 cu in) L36 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LS1 V8 (aluminum block and heads)|
|2001||3.8 L (231.9 cu in) L36 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LS1 V8 (aluminum block and heads)|
|2002||3.8 L (231.9 cu in) L36 V6||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LS1 V8 (aluminum block and heads)|
Firebird Trans Am
The Trans Am was a specialty package for the Firebird, typically upgrading handling, suspension, and horsepower, as well as minor appearance modifications such as exclusive hoods, spoilers, fog lights and wheels. In using the name Trans Am, a registered trademark, GM agreed to pay $5 per car sold to the SCCA. Four distinct generations were produced between 1969 and 2002. These cars were built on the F-body platform, which was also shared by the Chevrolet Camaro.
The second generation was available from 1970 to 1981 and was featured in the 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit, the 1978 movie Hooper and the 1980 movie Smokey and the Bandit II. The third generation, available from 1982 to 1992, was featured in the 1983 movie Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 and the 1984 movie Alphabet City. KITT, the automotive star, and its evil counterpart KARR, of the popular 1980s TV series Knight Rider, was a modified third generation Trans Am. The fourth generation Trans Am, available from model years 1993 to 2002, offered between 275 bhp (205 kW) and 325 bhp (242 kW).
|1969||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air III V8 366 bhp (273 kW)||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air IV V8 370 bhp (280 kW)||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air V V8 (rare dealer-installed option) 500 bhp (370 kW)|
|1970||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air III V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air IV V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac Ram Air V V8 (rare dealer-installed option)|
|1971||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac H.O. V8|
|1972||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac H.O. V8|
|1973||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac S.D. V8|
|1974||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac S.D. V8|
|1975||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8|
|1976||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8||455 cu in (7.5 L) Pontiac V8|
|1977||403 cu in (6.6 L) Oldsmobile V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac W72 V8|
|1978||403 cu in (6.6 L) Oldsmobile V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac W72 V8|
|1979||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac V8||403 cu in (6.6 L) Oldsmobile V8||400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac W72 V8|
|1980||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Chevrolet V8 (4 speed only)||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac turbo V8|
|1981||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Chevrolet V8 (4 speed only)||301 cu in (4.9 L) Pontiac turbo V8|
From 1982 on all engines are Chevrolet sourced, unless stated otherwise.
|1982||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Cross-Fire Injection V8 (First year for fuel injection in Trans Am)|
|1983||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Cross-Fire Injection V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel V8 H.O. (662 were made, all 5-speeds)|
|1984||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel H.O. V8 (1500 anniversary edition models were made, 500 of them 5 speed)|
|1985||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Tuned Port Injection V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel H.O. V8 H.O. (5 speed only)|
|1986||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Tuned Port Injection V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel V8 (5 speed only)|
|1987||305 cu in (5.0 L) 4 barrel V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Tuned Port Injection V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Tuned Port Injection V8|
|1988||305 cu in (5.0 L) Throttle Body Injection V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Tuned Port Injection V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Tuned Port Injection V8|
|1989||305 cu in (5.0 L) Throttle Body Injection V8||305 cu in (5.0 L) Tuned Port Injection V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Tuned Port Injection V8||231 cu in (3.8 L) Buick Turbo V6|
|1990||305 cu in (5.0 L) Tuned Port Injection V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Tuned Port Injection V8|
|1991||305 cu in (5.0 L) Tuned Port Injection V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Tuned Port Injection V8|
|1992||305 cu in (5.0 L) Tuned Port Injection V8||350 cu in (5.7 L) Tuned Port Injection V8|
|1993||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LT1 V8|
|1998||5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LS1 V8|
Performance (Firebird / Firebird Trans Am)
|Engine||Year(s)||Power||0–60 mph||Top Speed||Comments|
|400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac W72 V8||1979||200 bhp (150 kW)||6.7 s.||Trans Am model equipped with 400 4-speed manual|
|305 cu in (5.0 L) LB9 V8||1989–1992||225 bhp (168 kW)||< 6.6 s.||> 140 mph (230 km/h)||Formula model equipped with N10/MM5/GM3 option codes|
|231 cu in (3.8 L) Buick Turbo V6||1989||250 bhp (190 kW)||4.6 s.||162 mph (261 km/h)||20th Anniversary Trans Am Pace Car|
|5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LT1 V8||1993–1997||275 bhp (205 kW)-285 bhp (213 kW)||5.4 s.||155 mph (249 km/h) (electronically limited)|
|1996–1997||305 bhp (227 kW)||5.0 s.||155 mph (249 km/h) (electronically limited)||Ram Air|
|5.7 L (347.8 cu in) LS1 V8||1998–2000||305 bhp (227 kW) (Trans Am), 320 bhp (240 kW) WS.6||4.9 s.||160 mph (260 km/h) (electronically limited)|
|2001–2002||305 bhp (227 kW) (Trans Am), 325 bhp (242 kW) WS.6||4.7 s.||160 mph (260 km/h) (electronically limited)|
Firebirds were used in the Trans-Am series in the 1960s and 1970s. When the Pontiac Trans Am came out, there was controversy over the model's inability to compete in the Trans-Am because the smallest available engine was too large for use in the series at 400 cubic inches (6.6 liters). The name also caused controversy because it was used without permission from the SCCA, who threatened suit. GM settled the dispute by paying US$5 to the SCCA for every car sold. When the Trans-Am was last seen, model year 2002 Firebirds were in use. Firebirds were used in the IROC Series until it folded after the 2006 season.
During the 1995, 1996, and 1997 NHRA seasons, 14-time Funny Car champion John Force used a Firebird body to replace the obsolete Oldsmobile Cutlass and Chevrolet Lumina body he had used since 1988. He used it for three seasons, winning the championship in all three years. The Firebird body also replaced the Oldsmobile Cutlass in the Pro Stock class in 1995, forcing drivers Warren Johnson, Jerry Eckman, and Mark Pawuk to replace their body styles for the 1996 year, none of them would win with the first year of the Firebird body, but Pro Stock driver Jim Yates, a second year driver, using the Firebird body, would.
Film & TV
- A black 1977 Trans Am was the star ofbthe hit movie Smokey and the Bandit, driven by actor Burt Reynolds.
- A black 1982 Trans Am, called KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) was the star of the movie Knight Rider driven by Michael Knight (portrayed by actor David Hasselhoff).