Pontiac Trans Am
|In the spring of 1969 Pontiac Performance seekers were delighted with excitement as Pontiac released the Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package. The package was offered as a $725 option and only 689 Firebird coupes and 8 convertibles were built. All Trans Ams were Polar White with blue racing stripes, rear spoiler, and decals. The exclusive hood had functional air intakes which could be closed by the driver and functional fender scoops designed to vent the engine bay. In 1970 the Trans Am was offered in Polar White or Lucent Blue, with contrasting stripes and featured a modest bird decal at the tip of the nose, and the words "Trans Am" across the rear spoiler and was fitted with air dams across the bottom of the front and in front of the wheels. A large deck lip and small spoilers in front of the rear wheels completed the package. These aero pieces were claimed to generate 50 pounds of down force on the front and rear of the car at highway speeds. Trans Ams also received a rear facing shaker hood scoop to feed the standard Ram Air II engine. In 1971 the Pontiac Trans Am continued with its blue and white paint scheme, functional rear facing shaker hood scoops, and aero body pieces.
1972 marked a "Tough" year for the Pontiac Firebird and Trans Am. With a drastic drop in the muscle car market, sales plummeted to almost less than half and the Firebird line-up was actually considered to be dropped at GM. To make the matters even worse, GM was faced with a strike that lasted over 5 months, taking place at the factory plant where firebirds where produced. With little changes for 72' the Firebird did gain the new "honeycomb" wheels as an addition. The major changes for the 1973 consisted of a new "egg crate" grille insert and a revised Endura bumper and the introduction of the Trans Am bird decal that covered the whole hood. Stylist John Schinella, is credited for creating the legendary Indian symbol, which was nicknamed by many as the "Screaming Chicken". While the biggest and most notable change for 73' would have been the introduction of a new Super Duty 455 V8 "SD-455". The Super Duty name was given to Pontiac's high performance engines in the early 1960's. ALL SD-455's were hand assembled, and had a reinforced block, special cam shaft, aluminum pistons, oversize valves and header-like exhaust manifolds. These SD-455 engines where rated at 310 hp and rumored to be more like 370 hp. In an era when manufacturers engine ratings where dropping, this was the biggest performance car to remain on the market. The new Super Duty 455 was a street legal race prepped engine. New styling changes for 1974 included a new shovel-nose front end, horizontal slotted taillight treatments, and a lowered rear fender line. Horsepower ratings continued to drop and this was the last year for the Muncie 4-speed manual transmission and the TurboHydramatic 400 automatic transmission. This would also be the last year of the Super Duty engines! The 1975 Pontiac Trans Am continued with only minor exterior changes that consisted of a new roof line and a wrap around backlight. A high-efficiency ignition and radial-tuned suspension systems were added to the equipment lists. 1976 was the last year for the 455 engine option! 1977 brought on more front end changes with new quad rectangular headlamps and an "aggressive" grille. The 1977 Trans Am also saw excitement and extra attention as Burt Reynolds drove the Black-and-Gold Special Edition Trans Am in the movie hit "Smokey and the Bandit"! Sales where definitely on the rise! Much remained the same in 1978 for the Trans Am and Pontiac was now capitalizing on the popularity as sales soared to set new records. The 1979 Trans Am was re-designed with new graphics and a front nose with quad rectangular headlamps that stood in separate bezels with a new grille below them and the rear end also got a make-over and featured blackout panels that disguised the taillights. It was another record setting year for the Trans Am and it's sales and a special silver 10th Anniversary edition Trans Am was sold in what would be the last year for the Pontiac 400 engine. The Pontiac Firebird -Trans Am continued in
production through 2002.
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