1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

The 1976 Firebird Trans Am.
The 1976 Firebird Trans Am sold over 46,000 models. See more Pontiac Firebird pictures.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

By the time the 1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am hit the market, Trans Ams had found their niche. Despite ever-higher prices, output rose again as Pontiac sold one Trans Am for every three Firebirds -- even starting at $4740 with a standard 185 horsepower 400-cid V-8.

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A fair number of Americans still seemed to insist on performance. The muscle era's death knell may have sounded, but youthful hot-car enthusiasts weren't ready to let it expire completely -- even if horsepower continued its downward slide.

Wraparound rear windows and revised graphics had marked the 1975 models, which saw the again-optional 455-cid V-8 engine emasculated to 200 horsepower.

Both the Firebird's body and its interior earned some attention for 1976. Reshaping of the "shovel-nose" Endura front end gave it a more aerodynamic look, accented by integral body-color bumpers (at both front and rear). Taillamps also were modified. Engineers made fewer changes, leaving things well enough alone.

Trans Ams carried a standard 185 horsepower 400-cid V-8, as they had in 1975. Except in California, the big 455 V-8 remained available, again rated at 200 horsepower. Trans Ams continued to display their immense Firebird emblem, sometimes derided as the "screaming chicken."

1976 Firebird Trans Am
Because of government emission standards the 1976 Trans Am went from a 455 to a 200 horsepower engine.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

T-roofs arrived for the first time. The Trans Am T-top actually was a Limited Edition, with only 643 built; but that option would gain popularity in subsequent years. Painted Starlight Black and gold, those Hurst-converted Trans Ams commemorated Pontiac's 50th anniversary. A total of 1947 Trans Am Specials wore a conventional roof.

Gasoline shortages seemed to be forgotten as Firebird output shot to 110,775, including a whopping 46,701 Trans Ams -- 42 percent of the total.


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