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Pontiac Firebird and Trans Am (1970 - 1981)

Last updated 25 August 2013

An American icon
Not as fast as it looks, de-smogged six-cylinder examples are particularly sluggish


The Pontiac Firebird was the sister car to the popular Chevrolet Camaro, and arrived on the scene in 1967 to pick up a healthy slice of the US sporting car market. The 1970 models, known as the F-body, sported the more familiar shapes that became something of an icon internationally thanks to countless Hollywood appearances, such as in Hooper and Smokey and the Bandit. In typical US-style, the Firebird was upgraded on an annual basis, with the front-end styling receiving several changes along the way.

V8 models were the ones to have, especially in black Trans-Am form with the golden eagle plastered over its bonnet, and remain so to this day. But as the 1970s progressed, power outputs continued to drop as the emissions legislations were tightened-up in the USA. However, by the turn of the 1980s, turbocharged versions restored some of the lost oomph.