The Pontiac Firebird is an American automobile that was built and produced by Pontiac from the 1967 to 2002 model years. Designed as a pony car to compete with the Ford Mustang, it was introduced on February 23, 1967, five months after GM's Chevrolet division's platform-sharing Camaro.

This also coincided with the release of the 1967 Mercury Cougar, Ford's upscale, platform-sharing version of the Mustang.

The name "Firebird" was also previously used by GM for the General Motors Firebird in the 1950s and early 1960s concept cars.

1977

A 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with an early low-profile shaker.


The Firebird received it's most recognizable front end for the 1977 model year. The shaker scoop was also revised for this year, with the early 1977-built T/As coming with off-center, lower-profile shaker scoops.

The Formula hood was changed for the last time for the second generation with a much lower profile. The snowflake wheel became an option for all Firebirds and was standard with the Y82 appearance package, although it could be replaced with Rally II wheels as a credit option. 

For the Esprit, an optional appearance package RPO W60 called the "Skybird appearance package" became available, featuring an all blue exterior and interior. This package was originally slated to be called the "Bluebird" similar to the "Yellowbird" and "Redbird" packages to follow in the upcoming model years, but the name was already in use for a company that produced school buses. 

In 1977, General Motors began to source a larger selection of V8 motors to supply in the lower model Firebirds, and the Oldsmobile 350 V8 as well as the Chevrolet 350 V8 became options for the Firebird, Esprit, and Formula. This was the first time GM had required Pontiac to source another V8 motor to supply in its Firebird model line, as previously, the Chevrolet inline six was the only other outsourced motor seen in a Firebird. This marked the beginning of the end for Pontiac's engine development.

The Trans Am had now three different engine options to chose from, the standard Pontiac L78 400, the optional extra cost Pontiac W72 400, and the Oldsmobile-sourced L80 403. 1977 also saw the cubic inch metrics on the shaker dropped in favour of the displacement of the cylinders. The shakers now wore the decal "6.6 Litre" for all L78 Pontiac 400 and L80 Oldsmobile 403 motors. Only the optional W72 Pontiac 400 received the "T/A 6.6" decal. Many reproduction decal kits for Firebirds often did not include the "6.6 Litre" decal, which is why many Firebirds today bear the incorrect decal on the shaker.

As Pontiac had lost the 455 in the previous model year, they offered a modified 400 Pontiac V8 dubbed the "T/A 6.6" RPO W72 with a single four-barrel 800CFM Rochester Quadrajet carburettor rated at 200 bhp (203 PS; 149 kW) at 3,600 rpm and a maximum torque of 325 lb⋅ft (441 N⋅m) at 2,400 rpm, as opposed to the regular 6.6 Litre 400 (RPO L78) rated at 180 hp (134 kW). The T/A 6.6 equipped engines had chrome valve covers, while the base 400 engines had painted valve covers. For 1977, the W72 shared the same air cleaner and shared the same 500577 cast block as the L78, but received the 6x4 heads, whereas the L78 only received the 6x8 heads. The 6x4 heads were used on early Pontiac 350 blocks that helped increase the compression, and also had hardened valve seats for a higher RPM operating range. 

The Oldsmobile 403 was implemented as the 400 Pontiac could not satisfy emissions requirements for high-altitude states and California. Wanting to still offer a 6.6 litre option for the Trans Am, the 403 Olds was seen as a suitable replacement as when equipped with an A.I.R emissions system, it could satisfy the emissions criteria for these states and still offer the power the Trans Am was known for. The L80 Oldsmobile had slightly more power than the standard L78 Pontiac 400 at 185hp (138kW) and offered the same low end torque of 320 lb⋅ft (430 N⋅m) at a more useable operating range of 2,200rpm. 

From 1977 to 1981, the Firebird used four square headlamps, while the Camaro continued to retain the two round headlights that had been shared by both second-generation designs. The 1977 Trans-Am special edition became famous after being featured in Smokey and the Bandit. The 1980 turbo model was used for Smokey and the Bandit II.

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