The Pontiac Trans Am and the Pontiac Firebird spring to mind whenever you think of famous sports cars. Even though the same company may have made these two muscle machines, they are vastly different.
The facts you need to know here
Despite this, the names are so similar that they are commonly used interchangeably. There’s nothing wrong with it to a layperson, but it’s a terrific way to humiliate oneself in front of fellow Pontiac fanatics.
As a result, how can you distinguish between a Firebird and a Trans Am?
In the beginning, there was the Firebird.
The first Pontiac Firebird rolled off the assembly lines in 1967, and it was a huge success. They were based on the Camaro platform, but they had completely separate pieces, making it easy to tell the two muscle cars apart in the early years of production. Throughout the subsequent decades, the Firebird has gone through four generations, from 1967 to 2002.
It was available with either a 3.8-liter V-6 engine or a 6.6-liter V-8 engine in the first generation of Firebirds. Only a tiny portion of this generation lived to see the year 1969.
1970 saw the introduction of a new generation of Firebirds, which ran from 1970 until 1981. Four engine and gearbox options were available: two manual and two automatic transmissions. In the third generation of Firebirds, which ran from 1982 to 1992, the coupe and sedan options were replaced with a three-door hatchback. However, there was still a choice of four engines and three transmissions to consider.
It was introduced in 1993, and Pontiac continued to produce it until 2002 when it was discontinued. Firebirds aren’t being made anymore, but there are still plenty of them available if you’ve always wanted one of these famous sports cars in your collection.
The Pontiac Firebird vs. the Trans Am
This one is different from the other. Trans Ams and Firebirds, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the dispute, are technically the same car. Pontiac Firebirds are the basis for every single Trans Am ever built; however, not every Firebird is equipped with the attributes that make a Trans Am. Firebirds were available with a Trans Am option in every generation since 1969 when the first one went off the manufacturing line.
As an add-on for the 1969 Firebird, early Trans Ams were built as an aftermarket vehicle. Trans Am performance and appearance packages are available for an extra $725. In the current economy, that difference would cost upwards of $4,416 if inflation is factored into the equation. Despite Trans Am’s current popularity, there wasn’t a lot of marketing done to promote it. A murmur rather than an explosion opened the proceedings.
A tiny bit of power was sacrificed in the second-generation Trans Am, which went from the original 6.6-liter V-8 to the 4.9-liter V-8 when it was time for the brand’s third generation. These cars were all about style, with various elegant external modifications to fit the high-tech image of their day.
There’s Still Hope for the Pontiac Firebird and Trans Am One Final Hurrah
In 2002, Pontiac abandoned the Firebird and Trans Am, while GM abandoned Pontiac eight years later, although the brand and vehicles continue to be popular. In 2021, a group of enthusiasts set out to rebuild the classic Trans Am Firebird. Trans Am Firebird “Bandit Edition” 2021 is a custom-made vehicle based on a Chevy Camaro chassis, just as the first Firebirds did back in the 1960s.
To celebrate the 1977 special edition that appeared in the legendary Burt Reynolds film “Smokey and the Bandit,” the business plans to manufacture a limited run of 77 of these unique vehicles. Reynolds even approved the car before he passed away in 2018.