The 1976 Pontiac Firebird, Formula & Trans Am
Looking for the 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Trans Ams? Go here
It never ceases to amaze me the people I meet through this website. I
originally made this entry on this website because I almost bought this TA
through ebay <see my original entry below>. Several years and a few
different owners later, someone was browsing the site and realized they had
this car and contacted me. So the owner is David Bond and here is what he
had to say:
"I have been researching the past history on the T/A I purchased from a guy in Pennsylvania at the end of May this year...he's in his mid 50's. He bought it from a older guy in Florida in late 2006....Ken Kales. I flew up to PA. and drove this car home, it did not use a drop of oil and it doesn't leak a drop of anything!!! I have the original build sheet...it was delivered to Sun Pontiac in Mesa, AZ. It has both Deluxe Int. options and White/Blk Trim interior. When I was looking for a 76 in April/May, I kept coming back to this car, and I'm sure glad I picked this one. I owned a new 79 T/A in 79 but always wanted a 76.
Three of the biggest clues in comparing my T/A with the one in your Gallery was:
1) The drivers seat belt...it actually was replaced at some point...it's out of a 77 or later car and has no aluminum rivets showing on the outside of the black base cover...it also has a stepped-down tongue and does click into the buckle but wouldn't stay latched as I found this out driving the car home. The first thing I did was replace it with the correct seat belt.
2) The power window switch was raised up in the front when I purchased the car exactly like it is in your pic.
I had to install the holding bracket that goes on the underside of the console.
3) The emission label is at the exact angle on my car as in your under-hood pic.
I actually talked with Ken Kales in Florida....this is the guy I suspect that bought the car instead of you...he's in his mid 60's and a nice guy. He detailed the engine and made it look very nice, and probably replaced the missing horn button. I found his name & number in some paperwork in the glove box. Ken actually told me he would like to purchase the car back if I ever decided to sell it....I don't know why he even wanted to sell it when he did and I didn't ask. I actually installed the sail panel emblems on the car and some other minor interior details. I really am not sure if sail panel emblems were correct on a T/A in 76 but I wanted them on. The exhaust is all original from the engine to the chrome tips except the Cat. converter had been removed and a bolt-in exhaust pipe section installed. I spent some time polishing on the chrome tips but they shined up quite nicely.
I could tell the car probably was a one-owner car most of it's life. It's weird that most likely I'm the fourth owner with the last 3 all happening in about the last 4 years. The guy I purchased the car from in PA. was in his 50's and just enjoyed driving it on the weekends to some shows and such and then just got tired of that. Of course I would love to hear about any details you might know about the car or previous owner.....I suspect you were dealing with the Original Owner in and around 2004-2005.
After comparing my car with your photos, everything matched. It's an interesting story."
David L. Bond
Oklahoma City, OK
Webmasters Note: The first three pics of the car are pics provided by Larry and the rest were pics I saved from the original ad. The following text was my original entry.
I originally found this TA for sale on the net and almost bought it. I worked with the seller for about a week and came very close but in the end he sold it to someone who was willing to pay a couple more thousand than me. It had been restored and was in exceptional condition and it was a one owner Arizona car so you can imagine how clean the sheet metal was. I have owned two other '76 TAs and both were 400/auto cars and I have decided the next one I buy will be a 455/4-speed or at least a 455/auto. This was another 400/auto but the condition was so good I very nearly bought it. I'm really not a big fan of white interiors and I'm not all that partial to multi-colored interiors either but something about this TA just grabbed me. I still wish I had bought it. I had no idea multi-colored interiors were installed so regularly in TAs until I started doing some research while considering this car. Here are all the multi-colored interior combinations that could be had in the 1976 Trans Am:
Something interesting to note is that there is no code above for the black and white combo with the deluxe interior. However this car has both the deluxe interior and the black/white color combo.
||Bill Rieken recently purchased this Trans Am as a project car to share with his son Chris. Bill picked up on the TA by answering an ad in the paper from a dealer trying to sell the car. When Bill and his son arrived at the dealership they found a mint condition Carousel Red Trans Am with a 400 and a 4-speed. Bill had owned a white 76' Trans Am with a 455 and a 4-speed several years ago that got traded in during the gas crisis of 1980. Needless to say the memories started flowing. The dealership was closed so Bill and son came back the next day and drove the car. It was a mechanically sound albeit a little louder than expected. Upon closer inspection headers were found; installed in place of the factory exhaust manifolds. A price was negotiated and Bill and his son drove the car home. The 400c.i. engine and turbo 350 tranny now have less than 1200 miles since a rebuild. The headers were left on but a Super Coil was added and the shaker scoop was made to be functional. Some new interior parts have also been added.|
|This blue Trans Am is sporting the incorrect hood decal. Most likely it was repainted and the owner either wanted the different looking decal or simply didn't know. In either case the car still looks good. Also notice the small bird decal in the center of the nose. This isn't original either. A decal was never offered in this spot. In keeping with tradition Pontiac installed the well-known red "arrow-head" emblem here. Two blues were offered in '76: Athena Blue and Polaris Blue. I don't know if this blue is one of them or just the color the owner chose to paint the car.|
|I can't tell if this is blue or green, but either way its a beautiful paint job and really goes with the interior color too. The rims on this Trans Am were not offered until either '77 or '78 and are the larger 15' X 8' version of the snowflakes that were a new option offered in those years. The 1976 Trans Am body style was the only one that was only offered for one year. All the previous body styles and future ones were offered for more than one year before changes were made.|
||This Formula belongs to Danielle. The car was originally an Esprit when she bought it in 1994. It was a 350 2-bbl car and pretty dull. The 350 was swapped for a 400 4-bbl motor and a set of 3:42 gears were installed in the rear for added pep. A trunk spoiler and formula hood were added next to provide a sportier appearance. Despite its current performance and appearance Danielle has a few mods planned for it for the future. Dual exhaust, a posi-trac rear and some wider tires are on the wish list. This car is her daily driver.|
||The 1976 Trans Am was named "Top Performance Car of the Year" by CARS magazine and in April of 1967 Car and Driver conducted a shootout between a 455 equipped Trans Am and an L82 vette to determine "America's Fastest Car". The Trans Am finished second posting a 1/4 mile time of 15.6 seconds at 90.3 mph. Its 0-60 time was 7 seconds. Despite the awards and the first year since 1968 Firebird sales topped 6 figures (110,775) the most common owner complaints were rust problems, low-quality paint and a rattling body.|
||This Formula is owned by Michael Porter. Michael is currently stationed in Germany with the military. Unfortunately the Formula is still here in the states. He's the original owner having bought it in May of 1976. Its completely original except for the 400ci engine which Michael installed to upgrade from the factory installed 350.|
Ben Deutschman owns this spectacular Trans Am. Ben writes:
Ben sent in a great story about this car and its history. It was too
long to display here but the link below will take you to it. Take some time to read it and
find out how a former Mopar fan converted to Firebirds!!
Joe Nageotte owns this spectacular black Trans Am. Joe writes:
"I thought it would save me telling you everything about the car by just sending you the original window sticker. I bet not too many people have those, huh? This car has had a pretty good life. It is all #'s matching.
It has 44K miles on it which, of those, I had put on 11K. I'm the 4th owner for the past 6 yrs. I got real lucky to find this bird. If it wasn't for the fact that I had a '76 white T/A 400 4 gear at the time, the 3rd owner wouldn't have come up to me. I had to beg him to sell it to me. I had both for awhile and people would call me salt and pepper. Go figure.
Owner 3 had the car repainted and only put 200 miles on it in 2 yrs. Owner 2 got the car from the original owner in Florida after it had sat in a pole barn for 8 to 10 yrs with a frozen engine. Yikes! That led to a 0.60 over rebuild, kinda specked out as a RA III. She does hoot. Oh yea!
Other non stock items are louvers, wheels, tires, stereo, hood pins, true dual stainless pipes all the way back with no cats, headers and head liner. All of which were thanks to me. Except for them damn hood pins. Who put those on there? I warmed up the 455, ( now 468), a little more. You know. Too much is not enough.
I live in Pennsylvania and there isn't a whole lot of time to drive in good weather here. I have almost all of the receipts from the day it was born. I'm 39 and love this car more than any I have owned. Believe me, there was a lot of them. By the way, most people think its an L/E, its not. The original owner just wanted a black Trans Am. If you read the window sticker carefully, you will notice that it doesn't have the hood bird option. Hmmmm? Now, who would want a T/A without that big chicken? Not me. That's why it's there now."
The 2nd Trans Am I ever owned looked exactly like this one. I loved that car
so much I plan to get another one as soon as the restoration is finished on
my '70. I'd like to get a 455 4-speed car this time but I would even settle
for a 400 automatic car if it was nice.
The 1976 Firebird received the most changes of any Firebird for the previous 5 years. Integrated body color urethane bumpers were the most obvious. Other changes included a more rectangular look in the front with a smaller air inlets in the lower valance. Brake systems would be upgraded to meet Federal standards, axle ratios were lowered to improve fuel economy and improvements were made to the cooling systems and air conditioning. Interestingly the Radial Tuned Suspension (RTS) that had significantly improved handling on Firebirds no longer featured a rear sway bar. Designs for seat patterns and door panels changed as they did almost every year and so too did the exterior and interior color options. Engines changed very little from '75. Compression ratios were increased slightly to 8.3:1.