The 1976 Pontiac Firebird, Formula & Trans Am


76ta28.1.jpg (57276 bytes)

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Firebird sales would top 100,000 units for the first time ever in 1976. Base price for a plain Firebird would run about $3900 with the Formula costing around $4500. The Trans Am topped out around $4900. Incredible to believe how cheap these cars were. The base engine for the Trans Am was the 400c.i. V-8 topped with a 4-bbl Rochester carburetor. Interestingly the 4-speed was standard on the TA with the Turbo Hydramatic tranny a no-cost option. California buyers could not opt for the 4-speed. Optional for '76 was the $125 455c.i. V-8 option. Buyers choosing the optional big cube engine also got a tuned exhaust, 3.23:1 axle and a close ration 4-speed tranny. Once again the 455 was not available to California buyers.
1976 would see the introduction of the 50th Anniversary Trans Am created by John Schinella whose black and gold paint scheme would give birth to the '77 Special Edition (Bandit) Trans Am. It was the last year you could a functional shaker scoop from the factory (block plate was installed with rivets and could be removed). It would also be the last year for the fabled 455.



Black Trans Am (123,275 bytes)

Black Trans Am (73,201 bytes)

Black Trans Am (95,789 bytes)

Black Trans Am (119,085 bytes)
This black Trans Am is exactly what I may be looking to purchase after the resto on my '70 is finished. Its black on black with deluxe interior and features the 455/4-speed combo. Only 7,099 TAs out of 110,00 were made with this combination. This TA is all original, has a completely new interior and also has new tires, paint and decals.

The 455 was coded L75 and the 4-speed was coded M21. The black exterior was called Starlight black and was paint code 19. The interior color was simply called black and was coded 19M1. Some other interesting codes:

A/C = 492
Safe-T-Track Axle = 391
Hood Decal=664
Power Front Disc Brakes= 452
Power Locks=434
Power Windows=431



Black Trans Am (126,898 bytes)

Black Trans Am (132,760 bytes)

Black Trans Am (144,720 bytes)

Black Trans Am (127,080 bytes)

Black Trans Am (105,552 bytes)

Black Trans Am (116,477 bytes)

Black Trans Am (142,497 bytes)
Another black Trans Am and another 455/4-speed car. This car sold very recently for a little over $15k. Options include A/C, deluxe interior, power steering, and power brakes. Interestingly the shaker has the original block off plate in place. I also noticed in the front end picture that the passenger side turn signal is completely missing. You may also notice that 50th Anniversary style decals were chosen over standard gold TA decals during the resto. The sail panel birds are the correct metal emblem vs. the gold bird decal found on the 50th LE cars.

The base price for a '76 Trans Am was $4,987.22 (hard to believe given the $40k SUVs peopl by now and the selling price mentioned above). The 455 was sold as a performance package on the Trans Am only and could be added for a whopping additional $125. Net horsepower was only 200, up 15hp from the 400's 185hp rating. Standard equipment added with the purchase of a Trans Am included front air dam, black grilles, rear decklid spoiler, dual sport mirrors (LH include remote control feature), rear wheel air deflectors, front fender air extractors, chrome side splitter tailpipes, Rally II wheels with trim rings, shaker hood and air cleaner. 



Red Trans Am (66,179 bytes)

Red Trans Am (56,149 bytes)

Red Trans Am (54,403 bytes)

Red Trans Am (48,616 bytes)

Red Trans Am (73,822 bytes)
The only two reds offered in 1976 were Firethorn red which was kind of a dark red and Carousel Red which was more orange than red. I doubt if this red is either of those and the gray part of the bird decal on the hood strikes a strange contrast. This Trans Am is equipped with the 400 and Th400 auto tranny. Options include power windows, power locks, radio with casette (what are CDs???), tilt wheel and cruise control.



John Drakes owns this customized Formula. John writes:

     "Hello! I have admired your site and finally got a chance to send in some pics. Enclosed are 6 pics of my 1976 Firebird Formula. It has a 69 400 block with 67 143 heads. It is running a Larry Wenzler intake and dual Holly 600's with a Crane Fireball stage III cam. It breathes out a set of Hooker Competition headers through 3" Pypes Violators. The tranny is a 4 spd, 10 bolt posi rear. The T-Tops are by Cars and Concepts.
This car was built by a guy in Wenatchee and has been left as it was finished since 1988 from what I can tell (aside from tires, battery and tune-up parts I have changed nothing but the Mufflers.....) I still run into the occasional guy from WA that had seen the car on the ave cruisin' in the Apple Blossum Festival 20 years ago, as it sits today. A lot of fun to drive and a very good representation of how a hot rod looked back in the 80's. Thanks for sharing your website."

John Drakes



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