Today's car of the day comes from Firehawk73's collection and is Johnny Lightning's 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
The Pontiac Firebird was built by the Pontiac division of General Motors between 1967 and 2002. The Firebird was introduced the same year as the automaker's platform-sharing model, the Chevrolet Camaro. This coincided with the release of the 1968 Mercury Cougar, which shared its platform with another pony car, the Ford Mustang.
The vehicles were powered by various four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and V8 engines sourced from several GM divisions. While primarily Pontiac-powered until 1977, Firebirds were built with several different engines from nearly every GM division until 1982 when GM began to discontinue engines it felt were unneeded and either spread successful designs from individual divisions among all divisions or use new engines of corporate architecture.
For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Pontiac Firebird
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Beginning in 1978, Pontiac engineers reversed years of declining power by raising the compression ratio in the Pontiac 400 through the installation of different cylinder heads with smaller combustion chambers (1977 Pontiac 400 engines also had the 350 heads bolted to the 400 blocks, these heads were known as the 6x-4 heads)(taken from the Pontiac 350). This increased power by 10% for a total of 220 during the 1978–79 model years. The 400/403 options remained available until 1979, when the 400 CID engines were only available in the 4-speed transmission Trans Ams and Formulas (the engines had actually been stockpiled from 1978, when PMD had cut production of the engine). 1979 marked the 10th Anniversary of the Trans Am, and a special anniversary package was made available: silver paint with a silver leather interior. The 10th Anniversary cars also featured a special Firebird hood decal, which extended off of the hood and onto the front fenders. In 1979 Pontiac sold 116,535 Trans Ams which still holds the record to this day.
Up until the 1979 models, the performance of 400-equipped Firebirds could still be brought up to pre-1970 levels by disabling emissions equipment- removing the catalytic converter and blocking off the exhaust gas recirculation system- and opening up the block off plate to make the hood scoop functional. Howver, in 1980, due to ever-increasing emissions restrictions, Pontiac dropped all of its large displacement engines.
1980 therefore saw the biggest engine changes for the Trans Am. The 301, offered in 1979 as a credit option, was now the standard engine. Options included a turbocharged 301 or the Chevrolet 305 small block.
In the final year of the Second Generation Firebirds (1981), Trans Am still used the same engines as it had in the previous model year, with the only change being the addition of a new electronic carburetion system.