Front of black Firebird car
Tech & Auto
What Really Separates The Pontiac Trans Am From The Firebird
The Trans Am is a high-performance variant of the Firebird that Pontiac first offered in 1969. Pontiac made four generations of the cars before nixing the model in 2002.
The 1969 Trans Am package came with a V8 engine, upgraded suspension, a heavy-duty stabilizer bar, and variable power steering to optimize its on-track performance.
All 1969 Trans Am models were white with blue racing stripes and came with aero upgrades, including hood scoops and an airfoil in the rear. It was also available as a convertible.
1970 brought the second generation of the Firebird and the Trans Am, which initially came with the Pontiac 400. Later in the 1970s, Pontiac tried a weaker 4.9-liter V8.
The second-gen Trans Am also got an improved suspension over the standard Firebird and is recognizable as the iconic model from car chase classic "Smokey and the Bandit."
The third-gen Firebirds and Trans Ams were introduced in 1982 and were much smaller. The second-gen's poor power output carried over, but the convertible option returned.
The third-gen Trans Am saw suspension advantages over the Firebird and had matte gray wheel covers, door handles, dual mirrors, and other "high-tech" exterior components.
The fourth and final Firebird generation spanned model years 1993 to 2002 and saw a drastic modernization and redesign, including safety features like airbags and ABS.
The Trans Am saw the usual suspension advantages, and the WS6 package saw more aggressive styling and power. The 2002 WS6 model was the most powerful Trans Am since 1971.