The 1978 Pontiac Firebird, Formula & Trans Am



I had this pic on the site for some time and did not know the story behind the Trans Am Territory promotional effort. A site contributor, David Hughes kindly wrote in and told the story. He found the following passage in the book: The Fabulous Firebird, along with this photo.

     "Trans Am enthusiasts within Pontiac Motor Div. had wanted for sometime to establish special areas near race courses where Firebird owners could park their cars and socialize.  Such meeting grounds had already been set aside at various tracks for other makes of cars; Corvette Corals, Porsche Parks, Datsun Z Zones, etc. GM's then design vice president William L Mitchell, in talking to "Mr. Trans Am", John Schinella in 1975, suggested setting up a "Trans Am Teepee" along the lines of the Corvette Corals.  Schinella jumped at the opportunity. Schinella's assistant designer and fellow T/A enthusiast, Bill Davis, came up with the name Trans Am Territory.  Schinella passed the idea along to Pontiac general manager Alex Mair, who felt that a Trans Am Territory was program was just what Pontiac needed.  Pontiac public relations chief Stan Richards appointed Jill Rogers to work out the details in conjunction with John Schinella. On June 5-6, 1976, Schinella, Rogers, and Dick Henderson launched the first Trans Am Territory at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisc.  This SCCA event marked part of Pontiac's 50th anniversary celebration, and the Sports Car Club of America designated a black and gold 1976 Limited Edition Trans Am its official car for the 10 race 1976 Trans American Championship series.  Subsequently, Pontiac acquired a GMC motor home called the Trans Am Traveler and soon established Trans Am Territories not only at Road America but also at Watkins Glen, Mosport, Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio, Michigan International, Laguna Seca, Riverside, and Pocono raceways.  Each became a greater success than the one before, sometimes with as many as 325 Trans Am's and other Firebirds in attendance. Schinella rarely misses one of these events, and Rogers never does.  Other regulars include Stu Schuster, Russ Dunbar, Wade Greenisen Jr., and George T. Reganis.  The Type K, Silverbird, Banshee III, and various special Firebirds are usually displayed in roped off areas.  Local Trans Am clubs turn out en masse.  Firebird owners usually take at least a parade lap around each track. In addition to refreshments and hospitality, the Territory staff often provides complete car cleaning facilities for Firebird owners: water, buckets, cloths, etc.  Awards have been given at several events for Most Original Paint Scheme,  Outstanding Trans Am,  and so forth.  And at special races, T/A Territory T-shirts are given out to those attending."

2nd Photo courtesy of Michael Burch..



Brown Trans Am

Brown Trans Am
Mark Allbaugh is the owner of this great looking Trans Am that has been in his family since it was bought new at the dealer. Mark remembers he was only sixteen in April of 1978 when he rode home in it, sitting in the passenger seat. 210,000 miles and 20 years later the old TA has changed a little bit including the installation of a 455, possibly the only thing Pontiac could have done to make this car better. Below is a break down of the cars current configuration:

80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) 1972 455 HO 4-Bolt Main Block (bored .030 over
     for 462CID)
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) 1973 Super Duty #16 Heads (un-ported for

80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Super Duty LS2 Intake Manifold
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Super Duty Quadrajet Carburetor
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Super Duty Pistons
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Roller Rocker Arms
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Hooker Headers with Dual Mufflers
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) MSD Ignition with Rev Limiter and Dashboard
     Adjustable Engine Timing Control (ignition mounted
      in the trunk, as is the battery)
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Remote Oil Filter on Firewall
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Built by Nunzi Romano!


80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Turbo 350 tranny with B&M Shift Kit
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Remote Fluid Cooler in front of radiator
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) 3.42 Posi-Trac Rear End


80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) 4 Adjustable Koni Shocks
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Rear Disc Brakes from a '79 Trans Am including a
     new Master Cylinder and Proportioning Valve
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) 15x8 Snowflake rims with 245/60R15 Goodyear
     Eagle ST tires
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Stiffer Rear Springs
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Polygraphite Bushings on Front & Rear Sway Bars
    & on A-Arms

80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Zemco Trip & MPG Computer (to see MPG and
     driving stats as you drive)
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Zemco Performance Computer used for 0-60 &
     mile times
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) 4-Core Radiator
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) A/C Removed for Improved Performance
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Remote Controlled Door Deadbolts: A Deadbolt
     goes from the door jamb into the door to discourage
     theft  (designed and patented by Mark)
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Front Bumper Subframe "swiss cheesed" with a 
     torch to save 15lbs.
80-40-00.gif (258 bytes) Chesterfield Brown with Tan Velour Interior

Mark hosts his own webpage called Mark Allbaugh's Homepage and it is truly outstanding. While it has many interesting sections the overall site has a 70's theme. Mark is an avid fan of that entire decade and has a bundle of classic nostalgia from those years. If you share this same interest or would just like to see an interesting and well designed site stop by and visit. Just don't forget to come back!!



White Trans Am This white Trans Am 400 belongs to Steve Moylan. The car retains its original 400c.i. engine, automatic 3-speed tranny, and 3.23 ratio rear end. The interior is the deluxe style and is light blue. All decals in the photo are new and were installed recently.



Black Trans Am (131615 bytes)

Black Trans Am (48138 bytes)

Black Trans Am (52316 bytes)

Black Trans Am (51552 bytes)

Black Trans Am (97198 bytes)
This Trans Am, affectionately known as Doris, is owned by Mark Haynes. Mark writes:

     "I bought the car that my wife and I refer to as "DORRIS", from the original owner in May of 1991. The car was complete right down to the original black paint, factory AM/FM 8 track with the original rear deck single speaker, all the paper work, owners manual, warranty info, maintenance schedule and the 15" X 7" snowflake wheels. The body was solid with just the usual dings and dents of a daily driver and the interior only needed the front seats recovered and a headliner to be perfect. The car had just over 84,000 miles on the odometer. The factory 180hp 400 motor ran ok but seemed a bit tired and the transmission worked good but the red fluid in the driveway told me that it had seen better days as well. The AC blew hard but lukewarm on a hot Georgia day. The car still had the factory space saver tire with the canister and all the owners manuals and paperwork were in place so for $1200.00 I drove the car home. The factory build sheet was tucked away neatly under the backseat. The car was built in Van Nuys California and shipped to McLaughlin Miles Pontiac in Columbus, Georgia. The car was then sent to Lamar Pontiac in Macon, Georgia where its new owner drove it home. I began restoration of the car in 1992. Reeves RPM performance shop in Warner Robins, Georgia handled all the machining of the block, heads, etc. While a good friend of mine, Andy McClammy, who was known for being an expert Chevy builder tackled the actual assembly of the engine. Speed Pro components were used and the block was taken .30 over stock with just a mild cam, new pistons, Edelbrock Performer intake and 600cfm Edelbrock carb being the biggest mods. After the complete rebuild of the engine, the TH350 was sent to Tom Hunts Transmission in Warner Robins, GA for a complete overhaul and light shift kit and a IMI high torque starter was added to cure the notorious Pontiac hot start problems. A true dual aluminum exhaust with Dynomax turbo mufflers with the actual original chrome splitters handles the breathing. The front end was completely rebuilt using all polyurethane suspension components. The original AC Delco shocks were replaced with new Monroe's. I put the original snowflakes in storage and opted for a set of classic industry 15" X 8" rally II reproductions with a set of 245/60/15 B.F. Goodrich radial T/A's. Year One, Classic Industries and Ames have provided little detail items along the way, too many to list. Midway Body Shop in Warner Robins, GA handled the Starlight Black paint and I installed the decals myself. I have owned the car for almost 11 years and don't plan on ever parting with it. When I was married in Oct of 2000, my wife and I drove the car away from the church and I pleaded with my buddies not to get anything on the paint and as good friends do, nothing was harmed. The car gets a lot of compliments from both old and young and a lot of people have tried to get me to sell it to them. I love 2nd generation Trans Am's but I am not one of these guys who has to have a 100% all original car so I have no quips with performance mods, because although the '78 Trans Am was a beautiful car, they were no superstars of performance in the 70's. But with some small mods and tweaks of the engine and exhaust and their already superior suspension they could run with the best of them. The car always needs little things and I have done several things since these photos were taken including last week when I ran across a set of NOS tailight lenses complete with the little argent silver trim paint that had long since faded. Future plans include replacing all the chrome window reveal molding with bright new NOS stuff, replacing the stock '78 exhaust manifolds with some earlier model Ram Air or HO manifolds, new WS-6 sway bars and steering box, (No, mine is not a true WS-6 and it is not a W-72 and I realize that the T/A 6.6 decal on my shaker is incorrect but I prefer it over the 6.6 Litre decal ), maybe a set of 15" X 8" gold inlay WS-6 refinished snowflakes (but most people say I should keep the aftermarket Rally II's) and my wife is pushing hard for the AC that I have yet to reinstall. The car has a lot of sentimental value to me as well, my good friend and engine builder Andy McClammy was killed along with his wife in a motorcycle accident a couple of years ago. The new motor was built in '92 and almost 10 years later I have racked up around 10,000 trouble free miles on the car. Most of the time the car sits quietly in my garage, but on a nice day I enjoy getting her out on the highway and turning some heads."

Mark Haynes



Red Trans Am (152769 bytes)

Red Trans Am (188555 bytes)

Red Trans Am (149864 bytes)

Red Trans Am (115920 bytes)

Red Trans Am (113245 bytes)
Nick Hernandez owns this very cool Trans Am. Nick writes:

     "My TA is an all original '78 TA 6.6 400ci with 75,000 original miles.  It needs a little work on the interior vinyl and an armrest. The paint needs to be worked on in places. I'm thinking of getting it repainted the same color over the summer of 2002.  The engine is all original.  My father purchased it brand new when he was just getting out of high school and has passed it on to me. It only comes out on nice days. It scares the shit out of me on damp and rainy days. I have never been in anything as powerful off the line before."



Black Trans Am (113761 bytes)

Black Trans Am (99233 bytes)

Black Trans Am (104417 bytes)
Richard Beer owns this amazing and unique Trans Am. Its a Y88 Gold Special Edition Trans Am that's been re-painted as a Y82 Special Edition Black and Gold Trans Am. Richard writes:

    "Hi you were looking for people with SE's to submit their cars for your site so I am doing so here.  I am from Massachusetts. The SE I currently have has spent its whole life in Massachusetts.  It received a frame off professional restoration.  It looks brand new top to bottom, inside and out.  I bought this car without any documentation to whether it was a real SE or just a clone.
 I sent the VIN to Pontiac Historic Services.  It turns out that it is a real SE, but here's the kicker - it was originally a GOLD SE!!!  You absolutely cannot tell.  When I got the copy of the factory invoice I spotted where it said Special Edition right away but when I saw it said Y88 instead of Y84 my mouth hit the floor! My car has gold mirrored T-Roofs. I didn't know until recently that the gold SE's had this.  It looks so awesome against the black.  It really enhances the black and gold bandit look.
My car has the W72 motor with a shift kit in the tranny. The hood scoop has not been opened up and I am still undecided as to whether or not to alter it. I have had four other TA's. I had never had a thing for the black bandit TA's until I got one. My last one was a documented '77 SE. I missed that car big time. It had everything except CB radio. Everything was there from the owners manual packet to the spare tire and jack with the inflater tube.  It needed to be restored though.  I swore I would never buy another one unless it was already restored. Now I have and I couldn't be happier."

Richard Beer



Gold Trans Am (81544 bytes)

Gold Trans Am (90900 bytes)

Gold Trans Am (83018 bytes)
Stojan Fazlovic owns this gold Trans Am. Stojan writes:

     "Here is my 1978 Solar Gold Trans Am.  It has 78,000 original mile.  It's a 3-speed automatic paired with the W72 Pontiac 400.  It is numbers matching and runs like a champ.  It has the WS6 suspension and the 15x8 wheels.  The only thing left to do is polish the outer lips on the wheels.  It has t-tops and the original working 8-track player.  It is a well kept and a very well documented T/A.  The air conditioning blows cold and the power windows and locks also work like new.  The car is all original with exception of some touch ups in the paint.  If anyone has any questions they can feel free to email me at"



Red Trans Am (101,790 bytes)

Red Trans Am (95,239 bytes)

Red Trans Am (90,184 bytes)

Red Trans Am (99,354 bytes)
Kelly Emerson owns this amazing Trans Am. Kelly writes:

     "Hello, Kelly Emerson from Tampa, Florida here. This is my newly acquired 1978 manual 4-speed Trans Am. This beautiful Mayan Red T/A with t-tops has its original 400 motor coupled with a Super T-10 trans. The motor is rebuilt with a Crane cam and brand new 750 Edelbrock carb and manifold. It has headers with dual Flowmasters. The transmission is rebuilt as well. New items include tires, brakes, all body bushings, front shocks, rear shocks, rear leaf springs, battery, water pump, power steering pump, radiator, snowflake wheels with center caps & lug nuts, clutch, throw out bearing and all related assemblies, fuel pump, upper & lower ball joints, tie rod ends. The paint is new as are all the decals. The interior is original and in excellent condition, but the front buckets show a little wear but the interior is very presentable. This car was in the prestigious Vanderbilt Concours Car Show last August and won "BEST DRIVEN" just the way it sits. The undercarriage is extremely clean and there is absolutely no evidence of any rust. The car runs, drives, and performs as good as it looks: EXCELLENT! This car looks great, sounds awesome, and runs even better. It scares those rice burners just idling at a light!!!!"

Best to you,
Kelly Emerson



Black Trans Am (62,324 bytes)

Black Trans Am (65,118 bytes)

Black Trans Am (71,530 bytes)

Black Trans Am (45,259 bytes)

Black Trans Am (63,498 bytes)
This Trans Am features the 6.6L engine with 4-speed tranny. It also features a black interior, factory A/C, power brakes, power steering, Am/Fm radio and the polished 15x8 snowflake rims. Is this an SE TA? Definitely not. What are the telltale signs? On this car there are several. First there are no T-Tops and while its not known if any '78 SE TAs were built without T-Tops there has not been a single one documented. Next the sail panels feature the standard TA metallic emblem. SE TAs would have gotten the gold bird decal to match the hood decal. Next the front and rear windsheild trim is chrome not flat black as it would have been on an SE. Lastly the interior does not have either the gold tinted instrument bezel or the gold tinted spokes on the steering wheel. Additionally the steering wheel cap emblem is a regular red color bird rather than the gold bird.

Ever wonder what the factory code was for an SE Trans Am? In 1978 it was Y82 for Special Edition TAs built at the Norwood plant and Y84 for the cars built at the Van Nuys plant. The Y84 coded cars are much rarer than the Y82s with only a total of 88 built with the L78 400 and 210 built with the L80 403.



Blue Trans Am (147,687 bytes)

Blue Trans Am (111,740 bytes)

Blue Trans Am (108,391 bytes)

Blue Trans Am (162,446 bytes)
Scott Reid hosts a nice stable of Trans Ams. This one is a one-owner survivor with 21k actual miles. Scott writes:

     "Well here we go again, I bought another T/A, this one is a 78 with just under 21,000 actual miles, It was a one owner car and it is flawless! its not super fancy but the car drives outstanding! my wife thinks I have lost all my senses owning four T/As."


Scott also owns an incredible 475hp '77 Trans Am that can be seen at '77 Firebirds Lot#3
and a '79 Bandit edition (S.E.) Trans Am that can be seen at '79 SE Trans Ams Lot#1.



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