The Premier Firebird Trans Am Gallery

The 1978 Black & Gold Special Edition Trans Am


This TA was so amazing and I have had so few examples of these TAs I chose to add several pics of this one. Its in truly rare condition and gives the viewer a spectacular view of just how breath-taking these cars were when they were new.
What's more amazing is this is a 1 of 20 Special Edition Trans Am coded Y84. It was built with the 400/4-speed combo at the Van Nuys plant in California. That plant only produced 20 400/4-speed cars, 68 400/autos, and 210 403/autos. Options include the Fisher T-Tops, WS6 package,  3.32 Safe-T-Track differential, A/C, power steering, power brakes, power locks, rear defrost, power trunk, tilt, Lombardy Velour seats, tinted glass, 15x8 snowflake rims, and the space saver spare to name a few.

Of course this is easily the most recognizable Trans Am of all time to just about anyone born in the last 30 years. The idea for the car was actually founded by John Schinella who was assigned chief designer for the Firebird in 1971. He based the paint scheme on the then popular black and gold John Player Special Formula Gran Prix race cars. Once given the green light to go ahead with the design from Bill Mitchell John debuted the first black and gold Trans Am in the 1974 Chicago Auto Show. It featured an SD455 which was of course Pontiac's champion engine in 1974. With the positive feedback received from the show car the next step was to release a Limited Edition run of black and Gold TAs in 1976 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Pontiac. The program was such a success the trend continued in 1977 and 1978 with the new name Special Edition.

The Special Edition was purely an appearance package during all years. The WS6 option could be added for suspension enhancements and any of the potent Pontiac mills along with the Olds 403 could be had. Visual enhancements included the extra gold striping on various parts of the body, the gold grills in the front, flat black window reveals, T-Tops, special Gothic Trans Am lettering, gold tinted instrument bezel, gold tinted spokes on the steering wheel and gold bird emblem in the center of the steering wheel cap. Power window equipped cars received a plastic emblem with a gold bird to cover up the hole where the cranks would have been installed. Gold painted snowflakes were also added and came in various sizes and designs.

Its a common misconception that all SE TAs came with black interiors. That's not true, they could be ordered with any color interior. Also while there never has been a documented non-T-Top SE TA in 1978 there were several built by the factory in 1977.

This particular S.E. is even more desirable because it sports the 400/4-speed combo.



Finally the first '78 SE to be added to the site! My good friend Matman owns this TA. He writes:

     "The TA is a 1978 Y84 Special Edition Trans-Am ( Pontiac History Services authenticated ) with Auto, power windows, power - tilt steering and T-Tops AND 403CI. When purchased the vehicle was in a state of dis-repair, still registered for road use but had been poorly maintained and required some TLC - general repairs to the Paintwork ( no rust in this car ), upholstery, carpets were needed and mechanicals like steering linkage items, brakes, shocks attended to and a general service and tune up worked wonders.
Decals were sourced, and the pin striping done - although not 100% correct to a purist, the car now looks as if someone cares for it - it looks and drives great - at a car show only last weekend some fellow T-A owners who knew the car from before stated "At last it looks like it's loved". And it is, I drive it most days in spite of the fuel costs. I promote Rock N Roll Shows so the T-A serves me well in my work."

Matman, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia,



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Unbelievably I have been running this site since 1997 and I have only had 1 '78 SE Trans Am submitted for display <see above>. I came across this one on the internet recently for sale. The Bandit Trans Ams were a package for the Trans Am. The Special Edition package included black paint with heavy gold accent striping and decals plus of course the famous gold screaming chicken on the hood. You also got gold accents on the steering wheel, turned aluminum instrument panel and the snowflake rims. The package code was Y82.



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Here is a pretty good example of what a '78 Special Edition Trans Am should look like. There is only one thing about this TA that is inconsistent with the package so it could be real or it could be a fake. PHS documentation and a build sheet would only tell us the truth. How do you identify an SE TA? That's been asked quite a bit. Here are some of the basics:

1) All the extra gold pinstriping
2) Gold colored grills on the front end instead of black
3) Gold tinted instrument bezel in the interior
4) Gold bird in the steering wheel and gold tint on the aluminum spokes
5) T-Tops (all SEs in '78 had them either Hurst or Fisher)
6) Gold decals on the sail panel instead of the metal emblem

So what's the inconsistency on this car? All SEs featured chrome around the windows that was painted flat black. This car has standard chrome around the windows. So either it was replaced at one time or this is a fake.