1970 Firebirds

On February 26, 1970 Pontiac debuted the all new Firebird mades its debut at the Chicago Auto Show. Due to the delay in its introduction many dealers sold 1969 Firebirds as 1970 models causing many to refer to this model as the 1970 1/2. This model is the true 1970 Firebird and the '69s that were sold as '70s each had VIN numbers identifying them as '69s. The new Firebird was sleek, clean, and unlike any other car before it or since. To simplify the model lineup Pontiac reduced the available model selection from five to four organized into more discernable functions: the base Firebird was the least expensive entry level model; the Esprit was optioned with additional luxury appointments; the Formula 400 for performance-minded buyers offering muscle car performance at a great price; and the Trans Am for the serious driver, complete with all the high performance options. 
1970 Firebird Esprit
The base Firebird was the bargain 'bird equipped with a Chevrolet-built 6 cylinder engine. The 350 was available as an upgrade. The Esprit was more luxury oriented with the upgraded custom interior as standard equipment along with bright moldings around the hood, doors and wheel lips. The Esprit also had a wider chrome molding on the rocker panel that was strictly unique to this model. The standard engine for Esprit was the 2bbl 350. The 400 2bbl as an option. Next up was Formula 400 with unique dual snorkel hood scoops and a standard 400 4bbl with the venerable Ram Air III 400 as an option. Last, but certainly not least was Trans Am with front and rear spoilers, a shaker scoop protruding through the hood, wheel flares, and racing stripes. Trans Am was only available in white with blue stripes or blue with white stripes from 1970 to 1972. The Ram Air III 400 was standard in Trans Am while the Ram Air IV 400, designed for racing primarily, was available throgh the back door using a special order form. With this being the case the Ram Air IV is extremely rare and very desirable.
It can be difficult to tell a 1970 Firebird from its 1971 and 1972 variants looking at one from the outside. The most distinctive characteristic of a '70 is the front seats with a unique low back design with separated head rests. 1971 and 1972 models had a one piece back with no headrests. The 1970 and 1971 models shared the front grille design with a fine square grate inset into the nose where the 1972 model displayed an elongated honeycomb grille design. To tell a 1970 Firebird from the 1971 look for the vent on the lower fender that is only found on '71s. Trans Ams did not have this fender vent and since both variants came in blue and white with opposite stripes look for the hood scoop. A correct 1970 hood scoop has no decals where the 1971 and 1972 would call out 455-HO.

1970 Production Numbers

  Firebird (Base) 18,874
  Esprit 18,961
  Formula 7,708
  Trans Am 3,196
  Total 48,739

1970 Base Firebird Production

  Engine Manual Automatic Total
  6 Cylinder - - 3,134
  8 Cylinder - - 15,740
  Total 2,899 15.975 18,874

1970 Esprit Production

    Transmission    
    Manual Automatic Total  
  All engines 2,104 16,857 18,961  

1970 Formula Production

    Transmission  
    Manual Automatic Total
  All engines 2,777 4,931 7,708

1970 Trans Am Production

   
Transmission
  Engine Option
Manual
Automatic
Total
  400cid Ram Air III 1,769 1,339 3,108
  400cid Ram Air IV
59
29
88
  Total 2,828 1,368 3,196
High Performance Pontiac magazine in its September 2007 issue listed a breakdown of Ram Air IV cars.  According to HPP 63 of the RA IV cars were Polar White while only 25 were Lucerne Blue.  Of the Lucerne Blue cars 22 were built in Norwood OH and only 3 at the Van Nuys Firebird production facility.

Firebird Optional Equipment

  Option Total
Percent
  V-8 Engine 45,605 93.6*
  6 Cylinder Engine 3,134 6.4*
  Transmission-Automatic 39,131 80.3*
  Transmission-4Speed 6,008 9.0*
  Transmission-3 Speed 3,600*** 10.7*
  Power Brakes 29,146** 59.8*
  Front Wheel Disc Brakes 30,706** 63.0*
  Limited Slip Differential 8,188** 16.8*
  Power Steering 44,891 92.1*
  Power Windows 2,284 4.7*
  Air Conditioning 22,378 45.9*
  Adjustable Steering Column 2,561 5.3*
  Vinyl Roof 11,721  
Source: The Fabulous Firebird by Michael Lamm
* Source: Firebird! America's Premiere Performance Car by Gary Witzenburg
**Source: Estimated based on percentages published in Witzenburg's Firebird!
***Derived from subtracting Auto and 4 speed from toatl production
Note: Numbers published in Fabulous Firebird may not correlate with percentages published in Firebird! America's Premiere Performance Car.
1970 Firebird Formula 400
1970 Trans Am

What else was happening in 1970

Apollo 13 aborts moon landing
Beatles announce breakup
Nixon, President of the United States
Kent State Riots
First commercial flight of the 747
Best Picture: Patton
Marcus Welby M.D. #1 TV show