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Identifying the 1974 to 1976 Firebirds

Front Bumper Designs

1974 to 1976 front fascia designs varied enough to make them easily identified from the front of the car. 1974 and 1975 carried black rubber bump strips that were not really required, but designers believed would comfort buyers that a real bumper was installed beneath the front fascia. Although 1974 and 1975 appear very similar the 1975 model added the turn signals inside the front grilles where the 1974 models carried them below the bumpers. In 1976 the front end was streamlined with a new smooth body-colored bumper that had no rubber strips. The turn signals were again moved into the clean new bumper design. Grilles used a vertical design in 1974, a horizontal design in 1975, and a hexagon design in 1976.
Rear Window
In 1975 the rear window was enlarged to wrap around the B pillars where the 1974 shared the earlier, smaller slanted rear window. This new rear window design greatly increased rear visibility. The original Firebird design had included the wrap around window but production problems forced Pontiac to use the smaller variant. The glue used to secure the wrap around window would squeeze out the edges making a poor seal. It wasn't until 1975 that this production problem was solved.
Rear Bumper
Matching the front end of the 1976 the rear end for that year used a smooth rear bumper cover replacing the rubber bump strips of 1974 and 1975. This rear bumper design would carry on until 1978 making it more difficult to tell a 1976 model from a 1977 or 1978. Note that the bird emblem continued on the trunk lid for non-spoiler optioned birds. In 1975 and 1976a Pontiac emblem was also installed on the right side of the trunk lid as well.
Trans Am Hood Scoop
 
Trans Am Decals
The Trans Am Hood Scoop remained unchanged and decals still called out the engine size beneath. In 1974 engine call-outs listed the 400, 455 or SD-455 in either blue, black or white decals. In 1975 the callouts were either 400 or 455-HO in Orange, Charcoal, or blue but with a new two color design. In 1976 callouts were either 400 or 455 available in Charcoal, Gold, or Gold german style for the Limited Edition Trans Am
 

Trans Am decals continued to be displayed on the Front Fenders and Rear Spoiler. In 1976 the top of the front fascia also received a Trans Am decal. For 1976 a PONTIAC decal also adorned the rear spoiler to the right hand side. The TRANS AM decals were still a one piece sticker in 1974 and 1975 but for 1976 the individual letters were die cut. The same logo was used through 1977 except on the 1976 Limited edition Black and Gold Trans Am, which received a German style script.

Rear Spoiler

Once again the rear spoiler was an option on base Firebirds and Formulas for 1974 and 1975. In 1976 the spoiler finally became an option on the Esprit as well. Bird decals were again available for the Spoiler in various colors. In 1976 a PONTIAC decal was added to the right side of the spoiler or FORMULA PONTIAC on Formulas.

Sail Panel Emblems
The Esprit emblem continued to grave '74 and '75 sail panels. In 1976 the Esprit emblem moved to the fenders, replaced by a small die cast bird emblem.
Formula Designs

In 1974 and 1975 the Formula models once again used the fiberglass snorkel hood scoop design that had been in production since 1970. Like 1973 Formulas the 1974 Formula used the Trans Ams shaker hood scoop design when ordered with the Super Duty 455 engine.

In 1976 the Formula hood changed to a new steel hood with the dual scoops set further back. The big news was the introduction of the W50 Formula graphics option. The option provided blacked out lower paint, hood scoops, grilles, and rear tail lamp moldings augmented with brightly colored striping. Large FORMULA lettering appeared on the lower doors. Plain Formulas received only small FORMULA decals on the fenders and deck lid (or spoiler if so ordered). The W50 option was originally only available on Goldenrod Yellow cars but was soon expanded to Sterling Silver, Cameo White, and Carousel Red cars.

Front Valance Bird Emblem
All 1974 to 1976 Firebirds received a new bird emblem on the front fascia. The bird emblem was red with the only exception being the 1976 Limited Edition Black and Gold Trans Am which carried a gold bird emblem.
Tail Lamps
All 1974 to 1978 Firebirds received these innovative new tail lamp designs that spanned the entire length of the rear valance. Tail lights, brake lamps, backup lights, and turn signals were all integrated into this sleek new design.
Fender Emblems
Through 1974 to 1976 the Fender emblems remained consistent with 1973 with Firebird emblems on base and Esprit cars. Esprit emblems moved to the fender from the sail panel for 1976. Formulas for 1974 and 1975 continued to use the Formula 350 and Formula 400 emblems (the Formula 455 was no longer an option). In 1976 the Formula received a small decal below the Firebird emblem saying simply FORMULA.
Limited Edition Trans Am
In 1976 the Black and Gold Limited Edition Trans Am was introduced to commemorate Pontiac's 50th anniversary. This car was the precursor of the now legendary Bandit cars that still remain as one of the greatest car icons of all time. The LE Trans Am received special German style lettering in gold matte decals. A special 50th Anniversary decal was installed on the front fenders. Gold striping highlighted every detail of this car. Hurts hatches were also introduced but leakage problems caused a hard top model to be offered as well. This was the first Firebird offered with T-Tops as an option. Gracing the sail panel was a smaller version of the hood bird decal.