1974 Firebirds

In 1974 Firebird displayed its first facelift since the introduction of the second generation in 1970. In front, a new aerodynamic sloped nose was designed with small grille openings and black rubber bump strips designed to meet new Federal 5mph bumper laws. In 1974 the Feds mandated that all cars must be able to absorb an impact at 5mph with damage to the car. The car was nearly released without the rubber bumpers but Pontiac decided to use this design hoping the public would be more accepting. In back new full-width tail lamps were placed above a body color rear bumper, again with black bump strips. The public loved the car and sales began to rise sharply. Total sales increased by 27,416 while sales of Trans Am nearly doubles from 4,802 in '73 yo 10,255. Pontiac's strategy of staying in the muscle car market was beginning to pay big dividends. In 1974 Ford released it's new Mustang II with no performance models for the public to buy, big blocks were off the menu for Mopar's Barracuda and Challenger, and Camaro Z/28 was about to take a hiatus after '74. With the Super Duty 455 Pontiac was the only serious contender in the muscle car business.
1974 Firebird Esprit
In the engine bay changes were minimal but a new option offerred this one year only let you order Dual Exhausts (option 682) on your Base Firebird (with the 350 cid engine) or any Esprit adding about 15hp. Otherwise the base Firebird still offered the 6 cylinder as standard with Esprit's 350 optional. Esprit continued with the standard 350 with the 2bbl 400 optional. Formula continued with 350, 400, and 455 models. Formula 350 was offered with the Esprit's base 350 (with dual exhaust), Formula 400 with a 4bbl 400 cid, and the Formula 455 with either the Trans Am base 455 or the Super Duty 455. When ordered with the Super Duty engine Formula again used the Trans Am's shaker hood scoop. This would be the swan song in Pontiac's entry in the Muscle car market and the last you would see of the horsepower wars. In 1975 everything would change with the Federal requirement of catalytic converters and emmisions centric engines.
Identifying a 1974 Firebird is one of the easiest. Although very similar to the 1975 model the '74's rear window sloped backward where the larger wrap-around style debuted in '75. Looking at the front the grille has vertical slats where in 1975 they would be horizontal and turn signals would appear inside. The '74 and '76 turn signals were in the lower bumper but the black rubber bump strips would be gone in '76. The Radial Tuned Suspension (RTS) became available for the first time and radial tires were now becoming the norm. Trans Am continued in three colors with Cameo White and Buccaneer redcarried over. Brewster Green was dropped and blue returned to the TA palate with Admiralty Blue, a soemwhat darker shade than in previous years.

1974 Production Numbers

  Firebird (Base) 26,372
  Esprit 22,583
  Formula 14,519
  Trans Am 10,255
  Total 73,729

1974 Base Firebird Production

  Engine Manual Automatic Total
  6 Cylinder - - 0
  8 Cylinder - - 0
  Total 7,603 18,769 26,372

1974 Esprit Production

    Manual Automatic Total  
  All engines - - 22,583  

1974 Formula Production

    Manual Automatic Total
  All non-SD-455 - - 14,461
  SD-455 - - 58
  Total - - 14,519

1974 Trans Am Production

  Engine Option
  400 1,750 2,914 4,664
  455 - 4,648 4,648
  Total 1,962 8,293 10,255

Firebird Optional Equipment

  Option Total
  V-8 Engine 66,126 89.7*
  6 Cylinder Engine 7,603 10.3*
  Transmission-Automatic 64,403 87.4*
  Transmission-4Speed 4,543 6.2*
  Transmission-3 Speed 4,783*** 6.4*
  Power Brakes 68,568** 93.0*
  Front Wheel Disc Brakes 73,729** 100.0*
  Limited Slip Differential 15,114** 20.5*
  Power Steering 73,729 100.0*
  Power Windows 9,899 13.4*
  Air Conditioning 46,597 63.2*
  Adjustable Steering Column 14,752 20.0*
  Vinyl Roof 14,198  
  Radial Tires 38,192** 51.8*
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.
1974 Formula and Trans Am

What else was happening in 1974

Richard Nixon becomes the first US president to resign amidst Watergate Scandal.
National speed limit set to 55mph to conserve fuel.
Best song: The Way We Were by Barbara Streisand.
Evel Knievel attempts to jump the Snake River Canyon.
Patty Hearst abducted by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).
The Rockford Files debuts on NBC starring a 1974 Firebird
Best Picture: The Sting