Have you ever seen a Trans Am without it's signature front and rear spoilers? Chances are you haven't but Tran-Zam has confirmed their existence. These cars would be extremely rare
today, probably even more rare than the documentation that proves their existence.
Pontiac Firebird options are well documented, particularly on this site, but there is far less knowledge about the Delete
It has been rumored for years that a Trans Am could be ordered from the factory without the rear spoiler. After extensive research there is evidence to support that
this rumor is true. There is even some dealer literature that verifies that there were Trans Ams built without front or rear spoilers. People who have seen one have called it a
"plucked chicken" but others, perhaps James Rockford fans, can appreciate the more subtle variant. To each his own. Certainly
there is no right or wrong when it comes to the second generation Trans Am. The design usually evokes either love or hate from casual observers. Tran-Zam had obtained factory evidence
of spoiler-less Trans Ams built for Japanese export and some evidence that models may have been equipped without spoilers for the American market. Still other people have commented that they
saw European exports without spoilers or with a smaller rubber spoiler. There are many unanswered questions but here is what we know.
The Japanese Export Market
We do know that the Trans Am was advertised to the Japanese export market without spoilers. A blue Trans Am without front or rear
spoilers, or rear wheel spats, was featured in the 1980 General Motors Japanese brochure. This car is shown here and also featured chrome external rear view mirrors
(not the standard GM bullet style), and chrome side marker lights that extended outward from the body, and white wall tires of all things. Another Japanese brochure featured a spoiler-free
1980 Special Edition Trans Am, show below in the 1980 GM Japanese Brochure
Originally the thought was that the removal of the spoilers on the Japanese export was a legal requirement imposed by the Japanese government but this is easily
disproven as a Chevrolet Camaro and a Z/28 are show in the same brochure equipped with spoilers (see inset and documentation below). It is more likely that Pontiac thought the Trans Am without ground effects would
have greater appeal to the Japanese aesthetic.
To answer some of these uncommon questions we delved into the Pontiac Parts Manual
. The parts manual is never definitive when it comes to options or features but can
sometimes offer clues as to how the factory built Trans Ams. In this case the parts manual seems to offer some insight
on the Japanese export options. For each Trans Am spoiler decal the parts manual list "EXC VE1.' Option VE1 is listed as Japanese Modifications(Export)
. This exception is listed only for part #s 10003737
and 10006157. the blue and red (orange) TRANS AM
spoiler graphics for 1979 respectively. No export exclusions are listed for any other decal colors or any other year. Listed elsewhere in the parts manual are TRANS AM
rear bumper decals in blue
and charcoal (silver). The part numbers for the rear bumper decals are the same as the small front bumper decals. Rear bumper decals TRANS AM PONTIAC
are also listed for 1980 in Gold, Red, Charcoal, and Burgundy. This does not match a front bumper decal part number because bumper
graphics were not used in 1980.
Another clue may be found in the 1980
Firebird Assembly Manual. The insert below shows placement for a TRANS AM
decal on a spoilerless rear bumper.
Rear Decal placement from the 1980 Firebird Assemble Manual
This decal was never installed on any rear bumper of any Trans Am of any year because it was redundant to the large spoiler lettering. The assembly manual has no indication that this decal was for
export, but that is not surprising.
American Spoiler-Less Birds
To add to the rumors, the question remains whether a Trans Am could be ordered in the US without a spoiler. A lost article somewhere I read stated that a 1981 Z/28 could be ordered without
a rear spoiler. Would this rumor also apply to the Trans Am? Well, you know how rumors are but there is an indication that Trans Am may have been available
in 1981 without a rear spoiler. This rudimentary evidence is listed in the Pontiac Parts Manual
where a TRANS AM PONTIAC
decal is listed as being for installation on
the rear deck lid w/VP4 (i.e. with option VP4). The larger spoiler decals are
shown as "EXC VP4." There is no reference to option VP4 in the Options section of the parts manual or any other reference in the Tran-Zam library but it certainly looks like whatever option VP4 was it was for
Trans Ams without rear spoilers. The rear bumper decals are the same part numbers as the front bumper counterparts and were listed for the first design orange, charcoal, blue, and red. The "EXC VP4" is also shown on
the parts listings for front spoilers and rear wheel opening spats, indicating that these items were also omitted with option VP4. While not a good options reference it is hard to conceive that the editor
of this particular model made up option VP4 and added the notations to indicate that it was for a Trans Am with no spoiler.
We have probably caused more questions than we answered but the debate can rage on. Check out our Facebook
page and comment.