1976 Firebird Interesting Facts
Welcome The Bandit, The First Black and Gold Limited Edition
To commemorate Pontiac's 50th anniversary a special black and
gold limited edition Trans Am was introduced. The car was painted
all black with a gold matte hood bird and special German style lettering
on the decals. This car had stripes surrounding the wheel wells,
over the roof , deck lid, and hood, around the tail-lights and rear
spoiler, and around the front spoiler and grilles. Even the windows were
surrounded with gold striping. A special 50th Anniversary decal
appeared below the Trans Am graphics on the lower fender. The
grille and headlamp bezels were also gold as were the honeycomb wheels.
Originally all the Limited Edition Trans Ams were supposed to receive
Hurst Hatch roofs but problems with the roofs squeaking and leaking caused Pontiac to
offer a hardtop as well. In all, 643 T-Top Trans Ams were produced
with an additional 1947 hardtops. A rare bird is the 1976 LE with
the 455 and Hurts T-Tops with only 110 produced. A few of these
cars were originally equipped with black chrome splitter exhaust
extensions. It is unknown exactly what percentage of cars received
these but they are extremely rare since most cars reportedly got the
standard chrome exhaust tips.
Updates to the Front End Styling
For 1976 the rubber bumper strips were replaced with a smooth urethane
bumper front and rear giving a cleaner, more modern look. The turn
signals were moved again, this time from the front grilles to the lower
bumper. The grilles themselves were revised with a honeycomb
design replacing the horizontal slats.
The First T-Tops
Originally the Hurst Hatch roof introduced on the Limited
Edition was to become a regular production option on all Firebirds but
the aforementioned problem with excessive squeaks and rattles along with
leakage delayed the introduction of the T-Tops until the 1977 model
New Formula Hood Scoops
A new Formula hood was introduced in 1976 replacing the
previous snorkel type that extended to the front of the hood. The
new hood featured dual air inlets about halfway down the hood and gently
sloping upward in a curved design. This hood would be a one year
only design. The new hood was made of steel rather than fiberglass
as the 1970 to 1975 models had been.
The W50 Formula Appearance Package
The stunning W50 Formula Appearance package debuted in 1976 on Goldenrod
Yellow cars only and proved a huge marketing success. Designed by
John Schinella at Pontiac the car featured blacked out lower door trim
with large FORMULA lettering across the door, blacked out grille and
tail lamps, and blacked out hood scoops, all separated by brightly
colored stripes. The package proved so
popular that Pontiac added 3 new colors after the introduction:
Carousel Red, Sterling Silver, and Cameo White.
The Last year for 455 in Firebirds
The 455 returned for the last time in 1976. The engine was no
longer designated the 455 HO. Engine call outs on the shaker scoop
showed merely 455, although the engine was unchanged from 1975.
Rear Deck Spoiler Finally available on Esprit
You could finally get an Esprit with the optional Rear Deck Lid spoiler
(option 562/D80). Previously the spoiler was available on Firebird
and Formula only and standard on Trans Am.
The front console was now standard on Formula.
Body Color Rally II Wheels
The Rally II Wheel could now be ordered with background colors matching
the car's exterior color. This was seemingly a subtle change in
the option list but cars so equipped were striking in appearance.
Over the Roof Striping and Cordova Top Changes
The D98 Vinyl Accent Stripe now extended around the windows and
over the roof for a modern, dramatic look. The Canopy Top
(CBT/CV7), formerly called the Cordova top) now extended from the side
window forward and could be ordered with the over the roof stripe.