Sales of Firebird finally surpassed its 1968 peak with sales 110,775 with Formula sales up more than 50% and Trans Am sales up 70% hitting another all time high. The big news this year was the new W50 Formula Appearance Package option that made yellow Formula's look mean with blacked out lower trim, large FORMULA lettering on the doors, and blacked out trim. This option proved so popular this year that the treatment was made available on white, orange (Carousel Red), and silver cars as well. The big news was the introduction of the 1976 Limited Edition Black and Gold Trans Am. The Bandit had finally arrived in showrooms, although it had yet to debut on the movie screen. The LE was decked in black with a gold hood bird, gold striping around all body contours, gold Honeycomb wheels, and special German lettering on the fenders and spoiler. Originally all LE models were to come standard with new Hurst Hatch roofs (T-Tops) but leakage problems caused this to become an option. The T-Top models are very desirable today, especially when paired with the 455.
Little was changed in the engine bay for 1976 with the only major change being the standard engine in Formula was not the 350 2bbl: the 350 4bbl was now an option and the 400 remained available as previously. Trans Am offerred the 400 as standard equipment with the 455 optional. The HO designation was dropped from the 455 as the public found it misleading since this engine had little in common with the 455 HO powerhouses of '71 and '72. The base Firebird and Esprit continued with the standard 250 cid 1 bbl 6 cylinder as standard and the 350 2bbl optional. This would be the last year for the Chervrolet sourced inline 6 for in 1977 the Buick sourced V-6 would be the offerring.
Like it's '74 and '75 siblings the '76 Firebird is easy to spot. This was the only year for the round headlights and a smooth, bumperless look. The grille openings were sans turn signals again as in '74 but the grille texture was now a honeycomb design. The bumperless design continued in the rear and it can be difficult to tell a '76 from the '77/'78 from the back. The most major body change was the Formula hood. The classic fiberglass dual snorkel design was replaced with a steel hood with dual scoops protruding upwards similar to the old Firebird 400's of the sixties. Enthusiasts lamented the loos of the Formula hood which many regard as one of the most efficient hood scoops ever made but the new hood was striking especially with the blacked out treatment of the W50 Formula Appearnace Package. The most desirable cars of this year is the T-Top equipped Limited Edition Trans Am with the 455 engine with only 110 units made, although all the LE's are great investments.