1978 Firebird Interesting Facts

1978 Trans Am Gold Special Edition
The Trans Am Gold Special Edition
Pontiac announced in Sales Information Bulletin #78-28 that the production of a Gold Special Edition Trans Am (Y88) would begin in January 1978 replacing the Black and Gold Special Edition. This new SE would have Solar Gold paint with the new four color gold hood bird available only on SE and Non-SE gold Trans Ams, Camel interior (available in both standard and custom trim levels, and all the appointments that were standard on the Black and Gold Special Editions like the gold grille liners, instrument panel trim plate, and interior/exterior emblems, Gold 7 wheels, and dark gold striping around all body features, and an enlarged sail panel bird decal. This car would only be available with the new Fisher T-tops with gold tinted glass. The Solar Gold color proved problematic in Van Nuys built Trans Ams due to the switch to a water based paint for environmental purposes. Color matching, particularly between the bumpers and fenders was poor.
The Firebird Esprit Redbird
The Esprit Redbird
Pontiac announced in Sales Information Bulletin #78-28 that the production of the Redbird Appearance Package (W68) in January 1978 replacing the Skybird that was carried over from 1977. This all red car featured a special red lower paint with Roman Red upper, red interior, red custom seat belts, gold striping and emblems, a red Formula steering wheel, gold engine-tuned instrument panel, and red cast aluminum snowflake wheels.
1978 Firebird New Custom Interior
New Custom Interior
A new custom interior was introduced for 1978 replacing the horse-collar style seats and plastic door panel lowers. This new interior was modern and featured a pillow back design. These seats were available in Doeskin Vinyl or Lombardy cloth in many colors.
New WS6 Suspension
Even though the WS6 performance package became synonymous with the top engine choice and a unique Ram Air hood in the 1990's to early 2000's the WS6 gained its fame as a performance suspension package in 1978. A car with the WS6 suspension was easy to spot by its larger 8 inch snowflake wheels, easily identified by having a lighter spoke design inset into a dish rather than the flush snowflakes on the standard 7 inch variety. The WS6 steering was more aggressive than the standard with 2.4 turns to lock rather than 2.5. The package also included larger 0.75 inch sway bars and 225/70R15 white letter radial tires. The WS6 Trans Am Special Performance Package could be ordered on Formula or Trans Am.
1978 Fisher T-Tops available alongside Hurst Hatches
Fisher Hatch Roof and Hurst Hatches
In 1978 the Fisher Body Division of General Motors introduced their own version of the T-Top and was offered in addition to the Hurts Hatch roof. The Fisher version is easily identified since the panels are larger extending more into the roof center. The rear edge of the panels align with the side windows adding a couple of extra inches there as well. Where the Hurst Hatches came with either bright chrome or black trim the Fisher T-Tops came only with black trim. Because most Black and Gold Special Editions were build in Norwood OH, closer to the Hurst Facility where Hurst Hatches were installed, most Black Special Editions built in 1978 came with Hurst Hatches so that Pontiac could fulfill their contactual obligation. As a result only 298 1978 Black and Gold SEs had Fisher T-Tops installed.
1978 Trans Am Black Special Edition
Black Special Edition
The Black Special Edition Trans Am received two designations this year: Y82 for those built in the Norwood plant and Y84 for those built in the Van Nuys plant. All Black Special Editions had Hatch Roofs standard this year.
1978 Trans Am Decals
New Trans Am Decals
The Trans Am decals on the fenders, hood scoop, and rear spoiler were changed to three color block style letters this year. This was the first major change in the Trans Am logo since the car was introduced in 1969.

For this year the only decal applied to the hood scoop was the TA-6.6 decal. The 6.6 LITRE call out was dropped. This means that unless you ordered a W72 equipped Trans Am in 1978 your hood scoop came blank.

The Black and Gold Special Edition retained its the unique German style decals.

The front bumper decal was dropped on all 1978 Firebirds, even the Special Editions. Factory repair manuals still show the decal present.
1978 8 inch Snowflake Wheel
New 8 inch Snowflake Wheels
Snowflake wheels continued to be available in charcoal or gold and the 7 inch wheel was unchanged. The new 8 inch wheel when ordered in gold came painted completely in gold, spokes and all. On the others, the silver wheels and the gold 7 inch wheel, the spokes remained bare aluminum. These all gold 8 inch wheels are unique to the 1978 Firebird.
1978 Firebird could not be had with a 301
The Pontiac 301 V-8 Dropped
Due to high demand the Pontiac-produced 301 cid V-8 was discontinued in 1977 on the Firebird and was not available at all in 1978 to allow enough for other models. The 400 cid production was winding down and the plants would be converted to 301 production at the end of 1978. The LG3 Chevy built 305 would replace the 301 for all Firebird applications.
1978 Firebird Formula Rally II Wheels Now Standard
Rally II Wheels Now Standard on Formula
For 1978 the standard wheel on all Formula Firebirds would be the Rally II.
W72 400
The W72 High Performance 400 V-8 gained an additional 20 hp for 1978
1978 Trans Am Blacked Out Tail Lamp Bezels
Tail Lamp Bezels
Beginning mid-year all Trans Am tail lamp bezels were painted black rather than the body color bezels. This black treatment had been very successful on the Formula Appearance Package since 1976.
Examples shown on this page consist of scanned images or reproduction artwork that can not be faithfully reproduced on a computer screen. Illustrations are for example only. Consult with your vendors offerring reproduction parts for their historical accuracy.