1971 Firebird Exterior Details

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Exterior Colors
A - Starlight Black (19)
C - Cameo White (11)
Trans Am Color
P - Nordic Silver (13) D - Adriatic Blue (24)
F -Lucerne Blue (26)
Trans Am Color
H - Limekist Green (42) M - Laurentian Green (49) L - Tropical Lime (52)

Y - Quezal Gold (53)

Z - Aztec Gold (59)
B - Sandalwood (61) T - Canyon Copper (62) S - Castillian Bronze (67) R - Cardinal Red (75) N - Rosewood (78)
SVT/C08 Cordova Top
For 1971 the vinyl top was a pebble grain texture available on all Firebird models except Trans Am.  In 1970 and 1971 the tops had a flat look while 1972 and after were glossy and named the wet look by GM.The Firebird Cordova top for 1970 to 1975 covered the entire roof and wrapped around the rear window. Roof drip moldings (Option741/B80) was included as well as bright trim surrounding the vinyl. For year by year comparisons click here.
1 White
2 Black
5 Sandalwood
7 Dark Brown
9 Dark Green
Vinyl Stripes
Vinyl stripes were became optional in 1971 but the option was conspicuousely missing from the Options and Accessories catalog. No Firebird source found lists an RPO code either suggesting that the option may have been introduced after the factory sales literature had been printed.  These stripes are extremely rare to see.
this is wrong, stripe was blue
Firebird Exterior Features
Bright Grille Moldings
Firebird Name on Front Fender
Firebird Emblem on Rear Decklid
Narrow Rocker Panel Moldings
Drivers Side Chrome Rear View Mirror  (434/D35 Dual Body Color Mirrors Optional)
Exposed Windshield Wipers    (432/C24) Concealed Wipers Optional
17 Air Release Vent on lower front fender
2b 350 emblem in driver's grille when ordered with teh optional 350 engine.
Esprit Exterior Features
Bright Grille Moldings
Firebird Name on Front Fender
Firebird Emblem on Front Bumper
Firebird Emblem on Rear Decklid
Esprit Nameplate of Roof Sail Panel
Rocker Panel Moldings (wider than the standard "spear shape")
Roof Drip and Scalp Moldings   (Option 481/B80 on all other models)
Wheel Opening Moldings  (Option 491/B96 on all other models)
Hood Rear Edge Moldings  (Option 484/B85 on all other models)
Belt Reveal Moldings (Option 484/B85 on all other models)
Right and Left Hand Body Color Rear View Mirrors - Left Hand Remote Controlled
Concealed Windshield Wipers (Option 432/C24 on Base and Formula)
17 Air Release Vent on lower front fender
2b,c 350 or 400 emblems inside driver's side grille opening corresponding to engine option.
Formula 400 Exterior Features
Black Textured Grille with Bright Reveal Moldings
Formula 400 Nameplate on Front Fender below Firebird Emblem
Firebird Emblem on Front Bumper
Firebird Emblem on Rear Decklid
Fiberglass Hood with Dual Hood Scoops
Narrow Rocker Panel Moldings
Right and Left Hand Body Color Rear View Mirrors - Left Hand Remote Controlled
Exposed Windshield Wipers    (432/C24) Concealed Wipers Optional)
17 Air Release Vent on lower front fender
Trans Am Exterior Features
Black Textured Grille with Bright Reveal Moldings (PONTIAC emblem deleted)
TRANS AM Decals on Fenders
TRANS AM Decals on Rear Spoiler
Large Bird Decal on top of Nose Section
Shaker type Hood Scoop protruding through Special Trans Am hood.
No Rocker Panel Moldings
Right and Left Hand Body Color Rear View Mirrors - Left Hand Remote Controlled
Concealed Windshield Wipers  
Stripes over the Hood, Roof, Deck Lid, and Rear Spoiler - Blue or White
Functional Front Fender Air Extractors
Rear Deck Lid Spoiler
Front Air Spoiler
Rear Wheel Opening Air Spoiler
1. Nose Panel: Emblems/Graphics
Nose Emblem for Esprit and Formula
Trans Am Nose Decals
2. Front Bumper Grilles
The 1970 and 1971 grilles have a square grid design. in 1972 the grilles would have a hexagonal design and 1973 would introduce a grille consisting of larger squares ofetn referred to as the egg-crate design.

A. The standard 1970 was this bright pattern with a PONTIAC emblem in the driver's side grille.

B. Base Firebirds received a 350 emblem in the grille when the 350 engine option was ordered.  This emblem would have been standard on Esprit since the 350 was the standard engine.

C. Esprits ordered with the optional 400 engine would have received the 400 emblem in the driver's side grille. the photo shows a faded example since these are rare.  The 400 emblem would have been colored red on the inside like the 350 above.

D. Formula's grille was blacked out like the Trans Am's but carried a PONTIAC emblem in the driver's side grille.

Note that engine callouts were not installed.  Parts manuals indicate that the 400 emblem would have been correct for Formula 400 models and 350 emblems correct for Formula 350 models. Factory advertising indicates this was not the case and most Formula's viewed will not have these callouts.

E. The Trans Am gille was also blacked out with no PONTIAC emblem.
3. Hood Scoop Decals

When you ordered your Formula with the new 455 H.O. engine option (34U/LS5) you now had option 601/WU3 at your dispaosal to make the scoops functional. Even though you will see RAM AIR decals added to most Formula models and may even see open hood scoops from the factory this option was extremely rare, offerred only on Formula 455's and an option at that.

Decals were changed for 1971 to a plainer font that 1970.  This style would be used again in 1972 and was available in black, red, or white.

For the first time the Trans Am hood scoop was adorned with engine call-outs in either white (for white cars) or blue (for blue cars)  The engine call out read 455 H.O, corresponding to the engine installed.  Since the 455- H.O. was the only engine available only this decal adorned the hood scoop.
4. Esprit Sail Panel Emblem

Esprit Sail Panel Emblem

The Esprit Emblem graced the Firebird Esprit sail panel from 1970 to 1975 in the form shown at right.  All other Firebirds had no adorment on the sail until 1976 when the bird emblem debuted there.  From 1976 on the Esprit emblem would move to the fender below the Firebird script.

Rear Valance Emblems
5. WindShield Wipers
From 1970 to 1975 the standard wipers on Base Firebird and Formula was exposed while the Esprit and Trans Am received Recesse, or hidden, windshield wipers.  This changed in 1976 where Esprit came standard with exposed wipers and Formula had recessed wipers as standard equipment. By checking option box 432/C24 any Firebird owner would could have Recessed Wipers.
Exposed Wipers (Standard on Firebird and Formula)
Concealed Wipers Option 432/C24.  Optional on Base Firebird and Formula, standard on Esprit and Trans Am.
6. Front Valance
The correct front valance panel for 1970 and 1971 was the steel unit shown below.  1972 and 1973 Firebirds got a plastic front valance that differs substantially, most noatably in the air intake holes.   The lamps installed in the valance for 1970 to 1972 clear lenses.
7. Trans Am Fender Air Extractor
The Trans Am came standard with fender air extractors on each fender to let warm engine air out of the engine compartment and reduce lift on the frojnt end at speed.  From 1970 to 1974 it is correct for the inner screen to be painted black.  From 1975 the grates were body color.
8. Spoiler
In 1971 the Trasn Ams rear spoiler became optional for the first time on Formula models.  The spoiler, one of the most popular options for the Firebird model, would become optional on the base Firebird in 1973.  It would not be until 1976 that you could order the spoiler for an Esprit.
9. Fender Emblems/Graphics
Firebird and Esprit

A new Firebird script graced the front fenders for 1971.  This script differed slightly from 1970 with the letters being slightly wider.  This script would be used through 1981. Note that 1971 was the only year for the fender vent so the script was placed lower on the fender than in later years. Note that in 1971 the Firebird emblem no longer adorned Formula fenders since it was replaced by the fender vent.

Since the Formula was now offered with 350 and 455 engines in addition to the 400 three scripts were used.  The Formula 400 emblem appears to be identical to the 1970 offering but carried a different part number. It's possible the change was that the '71 had different drill holes or might have been a stick on.  The numbers were larger thnn text in 1970-1971.
Trans Am

Decals used in place of emblems, either white on blue cars or vice versa.   These decals were identical from 1970 to 1972.  These decals used the same script as 1973 to 1977 but the fender decals were much smaller.

Note that the 1970 to 1972 decals were also die cut, each letter an individual decal. From 1973 to 1975 the decal was a 1 piece with clear surrounding the letters.

10.  Rear Valance Panel Emblems
PONTIAC lettering graced the rear valance on 1970 to 1973 Firebirds between the tail lights. Although 1970 letters carried a different part number the letters are indistinguishable with 1971 to 1973 Firebirds
11. Rear Decklid/Spoiler
Deck Lid Bird Emblem
Firebird, Esprit, and Formula's trunk lids were adorned with a small bird emblem on the rear trunk lid just above the valance, unless the rear spoiler was ordered on the Formula. This bird is similar to the bird used on the nose but as you can that there are sharper ridges between the feathers and this emblem lays flat where the nose emblem conforms to the slight curvature of the nose.  The part number shows that this bird was used from 1970 to 1974 but later birds were identical all the way to the end in 1981.  The part number change was most likely just a conversion to a new numbering scheme.
TRANS AM Rear Spoiler Decals
Decals across the spoiler proclaimed Trans Am with white letters on blue cars and blue letters on white cars.  Decals for 1970 to 1972 were all smaller than in 1973 to 1977 but the same lettering script was used..
12. Exterior Rear View Mirrors
The base Firebird came with a chrome driver's side rear view mirror as shown on the bottom left.  Second Generation Esprit, Formula, and Trans Am would always come with dual "bullet" style rear view mirrors (one on each side of the car) with the driver's side being adjusted with a small lever on the door panel.  Option 434/D35: Dual Body Color Mirrors made the dual bullet style mirrors available on the base Firebird as well. Because of being standard on Esprit, Formula, and Trans Am throughout the Second Gen run and being available on Base Firebirds the chrome rear view mirror is extremely rare to see these days.
13. Headlight Bezels
  Headlight bezels changed in 1971 offerring larger access slots to accomodate a screwdriver more easily.having very narrow slots used to access the adjustment screws.  Due to mechanic complaints that the screws were difficult to access Pontiac changed the slots making them wider from 1971 to 1973.  The difference is almost imperceptible but can be seen in the illustrations below.  
14. Decor Molding Options

Except for the addition of Vinyl Body Side Moldings the Decor Trim offering for 1971 was identical to 1970.  What differred was that now each set of moldings was available as a separate option and the Decor Molding Group (431/Y80) was dropped.  BeltReveal/Rear Hood Edge Moldings (484/B85), Front and Rear Wheel Well Moldings (491/B96) were now offered a' la carte.  Roof Drip Moldings (481/B80) and Door Edge Guards (492/B93) were again offered individually.

See Decor Molding Details for 1971

15. Formula and Trans Am Exhaust Tip

The Formula and Trans Am received dual chrome plated exhaust tips as standard equipment to compliment the dual exhaust.  This particular exhaust arrangement would last through the 1975 model year.  In 1976 these were repalced with the chrome splitters that became very popular in the late 1970's.

The standard Base Firebird and Esprit had a similar exhaust pipe although in plain steel and only protruding from the driver's side.  The passenger sie of these models was actaully a smoother look with no exhaust tip at all.

16. Door Handle's Inserts

Door handles for 1970 to 1977 were actaully larger than the 1978 to 1981 door handles.  The door handle at top right is correct for 1970 to 1977.  Not how the hanle itself is much larger than the indent.  The later door handle below right barely overhangs the depression.

When you ordered option 731/W54 to get the Custom Trim group, an interior option that included upgraded seats and door panels along with a few interior appointments, the only exterior visual clue was the addition of a door handle insert that matched the body color.  The standard door handle was chrome.

1970 was unique in that the parts manual includes a part number for each color insert: Bright Blue, Medium Blue, Dark Blue, Bronze, Bright Gold, Dark Gold, Green Gold, Green, Medium Green, Orange, Light Saddle, Red, Silver, White, and Yellow.  For 1971 and after replacement decals were no longer offered in separate colors.  Instead only white was offered with a note saying paint to match.  I guess maintaining colors for every possible color as years went on would have been an arduous task.

Since the insert came with the custom interior the decals were standard on Esprit and not available on the Base Firebird.  It was optional on Formula and Trans Am so if you see the custom interior these decals were correct.

17. Fender Vents

For 1971 Pontiac added a Vent to each front fender just below the fender crease line.  Vents like these would have been used to release warm underhood air from the engine compartment to cool the engine and reduce front end lift.  The Firebird's vents were closed, or dummy, vents that were placed just for show.

1971 would be the only year that thes events appeared on Firebirds as the fenders once again were unadorned for 1972 and on.  The vents were standard on Base Firebird, Esprit, and Formula.  The Trans Am already had functional fender vents so the TA fenders remained unchanged.

18.Trans Am Hood/Roof/Trunk/Spoiler Stripes
From 1970 to 1972 Trans Ams came standard with a single stripe running the entire length of the car.  These stripes were either Blue on Cameo White cars or White on Lucerne Blue cars.   The nose of each was adorned with a small bird decal matching the stripes.  Trans Am stripes for 1970 to 1972 rant over the hood, roof, and rear deck lid and onto the upper surface of the rear spoiler.  A small bird decal adorned the nose of the car. 
White Stripes for Lucerne Blue Trans Ams
The white stripes had a hard black outline while the blue stripes had a fade in effect. The white stripes for 1970 had different part numbers for 1970 than 1971 - 1972 because they were a brighter shade of white to match 1970's unique Polar White shade used on the TA Hood Scoop.  1971 and 1972 cars would be painted Cameo White, an off white, necessitating an off-white stripe to match the hood scoop. 
White Stripe/Black Border
Blue Stripes for White Trans Ams
The blue stripe for white cars featured a gray outline rather than the stark black used on white stripes.  It may have been that the original white stripes were originally designed to match but later became the more course black instead.  The blue stripe was continued unchanged from 1970 to 1972.
Blue Stripe/Gray Border
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