1973 Firebird Exterior Details

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Exterior Colors
C - Cameo White (11)
Trans Am Color
D - Porcelain Blue (24) E - Admiralty Blue (29) F - Regatta Blue (26)
H - Desert Sand (56) J - Golden Olive (46) K - Verdant Green (42) L - Slate Green
M - Brewster Green (48)
Trans Am Color
R - Buccaneer Red (75)
Trans Am Color
S - Florentine Red (74) T - Sunlight Yellow (51)
U - Navajo Orange (97) V - Ascot Silver *64) Y - Valencia Gold (60) Z - Burma Brown (68)
For year to year comparisons click here.
SVT/C08 Cordova Top
The vinyl top for 1973 continued the pebble grain "wet look."   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 to year comparisons click here.
White (1) Black (2) Beige (3) Chamois (4)
Green (5) Dark Burgundy (6) Blue (7)
Option 631/D98 Firebird Accent Stripes
Stripes for 1973 were redesigned no longer following the belt line of the car but instead accentuating the fender/door curves.  The parts manual calls the colors Black/Orange/Black, Black/Light Blue/Dark Blue, Black/Orange/Cream, and Black/Green/Yellow.  The 1973 Accessories manual lists these as Black/Orange, Cream/Orange/Dark Brown, Light Blue/Dark Blue/Black, and Yellow/Lime Green/Black.  The parts manual description is listed first with teh Accesories description in parenthesis. 
Recommended Stripe Color Usage Chart
Strip Colors Available with





C - Cameo White

R - Buccaneer Red

T - Sunlight Yellow
H - Desert Sand
V - Ascot Silver
Y - Valencia Gold
(Cream/Orange/Dark Brown)
U - Navajo Orange
S - Florentine Red
Z - Burma Brown
Black/Light Blue/Dark Blue
(Lt. Blue/Bright Blue/Black)
D - Porcelain Blue
E - Admiralty Blue
F - Regatta Blue
(Yellow/Lime Green/Black)
J - Golden Olive
K - Verdant Green
L - Slate Green
M - Brewster Green
Firebird Exterior Features
Bright Grille Moldings
Firebird Name on Front Fender
Bird Emblem on Front Fender
Firebird Emblem on Rear Deck lid or Decal if Rear Spoiler Ordered
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
2b 350 emblem in driver's grille when ordered with the optional 350 engine.
Esprit Exterior Features
Bright Grille Moldings
Firebird Name on Front Fender
Bird Emblem on Front Fender
Firebird Emblem on Rear Deck lid
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)
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
Bird Emblem on Front Fender
Firebird Emblem on Rear Deck lid or Decal if Rear Spoiler Ordered
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)
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 (except when large hood bird ordered)
Large Hood Bird Decal (Optional)
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
In 1973 the only nose adornments came with the Trans Am only when the new giant hood bird was not ordered.  Plain hooded Trans Am's would get a small nose bird.  The decal would be red/orange for Buccaneer Red cars, blue/dark blue for Cameo White cars, and Green/dark green for Brewster green cars
2. Front Bumper Grilles
In 1973 the front end received a minor update due to the new federally mandated bumper law that took effect in 1973 requiring 5mph bumpers.  As a result the extra hardware required moved the grille slightly outward and a new egg crate design would take effect.  The PONTIAC emblem itself was also redesigned this year.  Note that the letters are more closely spaced than in previous years.

A. The standard 1973 was this bright pattern with a PONTIAC emblem in the driver's side grille. This would be found installed on Base Firebirds with the 6 cylinder engine and all Formulas.

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. Esprit's ordered with the optional 400 engine would have received the 400 emblem in the driver's side grille. 

D. The blacked out grille returned to the Formula in 1973 after its one year sabbatical

E. The Trans Am grille was also blacked out with no PONTIAC emblem.


3. Hood Scoop Decals

Period literature for 1973 including The Fabulous Firebird and Witzenburg's Firebird list the Formula hood scoops as being sealed in 1973 but that was not the case.  The Trans Am's hood scoop was definitely sealed and because the Super Duty 455 equipped Formula came with the shaker it too was sealed.  However option 634/WU3 Ram Air hood is listed as available with the 400 and 455 equipped Formula's (except Super Duty).  The Pontiac parts manuals do show the functional hoods as being correct for the Formula 400 and 455 models of 1973 through 1975 but the RAM AIR decals are listed for only 1973 and 1974.  Therefore the RAM AIR hood is presumed to have been available for 1973 and 1974.  The RAM AIR decals were again available in black or white as in 1972.


Trans Am Hood scoop call outs were simple fonts calling out engine size.  There were only two engines in the Trans Am so the call outs were either 455 or SD-455 when the Super Duty engine was installed.  These decals were available in black for red cars, green for green cars, and blue for white cars.

The Super Duty Formula got the TA's hood scoop this year and shared the SD-455 decals with the Trans Am.  In addition to black, green, or blue decals a white SD-455 was also offered depending on the exterior color. 

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 adornment 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 Recessed, 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 front valance panel was changed from the steel unit used previously to a new plastic panel with a small built in spoiler.  Most Firebirds and Trans Ams will not be seen with these today as they were prone to split and crack. The only service replacement offered by Pontiac was the steel unit sold with ana adapter for both the Firebird and Trans Am to make the metal piece attach correctly.  Because of this you are likely to see more of the steel units on 1972 and 1973 Firebirds than the original plastic units.

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 front 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. Rear Bumper Guards
To compliment the new safety features of the Firebird new Rear Bumper Guards (Option 732/V32) could be ordered for any Firebird or Trans Am.  They are fairly uncommon to see today.  Oddly the Rear Bumper Guards were also added to the Formula Handling Package (342/Y99) so look for these bumpers if you are looking for a loaded Formula. The bumpers did not mean that the Formula had the Y99 Handling Package, but a lack of them indicates that the car did not.
9. Spoiler
In 1973 the Trans Ams rear spoiler became optional for the first time on Base Firebird models. For whatever reason the Esprit was the only model that would not be permitted to have a spoiler from the factory.It would not be until 1976 that you could order the spoiler for an Esprit.
10. Fender Emblems/Graphics
Firebird and Esprit
The Firebird Fender Script would remain unchanged from 1971 to 1981 but 1972 and 1973 added a new bird emblem leading the script just behind the front wheel wells. This new bird was used on all models except the Trans Am.  You may note that the nose bird no longer was used in 1972, this was the replacement but was seen on even base Firebirds unlike the nose emblem.

1973 Formula fender badges were identical to 1972 with the bird emblem installed at the leading edge.

This style would be used through 1975.  In 1976 decals would call out the Formula models.

Trans Am

Trans Am lettering received its first revision in 1973.  The script was much larger. Colors were expanded to three, red/orange for Buccaneer Red cars, blue/dark blue for Cameo White cars, and Green/dark green for Brewster green cars.  Unlike the 70 to 72 decals these were not die cut.  The decal was one large unit printed on a clear rectangle instead of the individually cut letters. 

11.  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
12. Rear Deck lid/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 latter birds were identical until 1981.  The part number change was most likely just a conversion to a new numbering scheme.
Base Firebird and Formula Rear Decals (Right)
The decal age was beginning and to herald its coming even the Base Firebird and Formula got a decal for the rear spoiler when it was ordered.  Since the die cast emblem was not installed on the trunk lid the spoiler birds would be installed instead.  For 1973 only two colors were offered, black or white as shown at the right.  These two would continue into 1974.  For 1974 multi colored birds would also be available making these rare.
TRANS AM Rear Spoiler Decals (Below)
The rear spoiler decal for Trans Am grew to almost twice the size it had been in previous years.  It now took up half of the width of the spoiler center section.  Colors were expanded to three, red/orange for Buccaneer Red cars, blue/dark blue for Cameo White cars, and Green/dark green for Brewster green cars.  Unlike the 70 to 72 decals these were not die cut.  The decal was one large unit printed on a clear rectangle instead of the individually cut letters. 
13. 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.
14. Decor Molding Options

Except for the addition of Vinyl Body Side Moldings the Decor Trim offering for 1971 was identical to 1970.  What differed was that now each set of moldings was available as a separate option and the Decor Molding Group (431/Y80) was dropped.  Belt Reveal/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 1973

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 replaced 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 side of these models was actually a smoother look with no exhaust tip at all.

16. Door Handle's Inserts

Door handles for 1970 to 1977 were actually larger than the 1978 to 1981 door handles.  The door handle at top right is correct for 1970 to 1977.  Not how the handle 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. Trans Am Hood Decal (512/WW7)
The option that became synonymous with the Trans Am debuted this year, the large optional hood bird decal. The large hood bird was so popular that most people today believe that it was standard.  In fact it was a $55.00 option in 1973.  The stripes of 1970 to 1972 went away and the color choices were expanded to three, Cameo White, Buccaneer Red, and Brewster Green. A blue hood bird was available for Cameo White cars, an Orange/Yellow bird for Buccaneer Red cars, and a Green decal for Brewster Green cars.  When the large hood bird was ordered the smaller bumper bird decal was deleted.  See the Tran-Zam Hood Bird Guide
Blue/Lt. Blue/Black used on Cameo White Cars
Orange/Yellow/Black used on Buccaneer Red cars
Green/Lt. Green/Black used on Brewster Green cars
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