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1980 Facts and Interesting Notes
The Turbo 4.9
The biggest news for 1980 was the introduction of the Turbocharged 4.9 Liter engine optional in Trans Am and Formula.  The Turbo 4.9 was rated at 210 hp, only 10 hp less than the 1979's 400 with 99 less cubic inches.  The Turbo is easily identified by it's off center hood scoop with TURBO 4.9 decals affixed to either side.  On the rear spoiler the decals proudly called out TURBO TRANS AM or TURBO FORMULA on W50 Appearance Package equipped Formulas.  In January 1980 Turbo Boost gauges that were introduced on the Indianapolis Pace Car Edition became option UR4 and was available with all turbocharged Firebirds.  The Turbo Boost Gauges consisted of three lights that lit up in sequence when boost was low, medium, or high.  The Turbo 4.9 engine was offered only with air conditioning.
LS5 4.9 Liter E/C
A new version of the 301 engine was introduced, option W72 that previously designated the high performance 400 engine now was offered as the 4.9 Liter E/C.  This engine added an additional 5 hp to the standard 4.9 Liter (301 cid) engine taking it to 155 hp.  This engine became standard on the Trans Am and optional on Formula, although the 150 hp 301 could be ordered on the Trans Am as a credit delete option giving the buyer an extra $180.00.  Trans Ams that carried the W72 engine had hood scoops calling out T/A-4.9 while the standard L37 4.9 Liter engine left the hood scoop devoid of any callout.
 
The 4.3 Liter 2bbl Engine
The 4.3 Liter 2bbl V-8 engine, option LS5, was introduced for the 1980 model year for the Firebird and Esprit and was  cancelled effective January 17th, 1980.
 
The LG4 5.0 Liter
With the retirement of the Oldsmobile 403 at the end of the 1979 model year for Trans Ams the LG4 Chevrolet 5.0 Liter engine became the only available Trans Am engine for buyers in California.  With this engine the dual chrome exhaust tips were deleted and replaced with standard exhaust tips.
 
The Indianapolis Pace Car Trans Am Edition
A special Turbocharged Trans Am would win the prestigious honor of pacing the Indianapolis 500 this year so Pontiac introduced in limited production replica of the car with 5700 made.  The white car had charcoal accents on the hood, roof, and bumpers with special red/charcoal striping around the major body features.  Pontiac felt that a white car looked more visible on the Indianapolis track.  This car received mirrored T-Tops, white Turbo cast aluminum wheels of the type found on the Tenth Anniversary Trans Am of 1979, and a special Oyster custom interior with gray appointments and hobnail cloth.  Birds were also embroidered on the door panels and rear seat.  Large door decals were shipped with each car to be installed by the dealer if the buyer wanted them announcing the car as a pace car for the race.
The Black Special Edition Hardtop
Once again the Hatch Roof option (CC1) was standard with the Black Special Edition.  Option WV1 allowed the buyer to delete the hatch roof for a $695 credit.
 
The Yellowbird
The Redbird was retired after 1979 and the Yellowbird was introduced in its place.  The Yellow bird featured a unique upper yellow and lower darker yellow colors and special graphics on the sail panel and spoiler (if so equipped).  Yellow snowflake wheels completed the exterior package.  Like the Black Special Edition the gold spokes on the steering wheel were replaced with black spokes effective November 20, 1979 but the gold prism dash remained. If you have a 1980 Yellowbird with an original gold spoke Formula wheel you have the rarest of the breed.
New Trans Am Birds
The new Turbo engine required a redesign of the hood bird to fit around the off center hood bulge.  Six colors were now offered:  Red, Blue, Silver, Burgundy, Bronze and Gold.  While the standard birds in Blue and Silver were identical to the 1979 versions the Gold bird, and all corresponding decals, turned darker in the center and around the feathers.  The Red decals replaced the Orange decals of 1979.  Burgundy and Bronze were new colors for the Maroon and Bronze cars specifically.  Still, in theory, and color decals could be ordered with any car using the D60 Color and Trim Incompatibility Override option.
Cloth Standard Interiors
For the first time cloth seats were offered with the standard interior as sales of cloth seats began to account for a large portion of Firebird sales.  Since the cloth option was introduced on May 13th, 1980 this option is extremely rare.  The seat inserts consisted of Sparta Cloth available in Blue (26D1) or Camel Tan (62B1).
No Manual Transmissions
All Firebirds in 1980 were equipped with automatic transmissions.  Even though the dealer documentation shows that manual transmissions as available for the 6 cylinder models none were produced.  The automatic transmission was the only way Pontiac could meet stringent new emissions regulations for 1980.
Black and Gold Special Edition Steering Wheel
The Black Special Edition Received Black Spokes on the Steering Wheel instead of the traditional gold spokes found on all previous Black and Gold Special Editions effective November 20, 1979.  If you have a 1980 Special Edition Trans Am with a gold spoke steering wheel you have a rare 1980 bird.
Turbo Cast Aluminum Wheels
Turbo cast aluminum wheels like those introduced on the Tenth Anniversary Trans Am now became available for Trans Ams and Formulas ordered with the Turbo 4.9 engine and the WS6 Performance package.  These wheels measured 15X8 and were available in Gold or Silver.  Since the Turbo 4.9 engine was not available in California Pontiac did offer the wheel on California bound cars with the LG4 305 engine and WS6 Performance option.  The buyer could still specify aluminum snowflake wheels if they desired.
Vinyl Roof Dropped
The vinyl roof was dropped in 1980 as sales had declined steadily from 1970 on. 
 
Rare Trans Am Color - Tahitian Yellow
Tahitian Yellow was cancelled early in the year as a Trans Am color and replaced with Nightwatch Blue.  According to a Pontiac Product Manual Update dated August 3, 1980 the Tahitian Yellow color was cancelled.  This must have been very early in the production run because some do exist.  Sightings of Tahitian Yellow Trans Ams are extremely rare and may represent the rarest of the 1980 Trans Ams.  It is peculiar that the Tahitian Yellow color was dropped from the Trans Am line up in the same year as the Yellowbird was offered. 
Trans Am Front Bumper Decal
The TRANS AM decal on the front bumper was dropped in 1980, as it had been in 1978.  The FORMULA decal on the front bumper remained, however.
Speedometer Changed to 85mph
In 1980 the speedometer was changed to read a maximum of 85mph. This replaced the 100mph speedometer that was used from 1975 to 1979.