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1970s Pontiac Trans Am - Gold Chains To Glory

They Might Be Disco, But We Still Dig 'Em. The Hero Trans Ams Of '76-'81 Take Us From

Photography by , Primedia Archives

SuspensionLate second-gen TAs made up for their lack of power with superior handling capabilities. For their day, these cars were among the best corner carvers on the market. Pontiac stepped up the already impressive ability with the WS-6 option package for '78, which included the same 111/44-inch front sway bar paired with a larger 0.750-inch rear bar in place of the standard TA 0.625-inch unit. Spring and shocks were specific to WS-6, and the steering box was a constant 14.0:1 ratio with high-effort valving instead of the variable-ratio box on standard Trans Ams. The most obvious part of the WS-6 package was the 15x8 aluminum snowflake wheels. For the '79, Pontiac even added rear disc brakes to the WS-6. All these parts can be retrofitted to '70-'81 Firebirds that didn't get them at the factory, but make sure to grab all the associated bits if you're junkyard scrounging.

If finding this stuff in the yard is out of the question in your area, or if you just prefer to step up to new stuff, the aftermarket has the second-gen F-car covered. Sway-bar kits are available from Hotchkis Performance, along with tubular control arms, spring sets, and matching shocks. Global West offers its own sway bars and tubular arms along with springs. Global also offers Del-A-Lum bushings for the leaf springs and body bushings. H-O Enterprises has also reissued its Strong Arm sway-bar and spring kits. Performance shocks for the F-car are available from just about any source you could think of. For steering, Lee Manufacturing or AGR offer GM Saginaw steering boxes with 12.7:1 ratios that are even quicker than WS-6 boxes.

More info:AGR PerformanceFort Worth, TX817/

Global West Suspension SystemsSan Bernardino, CA877/

H-O EnterprisesRancho Cucamonga, CA909/

Hotchkis PerformanceSanta Fe Springs, CA877/

Lee ManufacturingSun Valley, CA818/

1981More of the same for the '81: The only real Pontiac engine was a 4.9L, either with or without turbo. As in the previous few years, a Chevy 305 was offered as well, and for some reason, it could now be ordered with a four-speed. Graphics changed slightly for the final year of the second-gen, this time focusing on a slightly different Firebird hood decal and B-pillars. The only major mechanical change was the introduction of onboard computers controlling the spark timing, fuel mixture, and the lock-up torque converter on automatic models. Sales were down substantially over record-setting 1979 levels. Incidentally, the third gen was also supposed to be powered by the turbo 4.9L Pontiac (note the turbo-style hood on '82-'84 Trans Ams), but in the end, received a "corporate" 305 (read: Chevy).

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