Y84 Special Edition TRANS AM Info

1978 - 1979 - 1980 - 1981

Following the success of the all time hit movie "Smokey and the Bandit" and its legendary super star car, the 1977 Special Edition, Pontiac decided to go ahead and continue with the same design for 1978.

The year started with 2 options for the t-top special edition cars, the well known Hurst option along with the newly introduced Fisher ones. Below some more description.

At Norwood Ohio, the term Y84 was used to distinguish the Fisher hatch roofs while Hurst hatches used the older Y82 term.

The first Y84 produced was at Van Nuys, California on December 9th. This car was special ordered and delivered to Prestige Pontiac in Van Nuys. It was presented to Burt Reynolds as a

gesture of appreciation for the phenomenal success of Smokey & the Bandit. The car has a solid documented history of ownership including the build sheet, several letters of testimony from the

principal owners of the car; from Burt Reynolds’ film company, and its second owner, Lamar Jackson. The first Y84 Trans Am is now part of the National Parts Depot museum collection in Florida.

The 1979 SE was available with the Pontiac 400 in very limited quantities. The W72 manual transmission versions totaled just 1,107. The majority of Bandits that year came with the Olds 403 with 9,874 made. The base Pontiac 301 V8 powered only 573 SE’s.

New that year was the addition of four wheel disc brakes to the WS6 handling package. WS6 started out as a handling upgrade with urethane bushings, thicker sway bars, high performance steering box.

Adding four wheel discs improved the performance factor by letting the driver go through tight corners at a better rate of speed. Special 15x8 rims were part of the package.

1979 was a major facelift year for the Trans Am. A new endura nose sans grille featured prominently upfront. Cooling came from underneath with forced air from the lower spoiler and air dam.

Out back, the licence plate migrated to the rear bumper and a new black out tail light system entertained drivers at the rear whenever you stepped on the brakes.

The custom interior group got brand new hobnail cloth seat inserts in four color choices. Pontiac introduced the new Tenth Anniversary TA, a separate model with its own VIN code and silver leather interior. Another change was the use of firebird decals on the B-pillar for all Trans Ams.

In 1978, only the SEs used b-pillar decals, the rest used die cast bird emblems.

For 1980, the SE returned without the beloved Poncho 400 or the Olds 403. To appease performance cravings, a special Turbo 4.9 block with high nickel content, larger main bearings bolts, special pistons, rods and crankshaft with radiused journal ends was manufactured.

These blocks differ internally and have casting codes; YL and YT.

The engine was equipped with a unique turbo 800-cfm Rochester Quadrajet carb mated to an Airesearch model TBO 305 turbocharger.

The Turbo 4.9 was Trans Am’s premium engine putting out 210 horsepower and 345 ft lbs. of torque. Other choices included version coded W72 with electric spark control or a Chevrolet 305 V8.


In early 1980, the SE lost the famous gold tinted steering wheel. Production of gold painted Formula steering wheels was terminated November 20th for the Yellow Bird package and it is believed the SE package was included.

Production of 1980 Bandits was 6,178 cars, the majority of them were T-tops. The rare versions were the non T-top Y-81 cars with the turbo engine production resting at 103 cars.

The other rare SE was 305 Chevrolet equipped with production in the low hundreds. The Chevy engines used the shaker hood scoop while turbo cars used a unique off set power blister hood.


For 1981 Pontiac promoted the Bandit edition with Burt Reynolds posing with the car in printed ads. A movie sequel had been made using the new Bandit. For stunt work, Hal Needham equipped the turbo with a nitrous oxide system by Marvin Miller Systems.

The 1981 Bandits offered the same engines although the turbo mill lost ten horsepower due to a Computer Command Control module that regulated fuel economy and emissions. Inside, the tan interior was modified to include chocolate trim such as the dashboard, console and steering wheel.

There were 5,263 Bandits made, most of them were T-tops. Only 121 Y-81 Bandits were made that year.

The SE Trans Am created motoring excitement for a generation of enthusiasts.

Today they’re among the most collectible second generation Firebirds with very strong support in the United States and growing interest abroad.

The Special Edition TRANS AM featured the following:

Starlight Black - Paint
Gold Hood Bird 5 shades of Gold with Yellow highlights
Gold Accented Grille
Gold Snowflake Wheels 15x7
Gold Snowflake Wheels WS6 15x8
Gold tinted swirl dash
Steering Wheel with Gold Spokes and Gold Bird in Center Cap
Gold Bird on door panels (pwr. windows only)
Gold Bird on Shifter knob (Automatic only)
Gold Pin-striping
Gold bird decal on c-pilar
Black-out Window Trim


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