1976 PONTIAC FIREBIRD BACKGROUND
Of course, 1976 was right in the middle of the Dark Ages, as far as performance was concerned. Ever more stringent smog and safety laws, along with unleaded gas was forcing Detroit to drop compression, reduce engine size, putting in taller gearing, and do all sorts of horrible tuning magic to get their cars to comply. It wasn’t pretty. Somehow, Pontiac seemed to weather these times
better than any of its contemporaries, solely on the shoulders of the Firebird and Trans Am. By this time, the Trans Am was just about the only muscle car left, other than the Corvette (which is technically a sports car, not a muscle car). In fact, the last ‘big block’ V8 in an American passenger car was in a Trans Am.
1976 FIREBIRD CHANGES, UPGRADES & DOWNGRADES
The ’76 Firebird was the first to get the new body-colored front and rear bumpers, replacing the metal ones on the 1975-and-earlier models. 1976 was also the first year that Pontiac offered factory T-tops on the Firebird. This was also the final year for the mighty 455 engine option.