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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1977 Pontiac Trans Am

We can’t be entirely sure if it was the blockbuster movie, “Smokey and the Bandit” or the actual redesign by Pontiac that boosted the Pontiac Trans Am’s popularity.  But there is no doubt that the 1977 model year yielded the highest demand producing nearly 70,000 units according to many online sources.  Pontiac had apparently done very well, the new look was embraced by enthusiasts, and the new engine was ever potent.  The usual 455cid’s time had come, and to replace it, Pontiac used the 400cid, and for the first time ever, carried over an Oldsmobile powerplant, the 403cid.  The 400 produced 180hp, and the 403 produced 185hp.  The 403 was introduced for California and other higher altitude states (likely for evolving emission laws).  Lest we not forget, this was the ‘70’s and by ’77, we were into our first oil embargo, and entering a recession.  Pontiac also enveloped its 50th year anniversary, which was actually in ’76 by offering a very special model; the T/A 6.6.  Of course, the 6.6 denotes the liters in the motor, and this equated a finely tuned 200hp machine.  This brings us to the SE model, a T/A 6.6 with the special gold decal job over a deep black finished paint (more or less a carryover from the ’76 50th anniversary edition) .  New wheels (in matching gold) and a much coveted T-top design topped off the “special” characteristics of this edition.  This of course became a car of the era instantaneously when it was featured in the hit “Smokey and the Bandit”.  This was the first time a Trans Am would be used in a production film, but not the last shot at stardom.  In the 1980’s, the Trans Am was once again given the opportunity to shine as “Kit” in the hit TV series, Knight Rider.  In an April, 1977 issue of Car and Driver, the ’77 T/A was clocked going from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.0 seconds, a respectable number for its generation.  The Corvette of that year completed the quarter mile just 0.3 seconds quicker according to the same article.  This car was therefore nothing to mess with.   So whether it was the gold and black trim package, the t-top appeal, or “Smokey and the Bandit”, the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am has made our blog of iconic muscle cars.

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