25 Firebird Facts Every Enthusiast Should Know

I own a 1974 formula restored it myself. Had a incorrect 76 350 in it so I built a 68 block up. Nice freeway cruiser. Don’t have a picture on my I pad to put up. Was a junker,primer. Now it’s red. Over restored gloss black underneath Washington state car no rust.

Here,s a pic.

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@geok86 - We discussed the 17" wheel note with the author, who confirmed that Firehawks were fitted with 17" wheels in 1992.

He did not count the Firehawks as factory Firebirds, since they were technically SLP cars, albeit ordered through a Pontiac dealer, similar to Roush or Shelby Mustangs.

desryan20…yes…I de-badged it way before it was a “thing”…this picture was from 1973…traded my 1970 GTO in on it. I ordered it, and remember the salesman trying to talk me out of the Super Duty engine option. The BFG store was right across the street from the dealer so that was easy. It was the Turbo 400 automatic, and of course I had to put a shift kit in it…back in those days before electronic controls, it was about removing and changing around those little steel balls in the valve body to get a good hard shift. Fast forward many many cars later to today and here’s where I’m at…IMG_3017

I’m one of those guys who had to have one after Smokey & the Bandit came out. This car has the most flexible chassis I have ever driven, in my younger days I broke a truck spring by cornering to hard. Compared to newer cars it is slow but the best cruiser I have.

Some mistakes in this article.
I had a 1988 Formula 350. It had the WS6 suspension option. It also had the WS6 logo on the rim center caps. It had 4 wheel disc brakes. That car handled like a dream.
I am not positive, but I believe that car also had 17 inch rims. Maybe they were 16 inch, but I swear they were 17 inch. The rims had different offsets, so you could not swap the fronts with the rears. They even had front and rear stamped on the inside of the rims. Even after telling service personnel that you could not swap the rims, some brain dead tire technician would still end up swapping the rears and fronts. The car would barely drive when the rims were wrong.

There you go Hagerty always promoting the “screaming chicken” moniker. “The decal was quickly nicknamed screaming chicken”… ya, by those who were not particularly fans of the T/As, they probably respected it’s abilities, but were trying to make fun of the hood decal they thought was stupid at the time. Every Chevy-head around me in the 70’s made fun of the hood bird on my T/A. They were jealous about the attention the Ponchos were getting, among other things. Those guys all used the term screaming chicken, Firebird people generally did not use that term.

I’m a Pontiac person and that’s what I use. It’s a great nickname and one that accurately represents the decal.


You might be a Pontiac person, but Trans Am people don’t use this term widely unless they are not true Trans Am fans or don’t understand the history of the term (too young to have lived it or didn’t own Trans Ams back in the 70s/80s). It doesn’t ‘describe the decal’ accurately since the decal was conceived of a Phoenix, not a chicken. If you owned Trans Ams back in the 70’s, you would know what I’m talking about.

I know a guy who wrote a Firebird book. He didn’t use the slang because Pontiac didn’t use it. Nonetheless, the car world—well, the world in general—has non-formal words to refer to things. GTO guys generally don’t have issues with their cars being called “Goats.” Different strokes for different, real fan or otherwise.

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Of course GTO folks (including myself) don’t have an issue with the term Goat. Goat was never used extensively by GTO haters as a derogatory term, “Screaming Chicken” was used first and foremost during the 70’s and 80’s by those who didn’t own T/As who thought the hood bird was ridiculous, obnoxious, and stupid. Their way of making fun of the decal package was to add the term chicken in the common description. Am I the arbitrator? I don’t need to be. I know the history, I was there, I owned T/As during the time when anyone using that term was making fun of the cars. That’s just fact. You obviously weren’t there and didn’t experience any of it. If you had you would understand why most old school T/A fans/owners don’t like the term. Many people have written books about cars they never owned and had little or no personal experience with (other than what their research uncovered). But your friend was correct, Pontiac didn’t use it for good reason. Being ‘non-formal’ is not really the issue. The term was started by people who were trying to insult the car and anyone who liked them with the decals.

Not once have I heard anyone use “Screaming Chicken” used in a derogatory manner. In fact, it’s a term of endearment.

Experience/results may vary.

Knowing magazine writers, I bet they hated it. They tended to prefer vehicles that were functional, so candy like stripes and spoilers (for most cars) were verboten.

As I said, from about 1973 to around 1999 it was used mainly as a derogatory term. I don’t care if some or even most people don’t mean it that way now. For owners of T/As through “the bad years”, it’s insulting. So how many T/As did you own in the 70s/80s? If you didn’t own one then, or even through most of the 90s, you would never have had people coming up to you using the term in a negative way. So again, you wouldn’t know what I’m talking about.

First LS V8 Motor was installed in 1973 and 1974 the LS2/SD455

1971 LS5/455HO As Well.

Here is one you failed to mention 1977 Indy Auto also manual 4 speed equipped with olds 403 ci 72000 original miles