Blast from the Past: 1981 Firebird Turbo Trans Am

 |  June 30, 2015

by Sam Jemielity

1981. Prince Charles married Lady Diana. IBM released its first PC. The word “internet” was mentioned for the first time.

And Pontiac released the 1981 Firebird Turbo Trans Am. Saddled by smog laws developed in reaction to the oil crisis of 1979, this car had its horsepower dialed down from the 400-plus that Trans Ams made in the Seventies to barely making 200 horsepower in the ’81 Turbo. But what the 4.9-liter turbo V8 Firebird lacked in speed, it made up in aggressive style and charisma– that massive fire-breathing chicken on the hood, turned-out gold dash, awesome wheels, and, yes, a T-Top. It’s also got hood-scoop mounted turbo meters to let you know when you floor it, because you likely wouldn’t feel it in the seat of your pants.

The car that stars in this video from /DRIVE is the classic, “disco” black-and-gold model, familiar to fans of “Smokey and the Bandit II”—all ten of them. Or anyone who had a Hot Wheels collection back in the Eighties.

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