9. 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Special Edition
The late 70’s were sad times for muscle cars. All the available models had diminutive horsepower ratings and heavy bodies, making their performance embarrassingly slow. And the Firebird/Trans Am range could not escape that, either. However, Pontiac produced some memorable cars through its Special Edition models.
In fact, they dressed up the Trans Am and turned it into a street icon. The main model was the Trans Am which came either with a 4.9-liter turbo engine or a 400 NA V8. However, neither of those powerplants had more than 220 HP during the 1977 to 1981 production run. However, the main aspect was the design with its signature graphics and appearance package.
Affectionately called the “Screaming Chicken,” it had a highly stylized flaming bird logo on the hood of the car that was extraordinarily modern for the standards of the day. It started as a relatively small sticker on the middle of the hood in the early 70’s. But it grew to a big sticker covering the entire hood and spreading to the B pillars, rear end and front fenders.
The 1977-78 Firebird Trans Am gained international fame by appearing in the cult movie, Smokey and the Bandit. It helped triple the sales numbers, turning the Trans Am into a movie legend as well as a muscle car icon.