10. 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Special Edition
The late ’70s were sad times for muscle cars. All the available models had diminutive horsepower ratings and massive bodies, which made performance embarrassingly slow. The Firebird/Trans Am range could not escape this, as well. However, Pontiac still managed to produce some memorable cars through its Special Edition models. Soon, they dressed up the Trans Am and turned it into a street icon.
The primary model was the Trans Am, which could come with either 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. They affectionately called the car the “Screaming Chicken” because it had a highly-stylized flaming bird logo on the hood of the car. The graphics package was extraordinarily modern for the standards of the day.
The bird logo started as a relatively small sticker in the middle of the hood in the early ’70s, only to grow to a big sticker covering the entire hood. Then it found its way 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.” The film helped triple the sales numbers, turning the Trans Am into a movie legend as well as a muscle car icon.