The 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 10th Anniversary Limited Edition is distinctive in its Platinum Silver and Dark Charcoal paint. Another feature you’re bound to notice is the huge five-color “screaming chicken” hood decal. It’s so massive, the phoenix’s wing tips extend onto the front fenders. The 10th Anniversary Limited Edition is also the first time the 15×8-inch Turbine wheels are featured on a Trans Am.
Checking off Y89 on the option sheet got you a massive list of standard equipment. Among these include a charcoal accented grille and bumper, charcoal accented roof, and black and red accent pinstriping. Black and red lettering, 10th Anniversary badging on the fenders and rear spoiler, and silver finished T-tops round out even more standard features on this special edition Trans Am.
Inside, drivers are treated to amenities such as a silver engine turned dashboard, gray steering wheel with silver spokes, and red instrument panel lighting. Other goodies include gray shag carpeting, silver leather seating, and 10th Anniversary “screaming chicken” embroidery on the door panels and rear seat.
Two powertrains were available for the 10th Anniversary Limited Edition. First off was an L78 Pontiac 400 cubic-inch V8 with 220 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine was available exclusively with a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual transmission. Also, an L80 Oldsmobile 403 cubic-inch V8 with 185 horsepower and 320 lb.-ft. of torque was available. Drivers choosing this powerplant were saddled with a three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic 350. A special bonus is that the WS6 Special Performance Package was standard with both engines.
A total of 7,500 10th Anniversary Limited Editions were built. 5,683 were built with the Oldsmobile 403 V8 and a scant 1,817 were built with the Pontiac 400 V8. Engines with the Oldsmobile V8 featured a “6.6 Litre” decal on the hood scoop while engines with the Pontiac V8 were adorned with a “T/A 6.6” decal.
The 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 10th Anniversary Limited Edition was the first Firebird to surpass the $10,000 mark. Speaking of price, at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2016 auction, a buyer coughed up a whopping $187,000 for a 10th Anniversary Limited Edition with the Pontiac 400/4-speed combo with only 7.9 miles.
The 10th Anniversary Limited Edition made several major headlines in 1979. The 10th Anniversary Limited Edition served as the pace car for the Daytona 500 on February 18, 1979. Also, to celebrate his 1979 Super Bowl XIII MVP award, Sport magazine presented Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw the keys to a 10th Anniversary Limited Edition.
Many Pontiac aficionados consider the 1979 Pontiac Firebird Tran Am 10th Anniversary Limited Editions to be one of the last true Firebirds built. That’s because it was the last year the Pontiac 400 cubic-inch V8 was available in the Firebird and Trans Am. With horsepower and performance becoming dirty words, the 10th Anniversary Limited Edition was a great way to close out the decade.