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Special Edition Info

There is a lot of people out there trying to figure out if their car, or a car they are willing to buy is a Special Edition or not, this page will try to show you what and where to look to find out if you have in your hands a real SE.

First of all Special Edition consist basically of a group of cosmetic appointments that really makes the SE's  cars stand out compared to a standard Trans Am, this are the groups I have identified


Y82 :1976-1978

Let me start saying that 1976  was the first year for Special Editions, in 1976 Pontiac would celebrate their 50th anniversary, and by the way they built very few of them, therefore  considered rare. The code used in build sheets  for Special edition cars were basically 2: Y81 and Y82. 1977 was the year the movie  Smokey and the Bandit was released and they used a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Special Edition in that film, making the 1977 TA an instant hit . We don't know for sure why, but Pontiac did not stamped the code Y82 or y81 on the cowl tags, at least I have not seen any in 76-77 or 78 models, so lets try to help you determine what you got , the following tips will help you figure if your car is SE or not.  All Y82  and Y81 Trans Ams had black exterior (cowl tag must read  19L 19U on the second line) see below pic:

The SE package consisted of Gold appoinments, this means all SE models had Gold Birds decals, German style lettering ,  Gold pin stripping all around and Gold front grilles:

 The interior was not necessarily black, we have seen and restored SE's with factory  red interior, white and Buckskin.  As per interior, all the SE's came with Gold swirled dash bezel (engine turned style) :

and gold spokes on the steering wheel. Most of them had Deluxe interior, but there are exceptions, we have seen many with standard interior.  In 1977 the exterior emblems used were RED, not gold as many folks think (red arrow head on the nose and red birds on wheel caps emblems),  the door emblems and the shifter emblem all were gold , they were all gold in 1978 and up, not in 1977. 1977 Special Editions came with 15 x 7 snowflake rims with gold painted inserts, 1976 came with gold Polycast honeycomb rims. All Y82's came with HURST t tops in 1976 and 1977 , in 1978 you would only find Hurst t tops on car produced before Feb-March 1978, after that they came with bigger t tops from "Fisher" but if you wanted a SE with non tops this was also possible, and the code for that would have been Y81code. Please Note that all Trans Ams came out of the production line as a Hard top Coupe, the Y82's  were sent to the Hurst installation center that was located next to the plant, a clarification note for all Trans Am lovers and enthusiast:  all the window stickers on all trans ams will always read "hard top coupe"  on left side  column of window sticker regardless if has t tops or not, only the Y code will let you know if t tops were an option: Y82 implies t tops (by Hurst, CC1 code on build sheets) and Y81 means  NO t tops. 

 So now you know what are the basics to recognize a Special Edition, but honestly that's not enough proof. Now days you can buy all the necessary parts  to make any black TA look a like a Y82, this said you need to look further. The only way to know that your car is a real SE is trough2 important papers:


1- THE BUILD SHEET: can be found (if is still in the car) in different places, the most common is behind the rear back seat. I have found B. Sheets also attached on top of the gas tank. If you don't find it in any of those 2 places then you have another resource

2- the WINDOW STICKER: this you can order from Pontiac Historical Society AT http://www.phs-online.com/


samples, see lack of pinstripes on non Special Edition


 Y84 :  LATE1978, 1979-1981

Same as Y82 but the t tops used for mid 78 trough 1981 were manufactured by Fisher and they were much bigger , some also came with WS6 (special suspension package)  with factory  snowflake rims but slightly wider (15 x8) . Is Also known that some cars had Y84 stamped in the cowl tag, so if you see this then you know for sure the car is the real deal, however, try to get the build sheet or window sticker to be 100% sure, I found that some cars did not have the stamp and the build sheet indicated that was indeed SE, so if you don't find this stamp get the papers mentioned above.

Y88 : 1978

This was called "Gold Edition" and was only produced in 1978, it had Gold paint finish with brown stripes and Tan interior, they could have t tops or not and still labeled Y88

Y89 : 1979

Y89's were very special Trans Ams, they were built to commemorate the first decade of existence of Trans Ams, that's why the are called 10th anniversary. They were all 2 tone grey and silver with red and black stripes and they all had T tops and Turbo rims, As per interior they all were 2 tone grey and silver seats. This was a very limited production, specially the 4 speed cars, which is known to be only 1816 produced out of the 7500 total sold.

Y85 : 1980-81

Y85's were very special Trans Ams, they were built to make tribute and to Pace the ongoing races of Daytona and Indianapolis, this beautiful Trans AMs were produced in limited amounts only 5,700 units in 1980 and 2,000 units in 1981, all of them were automatic 4,9 liter Turbocharged pretty collectible and loaded with options .