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Special Edition Info

There are a lots 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:


 code 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), see below:

and gold spokes on the steering wheel. Most of them had Deluxe interior, but there are exceptions, we have seen many with standard interior.  PLEASE NOTE THAT In 1977 the exterior emblems used were RED, not gold as many folks think, ONLY in 1977 SE models had red arrow head on the nose and red birds on wheel caps emblems, as for the interior  the door emblems and the shifter emblem all were gold  for all the Y82 cars , but from 1978 and up every emblem outside and inside the car were Gold.

1976 Y82 SE 50th  Anniversaries came with gold painted Polycast honeycomb rims.

1977 Special Editions came with 15 x 7 snowflake rims with gold painted inserts (but you could have deleted  this when ordering the car if you still preferred the classic rally wheels, but this choice by the buyers was very uncommon)

  All Y82's came with HURST t tops in 1976 and 1977 , but in 1978 things changed,  you would only find Hurst t tops on car produced before Feb-March 1978, after that Pontiac introduced the larger  t tops from "Fisher", and if the car was an SE then  would have been coded as Y84, whihc by the way very few hundred cars were made.

 If when ordering the car you wanted a SE model with NO  tops this was also possible, and the code used for that would have been Y81(this applies for 1977-78).

Please Note that all Trans Ams came out of the production line as a Hard top Coupe, you will read that on all window stickers, but if you see Y82 on the option list that implies that  tghis car had Hurst Hatches, which was  part of the SE package ( note that applies for  77 and 78 Trans Am SE). In 1976 all SE were labeled Y82 regardless they had T tops or not.

Hurst Hatches were not installed by Pontiac during the assembly process at the plant, as per our research Hurst Performance  had a facility  that was located next to the plant and cars ordered  with  t tops were sent to this facility to have the T tops  installed following build sheet instructions ( code used was CC1)

 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 trough this 2 very 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/


Other Signs that a car could be SE are the gold section on grilles, only found on SE models liek on RH photo, on LH photo see   non Special Edition

 Special Edition Y84  LATE1978, 1979-1981


 If you made it this far reading then you will find that Y84 is Same as Y82 but applies only to  Trans Am manufactured after mid 1978  calendar production. The Y84 code means that the t tops used  were manufactured by Fisher and they were much bigger.

 Note that the code  WS6 (special suspension package) has nothing to do with Y84 SE package, is a separate very desirable option but doesnt means the car is Special Edition, The WS6 package was seentially a perforamnce upgrade for handling, the factory  snowflake rims were slightly wider (15 x8)  the sway bars were thicker and steering box ratio shorter.

is important to note that in 1978 and up  some cars had the Y84 code stamped in the cowl tag, so if you see this codein the tag that is a very good sign that the car is actually  one of the rare SE made,  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.

Gold Special Edition Y88  1978 only


This was called "Gold Special Edition" and was only produced in 1978, it came painted "Solar Gold" and adorned  with brown stripes and Tan interior, they could have t tops or not and still labeled Y88

Y89 the 10th anniversary  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 Turbo Pace cars 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, the 1981 was the only 2nd gen trans am that came with RECARO seats .


CALL 1.305.412.5000  OR EMAIL   rick@transamflorida.com  OR TEXT 1.786.218.1763  

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