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1982-1986 Firebird S/E, not just any Firebird!

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1982-1986 Firebird S/E, not just any Firebird!

Post by Brother Al on Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:52 pm

1982-1986 Firebird S/E


Early in 1981, Pontiac announced the upcoming 3rd Gen Firebird Line-up. The "Firebird", the "Trans Am", & a new model, the "Firebird S/E". Notably absent from the line-up was both the upscale "Firebird Esprit" and "Firebird Formula"... (some 1982-84 parts are actually marked w/ "Trans Am Formula Firebird" indicating a last minute change, likely at/near the time when the Turbo 301 was axed). Primarily, it was due to slacking sales of both models... The 2 models were quasi-combined to form the "Firebird S/E".

The "Firebird S/E" (Special Edition), was a unique car and is often not known, or is mis-understood, by many.. To most, it would just seem like a basic Firebird trim package or "Customized" Firebird made from parts cobbled-together. In some regards it is a trim package, but no different than say a base Formula & loaded Firebird LG4, & a base Trans Am... They also featured a separate model designation on their VIN number. "S"=Firebird, "X"= Firebird S/E, "W"= Trans Am

Production: 21,719


The 1982 Firebird S/E featured many upgraded options as standard, placing it above a similarly optioned Base Firebird in stature, & did it for less money. They came standard with the unique "Tinted/Blackout" tail lights used on the Trans Am, Black-finished door handles, lock cylinders, and a blacked-out exterior trim, lockable fuel filler door, rear hatch wiper/washer, Silver plastic "S/E" logos on the exterior sail panels & interior. Paint combos were available in several solid colors and 6 two-tone color combinations, with the lower body paint accent, just below the lower fender/door line, and split by a color-coordinated paint stripe at paint break line, which highlights the upper body paint color, and color-coordinated protective body-side moldings. A color-matched rear spoiler was available as an extra cost option. Also optional, were 15" Turbocast wheels with color-coded matching "Bowling Ball" hubcaps were available, including uber-rare chomed versions.
Standard inside: special-contoured Viscount front bucket seats, featuring "open" headrests were fully reclining and available in cloth, vinyl, or leather, color-keyed seat belts and interior plastics, deluxe interior package which included carpeted kick panels/lower door/quarter panels, leather map pocket/wrapped steering wheel/e-brake handle/shift knob, electric rear hatch release, remote control for passenger-side rearview mirror, extra sound-deadening insulation, and in northern regions, the rear defroster was standard.
The Firebird S/E also came standard with the 2.8L V6 and 4-speed manual transmission, but were available with the "Iron Duke I-4" as a price credit, but only with a manual transmission, or the LG4 305 with either the manual Borg-Warner T-10 4-speed transmission... However, the fuel injected Crossfire 305 was not available. They came standard with the upgraded suspension level I... and to add some road hugging prowess to the S/E's handling manners, the now legendary "WS6" Performance Suspension & "WS7" (the same, minus rear discs) were made available as an extra cost option. Technically speaking, it was possible to order a Firebird S/E with the 4cyl Iron Duke and WS6/WS7, however none are known to exist, & very unlikely to, but if any were built, those would be pretty rare & coveted by more than a few Diehard Firebird & Pontiac fans, (notably myself & Simo, amongst a large group of others

1982 Basic Options List

Production: 10,934


1983 Basic Options List

Production: 10,309


1984 Basic Options List

Production: 5,208


The Firebird S/E received a facelift in 1985. They now featured the new style of Trans Am tail lights. The plastic "S/E" logos found on the exterior rear sail panels disappered and were replaced by far more refined "Screaming Eagle" medallions... which were based on those used on the 1983/84 RPO Y84 "Recaro Edition" Trans Am S/E medallions... However they were not clad in Gold & were made in colors matching the various color-schemes of the Firebird S/E models... (note: These very same "Screaming Eagle" medallions were later re-used for the GTA)... Also optional, and somewhat rare to find, were large "Firebird S/E" graphics on the lower section of the doors, along with unique logos on the interior (oddly found on some, but not all, parts error/shortages). Another part that makes them very different from base Firebirds is the hood.. They feature a unique variation of the 1985-'92 Trans Am hood. It has the very same "Louvered Vents" at the front of the hood, like its Trans Am sibling, but they lacked the rear-side vents found on the T/A hood and they did not use fender extractors.. These hoods are quite rare & often mistaken as "homemade hacks" of standard Firebird hoods w/ T/A pieces... These are ALWAYS worth saving intact, due to their rarity & near impossibility of finding anywhere. Base Firebird hoods cannot readily be faked or "tailored" to this hood design without obvious signs.
The interior of the '85 Firebird S/E also received the same updates as their sibling models, but remained unique with standard Color-Coded pieces. An all-new overhead console now became a standard option on all Firebird S/E's. Leather wrapped steering wheel/e-brake handle/shift knob, rear hatch release, dual sport mirrors, guage package, protective side-body impact strips, extra sound deadening insulation, and locking fuel door were again all standard options. Cloth Lear Siegler or Recaro seats were also made optional on both the Firebird S/E & Trans Am. All new 15"x 7" Diamond Spoke rims now became the standard rim package. The WS6 Special Performance Suspension was no longer available and Y99 Rally Tuned Suspension was now the only suspension upgrade available. The 2.8L V-6/T-5 was the standard, but optional engine/transmission availability was the same as the base Firebird models, except for an extremely short period in early 1985, the L69 was reportedly made available, as a means to boost sales of the Firebird S/E, which was doing poorly, and it is believed it did automatically include the WS6 suspension and 3:73 axle combo. Firebird S/E production was relatively low, making them fairly unique & desirable, especially those that are well optioned with the Lear Siegler, Recaro seats, or ultimately one of the possible few L69 cars built

1985 Basic Option List

Production: 2,259


'86 Bronze/Gold Firebird SE in Background, IE no air extractor on fender, and unique hood with only front vents

another picture of the unique '85/'86 SE hood

1986 Basic Options List

Last edited by Brother Al on Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:46 pm; edited 2 times in total

1984 Y84 Trans Am S/E "Recaro Edition" L69 H.O., T-5, 3:73, G80, 54K orig miles
Last of the RPO Y84 Black and Gold Trans Am S/E's"
May the Tin Indian and JZD Rest in Peace
Prius, Proof that people will buy Anything, (Baaaa Baaa)
All the Answers to our Problems can be found in the Boneyard!
God Bless America & those who serve & have served our Country!
Brother Al

Posts : 132
Join date : 2010-10-01
Age : 42
Location : Westfield, Ma

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