Dream Car Giveaway



  • This was the last year for the second generation Firebird
  • In outward appearance, the 1981 looked similar to the 1980 models


  • Base Firebird standard equipment included
    • 231-cid V-6
    • Three speed manual transmission
    • Floor shift lever
    • Shift console
    • Power brakes
    • Power steering
    • P205/75R15 SBR black sidewall tires
    • Black-out grille with argent accents
    • Hubcaps with Pontiac crests
    • Rosewood woodgrain instrument panel appliqué
  • Optional engine: 265-cid V-8


  • The Esprit added
    • automatic transmission
    • full wheel covers
    • wheel opening moldings
    • wide rocker panel moldings
    • body color sport mirrors
    • remote-controlled left mirror
  • Optional engine: 265-cid V-8


  • The Formula had the standard 265-cid (4.3-liter) V-8
  • It could have the turbocharged 301-cid V-8.
  • The Turbocharged engine was now available in California
  • The four-speed manual transmission was available with the four-barrel 305-cid V-8
  • Standard power brakes now included a low-drag front caliper
  • It also had
    • automatic transmission
    • P225/70R15 tires
    • simulated twin hood air scoops
    • body-color mirrors
    • a rear deck spoiler
    • Rally II wheels with trim rings.


  • It had the 301-cid (4.9-liter) four-barrel V-8 with Electronic Spark Control
  • Optional engine: turbocharged 301-cid V-8.
  • The Turbocharged engine was now available in California
  • The four-speed manual transmission was available with the four-barrel 305-cid V-8
  • A new two-color bird decal for the hood and reflective bird decal for Trans Am's gas filler door was available
  • It also included
    • automatic transmission
    • P225/70R15 tires
    • black-accent grille and headlamp bezels
    • wheel-opening air deflectors
    • side-split tailpipe extension
    • engine-tuned dash trim plate
    • Rally gauges with tachometer
    • "shaker" hood
    • Rally II wheels


Pontiac introduced its new 17-symbol Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
It was located on the upper left surface of the instrument panel, visible through the windshield
11US built
2GGeneral Motors product
32Pontiac Motor Division vehicle
4AManual seatbelts
WTrans Am
XTrans Am Turbo Special Edition
6 & 787Body style number: two-door plainback special coupe
8*Engine type where * is replaced by the following
  • A = 231-cid V6, 110-hp
  • S = 265-cid V8, 120-hp
  • W = 301-cid V8, 135-hp
  • T = 301-cid V8, 200-hp
  • H = 305-cid V8, 145-hp
9?A check digit that calculates the characters in the serial number and gives it a single digit code and can be used to verify that the serial number is legitimate
10BThe model year where B = 1981
11_Manufacturing plant code
12-17100001 and upProduction sequence serial number


Model NumberStyle NumberBody TypeSeatingFactory PriceShipping WeightProduction Total
2FS872-door Hardtop Base Firebird - V64$6901327520,541
both 6 & V8
2FS872-door Hardtop Base Firebird - V84$69513350
2FT872-door Hardtop Esprit - V64$7646331210,938
2FT872-door Hardtop Esprit - V84$76953472
2FV872-door Hardtop Formula - V64$785433975,927
2FV872-door Hardtop Formula - V84$79043472
2FW872-door Hardtop Trans Am4$8322341933,493
2FX872-door Hardtop Trans Am Turbo SE4$12,257 


VIN CodeA (Buick)SWE/CT (turbocharged)H (Calif.)
Cylinders90° V-690° V-890° V-890° V-890° V-890° V-8
ValvingOverhead valveOverhead valveOverhead valveOverhead valveOverhead valveOverhead valve
Bore & Stroke3.80 x 3.40 in.3.75 x 3.00 in.4.00 x 3.00 in.4.00 x 3.00 in.4.00 x 3.00 in.3.74 x 3.48
Displacement231 cid (3.8 liters)265 cid (4.3 liters)301 cid (5.0 liters)301 cid (5.0 liters)301 cid (5.0 liters)305 cid (5.0 liters)
Compression ratio8.0 : 18.3 : 18.1 : 18.4 : 17.5 : 18.4 : 1
Brake H.P.110 @ 3800 rpm120 @ 4000135 @ 3600 rpm150 @ 4000 rpm200 @ 4000 rpm145 @ 3800 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)190 @ 1600 rpm205 @ 2000 rpm235 @ 1600 rpm245 @ 2000 rpm340 @ 2000 rpm240 @ 2400 rpm
Main bearingsFourFiveFiveFiveFiveFive
Valve liftersHydraulic
Carburetor2-barrel Rochester M2ME2-barrel Rochester E2ME4-barrel Rochester E4ME4-barrel Rochester E4ME4-barrel Rochester E4ME4-barrel Rochester E4ME


Three-speed manual floor shift
Four-speed manual shift
Three-speed automatic


FEATUREFirebirdEspritFormulaTrans Am
Wheelbase108.2 in.108.2 in.108.2 in.108.2 in.
Overall length196.1 in.196.1 in.196.1 in.196.1 in.
Height49.3 in.49.349.549.5
Front tread60.960.961.361.2
Rear tread60.060.060.460.3
TiresP205/75R15P205/75R15P225/70R15 SBRP225/70R15 SBR
SteeringRecirculating ball
Front suspensioncoil springs with lower trailing links and anti-sway bar
Rear suspensionsemi-elliptic leaf springs with anti-sway bar
BrakesFront disc, rear drumsFront disc, rear disc
Body constructionUnit with separate partial frame
Fuel tank21 gal


265-cid two-barrel V-8 (Firebird)$50
E/C 301-cid four-barrel V-8 (Firebird)$215
Turbo 301-cid V-8 (Formula)$652
Turbo 301-cid V-8 (Trans Am)$437
305-cid four-barrel V-8 (Firebird/Formula)$75
305-cid four-barrel V-8 (Trans Am)$140 credit
Turbo-Hydramatic transmission$349
Limited slip differential$67
Power four-wheel disc brakes$158
Super cooling radiator$34 - $63
Heavy-duty alternator$51
Engine block heater$16
Heavy-duty battery$22
Trans Am Special Edition$735
Trans Am Special Edition with hatch roof$1430
Formula appearance package$200
Formula special performance package$350 - 546
Trans Am special performance package$350 - 546
Firebird custom trim$45 - 164
Air conditiong$560 - $625
Cruise control$132 - $135
Power seat$173
Power windows$140 - $211
Hatch roof$663 - $695


1981 Firebird Notes

  • Introduced Sept. 25, 1980
  • Firebird sales dropped sharply in anticipation of the third generation coming in 1982 where over 116,000 were sold.
  • Total Firebird sales was 70,899 in 1981 in contrast with 1980 sales of 107,344
  • At the close of the twelve year run of the second generation, a total of 1,153,705 second generation Firebirds were sold
  • This was an average of 96,142 per year -- not much different from the first generation model where it averaged 92,460 per year.
  • Early in 1981 Pontiac stopped making V-8 engines, using V-8s from other GM divisions.
  • William E. Hoglund was Pontiac's new general manager


1981 Trans Am
1981 Firebird Trans Am
1981 Trans Am
1981 Firebird Trans Am
1981 Trans Am
1981 Firebird Trans Am
1981 Trans Am
1981 Firebird Trans Am
1981 Trans Am
1981 Firebird Trans Am
1981 Trans Am
1981 Firebird Trans Am
1981 Trans Am
1981 Firebird Trans Am