A full year after Burt Reynolds drove his ’77 Trans Am SE across the silver screen in Smokey and the Bandit, the Pontiac Firebird was still taking the country by storm. The sales of the Firebird had multiplied by 600% over the previous model year, and both the car and the film would go on to become cult favorites.
It probably didn’t help that Pontiac released the coveted WS6 performance and handling package, upped the horsepower by 20% in the available W72 400 (for a total of 220HP), and added the one-year only Y88 Gold SE model for 1978. With these additions, plus the popularity of the movie, Pontiac had the pony car market here it wanted it.
The car was so popular in fact, that the dealers couldn’t even keep them in stock, resulting in potential buyers purchasing its Camaro cousin, or strangely, a Mustang Cobra II instead. We think it’s safe to say that the styling motif of the Trans Am SE inspired the decal/appearance package of Ford’s King Cobra for 1978 as well.
The video itself is a pretty cool one, especially for 1978. It features an Espirit, Formula, and of course, a (non-SE) black and gold T/A surrounded by flames while a narrator depicts what each model is in a cinematic, suspenseful tone. Car commercials just aren’t made like this anymore. But Pontiac always had the coolest ads, all the way until the end.