Author Topic: 1978 W72 Firebird Production Numbers  (Read 5773 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline John Witzke

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 269
  • Referrals: 0
1978 W72 Firebird Production Numbers
« on: December 17, 2006, 09:45:04 AM »
There seems to be a some confusion from people on other boards and especially ebay recently about the "very rare" one of 4,112 4-speed or one of 4,139 automatic 1978 Trans Ams produced.  These number, while coming coming from Pontiac, are not complete production numbers and it has not been established what part of production they represent.  I caution against using the 4,000 numbers as they do not represent the final numbers.  

FOR THE RECORD FINAL 1978 PONTIAC PRODUCTION RECORDS ESTABLISH PONTIAC PRODUCED 34,886 W72 FIREBIRDS DURING THE 1978 MODEL YEAR.  OF THOSE, 13,502 WERE 4-SPEED (12,692 TRANS AMS AND 810 FORMULAS).  

Unfortunately, 1978 Trans Am and Formulas produced with the W72 Performance Package and automatic transmission is impossible to separate at this time.  Pontiac production records show 75,239 Firebird Trans Am and Formulas were produced with the L78 400-cid and W72 400-cid engines and automatic transmissions.  According to the early production records, 70,590 Trans Ams were produced in 1978 with automatic transmissions.  Based on this number we can conclude 4,649 L78 400-cid and W72 400-cid Formulas were produced with automatic transmissions.  By carefully analyzing production records, I can establish that 21,384 W72 Firebirds (Trans Am and Formula) were produced with an automatic transmission.

All 1978 individual Trans Am production numbers appear to have come from the same sources that claim only 4,112 W72 4-speeds and 4,139 automatic Trans Ams were produced, which I have verified these two to be incorrect.  While some of these numbers per model (Y84,Y82,Y88) have been used and accepted in the hobby I have no way to positively say these are accurate and should be stated as "accepted" numbers or "believed to be" but not yet verified.

This information can also be found in my W72 Historic Information page on this site.  

John
John Witzke

Offline Tin Indians Rule

  • Tech Staff
  • Lifetime Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3725
  • Referrals: 1
    • http://home.comcast.net/~rwhitejr/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html
1978 W72 Firebird Production Numbers
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2006, 06:21:44 AM »
John, Thanks for the great info and all that you've done to enlighten us on the ever so mysterious W72'ers.  I have a question I wondered if you could answer.

What was driving the poor record keeping from 76-78 at PMD. It seems those three model years are represented the poorest when it comes to numbers crunching.

Thanks, Rob
What's she wearing now? Come on!
1976 Black 455 4 speed (current project)
1976 White 400 Auto (original)
F-body stuff stashed everywhere.
Always buying/selling/trading  just ask!

Offline O'Neall

  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 503
  • T-tops? We don't need no stinkin' T-tops!
  • Referrals: 0
1978 W72 Firebird Production Numbers
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2006, 10:13:23 AM »
John probably has a real explanation, but I'm going to venture a guess... I'm betting it's got a lot to do with the sheer volume of the cars they began building.  In 76 production jumped about 20,000 units from 75, then jumped another 20,000 again in 77, then again in 78, even more in 79... you get the picture (and this doesn't even count the Camaro production which went down the assembly line right next to them).  Heck in 78 they even had to open up a whole new plant (Van Nuys) to deal with the production.  So I'm betting the sheer volume caused some pretty sloppy paperwork.

Just my 2 cents.
Jon O'Neall
1977 Y81 Trans Am
W72-400/Auto (1 of 549)
"Trans Am!  What's your pleasure?"

Offline Tin Indians Rule

  • Tech Staff
  • Lifetime Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3725
  • Referrals: 1
    • http://home.comcast.net/~rwhitejr/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html
1978 W72 Firebird Production Numbers
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2006, 07:07:26 PM »
I'm sure that the volume of cars built did have a role in the sloppy paperwork too. I had heard things like fire damaging some of the records dept, a strike at GM, cooking the books to show more cars built and less cost, etc

Just wondering if someone as close to the numbers as John would be able to shed any light as to why.
What's she wearing now? Come on!
1976 Black 455 4 speed (current project)
1976 White 400 Auto (original)
F-body stuff stashed everywhere.
Always buying/selling/trading  just ask!

Offline John Witzke

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 269
  • Referrals: 0
1978 W72 Firebird Production Numbers
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2007, 10:29:35 AM »
Always glad to help.

It appears the worst year for records was the 1978 model year.  A lot of detailed individual production information appears to have been discarded.  PHS only can give totals for option codes, which is what I have.  My W72 production numbers are accurate and are based on Pontiac production information.    

Hope all this helps.
John Witzke