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     I always have quite a few people ask me if their car is a Special Edition or not. So, I figured I would devote a page to help you find out if your car is a "Special Edition" or not. The first thing to look at is the Cowl Data on your Trans Am to see if it is stamped with a Special Edition code or not. This is the first place to look. Now, not all Special Editions had this code marked on it, but if it does, then you can stop right here because you already know that you have a Special Edition Trans Am. If there isn't a code marked, then continue on to see the other signs of having a Special Edition car. Special Edition codes are as follows:

1976:
Y82 - In 1976, they came out with the first Special Edtion Trans Am. It was labeled with the Y82 code to signify that it was a Special Edition (Sometimes called Limited Edition). It did not matter if it had t-tops or not, they were all Y82.
 
1977:

Y82 - in 1977, the Y82 was the Special Edition with the Hurst t-top roof.

Y81 - was the code for a Special Edition with the hard top roof.
1978:
Y82 - in early 1978 the Y82 was the Special Edition with the Hurst t-top roof.
Y88 - 1978 they came out with the Gold Special Edition Trans Am which had the Y88 designation, but just like in 1976, it did not matter if the car had t-tops or not, they were all the same Y88 code.
Y84 - After the Y88 was canceled, they came back out with the black and gold Special Edition, but this time it had the Fisher t-top roof and was labeled Y84.
1979:
Y84 - Black and Gold Special Edition
Y89 - 10th Anniversary Trans Am
1980 and 1981:
Y85 - Trans Am Turbo Pace Cars
Y84 - Black and Gold Special Edition

Click Here for more info on the Gold Special Edition Trans Am.

Click Here for Information about the Macho Trans Am

Click Here for Information on the "SkyBird" Edition Esprit

Click Here for Information on the "RedBird" Edition Esprit

Click Here for Information on the "YellowBird" Edition Esprit

Click Here for Information on the "Bandit Edition" Trans Am

Click Here for Information on the 1976 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Trans Am

Click Here for Information on the 1979 10th Anniversary Silver Edition Trans Am

     Really, there are only three ways you can determine if a Trans Am is a "True" Special Edition car or not. Most people can buy all of the gold appointments to make a car "Look" like a Special Edition when it isn't. So, here are the three ways you can help determine if your car is a Special Edition or not. First is to take a look at the Cowl Tag located under the hood up by the VIN Number. On that cowl tag could be stamped a Y82 or Y84. Now, not all plants did this on a regular basis so if a code is not stamped there don't worry, there are still two other ways to check. If you car has that stamped there then you know your car is a Special Edition. If that is not stamped there, then the next step would be to find the original build sheet for the car. Most of the time they are located behind the back seat or behind the back seat and behind the cardboard that separates the trunk form the interior. On that build sheet would tell you if the car is a Special Edition car or not. In fact, that build sheet will tell you everything about your car in specific. You can see more about the build sheet and how to find it at Build Sheet. Now sometimes the build sheet is gone from the previous owner, or it has deteriorated beyond legibility due to age or a mouse or something. So, if you build sheet is gone, then your last resort is to contact PHS Automotive Services and order one of their packets about your car. It cost $50.00, but I think it is well worth it. You can contact them at http://www.phs-online.com to order a packet. One of the items that comes along with that information is a copy of the original Dealer invoice for your car. On that invoice it would tell you if you car was ordered with the Special Edition Package or not. Unfortunately, your VIN Number or Cowl Tag information itself doesn't tell you if your car is a Special Edition or not. But one of the three ways listed above will let you know for sure what your car is and what it isn't. The most prominent thing that distinguishes a Special Edition car from a Non-Special Edition car is all of the gold appointments on the car. See Below: 

"Special Edition"
"Non-Special Edition"
Headlights

Gold Inserts

Black Inserts

Sail Panel (1976 - 1978)

Gold Bird Decal

 

Red Bird Emblem

 

Sail Panel (1979 - 1981)

Gold Bird Decal 6"

Gold Bird Decal 3"

Nose Emblems

Gold Nose Emblem (1976)

Red Nose Emblem (1976)

Gold Nose Emblem (1978-81)

Red Nose Emblem (1977-81)

(Note: 1977 and early 1978 still had Red nose emblems for a Special Edition)

 

Lettering (1978 and earlier)

"German" Style Lettering

"Formula" Style Lettering

Wheels

Gold Wheels with Gold Bird Centercaps

(Note: In 1977 and early 1978 they were still red bird centercaps like the nose emblems)

Grey Wheels with Red Bird Centercaps

(Note: you could still order gold rims for a non-Special Edition car)

Hood Bird

Gold with Matte Gold

Gold with Orange/Yellow Highlights Gold

Stripes

Stripes outlining the car

No Stripes

Steering Wheel

Gold Spokes with Gold Bird Emblem

(Note: in 1981 spokes were black, not gold)

Black Spokes with Red Bird Emblem

 

Shift Knob

Gold Bird

Red Bird

Dash Bezel

Gold Dash Bezel

Silver Dash Bezel

Door Emblems

Gold Door Emblems

Red Door Emblems

      Hopefully this will answer some questions on whether or not your car is a "Special Edition" Trans Am or just a look alike (Clone). Most things are easy to buy and convert your Trans Am into a Special Edition, but you will only be fooling yourself.

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