Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ron’s Colorful Firebird Request: We Need Your Pontiac Skybird, Redbird, Yellowbird Stories!

Pontiac Skybird or Sky Bird? Either way its Lombard Blue code 21.

Show us your Pontiac Skybirds, Redbirds and Yellowbirds. The Firebird Esprit was the nicer side of sporty transportation. That why this story is dedicated to them. More specifically the other Firebird Esprits that received the sporty appearance package. The Skybird, the Redbird and the Yellowbird. These were the infusion of color Pontiac splashed on the Firebird buying public between 1977 and 1980.

Photo courtesy

1977-1978 Skybirds
  The Skybird, born mid year 1977 and produced halfway through 1978. This car was a strange color blue, code 21 (something between “sky” and “baby”) with color keyed Snowflake wheels, grills and interior

1979 Pontiac Redbird ad targets the ladies.

1978-1979 Red Bird sail panel decal.

1978-1979 Redbirds
The Redbird (my personal favorite) appeared the second half of 1978 and the entire production year of 1979. It was Roman Red (code 72) with red Snowflake wheels and other red necessities with a hint of gold to wink at you.

Yellow accents highlight the tail light ribs on 1980 Pontiac Yellow Birds.

1980 Yellowbird
The Yellowbird, although available the entire year in 1980, seems to be the most elusive. It had a unique shade of yellow (code 56)  I have never even seen one in person and believe me, I look.

1980 Pontiac Yellow Bird sail panel decal.

All show, comfort
These cars were not the cheapest Firebirds on the books. They usually had a lot of comfort and power options to drive the window sticker into shock. I have seen them with manual windows and vinyl interior, but more often than not, they were  decked out well with velour seats, tilt wheel, air conditioning, cruise control and more.

1979 Pontiac Red Bird.

Underpowered performance
  They seemingly had it all. Almost. There was one thing these cars were not known for. Ground pounding performance was out of the question. The fastest Skybird would have to be the 1977 when optioned with the Pontiac 350. After that they were mostly powered by Chevrolet 305s and occasionally a 350. Then in 1979 the fastest Redbird Esprit you could buy had a Pontiac 301. They could also be had with a Chevrolet 305 or a V6. Things only got worse under the hood for the 1980 Yellowbird. Most were V6 powered and if you were lucky, the 301 could be found. What was wrong with Pontiac? Why were they building a bunch of girly cars? Actually, that’s it exactly. The Firebird Esprit appearance packages were actually made for a female demographic.
  I know there were and are several exceptions, but its mostly true that whatever is between the fenders is less important to a woman than other factors like fuel mileage and curb appeal. Instead of the famous Phoenix bird, these cars were adorned with something resembling a dove with some groovy 1970’s pinstripes around it. Men were not drawn to these cars and today there are few left. Disclaimer: I am not saying that because women bought them and destroyed them they are hard to find today. There were not that many to begin with and marketed towards a small part of the new car buying public; it only makes sense there are not many left. So I need your stories. Any memory involving someone you knew or like my story below, knew of. Anything is great and I will be thankful to read it.

Photo courtesy
1977 Pontiac Skybird

Ron’s Skybird story
My story was told to me by a gentleman who grew up in a small northeast Alabama town. The daughter of a bigwig (maybe even the owner) at the local Pontiac dealership was pumped up and excited! She had placed an order for a new Skybird! She found herself having to explain again and again to the crowd of young people at the local hang-outs. No one knew what a Skybird was. Well, one was on the way and it was hers. 
  One night she arrived in a brand spanking new 1978 Trans Am. It wasn’t even blue, but it did have a bird on the hood. “Is this a Skybird?” she was asked. “No,” she sadly replied. “We couldn’t get one.” There was some issue with availability and she had to “settle” for a new Trans Am. Poor girl. 
  My guess is this was mid-year 1978 and the production of the new Redbird phased out the Skybird package and it was too late to get one. That was the last time that gentleman heard the word “Skybird” until he walked in my office one day and overheard a conversation I was having about one.

1980 Pontiac Yellowbird

Sky Birds, Red Birds and Yellow Birds featured a darker shade of the primary paint color along the rocker panels.

Now we need yours!
So what is your Skybird, Redbird, Yellowbird story? I must know! I need your “My Aunt Mable thought it was a nice blue color” stories. I must have your encounters with “that weird red color Firebird”. I need to know how, when and where you somehow crossed paths with that “girly looking” yellow car.

Email me at and let me know your stories! And if you have pictures… I shouldn’t even have to say it.

Thanks and happy hunting!
Ron Kidd, junkyardlife

Know of a junkyard I need to visit or want to send me photos and info about a car or junkyard?  Send emails to

1978 Pontiac Skybird

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