Hooniverse Asks: Trans Am or Z28, What's the Cooler F-Body?

The time has come for an F-body smackdown. They may have shared a familial lineage, but early on camps of fans split off into rival Firebirds of a feather and Camaro Comrades divisions. The widest chasm exists each brand’s top performance models, the Trans Am from Pontiac, and Chevrolet’s Z28.
The Camaro came first, and today it’s the only man standing on GM’s pony car front. Additional ignominy was thrust upon the Firebird as it was a consolation prize for Pontiac after that brand was denied a two-seat sports car lest it cannibalize sales from Chevy’s Corvette. That initial also-ran lot in life was turned topsy turvy when the Trans Am was chosen by Hollywood’s star makers to become immortalized as the greatest American car ever in the movie Smokey and the Bandit. You’ll note that Chevy’s still hurting from that smite and won’t even release a new Z28.
Whether movie star or track star, both the Z28 and Firebird have their legions of fans and their pros and cons. In your mind, which one is the most legendary F-body?
Image: LS1tech forums

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  1. Kiefmo Avatar

    Trans Am, of course. It looks like it could inhale you.
    Also, it tended to be the better-looking car throughout its production run alongside the Camero.

  2. GTXcellent Avatar

    All depends on the year – my personal favorite is the 2nd gen, split bumper ‘70.5-’73 Camaro, followed closely by the same generation, but later year ’77 and ’78 T/A (aka the Smokey and the Bandit car).
    I’d take a first gen Camaro over the same generation Firebird/Trans Am, but prefer the Poncho from Gen 3 until it’s end.

  3. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    First-gen goes to the Z-28
    Early second-gen goes to the Z-28
    Late second-gen goes to the T/A (Thanks, Bandit!)
    Early third-gen goes to the IROC-Z
    Mid third-gen goes to the GTA
    Late third-gen goes back to the Z
    Fourth-gen… If I had to pick one, I guess I’d give the edge to the ‘bird.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I agree, I like the 4th gen Camaro better, but the top Camaro then was the SS, whereas the top Firebird was the Trans-Am WS-6.

  4. engineerd Avatar

    I generally liked the Trans Am over it’s Camero sibling for pretty much the entire time the two ran side by side. This is particularly true of the last two generations. Because pop up headlights and K.I.T.T.

  5. Maymar Avatar

    Can I skip both and nominate Jim Rockford’s Firebird Esprit (and also the Firebird Formula)?
    Barring that, I agree that it bounces back and forth from year to year, based on some combination of who was most tasteful and who had the best tape stripes.

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      I’m partial to the lower-spec versions as well. Even as a teenager, the Z-28 and Trans Am seemed a bit too over-the-top. I liked the Formula, but to me the ’80 Camaro Rally Sport is just about the perfect iteration of the platform.

      1. kogashiwa Avatar

        I used to have a kind of perverse attachment to the Berlinetta.

        1. Tiberiuswise Avatar

          I drove one once. It had the Iron Puke and a 4 speed. It made my Granada seem like a Mercedes.

          1. kogashiwa Avatar

            Well if I’ve learned anything from Ford’s informational services, the Granada is already nearly indistinguishable from a Mercedes.

          2. crank_case Avatar

            Depends which Ford Granada we’re talking about…

      2. Vairship Avatar

        Me, I’d pick the station wagon…

  6. 0A5599 Avatar

    I am partial to the T/A. It isn’t an F-body, though.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      That would go well with an IROC. http://www.automobile-catalog.com/photo/1991/679880/45013.html

  7. ptschett Avatar

    Trans-Am except ’80-’81 (I didn’t like the late grille-less 2nd gen). 1st gen is a toss up for me, on the balance I prefer the Pontiac for its engine but the Camaro benefited on styling from not having been quite the rush job the early Firebird was.

  8. Zentropy Avatar

    G1: I prefer the early Camaros without hidden headlights, and honestly the baser the model, the more I tend to like it– maybe because everyone favors the higher trims and I’m tired of them. Six-cylinder grandma cars hold huge appeal.
    G2: I like the look of the pre-77 Pontiacs (performance waned this generation, so not much to enjoy there). After that, both Camaros and Firebirds suck.
    G3: I don’t even look at these cars. It’s like trying to pick the best Bayformers movie.
    G4: Nod to the Firebird, only because it’s not a Chevrolet.

  9. Sjalabais Avatar

    Trying to evade the party pooper stamp, but a cool F-body? Hm……blank vote. My wife though did almost give me a heart attack the other day, intentionally, saying: “Look, a Ferrari!”, while pointing at a Camaro. She’s not yet on the right level to say “Ferreri” to improve on her evil joke though.

  10. jeepjeff Avatar

    Team TransAm has the screaming chicken Burt Reynolds special in its stable. And that’s good enough for me.

  11. LeaksOil Avatar


  12. maxxxq Avatar

    IMO,I don’t think GM ever made a better performing/looking car than the ’69 Z/28 Camaro RS in Azure Turquoise.

  13. salguod Avatar

    I’ve always preferred the Camaro to the Firebird, but in some years the margin was slim. The SD455 and the Bandit T/A are high points for sure.
    I’ll take either over a comparable Mustang, though.

  14. CraigSu Avatar

    Someone got a bit confused when designing their Superbird tribute car…

    1. Maymar Avatar

      I think you found the missing link between the Superbird and Petty’s Pontiac days.