1980 Trans Am Model Kits
1980 Trans Am Model Kits

In 1980, USAirfix, a company I remember building model airplanes in the early seventies, released thier version of the new Trans Am Turbo under the Snapfix banner. The car actually was quite well done for a snap together kit. Like their rendition of the 1979 Type-K wagon, this kit featured an opening hood and a rudimentary engine. The graphics, even though they were not waterslide decals, were actually quite good. The kit was done in 1/24th scale and carried part number 8040.

The surprise in the modelling world had to be the 1980 promo kits made by MPC for Pontiac. Pontiac had spent millions of dollars on the new 4.9L Turbocharged engine and had even made a special hood and decal for this engine. So what did the promo kit come with? A shaker hood and the traditional hood decal. The cars were once again available in Starlite Black or a new color, Francisco Red. The box was pretty much a carryover of the 1979, save for the "'80" graphics and a revised side panel which no longer listed the 6.6L engine. Even in the modelling world the Second Generation Trans Am days were numbered. These kits would be the last Pontiac promos of any kind until the 4th generation of 1993.

At the 1980 Indianapolis 500, the Turbocharged Pontiac Firebird Trans Am paced the race for the first time in the marques history. A striking car in white and charcoal, MPC recreated the car in 1/25th scale. The kit carried part number 1-0761 and was the only MPC kit offered for 1980. This was a combination of the Annual Kit and a specialty kit all in one. The Turbo Trans Am kit did have the "Turbo" cast aluminum wheels from the 1979 10th Anniversary kit. Wiht the bulging Turbo hood, shaker alignment was no longer a problem. If you chose to build a curbside version, you could easily hide your underhood mistakes. Like the 1979 kits, the roof panel was scored for you to cut out your own T-Tops if you wanted.
Here's a shot of a nicely assembled version of MPC's 1980 Turbo Trans Am Indy Pace Car.

Monogram pulled a big oops on this one. Check out the description, "Turbo Firebird". Now look at the car. Look at that mighty shaker popping out of the hood of the Trans Am. The kit did have the Turbo wheels and strangely enough side pipes like on the 1978 1/32 scale snap kit. The engine decals on the shaker call out T/A 4.9. This kit like most Monogram kits was produced in 1:24th scale and was kit number 1418. The kit was released in 1981.

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