Pontiac Firebird 1968

Pontiac Firebird : Overview

The whole history of Pontiac, Firebird is probably the most iconic and most famous model. A celebrity who also won the countries where it has not been commercialized. This did not prevent her from disappearing in the strictest anonymity.

In the mid 60s, the staffs as GM Chrysler seek a response to the success of the Mustang. Everyone was taken aback, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. At Pontiac, John DeLorean wants to give birth to the Banshee, whose concept was unveiled in 1964 to provide a mark of a true sports model. But GM DG does not want it, no fear of cannibalism with the Corvette and Pontiac must be content to add to its range Pony Car and reshuffle based on the Camaro. Firebird appears in 1967, just months after the Camaro with which it shares much of its body.

His style differs from that of the Chevrolet by its front and rear with integrated bumpers and taillights inspired by those of the GTO. If the body is near, the mechanics are much less because Pontiac yet available at the time of its own engines. The range starts well with a 6-cylinder in-line 230 above (3.8) versions 165 hp or 215 hp Sprint. It will increase to 4.1 liters the following year with a gain of 10 hp for the basic version. But the Firebird actually expresses its V8 engine family Strato Streak, with displacements of 5.3 or even 6.6. The “little” 5.3 is offered in a basic version with 250 hp version or High Output (HO) 285 c. The biggest advantage Guard 6.6 with 325 hp. The Ram Air offered on this engine does not increase power, but changes his temperament. In 1968, the 5.3 V8 is replaced by a 5.7, and passes 265 and 320 hp in its basic versions and HO. The 6.6, which now shows 330 hp, it also offers a version of HO 335 hp, but especially two ram air kits that carry power to 335 or 340 hp. The style does not change much in that year: Compulsory side position markers and loss of ventilation windows on the doors.

If the year 1969 was the occasion of a major facelift, it is mainly the appearance for the first time the model TransAm baptized, receiving the 6.6 V8 features the new Ram Air III bringing power to 340 hp and even 345 hp with the optional Ram Air IV. But it is above its look and sharper chassis it was different. She wore a white livery with blue stripes on the hood, spoiler, air extractors on the wings, wider tires, lowered suspension gave it a unique look. Only 689 copies were products of a total of more than 85,000 Firebird that year.

The second generation began in early 1970, with a few months late. She continues to share components with the Camaro, but his body differs a little more. His game is available in basic versions, Esprit, Formula and TransAm, primarily with V8 engines. The six-cylinder 4.1 entry is actually less powerful (155 hp) and even on the base model, the V8 5.7 255 hp will be preferred. The Formula model gets a 6.6 V8 from 330 hp and 335 HO version, while the TransAm, which becomes a full version automatically receives a RamAir III kit bringing the power of this engine to 335 hp and 345 with the Ram Air IV. This is the same as in the GTO V8, but with a slightly reduced power. The first three years are pretty bad and GM dream of interrupting the career of the model in 1972, which was a particularly difficult year due to strikes at Pontiac. The plant of the Firebird was thus closed for 174 days. In fact, the oil crisis will probably attracted buyers from larger models, such as the former GTO, Firebird to which sales took off in 1974 and peaked in 1979 at over 200,000 copies.

As of 1972, the engine power will only fall until 1976. At that date, the entry-6 cylinders and will top out at 100 hp only, followed by a 5.7 V8 155 hp, V8 6.1 of 185 hp and a TransAm with a 7.4 V8 with 200 hp. Power levels ascend on the end, and in 1980 the TransAm receive a 4.9 V8 Turbo. Aesthetic developments continue each year until 1981, with the arrival of four rectangular headlights and a front increasingly sharp.

In 1982 appears the third generation of Firebird, the most famous in the world. Indeed, its streamline modern and was widely popularized by the K2000 series … although with a very similar body of the Camaro, it clearly distinguished in with its retractable headlights, a characteristic it held until his disappearance. Mechanical range starts very low since 4 cylinder 2.5, only 90 hp, appeared under the hood. Most customers choose the option of 102 hp 2.8 V6. The most powerful models receive a 5.0 V8 145 hp and TransAm the same V8, but with the injection Crossfire bringing its power to 165 hp. In 1983, an HO version is available at 190 hp. The TransAm being responsible for receiving the Turbo engine has a hood boss, to be preserved despite the engine change, and it will disappear in 1985, replaced by two false air extraction grilles.

The 4-cylinder disappears in 1985, and entry-level V6 gaining 33 hp, and high-end V8 5.7 will appear in 1987, with an output of 225 hp. At that time appears a more muscular version of the TransAm the GTA. In 1991, a new bumper is made to the model, announcing partly arrival of the new model, based on the concept Banshee IV.

The fourth and final model of the Firebird family arrived in 1993. Its futuristic design rather poorly ages, especially after the 1998 facelift, the style never ceased to overload until the end of the career of the model. The base engine is a 3.4 V6, replaced in 1996 by a 200 hp 3.8, but the 5.7 liter LT1 V8 and 275 hp is also available, similar to that which was then under the hood of the C4 Corvette. As for the Corvette, it will be replaced later by the LS1, 305 hp. Again, the Ram Air kits improved operation and allowed to increase its power to 325 hp. The latest models received the LS6 (310 hp).

The announcement of a new Camaro lets hope for a return of the Firebird, which will remain a dead letter, except through some specific transformations.

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