The Pontiac Firebird is a pony car like muscle car built by GM’s Pontiac division in 1967-2002 period. Firebird shared the same platform as Chevrolet Camaro. Sharing platforms was popular at that time [Mustang and Mercury, Challenger and Barracuda, etc.] Most of Pontiac engines were V8s and since 1977 had mostly been shared from other GM’s corporate units. Sadly, Firebird did not came back to production lines together with cousin 5th generation Camaro while Pontiac’s brand is waiting for production discontinuation.
First generation: 1967-1969
Even though Pontiac Firebird shared the same platform with Camaro, it had a bit different body style. Some consider it coke bottle-like. Firebird had integrated bumpers, Pontiac GTO inspired narrow taillights. Firebird was a car for Pontiac division they’ ve always wanted – 2-seat sports car with Pontiac style and design based on Banshee concept car. The decision of GM was to give Pontiac a piece of pony car market instead of competing their [GM’s] own Chevrolet Corvette sports car. So Firebird got F-body Camaro platform. A bit disappointed Pontiac division made styling and engineering changes in order to get Firebird more Pontiac-like.
OHC inline-6 single barrel carburetor equipped Firebird was the base model. The Sprint model had already a 4-barrel carburetor which helped to develop 215 HP. The most popular engines among buyers were 5.3 liter [326 cubic, 250 HP] with a 2-barrel carburetor, same 326 cubic V8 with High Output [H.O.] and 4-barrel carburetor delivering 285 HP and 6.6 liter [400 cubic] 325 HP engine taken from Pontiac GTO. There also was a Ram Air option in 1968 – it provided different camshaft, higher low heads and stronger valve springs, functional scoops. 3.8 liter [230 cubic, 175 HP] single barrel carburetor engines were soon replaced by a 4-barrel 4.1. liter [250 cubic, 215 HP], 5.3 liter one was replaced by 5.7 liter [350 HP]. 5.7 liter monster featured 320 HP if powered with H.O. option.
1969 came with Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package which featured rear spoiler. Only 689 coupes and 8 convertibles were built. There also was a Ram Air IV option for 350 cubic engine which generated 345 HP. The 350 cubic O.H. engine got a revision and received different cam and… 330 HP.
1968 Pontiac Firebird got some styling changes: larger blinkers in front and V-shaped Arrowhead logos on each side on the rear end. Firebird also started using single panes on doors instead of wing-windows. The major facelift was done for the 1969 model – new front end, Endura bumper which housed grille and 4 headlights, new dashboard and steering wheel.