Pontiac Firebird: 1992-2002, 4th generation

posted in: Muscle cars | 2

The 4th gen F-Body Pontiac Firebird continued aerodynamic development from the previous Firebird but got in trouble because of declining sales. The new Bird kept the pop-up headlights and was seriously reflecting “Banshee IV” concept. The engine variety for whole generation was 5 units: 3.4 liter L32, 5.7 liter LT1 [275-305 HP, iron block, aluminum heads], 3.8 liter L36, 5.7 liter LT4 and 5.7 liter LS1 [350-360 HP]. Despite poor sales LS1 Firebirds were one of the fastest Birds ever produced – the 5.7 liter Corvette V8 pumped 305 HP and even 320 HP in WS-6 Ram Air version. 2001-2002 models received LS6 V8 with better intake manifold and high-performance clutch. Most of Firebird fans claim, that 2001-2002 engines were underrated by factory [±40 HP].

1993-1995 Pontiac Firebird received 3.4 liter V6s with 160 HP and 5.7 liter 275 HP LT1 V8s. SLP package which was available only in 1993 Firehawk with Formula trim had functional hood scoop and some performance updates reached 300 HP. The were only 201 units released and they were in a close performance competition with Corvette [in fact, the Pontiac’s engine was very similar to C4 Corvette’s]. 1994 was an Anniversary year, so naturally, 25th Anniversary model was released – flat white with single blue stripe [familiar to 1970 Trans Am]. 1995 offered Acceleration Slip Regulation [traction control], new steering wheel from Grand Prix model and performance package [polyurethane bushings, suspension upgrades, Corvette-like exhaust – 315 HP and 0-62 mph in 4.9 seconds]. 1994 models and 1995 Formulas and Trans Ams had “Perform Transmission” button that gave quicker and firmer shifts.

The base engine for 1996 was 3.8 liter V6 [200 HP] and LT1 with 285 HP an the very rare 1997 Firehawk LT4 model had 330 HP. The 1998 facelift was mostly seen on new front fascia [4 pop-up headlamps], but the most important was the introduction of Corvette small block LS1 V8. One more significant model was the 12-unit “Bright Purple Metallic” Trans Am with the WS6 Ram Air package.

1999 came with an other Anniversary – the 30th one. Anniversary Edition Trans Am, again, received white body color, but the stripes were twined – the paint scheme was very familiar to 1969 Trans Am.

The final 2002 year offered Collectors Edition Trans Am model which was painted in yellow. Most of the latest Firebird V6 engines were claimed to be as quick as almost any V8 produced until 1985.

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