Pontiac Firebird

The Pontiac Firebird was introduced in 1967 with a characteristic Coke bottle styling. Originally Pontiac wished to produce a two-seat sports car of its own design, based on the original Banshee concept car.

Out of fear such a vehicle would directly compete with Chevrolet's Corvette, the decision was made to give Pontiac a piece of the pony car market by having them share the F-body platform with Chevrolet.

The design in the 1967 included larger blinkers which extended to wrap around the front edges of the car, and on the rear, while the Pontiac Arrowhead logo was added to each side. The front door vent-windows were replaced with a single pane of glass.

The 1969 model received a major facelift with a new front end design made of an Endura bumper housing the headlights and grilles. The instrument panel and steering wheel were revised. The ignition switch was moved from the dashboard to the steering column with the new locking ignition switch/steering wheel.

Both a two-door hardtop and a convertible model were offered to the general public through the 1969 model year. The base model Firebird came equipped with the OHC inline-6 and a single-barrel carburetor. Most buyers opted for one of the V8 engines: the 326 CID (5.3 L) with a two-barrel carburetor producing 250 hp (186 kW); the "H.O." (High Output) engine of the same displacement, but with a four-barrel carburetor and producing 285 hp (213 kW); or the 400 CID (6.6 L) from the GTO with 325 hp (242 kW).

Additional options included functional hood scoops, higher flow heads with stronger valve springs, and a different camshaft. In 1969, a $725 optional handling package called the "Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package,", named after the Trans Am Series, which included a rear spoiler, was introduced. Of these first "Trans Ams," only 689 hardtops and eight convertibles were made.

There was an additional Ram Air IV option for the 400 CID engine during that year, complementing the Ram Air III; these generated 345 and 335 hp (250 kW) respectively. During 1969 a special 303 cu in (5.0 L) engine was designed for SCCA road racing applications that was not available in production cars.

By late spring of 1969, Pontiac had deleted all model-year references on Firebird literature and promotional materials, even though in 1970 the second generation of Pontiac Firebird was introduced. It was a high representation of general Pontiac styling which involved minor changes in the styling, the addition of high-back bucket seats. The major changes however could be found under the hood. The first appearance of the famous honeycomb wheels was shown in 1972.

The year in question proved key for the future of the entire Firebird production line. As the muscle car market collapsed the sales have plummeted, and to make matters worse a 174 days strike at the only production plant blocked any plans for 1972. GM executives considered dropping the Firebirds but still decided to give it another chance. This decision proved correct as in 1973 the Super Duty 455 V8 combined with the introduction of Firebird Decal, known as the screaming chicken, created new momentum for Pontiac Firebird.

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