The Firebird is one of Pontiac’s more well known models. Reviews are mixed, from some people raving about the car, to hardcore enthusiasts going as far as to say that the Firebird is trashy, unreliable, and poorly designed. However, it is no secret that they are overall well loved by car enthusiasts.
In the beginning, the Firebird was a Frankenstein of sorts, getting much of its body from the Chevy Camaro, including doors, front fenders and rear quarters. Despite lacking many of its own parts, the Firebird made a name for itself. However, Pontiac built each of its engines themselves specifically for the model at hand. Such was no different for the Firebird. The first Firebird left the factory in 1967, showing off a unique grill, hood and taillights and creating a personality all its own. With the option to choose between a convertible and a sporty coupe, the Firebird was soon to become a legacy. That legacy has held strong throughout the decades and is well earned.
Notoriety and Technical Speculations
Over the years, the Firebird came in many different trims and variations. Some of them lasted for years and others for just a short period of time. The trim packages changed based upon the opinions of car enthusiasts. If the car enthusiasts didn't like a particular trim package, it didn't last very long. The trim packages available were:
Trans-Am Variation Success
Their most prominent engine was a v8. The most notable and popular package was undoubtedly the Trans Am variation. The Trans Am was a specialty package, with upgraded handling, suspension, and horsepower. Minor appearance modifications were also part of the Trans Am package. What possible makes the Trans Am so popular is its scene presence in the Smokey and the Bandit movie series, as well as Kitt in the television series Nightrider. Today the most commonly remembered and reveled version of the Firebird is definitely the Trans-Am package. This is the package that you see on the cars owned by most modern Firebird enthusiasts. While the others are loved, for some reason, this variant is the one that is most loved and cherished. Thanks to the popularity gained by television and media, the Trans Am represents an era and an icon.
The body and build of the later model Firebirds were again shared with the Chevy Camaro, but with its own fender and wheel well design. The base and Formula trims contain a 3.4-liter, V-6 engine; while the Trans Am trim uses a powerful 5.7-liter, V-8 engine capable of producing 275 horsepower. Transmissions included a five-speed manual for the V-6 and a six-speed manual for the V-8, with the option of a four-speed automatic on all models. In 1994, Pontiac reintroduced the convertible Firebird, and 1995 saw the introduction of a 3.8-liter, V-6 engine for the original Pontiac Firebird.
Camaro Likeness and Competition
Because the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird shared many of the same body designs over the years, it is not uncommon for the Firebird to be discredited as a knockoff or rip-off of the Camaro. However there are notable differences between the two. The Firebirds bumpers were tweaked to better suit the front end for a put together look. Inspired by the Pontiac GTO, the Firebird also featured taillight “slits” that set it apart from the Camaro.
Although they shared the same F-Class, the Camaro and the Firebird were rarely competition with one another. The real competition came in the form of the Ford Mustang and Mercury Cougar.