One of the most famous muscle cars from the late 1960s to early 2000s was called a Pontiac Firebird. It competed with other well-known models like the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. The Firebird has changed a lot over its nearly 40-year history, with its engine getting better and its body getting better and better. The car didn’t just make an impression on people who like muscle and pony cars. It also made its way into the mainstream pop culture world, appearing in a lot of TV shows and movies.
FIREBIRD Vs. TRANS AM:
A lot of people thought the Pontiac Firebird and Pontiac Trans Am were great cars. Both cars were very well-known. A few Trans Ams even made their way into movies and TV shows. To understand how the Firebird and the Trans Am made their mark on the industry, you need to know how they’re different from each other.
No, the Firebird and the Trans Am are not the same thing. In the truest sense, the answer is yes and no. Pontiac Firebirds are the only cars that are called Trans Ams. But not all Firebirds are named after Trans Ams. This is because Trans Ams are a type of Pontiac Firebird that were made in 1969 as a special package for the Firebird.
People who bought this car thought it would be even better than the Firebird when it came out. Compared to Firebirds, Trans Ams had more horsepower, better handling, and better suspension. It was always possible to buy a Trans Am instead of the Firebird if you wanted to improve your speed.
The Pontiac Firebird was made for four generations, from 1967 to 2002. When General Motors made the car, they wanted it to be a pony car that could take on cars like the Mercury Cougar and Ford Mustang. There were other concept cars that had the name “Firebird,” like the General Motors Firebird prototype cars from the 1950s. These Pontiac Firebirds would become some of the most well-known muscle cars of all time.
The first generation of Firebirds only lasted from 1967 to 1969, but this generation set the stage for many more. They came in two-door coupe and two-door convertible versions. Firebirds were built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Camaro, but they were made with different parts. This helped to separate the new Firebirds from the Camaro. The Firebirds had body-integrated front bumpers and different engines than the Camaros.
It had a 3.8 L6 engine that made 220 horsepower. These first Firebirds had that engine. There was a Firebird that had an upgraded 6.6-liter V8 engine. It had more power, and it could be bought with 340 horsepower.
Buyers who chose the L6 engine could also expect to hit 114 mph and go from 0-60 in less than 10 seconds. In addition, the engine had 240 lb.-ft. of torque. Selecting the L6 version of the Firebird also meant that you got a 4-speed manual gearbox and Pontiac’s version of posi-traction as an extra option.
With the V8 version, buyers got a three-speed automatic transmission instead of a manual transmission with the same options. It had a lot of power, but it also had 430 lb.-ft. of torque. Also in 1969, the Firebird Trans Am came out. This generation of the Firebird also had the Firebird GT.
The first Firebird Trans Am was released in 1969, but it didn’t get off to the best of starts. Because it was part of a Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package, it cost $725. It didn’t get a lot of attention from the media and there were no ads for it. The name of the car was based on the Trans American racing series to show how well the car runs.
There was a 400-cid V-8 engine that came with the Trans Am as its base engine. It had a brake horsepower of 335. Also, Trans Ams had a one-inch front stabilizer bar, a heavy-duty suspension system, variable power steering, and Polyglas F70xl4s tires on seven-inch wide rims.
They also had a unique look. There was Polar White paint on all of them, and blue racing stripes were painted on the top of the hood and trunk of each car. The cars also had a 60-inch airfoil on the back of the deck. Rear-facing hood scoops were made out of fiberglass. They were built to help air flow through the car’s engine bay, which helps keep it cool. Finally, the car had functional air inlets that could be opened or closed by the driver, who was able to do this.
Though the first Trans Am didn’t get a lot of attention, it quickly became one of the most popular options for people who wanted a Firebird that could go fast.
First, there were Firebirds. Then, in 1970, the second generation of the car came out and ran until 1981. There were new Pontiac Firebirds when they came out. They had a new look.
When the Firebird first came out, it had two stylish air intakes on the front of the car that made it look even better. It also changed from four circular headlights to two large ones, which made the front of the car look very different. When this generation came out, convertible-lovers were in for a rough ride. The fourth generation didn’t have a convertible model.
This generation gave Firebird owners even more options that made their cars run better. For the 1970 model, there were four different types of engines and three different types of transmissions. Not only that, but you can get a three or four-speed manual or a two or three-speed automatic, which makes the car good for a wide range of people to drive.
It took Pontiac only a short time to make a stronger 6.6-liter Ram Air IV engine. In 1971, people could buy a 7.5-liter engine. There were new regulations and high gas prices that cut down on the Firebird’s power.
By 1974, the weight of the Pontiac had gone up a lot because of new five-mph bumper rules and other safety features. The change to unleaded fuel at the time led to a drop in compression ratios, which led to a big drop in the car’s power output. Regulations about carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon also made it take longer to set the ignition timing and make the cams less aggressive.
By the end of the generation, the top power of the Pontiac Firebird had gone down a lot, which made it less powerful. The most powerful V8 engine you could get only made 200 horsepower, which is a long way from the power of the early Ram Air engine. When the car was a little older, it had a Firebird decal on the side that gave it a little extra flair.
The power of the Trans Ams of this time also went down. When they started out, they had a 6.6L V8 engine. By the end of their run, they had a 7.5L V8 engine. Compared to standard Firebirds of the time, the Trans Am had a much better suspension system.
It is the third generation of firebirds now.
A strong third generation of Firebirds would come out from 1982 to 1992, with new model years coming out every year from then on. It was hard for the previous generation of Firebird because of changing rules and the need to add more features. The third generation of Firebird was better able to deal with the new rules in their industry.
To change things up, Pontiac made a new version of the Firebird that was more aerodynamic than the one from last time around. With this design, you can move it much more easily because it’s much lighter. People at the company made the car smaller and lighter than the last one. With the loss of weight, they made the car’s body look like a wedge.
People could choose from four engines when they bought the car at the start. This made it easier for them to make the car fit their needs and wants. These engines had a wide range of power, from 90 to 238 horsepower, depending on the type of engine they were in. With the last 1982 model, you could choose between a four or five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission.
Employees at Pontiac also came up with a new chassis that made the car more aerodynamic. They worked on the car’s development in a wind tunnel to make sure they could get the design they wanted. This process led to windshields that were 62 degrees off the ground.
The headlights on the car also changed. They were now hidden behind panels. This is how the car looked before the change. Near the end of the generation, the 1991 Firebird had a convertible option, which was a favorite feature for some people.
There were some changes made to the look of the Trans Am during this time. They were meant to make the car look more high-tech. Dual mirrors, turbo wheel covers, grilles, door handles, functional air exhaust, and a wing were all given a matte gray finish to make their high-tech look work. It also had more power and better handling, like other Trans Ams.
It is the fourth generation of firebirds.
There were four different generations of Firebirds that ran from 1993 to 2002, and this was the last one to come out before they were sold to the public. In the first and second generations of the Firebird, the car had a lot of power. Pontiac could put some of that power back into the car because of new motor technology, which made it possible. The 1993 Firebird was made mostly of new parts, even though it had a lot of power.
In this generation, the LS1 V8 engine was one of the most important. It could make up to 325 horsepower. Even though the LS1 V8 engine is more specialized, the standard 3.8 L V6 engine was added from 1996 onwards. 200 horsepower came from a strong engine. Along with the power options, the Firebird also had anti-lock brakes and airbags to make the car more safe.
WS6 was added to the Firebird Trans Am in 2002, making the car go out with a bang. It took the car just over 13 seconds to go a quarter of a mile with this option. The 5.7-liter V8 made it possible for the car to do this. There were 325 horsepower in this last Trans Am, which made it a powerful car. A 35th-anniversary version of the Firebird was also made for this Trans Am. It had yellow paint, unique graphics, and black wheels.
It’s the end:
It didn’t matter that the last generation of Firebirds went back to being powerful and fast. There was a drop in the market for sports coupes and a drop in sales. It was still very popular with a small group, but Pontiacs didn’t get much money from GM for years, and the company finally stopped making them in 2002.
Restorers love to keep the cars on the road even though the cars aren’t being made anymore. This keeps the classic cars alive even though they aren’t being made anymore. There are a lot of parts made by other companies that can help Firebird owners restore their older cars. You can also find a lot of parts and systems that you can use to make the Firebird look the way you want.