The Pontiac Firebird was a sporty compact car built by the Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors and was manufactured from 1967 until 2002. Available in both ...More »
The Pontiac Firebird was a sporty compact car built by the Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors and was manufactured from 1967 until 2002. Available in both coupé and convertible body styles, the Firebird was characterized by its aggressive styling and affordable muscle car performance. The car shared the same General Motors "F-Body" platform as the Chevrolet Camaro, also introduced in 1967. Production of both cars ceased in 2002.
The Firebird was introduced in the same year as the Mercury Cougar, which also shared a platform with another well-known pony car, the Ford Mustang.
The vehicles were, for the most part, powered by various V8 motors of different GM divisions. While primarily Pontiac-powered until 1981, Firebirds were built with several different engines from nearly every GM division.
Fourth generation (1993-2002)
The fourth generation Firebird continued the previous generation's aerodynamic formula, but while a desirable sports car, it was victim to falling sales. In 1993-1995 (1995 non-California cars) Firebirds received a 3.4 L V6 with 160 hp, or a 5.7 L 275 hp LT1 V8. The LT1 was very similar to the one in the Corvette C4, only with 2 bolt mains, and a more restrictive intake/exhaust system. 1996 and later models had a 200 hp 3.8 L V6 as the base engine. The LT1's hp rating had been raised to 285 thanks to a new dual cat exhaust system.
As before, the Camaro kept the exposed headlights and the Firebird its pop-up units, with some minor changes. In 1998, the Firebird received a new front fascia (now with four pop-up headlights; the Camaro's front end was also switched, to two oval headlamps) and other modifications, the most significant of which was the Corvette small block V8 engine known as the LS1. These 1998 to 2002 models are sometimes referred to as "fifth generation" Firebirds. The final model year, 2002, offered a distinctive 35th anniversary edition that paid homage to the 1969 Trans Am. Like the Chevrolet Camaro, the Firebird and Trans Am were built in Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec. The plant closed down after producing the last cars.
The LS1 Firebirds, despite their poor sales, were among the fastest ever produced. They featured an all aluminum 5.7L V8 designated the LS1, with 305 hp (310 after 2000), or 320 hp (325 after 2000) for the Ram Air version. The rare Firehawk model made by SLP and sold through Pontiac dealerships had 330 hp (345 after 2000). Even the V6 had a bump to 205 hp. The average ¼ mile times for these were 15.2 @ 90 mph for the V6 and 13.4 @ 106 mph for the V8. The V6 models were as quick as almost any V8 produced before 1990, while the V8 Firebirds were faster than almost anything produced in the muscle car era (including all Firebirds). Top Speeds for both the V6 and the V8 versions were governed according to their factory tire ratings. Typically, these limits were 105, 112, 118 mph for the V6 models, but these limits varied from car to car. V8 models that had Z rated tires had a speed limiter set to 162 mph. Models that came with GS-C or RS-A tires were limited to 123 mph.
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