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10 Pontiac Firebird Facts Every Enthusiast Should Know

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General Motors released numerous breathtaking iterations of the Pontiac Firebird from 1967 to 2002. The car became highly iconic through its many different powerful and stylish models. 

If you’re a Pontiac Firebird enthusiast, you need to know these fascinating facts about this legendary car.  

Famous Developer John DeLorean Was Against the Firebird

John DeLorean was famous for developing the Pontiac GTO muscle car, the Pontiac Firebird, the DMC DeLorean, and many other iconic vehicles. Although he developed the Pontiac Firebird, DeLorean initially didn’t agree with Pontiac’s decision to create the Firebird. 

DeLorean had recently experienced a great deal of success with the Pontiac GTO, but he felt that General Motors should follow the GTO with a two-seat sports car. The executives at GM disagreed because they didn’t want to release a vehicle that would compete with the Chevrolet Corvette, and they wanted a car that would rival the Ford Mustang. 

The famed car developer eventually agreed and oversaw the creation of the Firebird. GM released the vehicle in 1967, and it became an immediate success.

The Introduction of the Screaming Chicken

When car enthusiasts think of the Firebird, one of their first thoughts will likely be the famous Screaming Chicken decal. Bill Porter and Norm Inouye made this stunning hood design in 1970. Pontiac didn’t begin utilizing the decal until 1973. Designer John Schinella insisted that Pontiac should begin offering The Screaming Chicken decal for $55. Pontiac offered this option from 1973 to 1981, and they had it as an option on the third-generation Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from 1985 to 1987.  

The First Trans Am Firebird

Pontiac introduced the Firebird Trans Am in March 1969, and they named it after the sports car racing Trans-Am Series, which started in 1966. The company introduced the 1969 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am along with the 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge at Riverside Raceway. The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am came equipped with a powerful 400 cubic inch V8 engine. These vehicles also offered great style with their white paint and iconic blue racing stripes. 

Pontiac Indy Pace Car

In the year 1980, Pontiac created the Firebird Trans Am Indy Pace Car. It featured a powerhouse 4.9 L V8 Turbo engine with 210 horsepower. Pontiac also sold 5,700 replicas of this stunning Indy 500 pace car. The Pontiac Firebird paced the Indy 500 again in 1989. 

No Airbag? No Problem!

Many classic Firebirds didn’t utilize airbags. In fact, the first Pontiac Firebird to feature an airbag wasn’t released until 1990. To create room for the airbag, Pontiac designed a brand new steering wheel and steering column that featured horn buttons on the side.  

The Weakest and Most Powerful Firebirds

Although Pontiac Firebirds are stunning vehicles, some are more powerful than others. The one with the poorest performance was the 1985 model with four cylinders. It came equipped with an LQ9 2.5 L four-cylinder engine that only produced 88 horsepower. 

On the other hand, the powerful Firebirds were the 1969 and 1970 Trans Ams that came with the Ram Air IV engine option. These powerhouse cars had 400 cubic-inch V8 that could produce 345 horsepower at 5,400 revolutions per minute. Additionally, they had 430 foot-pounds of torque at 3,700 revolutions per minute.  

The First Pontiac Firebird to Use the Black and Gold Color Scheme

Although car enthusiasts think fondly of Firebirds because of their performance, they also love Firebirds’ different styles. Designer John Schinella created one of the most iconic Firebird designs with its black and gold color scheme. The John Player Special Lotus Formula 1 cars inspired Schinella’s gorgeous Firebird design.

Pontiac introduced the black and gold color scheme at the Chicago Auto Show in 1976, and they offered the design from 1976 to 1981. 

The First Pontiac Firebird to Have a Buick Engine

Pontiac first introduced Buick engines in the Firebird in 1977. From 1977 to 1981, Pontiac equipped Firebirds with the naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter Buick V6 base engine that produced 105 horsepower.

Although these vehicles were far less powerful than many Firebird iterations, Pontiac equipped the Firebird with a much more robust Buick engine for the 1989 Indy 500. The 1989 Firebird Indy 500 pace car utilized a turbocharged 3.8 L V6 engine that produced 245 horsepower. 

The WS6 Special Performance Package

Pontiac first offered the WS6 Special Performance Package with the 1978 iteration of the Firebird Trans Am. The WS6 package came with 15×8-inch snowflake wheels, a more prominent rear sway bar, and wider tires. Pontiac offered this package from 1978 to 1992 as well as from 1996 through 2002. Additionally, this was the standard package on 1987 Formula and Trans Am GTAs. 

The Most Valuable Pontiac Firebird

The rarest and most valuable Firebird is the convertible edition of the 1969 Firebird Trans Am. Pontiac only created eight models of this remarkable vehicle, and they all feature a 400 HO engine with 335 horsepower. Today, these convertibles that are in Concours condition are worth around $1.2 million. 

Protect Your Pontiac Firebird With Premium Insurance

Regardless of your iteration of the Pontiac Firebird, you need to protect your beauty with the best insurance available. Fortunately, we offer robust and affordable protection on Firebirds and other pony and muscle cars. To learn more about how we can keep your classic Firebird on the road for years to come, call us at 888-901-1338. 


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