The Pontiac Firebird is an American automobile that was built and produced by Pontiac from the 1967 to 2002 model years. Designed as a pony car to compete with the Ford Mustang and Mercury Cougar, it was introduced on February 23, 1967, simultaneous with GM's Chevrolet division platform-sharing Camaro.[1] This also coincided with the release of the 1967 Mercury Cougar, Ford's upscale, platform-sharing version of the Mustang.[2][3]

The name "Firebird" was also previously used by GM for the General Motors Firebird in the 1950s and early 1960s concept cars.

First generation (1967–1969)

First generation
Pontiac Firebird.jpg
1967 Pontiac Firebird convertible
ProductionFebruary 23, 1967–1969
AssemblyLordstown, Ohio, United States (1967–1969)
Van Nuys, California, United States (1968–1969)
Norwood, Ohio, United States (1969)
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
2-door convertible
PlatformThe name "Firebird" was also previously used by GM for the General Motors Firebird in the 1950s and early 1960s concept cars.

The first generation Firebird had characteristic Coke bottle styling shared with its cousin, the Chevrolet Camaro. Announcing a Pontiac styling trend, the Firebird's bumpers were integrated into the design of the front end, giving it a more streamlined look than the Camaro. The Firebird's rear "slit" taillights were inspired by the 1966–1967 Pontiac GTO. Both a two-door hardtop and a convertible were offered through the 1969 model year. Originally, the car was a "consolation prize" for Pontiac, which had desired to produce a two-seat sports car based on its original Banshee concept car. However, GM feared this would cut into Chevrolet Corvette sales, and gave Pontiac a piece of the "pony car" market through sharing the F-body platform with Chevrolet.

The 1967 base model Firebird came equipped with the Pontiac 230 cu in (3.8 L) SOHC inline-six. Based on the standard Chevrolet 230 cu in (3.8 L) inline-six, it was fitted with a single-barrel carburetor and rated at 165 hp (123 kW).[1] The "Sprint" model six came with a four-barrel carburetor, developing 215 hp (160 kW).[5] Most buyers opted for one of three V8s: the 326 cu in (5.3 L) with a two-barrel carburetor producing 250 hp (186 kW); the four-barrel "HO" (high output) 326, producing 285 hp (213 kW); or the 325 hp (242 kW) 400 cu in (6.6 L) from the GTO. All 1967–1968 400 CI engines had throttle restrictors that blocked the carburetors' second barrels from fully opening.[1] A "Ram Air" option was also available, providing functional hood scoops, higher flow heads with stronger valve springs, and a hotter camshaft. Power for the Ram Air package was the same as the conventional 400 HO, but peaked at 5,200 rpm.

The 230 cu in (3.8 L) engines were subsequently replaced in 1968 by the Chevrolet 250 cu in (4.1 L) stroked 230 cu in (3.8 L) engines, the first developing an increased 175 hp (130 kW) using a single-barrel carburetor, and the other the same 215 hp with a four-barrel carburetor. Also for the 1968 model, the 326 cu in (5.3 L) engine was replaced by the Pontiac 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8, which actually displaced 355 cu in (5.8 L), and produced 265 hp (198 kW) with a two-barrel carburetor. An HO version of the 350 cu in (5.7 L) with a revised cam was also offered starting in that year, which developed 320 hp (239 kW). Power output of the other engines was increased marginally.[1]

There was an additional Ram Air IV option for the 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 engines during 1969, complementing the Ram Air III; these generated 345 hp (350 PS; 257 kW) at 5000 rpm and 430 lb⋅ft (583 N⋅m) of torque at 3400 rpm;[6] and 335 hp (340 PS; 250 kW) respectively. The 350 cu in (5.7 L) HO engine was revised again with a different cam and cylinder heads resulting in 325 hp (242 kW). 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.[7]

The styling difference from the 1967 to the 1968 model was the addition of federally-mandated side marker lights: for the front of the car, the turn signals were made larger and extended to wrap around the front edges of the car, and on the rear, the Pontiac (V-shaped) Arrowhead logo was added to each side. The front door vent-windows were replaced with a single pane of glass and Astro Ventilation, a fresh-air-inlet system. The 1969 model received a major facelift with a new front end design but unlike the GTO, it did not have the Endura bumper. The instrument panel and steering wheel were revised. The ignition switch was moved from the dashboard to the steering column with the introduction of GM's new locking ignition switch/steering wheel.[1]

In March 1969, a $1,083[8] optional handling package called the "Trans Am performance and appearance package", UPC "WS4", named after the Trans Am Series, was introduced. A total of 689 hardtops and eight convertibles were made.[1]

Due to engineering problems that delayed the introduction of the all-new 1970 Firebird beyond the usual fall debut, Pontiac continued production of 1969 model Firebirds into the early months of the 1970 model year (the other 1970 Pontiac models had been introduced on September 18, 1969). By late spring of 1969, Pontiac had deleted all model-year references on Firebird literature and promotional materials, anticipating the extended production run of the then-current 1969 models.

Production totals[1]
Model 1967[9] 1968 1969
Two-door hardtop coupe 67,032 90,152 75,362
Two-door convertible 15,528 16,960 11,649
Two-door coupe Trans Am 689
Two-door convertible Trans Am 8
Total 82,560 107,112 87,708


1967 Std 230 cu in (3.8 L) Pontiac SOHC I6
165 hp (123 kW)
W53 "Sprint" 230 CID Pontiac SOHC I6
215 hp (160 kW)
L30 326 cu in (5.3 L) Pontiac V8
250 hp (186 kW)
L76 326 CID Pontiac "H.O." V8
285 hp (213 kW)
W66 400 cu in (6.6 L) Pontiac V8
325 hp (242 kW)
L67 400 CID Pontiac Ram Air V8
325 hp (242 kW)
1968 Std 250 cu in (4.1 L) Pontiac SOHC I6
175 hp (130 kW)
W53 "Sprint" 250CID Pontiac SOHC I6
215 hp (160 kW)
L30 350 cu in (5.7 L) Pontiac V8
265 hp (198 kW)
L76 350 CID Pontiac "H.O." V8
320 hp (239 kW)
W66 400 CID Pontiac V8
330 hp (246 kW)
L67 400 CID Pontiac Ram Air V8
335 hp (250 kW)
L74 400 CID Pontiac "H.O." V8
335 hp (250 kW)
L67 400 CID Pontiac Ram Air II V8
340 hp (254 kW)[a 1]
1969 Std 250 CID Pontiac SOHC I6
175 hp
W53 "Sprint" 250 CID Pontiac SOHC I6
230 hp (172 kW)
L30 350 CID Pontiac V8
265 hp (198 kW)
L76 350 CID Pontiac "H.O." V8
325 hp (242 kW)
W66 400 CID Pontiac V8
330 hp (246 kW)
L74 400 CID Pontiac "H.O." Ram Air III V8
335 hp (250 kW)
L67 400 CID Pontiac Ram Air IV V8
345 hp (257 kW)