History of the Pontiac Firebird

1968 Pontiac Firebird convertible

The Pontiac Firebird is one of the most iconic muscle cars out there. That means that it is highly sought-after by collectors and is common in popular films and television. Take a look back at the history of the Firebird to see how it evolved over the years. The Pontiac Firebird arrived in 1967. It was a rival to compete with the Ford Mustang. At first, it was available as a two-door convertible and two-door coupe. It had the same platform as the popular Chevrolet Camaro but used different parts to set it apart. The biggest difference was the body-integrated front bumpers and the engines. The first-generation Firebird was available with a 220-horsepower 3.8 L6 or a 340-horsepower 6.6-liter V8.

Second Generation


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The second generation of the Pontiac Firebird arrived in 1970. It lasted until 1978. This is when the Firebird got a new look plus upgraded engines. One of the more noticeable updates was the two large headlights instead of the previous four circular ones. The front also got two air intakes that were very stylish. During this generation, the Firebird had a total of four engines on offer. They ranged from 112 to 340 horsepower and 4.1 to 7.5 liters.

1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Third Generation

The third generation of the Firebird lasted from 1982 to 1992. It delivered a new vehicle that was more efficient and more aerodynamic. There was a three-door hatchback coupe that let you choose from four engines from 90 to 238 horsepower and 2.5 to 5.7 liters. There were also three transmissions. They included a four-speed automatic and both a four- and five-speed manual.

Fourth Generation

4th Gen Firebird

Between 1990 and 1994, the Pontiac Firebird was in its fourth generation. This new generation included enhancements to the interior and safety. The driver side airbag became standard, and the interior got radio controls on the steering wheel along with a new shift indicator. There were fewer engine choices than in previous model years, but drivers could still pick from a 140-horsepower 3.1-liter V6 and a 209-horsepower 5.0-liter V8.

Fifth Generation

The fifth generation arrived in 1994. It only lasted until 1997. This generation kept the overall design but got more aerodynamic and more powerful. Engine choices included a 148-horsepower 3.4-liter V6, a 196-horsepower 3.8-liter V6, and a 269-horsepower 5.7-liter V8. This generation did not do as well as previous ones. That’s because it experienced low sales in most markets. 

Yet another version of the Pontiac Firebird arrived in 1995. This version was the Convertible. It lasted without major changes until 1997. This Firebird Convertible was designed to appeal to younger drivers despite its price tag. It was very similar to the regular Firebird in terms of technical features. It could be paired with either of the V6 engines of this generation.

Sixth Generation

1999 30th Anniversary

Both the Firebird and Firebird Convertible got facelifts for 2000. These upgrades included an almost fully new design. This design had new air intakes, reshaped headlights, and a redesigned front. The engines were upgraded with the 3.8-liter V6. They were now getting 205 horsepower, and the 5.7-liter V8 was now getting 315 horses. The 2000 version also got rear-wheel drive and a four-speed automatic transmission.

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