1969 Pontiac Firebird 2017-06-30T14:27:57+00:00

Project Description

OVERVIEW

There’s something immediately sinister looking about this Firebird. Perhaps it’s the black paint combined with the black top over the black vinyl interior combined with the subtle red pin striping that makes it look so mean. Or maybe it’s the 400 cubic inch V8 that churns out 330 HP lurking under the sculpted hood, taunting you to push your right foot to the floor. Either way, there is something menacing about this car that gives it that bad-boy aura.

Sliding into the vinyl bucket seat and staring out over the thin-rimmed steering wheel over the long, bulging hood, there’s a sense of occasion. The driving position is laid back and comfortable; the seats, supple and supportive. The wood-trimmed dashboard has sharp, chiseled lines that greet the driver. The gauges are deeply sunken into the dash, giving them a purposeful look. At first glance, something seems out of place. Instead of being located in the dash, the tachometer has been moved up to the trailing edge of the hood, giving the driver a clear view of what the engine is doing.

This engine is worth keeping an eye on too. With 400 cubic inches of American iron thumping away beneath the hood, the V8 purrs like a kitten at idle but roars like a lion at full throttle. Unlike some of the lazier V8s of this era, the Pontiac’s lump feels more responsive and ready for action, even when mated up to an automatic transmission. And once you plant your foot down on the gas pedal, you’ll get an intoxicating blend of torquey thrust and thunderous roar.

Better yet, the suspension is incredibly compliant over everything except the bumpiest of pavement, allowing you to cruise in top-down comfort for hours on end. And during a crisp fall afternoon, that’s exactly what you’ll want to do. Hop into the driver’s seat, fire up that V8 engine and cruise down your favorite tree-lined boulevard as the changing leaves above your head rustle in cool autumn breeze.

OVERVIEW

There’s something immediately sinister looking about this Firebird. Perhaps it’s the black paint combined with the black top over the black vinyl interior combined with the subtle red pin striping that makes it look so mean. Or maybe it’s the 400 cubic inch V8 that churns out 330 HP lurking under the sculpted hood, taunting you to push your right foot to the floor. Either way, there is something menacing about this car that gives it that bad-boy aura.

Sliding into the vinyl bucket seat and staring out over the thin-rimmed steering wheel over the long, bulging hood, there’s a sense of occasion. The driving position is laid back and comfortable; the seats, supple and supportive. The wood-trimmed dashboard has sharp, chiseled lines that greet the driver. The gauges are deeply sunken into the dash, giving them a purposeful look. At first glance, something seems out of place. Instead of being located in the dash, the tachometer has been moved up to the trailing edge of the hood, giving the driver a clear view of what the engine is doing.

This engine is worth keeping an eye on too. With 400 cubic inches of American iron thumping away beneath the hood, the V8 purrs like a kitten at idle but roars like a lion at full throttle. Unlike some of the lazier V8s of this era, the Pontiac’s lump feels more responsive and ready for action, even when mated up to an automatic transmission. And once you plant your foot down on the gas pedal, you’ll get an intoxicating blend of torquey thrust and thunderous roar.

Better yet, the suspension is incredibly compliant over everything except the bumpiest of pavement, allowing you to cruise in top-down comfort for hours on end. And during a crisp fall afternoon, that’s exactly what you’ll want to do. Hop into the driver’s seat, fire up that V8 engine and cruise down your favorite tree-lined boulevard as the changing leaves above your head rustle in cool autumn breeze.

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A LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW

The Firebird originally started life as a consolation prize for Pontiac, who has desired to create something wild to take on the Corvette. General Motors quickly shut down that idea and suggested Pontiac instead use the F-body, shared by the Camaro. It turned out to be a formula that worked well, since it’s doubtful that a clean-slate sports car aimed at the Corvette would’ve carried on for as long as the Firebird did.

When it originally debuted in 1967, the Firebird was available with an inline-6 engine, making roughly 215 hp, but most buyers chose on of the V8 options which ranged from a 5.3 liters up to a 6.6-liter with 335 hp for 1969. Although the Firebird had only been in production for 2 years, the 1969 model received a substantial redesign with a completely new front fascia and new windows as well as a redesigned interior. Additionally, the iconic Trans-Am trim was added that offered more power through the addition of the Ram Air hood design that allowed the 6.6-liter engine to breath a little better. Only 697 Trans Ams were made, including 689 hardtops and 8 convertibles.

Due to the major facelift for 1969, the first-generation Firebird carried on in production until mid-1970 when the 1970 ½ model debuted. The Firebird name lived on through 2002 and various Firebird models have been featured in a number of TV shows and movies including Smokey and the Bandit and Knight Rider.

A LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW

The Firebird originally started life as a consolation prize for Pontiac, who has desired to create something wild to take on the Corvette. General Motors quickly shut down that idea and suggested Pontiac instead use the F-body, shared by the Camaro. It turned out to be a formula that worked well, since it’s doubtful that a clean-slate sports car aimed at the Corvette would’ve carried on for as long as the Firebird did.

When it originally debuted in 1967, the Firebird was available with an inline-6 engine, making roughly 215 hp, but most buyers chose on of the V8 options which ranged from a 5.3 liters up to a 6.6-liter with 335 hp for 1969. Although the Firebird had only been in production for 2 years, the 1969 model received a substantial redesign with a completely new front fascia and new windows as well as a redesigned interior. Additionally, the iconic Trans-Am trim was added that offered more power through the addition of the Ram Air hood design that allowed the 6.6-liter engine to breath a little better. Only 697 Trans Ams were made, including 689 hardtops and 8 convertibles.

Due to the major facelift for 1969, the first-generation Firebird carried on in production until mid-1970 when the 1970 ½ model debuted. The Firebird name lived on through 2002 and various Firebird models have been featured in a number of TV shows and movies including Smokey and the Bandit and Knight Rider.

WORD ON THE STREET

“Pontiac’s early dealer literature was rather blunt in the manner in which the GM division flaunted their 1969 Firebird 400. “Big Daddy!” Not Peppy Pony or Frisky Firebird, but Big Daddy. As in The Boss, The Man, or any other such term that comes to mind. And they had good reason for choosing Big Daddy, as the carefully positioned 400 badges were more than just a fancy model call-out.”

Matthew Litwin, Hemmings

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