AJ's Car of the Day 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 H.O. Convertible

Car: Pontiac Firebird 400 H/O Convertible

Year: 1968

What makes it special: The 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 was considered the best compact muscle car of that year. Styling was basically unchanged from the prior year with the exception of the removal of side vent windows and addition of federally-mandated fender marker lights. But under its skin, Pontiac engineers continued to refine the Camaro-specification suspension that was mandated by GM.

What made it famous: Its 400 H.O. ( High Output ) V8 with free-flow exhausts, rated at 335 bhp, but redlined higher than the base engine and below the Ram Air. It was equipped with a single four-barrel carb and came with either a 3- or 4-speed manual or optional 3-speed automatic transmission.

Why I would want one: A 1968 review by Car and Driver Magazine summed it up best: "For sheer enjoyment and confidence behind the wheel...the Firebird was almost in a class by itself." Plus, it's one good looking piece of machinery. Love the hood-mounted Tachometer and "H.O." side stripe decal.

Fun fact: In a magazine comparison test, a Pontiac Firebird 400 H.O. bested a 390 AMC Javelin, a 390 Ford Mustang and 390 Mercury Cougar, an SS/396 Chevrolet Camaro, and a 340 Plymouth Barracuda. Not only was the Poncho quickest of the bunch, but its engine was the smoothest and its handling the friendliest.

 

( 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 H.O. Convertible photo from wikimedia.org )