AJ’s Car of the Day: 1971 Pontiac Firebird

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1971 Pontiac Firebird

Car: Pontiac Firebird

Year: 1971

What makes it special: The Firebird was built by Pontiac from the 1967 to the 2002 model years. Designed as a pony car to compete with the Ford Mustang, it was introduced the same model year as GM’s Chevrolet division platform-sharing Camaro. This also coincided with the release of the 1967 Mercury Cougar, Ford’s upscale, platform-sharing version of the Mustang.

What made it famous: The second generation debut for the 1970 model year was delayed until February 26, 1970, because of tooling and engineering problems; thus, its popular designation as a 1970½ model, while leftover 1969’s were listed in early Pontiac literature without a model-year identification. This generation of Firebirds were available in coupe form only. Replacing the “Coke bottle” styling was a more “swoopy” body style, while still retaining some traditional elements. The top of the rear window line going almost straight down to the lip of the trunk lid, a look that was to epitomize F-body styling for the longest period during the Firebird’s lifetime. The new design was initially characterized with a large C-pillar, until 1975 when the rear window was enlarged. The Pontiac 455 cu in V8 first became available in the second generation Firebird in 1971. The 455 engine was available in the L75 325 hp version and the LS5 335 hp HO version, which was the standard, and only engine option, for the Trans Am. The HO engine also included Ram Air IV.

Why I would want one: I had a 1970, and loved the hell out of it. Unfortunately, though it ran beautifully it had body work needs that were way above my capabilities both in finance and talents.

Fun fact: The name “Firebird” was also previously used by GM for the General Motors Firebird 1950’s and early 1960s concept cars.

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