AJ’s Car of the Day: 1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible

Car: Pontiac Firebird Convertible

Year: 1969

What makes it special: The Firebird was produced by General Motors Pontiac division for the 1967 through 2002 model years. It was created to compete with other Pony Cars like Ford’s Mustang model. It was introduced alongside Chevrolet’s platform-sharing Camaro model in February of 1967. Coincidentally, Mercury also released its Mustang platform-sharing model, the Cougar that same year.

What made it famous: The 1969 model year Firebird got a facelift in its final year of the first generation. It had a new design like the mid-sized GTO, sans the Endura front bumper. Both the dash and steering wheel were revised, and the ignition switch was moved from the dashboard to the steering column, creating the introduction of the locking steering wheel. Engine-wise, there was the addition of the Ram-Air IV option for the 400 cu in V8 engine line-up in ’69, complimenting the Ram-Air III, producing 345hp and 335hp. The 350 cu in HO V8 was given a different cam and cylinder heads giving it 325hp. Also for 1969, a special 303 cu in V8 was designed for SCCA Road Racing applications, but was not given to production models.

Why I would want one: The first-generation Firebirds were both sport and muscle combined. It was a more luxurious version of the Chevrolet Camaro, much like the Mercury Cougar was to the Ford Mustang.

Fun fact: The Firebird was a consolation prize for the Pontiac Motor Division who has wanted a two-seater sports car based on the “Banshee” concept car, which was scrapped due to fear of it cutting into Chevrolet Corvette sales. GM instead gave Pontiac a piece of the action by having the Firebird share the Pony Car market with the Chevrolet Camaro.
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