The Pontiac Firebird was a popular muscle car that was produced from 1967 to 2002, and the Trans Am was its even more popular variant. This lineup of powerful and speedy vehicles was built on a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout and competed heavily with other pony cars of its time, like the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang. The Firebird evolved greatly over its 35-year history and is considered a classic among car enthusiasts today.
The Firebird was assembled in Norwood, Ohio, for most of its lifetime. The power of this vehicle was at its highest in the late 1960s because of the three optional V8 engines available. The largest 400 cubic-inch 6.6 liter V8 engine produced 325 horsepower, an output that overshadowed the later 5.7 liter engine, which produced only 275 horsepower. The SLP package in the fourth generation Firebird increased the power to 300 horsepower, which still did not compare with the earliest models.
Like the engine sizes, the body styles changed drastically over the lifetime of the Firebird. The first generation had the classic pony car look with integrated bumpers and a narrow front and rear end, but the fourth generation's design was modernized with a sleek body frame and streamlined spoiler. The Firebird Trans Am was an upgraded package that featured a host of modifications, such as a hood scoop, a specialty spoiler, fog lights and new rims. The fourth generation body style was rumored to have borrowed its design from a 1990 Pontiac Fiero prototype.
Because Pontiac knew the exterior was a main attraction for muscle car buyers, it emphasized design in the Firebird models. In addition to sleek curves and optional packages for lights and suspension, Pontiac also offered the Firebird in a few limited colors, such as Bright Purple Metallic" and "Navy Blue Metallic". Pontiac provided many of these options in the standard models as well.
Despite the Firebird losing horsepower over the years, the modern styling and array of options continued to attract buyers of all ages. The two-door coupe and two-door convertible options, along with the many different engine upgrades, gave the Firebird an upper hand in its class. Its affordable price tag during the third generation caught the attention of consumer guide IntelliChoice, which presented the Firebird with the Best Overall Value of the Year Award in 1992. Just ten years after this accolade, slow sales would result in Pontiac pulling the plug on their 35-year-old muscle car.
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