I n many ways, the Pontiac Firebird is the forgotten muscle car. Like every other non-Ford pony car, it was a reaction to the Mustang. General Motors’ pony car was really a Chevrolet project, which Pontiac tagged on to late in the day; for the first few years of its life it played second fiddle to its GM sibling, the Chevrolet Camaro. The Firebird, moreover, did not sell as well as its Camaro cousin, let alone the Mustang itself. And yet the Firebird turned out to be the great survivor among muscle cars, persevering with a big, hairy 455-cu in (7.47-liter) V8 in the uncertain 1970s, when every other muscle car was downsizing, downgrading, or hiding its horsepower beneath a bushel. It was all due to the Trans Am, which started off as a Firebird derivative but ended up

A modified Firebird. Both a two-door hardtop and a convertible were offered in the 1969 model year.

Pontiac Firebird 9

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