Big Chief Pontiac has a new papoose. And, while the newcomer’s appearance suggests that the ol’ Indian has been seeing a friend with a French name down the street, it’s an energetic offspring with a virility strictly Pontiac in origin.
The Firebird, as Pontiac calls its entry in the sporty car field, combines the structure of the Chevrolet Camaro with the power train options of the Tempest, Le Mans and GTO. It has the same wheelbase as the Camaro, 108.1 inches, but minor changes in bumper and grille styling add a couple of inches to overall length, stretching the Firebird out to 188.4 inches. Overall width of the Pontiac offering is 72.6 inches and height 51.6 inches.
Standard powerplant for the car is Pontiac’s 230-cubic-inch, overhead cam Tempest six, developing 165 horsepower at 4700 rpm. An optional version of this engine, the Sprint, has 215 horsepower at 5200 rpm.
The 326-cubic-inch Tempest V-8 is also available, in ratings of 250 horsepower with a two-barrel carburetor and 285 horsepower with a four-barrel.
But the most exciting option is the 400-cubic-inch GTO engine. For the Firebird, this unit is pegged at 3-25 horsepower at 5200 rpm, some 20 horsepower less than its rating in the GTO itself. Because of General Motors’ current policy of not building cars with less than 10 pounds per horsepower, Pontiac engineers have cut back the 400’s valve timing to, detune the