engine for use in the smaller, lighter sporty car. Any Pon iac enthusiast who wants a Firebird with full GTO power need only drop by his dealer’s parts department and purchase the proper camshaft.
A three-speed manual transmission is standard with all Firebird powerplants and a four-speed manual optional. With the sixes and the 326 V-8’s, a two-speed automatic is offered while, with the big 400, a three-speed automatic is available.
Our test team had access to three Firebirds, a standard six, a Sprint and a 400. We say “had access” because we weren’t able to subject the cars to our normal road test procedures. Our experience with them was limited to an afternoon at the GM proving grounds in Mesa, Arizona, several months before they were scheduled for public showing. We had to work behind closed gates and couldn’t take any of the vehicles out on the highway.
Still, we were able to check both the Sprint and the high-powered 400 against the clocks and we flailed all three cars around, the GM test track enough to gain a fair appreciation of their handling qualities. And, calling on previous experience with the Camaro and the Tempest and GTO, it isn’t too difficult to anticipate some Firebird characteristics that we weren’t able to verify during our actual test session.
We should stress that all three cars were prototypes cobbled from Camaros rather than production Firebirds. They had Camaro interiors, for example, rather than the distinctive trim Pontiac is using, though their dash panels conformed to Firebird design.
Because they were hand-built forerunners of the Firebirds
Collapsible spare is exclusive Firebird feature, helps alleviate storage problem in small vehicle. Tire hardly takes up more room than bare wheel, yet inflates to full size from accompanying gas bottle. Unit isn’t intended for long-distance, high-speed use but will get car down the road for service.