Pontiac Firebird: From Muscle Car Icon to Forgotten Gem

Published Categorized as Cars No Comments on Pontiac Firebird: From Muscle Car Icon to Forgotten Gem
Pontiac Firebird
Pontiac Firebird

Born in the muscle car era, the Pontiac Firebird roared onto the scene in 1967. A direct competitor to the Ford Mustang, it shared its platform with the Chevrolet Camaro, another General Motors offering.

Just two years later, the high-octane Trans Am joined the Firebird lineup, solidifying its place as a muscle car icon. While a major redesign arrived in 1970 for both the Firebird and Camaro, the muscle car era began to sputter by 1973.

Although performance improved over time, it never quite recaptured the glory of the muscle car heyday. As the 1990s dawned and Pontiac readied a completely new Firebird, they offered a surprise for performance enthusiasts – a special edition based on the previous generation.

Pontiac Firebird
Pontiac Firebird (Pontiac)

A rare bird indeed, the Pontiac Formula Firehawk soared under the radar despite being completely street-legal and backed by a standard Pontiac warranty. This lack of recognition stemmed from Pontiac’s minimal promotion of the RPO B4U option.

Coupled with a hefty price tag exceeding $39,995 (roughly $92,226 in today’s dollars), only 25 third-generation Firehawks ever rolled off the assembly line. Though their partnership extended into the early 2000s, subsequent Firehawks focused more on cosmetic tweaks and handling improvements rather than substantial engine upgrades.

Today, these early Firehawks remain a hidden gem for muscle car aficionados, a testament to their rarity and role in reigniting muscle car performance during the 1990s. Remarkably, a handful of these 25 originals have survived, offering a chance to own a piece of history at surprisingly attainable prices.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments