1967 Pontiac Firebird
8-cyl. 326cid/285hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Pontiac’s 1967 Firebird was the latest brainchild of John Z DeLorean, riding high on his GTO and looking to attack the pony car market started by the Ford Mustang. It’s frequently seen as a twin to the Chevrolet Camaro but the two are as different as the Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda would be in 1970.
For one thing, the 1967 Pontiac Firebird was 188.4 inches long – 22 inches more than the Camaro, with a stiffer suspension, slightly wider front and rear track and fractionally shorter wheelbase. None of the front body panels or rear deck interchanged and the Firebird’s nose was crowned with an elegant and practical chrome loop bumper surrounding four headlights, unlike the plain 2-headlight Camaro grille.
But while the Firebird recorded a respectable 82,560 sales, the Camaro sold 220,906 – almost three times as many units. Even combined, they couldn’t match the Mustang’s 471,121 sales for the year.
The base 1967 Firebird came with a 165-bhp 230-cid SOHC six, while the Firebird 326 had a 250-bhp 326-cid 2-barrel V-8, and the Firebird 326 HO was fitted with a 285-bhp version. Meanwhile, the 325-bhp 400-cid V-8 was also available with a high-revving Ram-Air HO version. Firebird prices started at $2666 for the hardtop and $2903 for the convertible. For another $274 buyers could get the 325-bhp 400 model with twin scoop hood, heavy duty suspension and red line tires. Top dog was the 400 Ram Air package for an additional $263, which raised the engine’s peak rpm to 5200.
Magazines naturally tested numerous Pontiac Firebirds that first year. Motor Trend tried a 400 Convertible with a Turbo Hydra-matic transmission and managed 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds and 15.4 seconds for a quarter mile at 92 mph. Car and Driver had even more fun with two 400 convertibles, recording 0-60 mph in 5.5 and 5.8 seconds, with quarter mile runs of 14.4 seconds at 100 mph and – even better – 14 seconds flat at 104 mph, and a top speed of 114 mph.
Firebird options could add an easy $1000 to the price of a new car. Common add-ons included air-conditioning ($355.98), power brakes ($41.60), front disc brakes ($63,19), power steering ($94.97), power windows ($100.05), power top ($52.66), vinyl top ($84.26), fold-down rear seat ($36.86), hood tachometer ($63.19), console with bucket seats and floor shift ($47.39), cruise control ($53), head rests ($42), remote control trunk lid ($13), rally gauge cluster ($84), reclining right hand seat ($84), AM/FM radio ($134), stereo tape player ($128), tilt steering ($42), 3-speed with floor shift ($42), 3-speed synchromesh ($84), 4-speed manual ($184), automatic transmission with V-8 ($195), wire wheel discs ($53), Rally 1 wheels ($40), and Rally II wheels ($56).
Pontiac offered a total of 15 exterior paint colors on the 1967 Firebird, including Starlight Black (A), Cameo Ivory (C), Montreux Blue (D), Fathom Blue (E), Tyrol Blue (F), Signet Gold (G), Linden Green (H), Gulf Turquoise (K), Marina Turquoise (L), Plum Mist (M), Burgundy (N), Silverglaze (P), Regimental Red (R ), Champagne (S), and Montego Cream (T).
Pontiac maintained third place in the U.S. sales race with 782,734 vehicles sold in 1967, but that was a long way from Ford’s second place total of 1,730,224 units.