1968 Pontiac Firebird
2dr Hardtop Coupe
8-cyl. 350cid/265hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The 1968 Pontiac Firebird continued relatively unchanged from the inaugural 1967 model, the few differences were significant. Firstly, the vent windows were gone, replaced by single side windows and a new flow-through ventilation system. Secondly, the single leaf rear spring was replaced by a multi-leaf set-up and staggered shocks, to reduce axle hop. Front turn signals were also curved around the fenders to act as side marker lights, while an illuminated Pontiac logo was used on rear fenders.
On the engine front, the 326-cid V-8 was replaced by a 265-bhp 350-cid unit, boosted to 320 bhp in the 350 HO version. The 400-cid V-8 produced 330 bhp, while either the high-compression HO version or Ram-Air cold induction raised it to 335 bhp.
Sales climbed 23 percent to 107,112 units, with 90,152 Hardtops and 16,960 Convertibles. Trim was divided between Standard and Deluxe models. Buyers chose 15,969 Standard six-cylinder cars and 2525 Deluxe models, and 55,882 Standard V-8s and 32,736 Deluxe ones. Base prices were $2781 for the hardtop and $2996 for the convertible. For another $273.83 buyers could get the 330-bhp 400 model with twin scoop hood, heavy duty suspension, and red line tires, and the 335 bhp 400 HO cost $350.72. Top dog was the 400 Ram Air package for an additional $616, which raised the engine’s peak rpm to 5,200 but maintained 335 bhp.
As in 1967 the options were numerous and could add $1000 to the cost of the car. Common add-ons included air-conditioning ($360.20), power brakes ($42), front disc brakes ($63.19), power steering ($69), power windows ($100.05), power top ($52.66), vinyl roof ($84.26), fold-down rear seat ($42.13), hood tachometer ($63.19), tilt wheel ($42.13), console with bucket seats and floor shift ($47.39), cruise control ($52.66), head rests ($42), remote control trunk lid ($13.69), 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), close-ratio 4-speed manual ($184.31), automatic transmission with V8 ($236.97), wire wheel discs ($52.66), Rally 1 wheels ($40), Rally II wheels ($56), two-tone paint ($114.80), power bench front seat or LH bucket seat ($69.51), adjustable front and rear shocks ($52.66).
Pontiac offered 16 total exterior paint colors for the 1968 Firebird, including Starlight Black (A), Cameo Ivory (C), Alpine Blue (D), Aegean Blue (E), Nordic Blue (F), April Gold (G), Autumn Bronze (I), Median Turquoise (K), Aleutian Blue (L), Flambeau Burgundy (N), Springmist Green (P), Verduro Green (Q), Solar Red (R ), Primavera Beige (T), Nightshade Green (V), and Mayfair Maize (Y).
Pontiac introduced the Ram Air II system in April 1968 with a new type of round-port head which delivered better breathing. The $631.12 option also included a high-lift cam, forged pistons, Armasteel crank, improved pushrods and guides, tulip head valves and dual high-rate valve springs. The engine was rated at 340 bhp at 5,400 rpm, but the price did not included a Turbo Hydra-Matic or 4-speed transmission, which were extra cost.
Pontiac sold a record 910,977 cars in 1968, holding onto third place in the industry. The division’s total was still half of Ford’s 1,734,334 second place total, but it was still a remarkable achievement.