There are tons of causes to like Pontiac’s Firebird, however for some folks, the redneck picture of the Seventies Trans Am variations could make the whole mannequin line exhausting to like, even when another Firebirds had been nothing like as brash or crude.
Jay Leno’s 1968 Firebird Dash is one such automotive. Right here was a Pontiac pony automotive that had a better kinship to fancy European sports activities automotive just like the Jaguar E-type than machines like its F-body sister, the Chevrolet Camaro.
And the main cause for that was the surprisingly refined engine underneath the hood. A 265 cu-in. (4.1-liter) straight-six with its valves pushed by an overhead cam linked to the crankshaft by a toothed rubber belt, it was a world away from the pushrod V8s and sixes that powered most American automobiles of the time.
The OHC-6 was supposed to be the star of Pontiac’s two-seat Banshee sports activities automotive, and though GM brass killed that venture for concern that it’d cannibalize Corvette gross sales, the six did discover its approach into the Tempest, Le Mans and, later, the Firebird.
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In base type for 1968, it displaced 4.1-liters, sucked by a puny one-barrel carb and made 175 hp. However stepping as much as the Dash-6 added free-flow exhausts, a high-lift cam, a better compression ratio and a four-barrel carb, lifting energy to 215 hp.
Sadly it additionally added a load of additional price, making a Dash-6 a Firebird that price as a lot as an entry stage V8 mannequin, however nonetheless didn’t make as a lot energy. You needed to actually need the extra refined engine, and most of the people didn’t, or a minimum of not sufficient.
And lots of Sprints have misplaced their engines within the years since, although thankfully today they’re relatively extra appreciated. Leno added this one to his assortment in 2019 after an extended search, gave it a lightweight restoration, and added some trendy upgrades, together with a five-speed transmission, to make it extra pleasurable to drive in trendy visitors.
The primary technology Firebirds don’t get anyplace close to as a lot publicity as their later brothers, and whereas the ’69’s pug nostril is difficult to like, the ’67-68 automobiles with their full width chrome grille surrounds are nice wanting automobiles.
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