Thursday February 2, 2017
Written by Lancaster Insurance
The Pontiac Firebird has been the star of numerous Hollywood blockbusters, helping inspire a generation of car enthusiasts and wannabe race car drivers and what better way to celebrate than awarding it ‘car of the month’!
For those of us around in the late 70’s and early 80’s, you’ll remember sitting around the TV on a Sunday afternoon, waiting for a glimpse of the black Trans-Am, registration ‘BAN ONE’, driven with reckless abandon by Burt Reynolds in ‘Smokey and the Bandit’.
In reality, the Firebird’s story started much earlier and this month celebrates 50 years since its release. The original model shared its design platform with the equally iconic Chevrolet Camaro, both having stunning coke bottle body styling.
The Firebird came from an age when the muscle car was king and none more so than the ‘Trans-Am’ model, aptly named after the Trans Am Race Series. The most revered Trans-Am was the black 6.6 Litre model, complete with Golden Eagle on the bonnet, although this was not the most powerful model, which was the ‘Ram Air’ spec which, at its peak, boasted a 455CI engine.
Not content with creating one of the greatest movie cars of all time, in my opinion, Pontiac then, with its third generation model, possibly created the most iconic TV car ever, the KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand), for the long running American show ‘Knight Rider’.
The fourth and final generation Firebird was built from 1993 to 2002, with the last ever model being the ‘Collector’s Edition’ Trans-am.
Unlike its rivals from Chevrolet (Camaro), Ford (Mustang) and Dodge (Charger & Challenger), the Firebird did not have a revival in the late 2000’s, when American manufacturers were designing muscle cars that reflected their 60’s and 70’s counterparts. Instead, General Motors decided to pull the plug on the Pontiac brand in 2010 robbing us of the opportunity to see a modern version of that famous black and gold ‘Bandit 1’.
There is, however, a glimmer of hope as the Pontiac name is still a registered and active trademark and with Hollywood constantly remaking classic movies, we may yet see that famous eagle fly again.