Pontiac created a lot of waves in the automotive industry in the 1960s starting with the introduction of the GTO in 1964. Pontiacs executives exploited a loophole in GM’s policies to make the potent combination of size and performance possible. The big performance engine in a light weight, mid-size car proved to be an instant success with the public as well, and set the automaker apart as a performance leader and innovator.
Not content to rest on its success, Pontiac’s team next sought a true “Sports Car.” They envisioned a world-class car that could perform well yet take a bite out of Ford’s success with the Mustang. They developed the Pontiac Banshee that looked surprisingly like the later stingray Corvettes and the Opal Gas. But their hopes for this new car were soon dashed as GM’s executives feared it would cut into Corvette sales. Instead GM offered up the new F-Body platform to Pontiac to use as their Mustang Killer. The F-body platform proved the youth market was ready for Pony Car Performance cars with the introduction of the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird in 1967.
The first generation Firebirds (1967–69) were an instant success and remain the most sought-after by collectors today. Naturally the most prized engine for this early performance machine was the 400 cubic inch, which proved to be a worthy adversary on the strip and the street. When Terry Wright, one of our regular contributors, finished his recent restoration of a 1968 Firebird, we just had to take a closer look.
Terry spent a lot of time looking for the right candidate for his latest restoration. While he admits to having owned a couple other Firebirds over the years, he had never owned a 1968 model, yet always felt drawn to them. Naturally there were a few items changed out when Terry first acquired it, but soon he had it all back to factory stock. And although he didn’t check when he bought this great ride, he was pleased to discover it was an engine and transmission matching numbers car. As an auto body professional, it’s only natural this car is now laser straight and smooth as glass. Great job, Terry, and if you see it at a car show invest a little time to admire this great ride.