1968 Pontiac Firebird Coupe
By 1953, the research team at Pontiac had produced the Firebird XP-21, later referred to as the Firebird I, which was essentially a jet airplane on wheels. It was the first gas turbine-powered car tested in the United States. The design is entirely impractical, with a bubble-topped canopy over a single-seat cockpit, a bullet-shaped fuselage made entirely of fiberglass, short wings, and a vertical tail fin. A small version adorns the top of the Harley Earl Trophy given each year to the winner of the Daytona 500
From these early winged designs and concepts to this consigned car, the 1968 Version, Pontiac has a fan base that is not Mopar oriented, or in love with Mustangs or Camaros. They are true to their brand, and loyal to the Pontiac moniker and the Firebird. Plenty of new parts and upgrades bring this car up to and past original standards, and we have a stunning example of the 68 Firebird.
Pontiacs have always been “beaked” in front and this pony car is no exception. With a wraparound chrome grille surround/bumper and the dual headlights it presents nice and shiny and in excellent condition. Working our way back the long hood we see a ram air hood with dual scoops, a red 400 badge on the sides, and a hood mounted tachometer. All additional badging is excellent. and steel panels are straight and mind their gaps. These are all neatly bathed in beautifully applied and polished Torch Red. A small rear trunk deck and my favorite year for Pontiac with the dual horizontal slit brake lights framed by the bumper with an inverted U bump for the license plate. New glass surrounded by shiny and bright trim and a factory black vinyl top are also presenting excellent. 14-inch Rally 2 wheels are on all 4 corners, and running between them is a perfect stainless rocker trim piece.
WIth a completely new interior we see black vinyl high bucket seats in front and a rear bench both having faux stitched horizontal pleating centers, and smooth bolsters. Door panels are much like the seats with smooth very nice smooth black vinyl. A wood grained appliqué center console cuts through the buckets and shows a Hurst shifter that operates a close ratio Muncie tranny. An angled dash has all the right stuff and in showroom condition with new factory gauges, bezels and switches. This is fronted by a wood steering wheel with a desirable tilt column. Headliner is impeccable and carpet is black and beautiful.
This is the meat of the consigner's work on this car. Starting with boring the circa 1969 400 ci 0.30 over, the stock cam has been retained, and the original 4-barrel Quadrajet carburetor is on top. In back of the 400 cubes is a Muncie M21 close ratio 4-speed transmission with Hurst shifter and linkage. Add a 10-bolt posi unit rear with all new bearings and 3.55 gears and the mild mannered beak nosed pony car becomes more like a bird of prey. All wrapped in a beautiful steel blue block and chromed air cleaner with chromed valve covers… mechanical jewelry.
Virtually rebuilt with new parts all over underneath such as a new driveshaft yoke and universal joints, new control arms, steering linkage and sway bar upgrade to 1-1/4 inches. New stock leaf springs with original shocks, and power front disc brakes part of a braking system that is all new! Snaking its way rearward is a polished stainless exhaust system just for a little bling in an otherwise near perfect environment. Noted is a tear in the front of the passenger's side rear unibody rail. While it does not seem to affect structural integrity, it should be addressed for aesthetics.
It is not very often where I get to drive a showroom condition car from 1968, but this did not disappoint. She lit right up with a turn of the key, sounded great, and ran beautifully. Some nice power, comfortable interior, and great ride with superior handling.
If you are an early Firebird buff, you really need to take a close look at this wonderfully restored early example, with lots of upgrades and new factory parts. Miles deep paint, engine bling, and snappy interior, you can see the true definition of sweat equity. This is an investment grade pony car for sure, and a finished product of an appreciation for the Firebird brand.
37-2 Door Sport Coupe
U-Lordstown, OH Assy Plant
168971-Sequential Unit Number
06C-3rd Week June Build
ST 68 22437-1968 Firebird 2 Door Sport Coupe
BDY LOR47994-Lordstown Body #
PNT P2-Springmist Green, Black Vinyl Top