1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible / Specs, Photos, More

 

Our featured car is a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible. This very popular Pontiac model came into being in 1967 during John Z. Deloreans tenure at General Motors. The first generation Firebirds included the 1967 through 1969 models. The first generation Pontiac Firebird  offered two different design options for buyers. These were a  2-door hardtop coupe and a convertible.

first generation pontiac firebird

1969 Pontiac Firebird

1969 Restyling

The 1969 Pontiac Firebird received a restyling similar to the same year Camaro's. Restyling included broader fenders with a new front end that separated the headlights from the grille. There was a minor change to the interior and with the exception of these three things the Pontiac Firebird had the same elements as the 68 model.

The Pontiac Firebird and the Chevy Camaro

Both being models from General Motors, some may think that the first 1967 Pontiac Firebird was merely a repackaging of the Camaro, but that really is not an accurate picture. There is no doubt at all that the Pontiac Firebird when it was first introduced in 1967 was influenced by the Camaro particularly with the Firebird hitting the market five months after the Chevy Camaro. The Firebird may have never have been developed had it not been for the Camaro but there was a basic difference. The Pontiac Firebird utilized genuine Pontiac engines. The Firebird would clearly distinguish itself from Camaro and would attract much more popularity during the 1970's.

1969 pontiac firebird convertible

Distinctive Firebird front end

Pontiac Firebird buyers had the choice of six and eight cylinder engines. The Firebird was using a Camaro chassis and some body panels. Regardless, the Firebird’s styled split front grille, beaked hood, and GTO slitted taillights gave it a distinctly Pontiac appearance. What really set the Firebird apart from the Chevy Camaro was found under the hood. The Firebird offered a good selection of Pontiac engines.

As an example, the “Sprint” version got the buyer a 230 inline 6 with a 4 barrel carburetor rated at 215 HP. Either one of the six cylinder engines was linked to either a three or four speed manual or two-speed automatic transmission. The majority of Firebird buyers however chose one of the available V8 engines. At the bottom was Pontiac’s 326 V8 with a two barrel carb that was rated at 250 bhp. A special “H.O.” (High Output) version of the 326 V8 along with a four barrel carburetor was rated at 285 HP. The biggest V-8 was the 400 V8 that was taken from the Pontiac GTO and it was rated at 325 HP.

The 1969 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM

Of special note for 1969 was the introduction of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Pontiac had to pay the SCCA for use of the Trans Am name but it turned out to be well worth it. The Trans AM name is very recognizable even today. The Pontiac Trans Am was built with the Ram Air III at 335 HP engine hooked up to a heavy duty 3-speed manual, or the Ram Air IV at 345 HP with a 4-speed manual. The Trans AM with a great sports look came with a rear spoiler, dual hood and fender scoops, lower sports suspension, large performance tires, bigger anti-sway bars. The model had a race car look of blue stripes on a white background. The Pontiac Trans AM was known for great looks and superb handling.

1969 Pontiac Firebird Specifications

As noted above, there was a variety of engines and horsepower available to Firebird buyers. In 1969 there were eight different engines available. There were two Inline six engines and six V-8's. Horsepower ranged from 175 to 345.

Brakes were front disc with rear hydraulic drums.

Front suspension was independent coil springs and rear was longitudinal springs and live axle.

1969 firebird dashboard

Firebird dash

Wheelbase was 108.1 inches, overall length 191.1 inches, width 73.9 inches and height 49.6 inches. Average curb weight was 3,500 lbs.

For the 1969 model year, there were a total of 87,708 Pontiac Firebirds built. For the same model year there was a total of 697 Trans AM's produced. As a comparison, Chevy produced 243,000 Camaro's for 1969.

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The 1960 Pontiac Star Chief

The 1969 Pontiac GTO

The 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix

Excellent reference resources regarding the popular Pontiac Firebird included...Pontiac Firebird: The Auto-Biography by author Marc Cranswick...Pontiac Firebird : 50 Years by David Newhardt.

First Generation Pontiac Firebird Collector Values

pontiac firebird pony car

The first generation Pontiac Firebirds are very popular collector cars. When you consider that under 700 Trans AM's were built in 1969 and of those only eight Trans AM convertibles were built, you have some rare cars indeed.

At this date, valuations cover a wide range due to overall condition, originality, mileage and model. In general the Trans AM's are valued higher. Asking prices are generally from $25,000 to $75,000 with exceptions on both ends.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1968 Jeepster Convertible / Model History, Specifications, More

The vehicle featured in this article is a terrific looking 1968 Jeepster Convertible. The Jeepster can be an off road vehicle but it also is truly a street vehicle. What you had here was a vehicle that could be used off road with carpeting, seating for four and air conditioning. Something you wouldn't see in off roaders at the time although it didn't take long for competitors to come up with similarly appointed off road vehicles.

1968 jeepster specifications

1968 Jeepster from Kaiser-Jeep

For the 1968 model year there were three Jeepster models available. These were the Jeepster Hurricane Convertible with a 134 cubic inch four cylinder engine delivering 75 HP. The Jeepster Dauntless Convertible V-6 with 160 HP and the Jeepster Dauntless Convertible V-6 with 160 HP and with a three speed automatic.

Jeepster From the Jeep

One of the most versatile and long lasting automotive brands that has survived the decades, and continues to be very popular, is the Jeep. The Jeep brand itself had it's start around 1940 as one of the most popular US military vehicles ever built. The Jeep brand has changed ownership several times over the decades, changed designs many times as well, and continues to be one of America's top selling brands.

The term "Jeep" was used to describe The Jeep MB or Willys MB. As is the case with some other car nameplates, the term "jeep" has a few different versions as to how it was arrived at. The first version is that army mechanics at one time used the term "Jeep" to describe any new untested vehicle.

1968 jeepster

The off road Jeepster

It was after the war that Willys-Overland Motor Company began building the new Jeep civilian model which they named the Jeep CJ. The company also came out in 1950 with their new Jeep military version which was called the M38. The new M38 was designed off the 1949 civilian jeep. With a reputation of building military vehicles during World War Two, it's no surprise that the Jeep name had car buyers thinking of ruggedness and durability.

Willys-Overland, Kaiser-Jeep and American Motors Built the Jeepster

Willys-Overland produced the Jeepster from 1948 through 1950. During those three model years 19,100 Jeepsters were built. The original Jeepsters were positioned to fill the gap between the post war Jeep CJ and the one ton family wagon. They were designed by well known industrial designer Brooks Stevens. The company was said to have failed to market the Jeepster effectively including little advertising and which led to the production stop after the 1950 model.

The Jeepster name came back in 1967 being produced by Kaiser-Jeep which had taken  over Willys-Overland back in 1953. American Motors took over Kaiser-Jeep in 1970.

1968 Jeepster Specifications / Kaiser-Jeep

Base models came with a 75-horsepower F-Head 134 cubic inch four-cylinder engine. This wasn’t a lot of power, but neither was it unusually low for this model segment, and the Jeepster wasn’t considered heavy. For those willing to spend a bit more, there was the 155-horsepower, 225 cubic-inch Dauntless V-6 brought over from Buick.

This engine allowed the Jeepster to hit 60 mph in 12.6 seconds and a top speed of 87 mph.

When American Motors began Jeepster production in 1972 all engines were Inline Six Cylinders.

off road jeepster vehicles

The outside mounted spare tire differentiates the model from the Commando

Gearbox was a three speed manual.

Leaf springs comprised the front and rear suspension.

Overall length was 175.3 inches, width was 65.2 inches with a wheelbase of 101.0 inches. Curb weight was 2,835 lbs.

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1950 Willys Station Wagon

The 1941 Willys Americar

The Willys MB

Reference material and good reading about the Jeep and Jeepster includes...The Story of Jeep..1st Edition by Patrick R. Foster.....Jeepster and Commando..Road Test Limited Edition by Brooklands.

kaiser Jeepster

Jeepster dash

Jeepster Collector Cars

The Jeepster has been a very popular vehicle and collector values for the earlier models are strong. As an example, restored 1950 Willys Jeepsters are currently in the $30,000 plus price range. Interestingly enough, you might find prices a bit higher on the later model Jeepsters in the same restored condition. The Jeepster model itself is considered a true piece of automotive history and this should go a long way in keeping it's popularity high.

Most of the Jeepsters produced were Commando models and the non Commando Jeepster more luxurious model is identified with the spare tire mounted on the rear outside the vehicle. Commando models had the spare tire inside. The non-Commando models are indeed much more rarer.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1960 Pontiac Star Chief / Specs, Photos and More

The automobile featured in this article is a good looking 1960 Pontiac Star Chief. This Pontiac model was produced from 1954 to 1966. For 1967 the Star Chief name was replaced with the Pontiac Executive.

1960 Pontiac Star Chief

1960 Pontiac Star Chief

Pontiac made several model changes for 1959 which included dropping the entry level Chieftain model and essentially renaming it the Catalina. The Catalina was the lower priced Pontiac but compared to the Chevy Impala it was a step up. The Pontiac Star Chief which had been it's top of the line model was moved down to mid line level and was really powered similarly to the lower Catalina.

In the meantime, in 1958 the Pontiac Bonneville became the top Pontiac. At that time and for years afterward, Pontiac placed their attention on the top of the line Bonneville offering the car in many more body styles than with Star Chief.

The Pontiac Star Chief

Before the Pontiac Star Chief was introduced in 1954, Pontiac models had the same wheelbase length of Chevrolets. This changed with the Star Chief's longer 123.5 inches. The new Star Chief came with only a straight eight engine. The sixes were not available on this model during 1954. One year later in 1955 the straight eight was replaced with the V-8.

pontiac star chief sedan

1960 Pontiac Star Chief Sedan

The 1960 Pontiac Star Chief

The 1960 Pontiac Star Chief was part of the fourth generation of Star Chiefs (1959-60). The 1960 Star Chief received minor changes to the body from 59. The drivetrains were the same as in 1959. The instrument panel was changed.

The Star Chiefs actually began looking quite similar to the Catalinas. The Pontiac Star Chief models for 1960 included only hardtops,four door sedans, and two door sports sedans. A lack of a convertible model didn't help sales. Pontiac also brought out the well equipped Ventura model in 1960 but it lasted for only two model years. The Pontiac Ventura was a sportier alternative to the Catalina but ended up being replaced by the Grand Prix.

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The 1954 Pontiac Star Chief

The 1957 Pontiac Star Chief

References for this article included GM/Pontiac Archives, Complete Book of Collector Cars, Pontiac Star Chief Owners Manuals.

1960 Pontiac Star Chief Specifications

Pontiac's V-8 was introduced in 1955. The engine for the 1960 Pontiac Star Chief was a 389 cubic inch V-8. This V-8 was the main Pontiac engine through 1966 and was the GTO engine through 1966.

An interesting fact regarding Pontiac is that they produced their own V-8 engines which sets it apart from other GM brands. Those Pontiacs produced for the U.S. market had Pontiac engines. Those Pontiacs produced in Canada used Chevrolet engines.

Out of all the Pontiac Star Chiefs produced for the 1960 model year, almost all were with HydraMatic transmissions. pontiac star chief model historyOnly a few hundred had synchromesh gear boxes.

Front suspension was an independent ball joint with coil springs. Rear suspension included pivoted control arms.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Dimensions for the 1950 Pontiac Star Chief Sedan included a wheelbase of 124.0 inches...an overall length of 220.7 inches...a width of 80.0 inches and a height of 56.4 inches. Weight averages 3,995 lbs.

1960 Pontiac Star Chief production totaled 43,690 vehicles. Depending on the exact model, average new car price for the 1960 Star Chief was $2,900.

The 1960 Pontiac Star Chief Collector Car

As mentioned above, the Pontiac Star Chief by the late 1950's appeared somewhat similar to the bottom of the line Catalina. It's power also was close to the Catalina's. With that being said, the heyday for the Star Chief model was probably from 1955-57. By 1960 the Pontiac Star Chief were only seen as hardtops and two and four door sedans and that lasted until the model was discontinued.

pontiac star chief specificationsThe 1960 Pontiac Star Chief four door sedan is reasonably priced for someone wishing to start a collection. Values of course are dictated by originality, overall condition, restored or not and mileage.

The range for the 60 Star Chief is now generally $10,000 to $25,000. There are exceptions to these however depending on the model. As ,mentioned above, the 1960 Pontiac Star Chief was only produced in the hardtop, four door sedan, and two door sport sedan.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)