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.

See additional Auto Museum Online articles from the links below...

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)

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.

Check out the additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

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)

Modified 1941 Pontiac Torpedo Model 25 / Photos and Specs

The Pontiac name did not adorn an automobile until 1926, however marque does date back to 1893. Edward M. Murphy founded the Pontiac Buggy Company in Pontiac, Michigan, just north of Detroit and a town which had taken its name from a mighty Indian chief who, 150 years before, had banded together the Ottawas, Chippewas, Pottawattomis and Miamis into a powerful confederation.

pontiac silverstreak

1941 Pontiac Silverstreak

The Pontiac marque lasted until the end of 2010 when GM discontinued the line due to the parent company bankruptcy during the Great Recession.

For the 1941 model year Pontiac offered three series of automobiles. These included the Deluxe Torpedo, the Streamliner Torpedo and the Custom Torpedo. Each of these series had various sub models. The Deluxe had five models, the Streamliner offered two models and the Custom featured three body styles.

The Custom Torpedo series offered the sedan coupe, a four-door sedan and an 8 passenger station wagon.  The Streamliner Torpedo series featured the sedan coupe and the four-door sedan.  The Deluxe Torpedo series consisted of 5 models. These were the business coupe, sedan coupe, convertible sedan coupe, two-door sedan and four-door sedan.

Pontiac Torpedoes

Pontiac came out in 1940 with a Torpedo model on a C-body. In 1941 the Torpedo came out also on the A-body and B-body. Because of this the entire line of Pontiacs used the Torpedo name. Series 25 Pontiac's were the six cylinder versions and Series 27 had the eight cylinder engines. The C-body was discontinued after 1941 and didn't appear again until 1971.

As far as Pontiac's position among all American automobiles the true market niche for Pontiac was right where Alfred Sloan originally placed it, a step above the low-priced, “big three” cars from Chevrolet, Ford and Plymouth.

1941 Pontiac Series 25

Pontiac did something new for 1941 that hadn't been done before by any American automaker. Pontiac had an engine option available for each of the three series. The standard engine for each was the six cylinder with the buyer being able to have a straight eight with dual carburetors and 103 horsepower for just $25 more. Pontiac advertised their 1941 models as the "Torpedo Fleet" offering both sixes and eights.

1941 pontiac

1941 Pontiac

Featured in this article is the 1941 Pontiac DeLuxe Torpedo 2 Door Silverstreak Model 25 six cylinder.

The 1941 Pontiac is noted for it's higher, wider and crisper fenders. In general, all 1941 Pontiac's looked lower and wider. The 1942 models were redesigned with a larger grill, longer front fenders that were swept back into the front doors and rounded rear fenders. The 1942 Pontiac production was short lived with the ban on civilian auto production taking effect in February 1942.

The DeLuxe Torpedo was Pontiac's bottom of the line on the 119 inch wheelbase ( 3 inches longer than a Chevrolet) followed by the Streamliner Torpedo and the Custom Torpedo,both on a longer 122 inch wheelbase.

The Torpedo Fleet represented Pontiac’s most successful model year to date. Pontiac realized record sales for the 1941 model year. Total vehicles produced were 330,000. Some of this surely had to do with the gloom of the Great Depression fading a bit. Compare the 1941 numbers to the 144,000 units produced in 1939.

The first post war Pontiac was a Streamliner Coupe model that came out in September 1945. This was the only model available and it would take several years to roll out the new post war designs.

You may also be interested in the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

The 1941 Cadillac Series 62

The 1942 Chevrolet Town Sedan

1941 Packard Darrin Victoria

For those wanting more information on the Pontiac Torpedoes, you may find offered for sale online the 1941 Pontiac Torpedo Fleet Brochure "Sixes And Eights for 1941"

pontiac silverstreak dashboard

Modified dashboard of 1941 Pontiac Silverstreak

1941 Pontiac Torpedo Specs

As mentioned above, the 1941 Pontiac Torpedoes were offered with both six and eight cylinder engines. Model 25's were six cylinder and Model 27's eight cylinder. The six cylinder engines were 239 cubic inch L-head Inline sixes. Power was rated at 90 horsepower.

The eight cylinder engine was a 249 cubic inch Inline eight rated at 103 horsepower.

Transmission was a synchromesh three speed column shift manual.

Brakes on the Torpedo were 11 inch four wheel drums.

The 1941 Deluxe Torpedo had a 119.0 inch wheelbase. Both the Streamliner and Custom Torpedoes had 122.0 inch wheelbases.

It's important to note that in 1940 Pontiac had the sealed beam headlight. This is a unitized lamp with a parabolic reflector. Included are filaments and a glass lens. All of this is put into one unit and sealed.

1941 pontiac model 25

Rear view of the 1941 Pontiac

1941 Pontiac Torpedo Vintage Car Prices

As mentioned above, Pontiac had a record sales year in 1941. While there were 1942's produced until February 1942, the 1941 Pontiacs are milestone cars having been produced during a full production year prior to World War Two.

In general you'll find 1941 Pontiacs with asking prices from $5,000 and up. Modified 1941 Pontiacs will depend on scope of modifications but will typically be less valuable than a restored original.

You'll find well maintained restored models at prices around $17,000. We have seen a non restored Streamliner in good running condition at $12,000. As of this writing e also see a pristine condition 41 Pontiac Deluxe Six with an asking price of $40,000. As is always the case, a beautifully restored museum quality vehicle will command a larger price by far.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)