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'68 History

Brief History

After GM forced Pontiac to drop DeLorean's Banshee project, Pontiac introduced the Firebird February 23, 1967, to compete with the Chevrolet Camaro (introduced September 29, 1966) and the Ford Mustang (introduced April 1964).

The Firebird was designed from the Camaro's F-Body design and the GTO's A-Body drivetrain with a different rear end, sub-frame, split-grill front end, six vertical louvers on the front of the rear quarter panels, and louver style tail lamps. Improvements were also made in the engine placement, front suspension, and reinforced rear springs.

The 1967 Firebird was offered in a convertible and a hardtop coupe with five engines: a Standard Firebird OHC 230 cubic inch six-cylinder one-barrel with 175 horsepower, a Firebird Sprint 230 cubic inch six-cylinder four-barrel overhead-cam with 215 horsepower, a Firebird 326 with a two-barrel V-8 and 250 horsepower, a Firebird H.O. V-8 326 four-barrel with 285 horsepower, and Firebird 400 high performance V-8 four-barrel with 325 horsepower (could include the Ram Air option).

In 1968, the convertible and a hardtop coupe saw changes in their engines:

Firebird OHC:
Six-cylinder overhead-cam increased from 230 cubic inches to 250 cubic inches delivering 175 horsepower. The base six-cylinder Firebirds with manual transmission received a New Mono-Jet one-barrel carburetor. Prices started at $2,666 for a coupe to $2,903 for a convertible.

Firebird Sprint:
Remained at 230 cubic inch six-cylinder four-barrel Quadrajet carburetor overhead-cam with 215 horsepower and 10.5:1 compression, heavy-duty clutch, floor-mounted three-speed, larger valves, and low restriction intake and exhaust system. This upgrade was available for an additional $116.16.

Firebird 350:
The '67 V-8 326 cubic inch was upgraded to a 350 cubic inch two-barrel with 265 horsepower. This was available for an additional $105.60.

Firebird 350 H.O.:
The '67 V-8 326 H.O. (High Output) was also upgraded to a 350 cubic inch four-barrel with 320 horsepower, premium fuel, stiffer suspensions, dual exhausts, and side stripes with "H.O." lettering. This was available for an additional $180.58.

Firebird 400:
High performance V-8 400 four-barrel Quadrajet with 330 horsepower at 5300 rpm, heavy duty floor shift three-speed, twin (non-functional) scoops, heavy duty springs, wide-oval red-line tires, chrome air cleaners, dual exhaust, declutching engine fan, heavy duty battery, heavy duty starter motor, heavy duty radiator, and chrome rocker covers and oil filler cap. This was added for $358.09.

Firebird 400 H.O.:
A 400 cubic inch H.O. (High Output) was introduced which had a four-barrel carburetor with 335 horsepower at 5000 rpm, premium fuel, stiffer suspensions, and dual exhausts. This was available for an additional $76.88.

Firebird 400 Ram Air:
A 400 cubic inch engine with 335 horsepower at 5300 rpm which included a larger-overlap, longer-duration cam, and a beefed-up valvetrain for 6000 rpm operation. The Quadrajet carburetor was recalibrated to increase fuel flow, and twin hood scoops were made functional and ducted air directly into the air cleaner. This was added for another $342.29. Final base cost, $3,366.38 for a coupe or $3,603.38 for a convertible. (The Ram Air 400 was replaced mid-year with a 400 Ram Air II delivering 340 horsepower.)


The body received a few updates which included: a change in the front turn lights to a wraparound style, both driver and passenger vent windows were removed while Pontiac V-crest rear marker lights were added, the Rally I rims were dropped from the options, the single-leaf rear springs were replaced with a Pontiac-designed multileaf units (was not included on base six-cylinder cars), the suspension system was improved by the new straddle mounted shock absorbers, and the Firestone E70 Wide Ovals tires were upgraded to F70 (did not include base six-cylinder cars).

The interior also saw new improvements with a larger padded instrument panel and sun visors, windshield pillar moldings, crushable arm rests, flow-through ventilation system with adjustable round air outlets on the lower dash, added lower door panel carpeting, new instrument panel conical lenses and block lettering, seat belts with push-button buckles for all passengers, anti-theft ignition key warning buzzer, larger fuse block with eleven fuses, new bulkhead electrical connector, and stronger door hinges of stamped steel.

Along with the above changes and the addition of the Van Nuys, California plant on March 4th, a few more changes were made including the addition of a four-way power bucket seat, the midyear addition of the Goodyear Polyglas tire, the addition of an optional new Power-Flex fan on all V-8s without air conditioning, the deletion of the heater delete, and the deletion of the California emissions equipment. The Firebird had a long list of standard equipment and options & accessories.




1968 Production Numbers


Model Production
Style VIN Code Qty. Built
2-dr Coupe (22337) 90,152
2-dr Convertible (22367) 16,960
Total Produced:   107,112
(Model year ended September '68)


Engine Production
Disp. Description Trans. Carb. Code Qty. Built
250 Std. Engine M 1 Bbl. ZK 13,586 *
250 Std. Engine A 1 Bbl. ZN 50,549 *
250 Sprint Engine M 4 Bbl. ZD 5,609 *
250 Sprint Engine A 4 Bbl. ZE 1,850 *
350 Std. Engine M 2 Bbl. WC 11,020  
350 Std. Engine A 2 Bbl. YJ 50,006  
350 350 H.O. M 4 Bbl. WK 3,784  
350 350 H.O. A 4 Bbl. YM 2,638  
400 400 M 4 Bbl. WZ 7,563  
400 400 A 4 Bbl. YT 11,151  
400 400 H.O. M 4 Bbl. WQ 1,415  
400 400 H.O. A 4 Bbl. YW 684  
400 Ram Air I M 4 Bbl. WI 321  
400 Ram Air I A 4 Bbl. XN 92  
400 Ram Air II M 4 Bbl. WU 98 **
400 Ram Air II A 4 Bbl. XT 12 **
Notes:
* Includes Tempest production.
** First Ram Air II Firebird was produced on 05-20-68.
Find more drivetrain information on the Technical Information page.
(Model year ended September '68)




A 1968 Pontic Firebird 400 Ram Air II Release Photo


You should have a 12 inch or larger viewable screen to view this Firebird b/w photo.





Original 1968 Firebird Advertisements


Find a growing collection of original Pontiac Firebird Ads recreated for your viewing. If you have contributions, let me know so I can reproduce them. Use the "Suggestions or Problems" button below or use the contact page. (More)





Road Tests and Articles


A growing list of articles written about the 1968 Pontiac Firebird. Looking for more referrals to add to the list. (More)





This and That


Simpsons ¨Reality Bites¨ Episode# SI-906/3F06:
The history for the 1968 Firebird took a different twist. Homer Simpson was spotted driving a 1968 Firebird 400. According to sources, the detailing was great. Someone on the team must own one. This episode originally aired December 7, 1997.(View Photos)

 

Firebird 400 Convertible Palmer Plastic Model:
Contributed by Dan
This graphic displays the box that this model came in back in 1968 which sold for 29 cents. (View)

 

Pontiac Dealership Back in 1968:
This postcard shows Bob Longpre's Pontiac, Los Angeles, CA Pontiac Dealership with several Firebirds sitting out front. (View)

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