1968 PONTIAC FIREBIRD SPRINT BACKGROUND
Before the Firebird even debuted in 1967, John Delorean was already dreaming of casting the new Firebird more in the image of a European GT car, rather than the muscle car-image of its sister-car, the Chevy Camaro. He didn’t like the heavy cast iron American V8s and didn’t think they were necessary for a car that handled like the new Firebird. Pontiac engineers put much work into making the Firebird handle better than the Camaro, and he thought a lighter engine that produced nearly as much power as the bigger V8s might be the perfect combination. The new engine was a 4.1-liter (250 cubic inch) inline-six with a chain-driven single overhead camshaft (SOHC) operating 2 valves-per-cylinder. In base form with a one-barrel carburetor it made 175-horsepower and was the base engine for the Firebird, starting in 1968. But, add in 10.5:1 compression, a hot cam and a big 4-barrel carb and it became the “Sprint” and in this form, the engine produced 215hp. Period automotive journalists and testers said that the ’68 Firebird Sprint was pretty fast and handled great. However, 6-cylinder power simply didn’t resonate with American buyers, who looked at inline-sixes as economy engines. So despite its excellent balance of performance and handling, the Firebird Sprint didn’t make it past the 1st-generation. At least not as a special OHC 6-cylinder car. The Sprint name continued on in later Firebirds as an appearance package.
1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint INTERIOR
ABOVE & BELOW: This car was ordered without a center console or even a floor shifter. Note that it has a clutch pedal so this car must have a 3-speed column-shift. The steering wheel is an aftermarket item. Otherwise the ’68 Firebird Sprint interior is open, fairly spacious for a Pony Car, and nice-looking. It seems especially big inside without the center console.