While 1967 and 1968 Firebirds shared the same exterior sheet metal, the 1969 was a complete redux. Every panel was changed along with the front and rear facias and the interior. However, mechanically, the ’69 differed little from the ’67 and ’68. And of course, the basic body continued to be shared more or less as is with the Chevy Camaro They both rode on the same wheelbase as before, but the ’69 Firebird grew by about an inch in overall length and gained around 60 pounds.
1969 Pontiac Firebird CONVERTIBLE
1969 Pontiac Firebird TRANS AM
1969 PONTIAC FIREBIRD
THE TRANS AM IS BORN. The world saw its first Pontiac Trans Am on March 8, 1969 at the Chicago Auto Show. It was a new option $1,100 package for the 1969 Pontiac Firebird. Originally intended to compete in the SCCA’s Trans-Am Road Racing Series, Pontiac never got the 303ci V8 together that was needed to qualify for the Race Series’ 5.0 liter-limit. But, they liked the name, so Pontiac cut a deal with the SCCA to license the name at a charge of $5 per car sold. Many racing enthusiasts felt the misuse of the name was sacrilege, but it stuck. The Trans Am package included a special hood, blacked-out grille, 3-spoke woodgrained steering wheel, Quadrajet carburetor, heavy duty manual transmission with floor shift (a 3-speed unless you optioned up), chrome engine bits, high-flow dual exhaust, rear spoiler, heavy duty shocks and springs, front and rear anti-sway bars, Power-Flex fan, Safe-T-Track differential (posi), front disk brakes, variable ratio power steering, F70-14 whitewall glass-belted tires, body stripes, and functional air extractors on the front fenders just aft of the wheel openings. The base engine for the Trans Am was the 400 H.O. (Ram Air III) with 335hp. The 345hp Ram Air IV was available as an option. There was one thing you couldn’t change on a 1969 Trans Am: the color. They were all painted Cameo White with Blue stripes. All Trans Am interiors were either black, blue or parchment. Production of these first-year, first-generation Trans Ams was very low. Only 689 Trans Am Coupes were built, and, get this…8 Trans Am Convertibles! If someone ever tries to sell you one, make sure its genuine. This would have to be a very desirable car to clone.
1969 Pontiac Firebird INTERIORS
1969 PONTIAC FIREBIRD INTERIORS. The front bucket seats in early Firebirds were always a weak point, but they were improved for 1969, made wider and softer. There were now 5 standard trims and 9 customs. Optional Custom Interiors could feature a breathable knit-style upholstery, bright headliner mouldings, woodgrain dash trim, a molded trunk mat, integral front armrests, padded door panels, a passenger assist grip, and assorted interior and exterior trim bits.
1969 PONTIAC FIREBIRD SAFETY FEATURES. 1969 was a big year for the safety mavens, and the 1969 Pontiac Firebird was brimming with 33 new safety, anti-theft or convenience features which were standard across the entire line. Included were front shoulder belts (in coupes only), front headrests, a uniform shift pattern for all automatic transmissions, improved gas tank collision-protection and more. Also new for ’69 was location of the ignition switch on the steering column with a steering lock integrated into it.
1969 Pontiac Firebird ENGINES
1969 PONTIAC FIREBIRD ENGINE OPTIONS. The year started out with the same 5 basic models, all built around their engine types. The base model had the 4.1 liter OHC 6-cylinder making 175hp and retailing for $2,831 for a Coupe and $3,045 for a Convertible. These are easily identified by their engine call-outs (the chromed letters & numbers on the hoods) which read “overhead cam: 4.1 liter”. Next up was the 1969 Pontiac Firebird Sprint which had the same basic 4.1 liter OHC six, but with hotter cam and 4-barrel carb, pumping out 230hp, carrying a $121 premium over the base price of either body style. In addition to the same call-outs on the hood, there was one added on either rocker panel reading “Sprint”. The Base V8 model was the Firebird 350 with 365hp 2-barrel engine and a $111 add-on to the base price (that’s right, it was cheaper than the 6-cylinder Sprint). The call-outs on the hood read “350”. But here is where the confusion begins with the ’69 Firebirds. Because the Firebird 350 H.O. with 325hp 4-barrel engine also says “350” on the hood. Here it comes down to the decals on the air cleaner, once the hood is opened. The 350 H.O. package cost $186 over base. Lastly and on the top of the heap, were the Firebird 400s. Of course, the engine call-outs said “400”, and these brutes carried a premium of $275 for a manual trans, and $358 for the auto.
FIREBIRD 400. The real fun starts with these big block cars. There were several ways to go at this end of the lineup. First off the basic Firebird 400 with 330hp. Next up was the 400 H.O., also known as 400 Ram Air III with 335hp. Above that was the 400 Ram Air IV with 345hp, and it added $832 to the base price, an expensive option in 1969. Ram Air IV included a high-lift cam, bigger valves and better springs, and flat-top pistons with detents to clear the valves. It was good for a 14-second quarter mile at around 101mph. For another $77 you could order a hotter cam and freer-flowing exhaust that didn’t do anything for the horsepower on paper, but must have had some benefit in the ‘seat-of-the-pants’. The hotter cam could only be order on manual transmission cars, the automatics got the standard 400 cam.
1969 Pontiac Firebird VIN Decoder
In 1981, all vehicles sold in the US went to a 17-digit format. Prior to that, every manufacturer had their own system. GM used a 13-digit system for all GM cars & trucks from all Divisions. 1st DIGIT – GM Divison (2 = Pontiac)
2nd & 3rd DIGITS – Model (23 = Firebird)
4th & 5th DIGITS – Body style (37 = Coupe; 67 = Convert)
6th DIGIT – Year
7th DIGIT – Assembly Plant
Last 6 DIGITS – Serial Number of Car