1970 PONTIAC FIREBIRD IS LATE-BLOOMER
Because of the radical body and chassis changes of the new Second-Generation, which meant major engineering, tooling and manufacturing changes, the 1970 Pontiac Firebird and its sister-car, the 1970 Camaro started production much later in the model year than normal. The 1969 Firebird had been a best-seller and so production continued on, long past normal. This late start was so pronounced, that 1970 Camaros are known as ’70-1/2s. So this meant that the 1970 model year would be much shorter and thus have smaller sales numbers. But the new car was well worth the wait and the extra trouble. Inspired by European sports GTs, the new Firebird and Camaro shared a sleek, aerodynamic shape totally removed from the original First-Gen cars. Yet both cars were immediately recognizable, so in that respect also, the new looks were a success. This was right at the point where Detroit went from reengineering its cars every couple of years, to stretching each generation out over many years. This new 2nd-gen Firebird would remain in production for 12 model years, being replaced in 1982 with the new 3rd-gen Firebird. That’s a long time in the automotive world, but these were very different times, the 1970s. Fortunately, for the 1970 Pontiac Firebird, it was sitting right at the peak of the muscle car era, because starting in 1971, performance would get worse and worse, in the interest of safety and pollution. This new 2nd-gen Firebird would be available in only one body style, the 2-door Hardtop, gone was the convertible, never to return…until 1987 and the 3rd-generation. These lovely 2nd-gen Firebirds soldiered through the 1970s, carrying the muscle car torch, when nearly all others had fallen by the wayside. The Trans Ams in particular kept the dream alive until performance began to come back in the mid-80s and beyond.
ABOVE: The 1970 Pontiac Firebird pioneered the use of a one-piece flexible plastic nose cone (made of what they called “Condura”) to replace the conventional steel bumper. It was revolutionary at the time, now all cars are made this way.
BELOW: The 1970 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 came with this cool twin-snorkel fiberglass hood.
1970 PONTIAC FIREBIRD SOLD IN AUCTION
This gorgeous Firebird ran through the Barrett-Jackson Auction at Hot August Nights 2014 in Reno. It sold, without reserve, for $19,800. Somewhat got a bargain. Just try to get one this nice for that kind of money.
1970 Pontiac Firebird INTERIORS
FIREBIRD INTERIORS Pontiac was one rung up from Chevrolet in GM’s hierarchy of brands, which meant that Pontiacs were supposed to be a little nicer than Chevys, and so the Firebird was to be slightly upscale from the Camaro. And it was. This was most apparent in the interior, which had nicer materials, better seats, fancier stitching, nicer door covers, deeper-pile carpeting, and a better-looking dash and instrument cluster.
ABOVE & BELOW: The Firebird Formula pictured here, was at the top of the heap in the Firebird family, just below the Trans Am. So it benefited from the deluxe interior trimmings. The 1970 Firebird Formula and Trans Am had one of the nicest interiors in its class.
1970 Pontiac Firebird PRODUCTION NUMBERS
PRICE WHEN NEW
PRODUCTION NOTES: Base Firebird came standard with Chevy-built 250 inline 6.
Firebird Esprit came standard with Pontiac 350 V8 with 255-horsepower.
Formula 400 came with 335-horse 400 V8 & unique twin-scoop fiberglass hood.