“The automotive family tree includes the branch that bore muscle cars — those revered, big-engined road rockets of yore,” said PMD’s 1998 sales catalog. “As often happens when a species evolves, the strong get stronger.”
The hot, rear-drive 2+2 Firebird offered just five model choices in 1998, after dropping the Formula convertible.
Previously base, Formula, and Trans Am convertibles were offered, but ragtop production failed to top 8,000 units in 1996-1997.
Production numbers for 1998 were close to 2,100 ragtops.
Coupes were again featured in base, Formula, and Trans Am trim levels.
Formulas and Trans Ams got a new, all-aluminum 5.7-liter 305-hp V-8 with a six-speed manual transmission.
A Ram Air package provided 320 hp.
Styling was freshened with a front fascia that incorporated a new headlamp design.
There were updated taillights, too.
Suspension tuning was revised and base models received a one-piece driveshaft.
Firebird V-8s with four-speed automatic transmissions had a larger torque converter.
All Firebirds got standard four-wheel disc brakes.
A midyear Formula option was an AutoCross package with a beefed-up suspension.
A $1,125-delete option that turned the Formula into a stripped-down street performance car was also new.
Standard equipment on the base Firebird coupe included
extensive acoustical insulation
dual front airbags
a black fixed mast antenna at right rear
a brake/transmission shift interlock safety feature with automatic transmission
power four-wheel disc brakes with four-wheel ABS
the RPO L36 3800 Series II 200-hp SFI V-6 engine
electric rear and side window defoggers
Solar-Ray tinted glass
electric analog speedometer
coolant temperature indicator
oil pressure gauge
LED trip odometer
sport exterior mirrors (left-hand remote controlled)
a day/night inside rearview mirror with reading lamps
left-hand and right-hand covered visor vanity mirrors
a Delco AM/FM stereo ETR radio and cassette
seven-band graphic equalizer
Delco theft lock
remote CD prewiring
four-speaker coaxial sound system
reclining front bucket seats
four-way driver and passenger front seat manual adjusters
a rear two-passenger folding seat
a four-spoke sport tilt steering wheel with adjustable column
the PASS-Key II theft-deterrent system
P215/60R16 touring tires with a high-pressure compact spare