1974 Pontiac Firebird 4.1 inline six from North America
Nice looking, but watch out for rust
Headliner fell down, wiper motor, rear defogger fan, brake and fuel lines, exhaust system, brakes, radiator. Which is just regular maintenance on a older car.
But the worst problem with the car was serious rust, resulting in replacement of door skins, fenders, quarter panels, trunk floor and rear sub-frame, floor under back seat, and it needed the front floor pans replaced at end of ownership.
The car was purchased as a fixer upper first car. I never liked the car at the time, but 70's era muscle cars and pony cars were cheap and plentiful. My father thought the insurance would be cheaper with a six cylinder car, and there would be less chance of tickets or accidents.
The car was picked up for $350 and the restoration ended up costing $1500 for body work (the car needed more rust repairs than we thought it would need). $135 for the new radiator and $100 for a heavy duty battery.
The car was a base model with the only options being automatic transmission, power steering (manual brakes), rear defogger, Delco AM radio, dual sport mirrors, and baby moon hub caps with trim rings.
Later on I added some 15" Rally wheels and a rear spoiler, and was planning a 350 Chevy V8 swap. But despite having the car oil sprayed, the ever spreading rust put an end to it, and the car was sold for parts.
Driving wise the engine had a lot of low speed torque, and it could spin the stock 14" wheels with ease and even chirp the tires when the car shifted into second gear. The back end was too light, so the car had very little traction, and when the front wheels hit the raised edge of the garage floor, the car would come to a stop while the back wheels just spun. It didn't matter which direction you pulled it in; a 1 3/4 inch lip was too much. It was funny to watch the back wheels spinning as the car idled in gear. Taking a run at the garage and slamming on the weak manual brakes was all it took for my dad to ban the newly restored Firebird from the garage.
The car wasn't very fun to drive at highway speeds, as it had a 93 mph top speed and was really gutless above 60 mph. The 74's 250 CID inline six seemed to have more power than a later model Camaro with a 267 V8 that I had the chance of driving, but it was super slow compared to my father's 72 Pontiac GTO.
The F-bodies made between 1970 and 1974 had small back windows, which made reversing difficult. And the back seats were useless for pretty much every generation of F-body. The trunks didn't have much storage space either. I would say the second gen Firebirds and Camaros were much better than the Mustang II, but unless you can find a rust free car with a strong V8 350 CID or larger, you would be better off with more modern sport coupe. Switching to a turbocharged AWD Eagle Talon made me realize just how outdated the old Firebird really was.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 18th August, 2014