1968 Pontiac Firebird Conv With 400 Engine on 2040-cars
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- 1969 pontiac firebird convertible #'s matching high options ready to go!
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Auto blogFri, 22 Aug 2014 20:02:00 EST
Every few a decades, the folks running General Motors lose their minds briefly try to market a car that public doesn't see coming and often aren't ready for. In the '60s there was the rear-engine, air-cooled Chevrolet Corvair, then the mid-engine Pontiac Fiero in the '80s and the completely bizarre Chevy SSR in the 2000s. What all of these had in common was that they bucked the trend for American models of their era, for better or worse. The latest episode of Generation Gap tasked the hosts with finding two cult classic vehicles to choose between; they came come up with two of these quirky products from The General.
On the classic side, there's a 1967 Chevy Corvair Monza convertible. Being from later in the production run, it wears slightly more aerodynamic styling than the earlier, boxier examples. Hanging out back is an air-cooled, 2.7-liter flat-six pumping out a robust 95 horsepower. In the other corner is the somewhat more modern 1986 Pontiac Fiero SE with a mid-mounted, 2.5-liter "Iron Duke" four-cylinder, an engine nearly ubiquitous in GM cars of the '80s.
Judging by when they were new, the Corvair was far more successful than the Fiero with over 1.8 million sold. Of course, Ralph Nader's book Unsafe at Any Speed kind of poisoned the well, even if the poor safety reputation wasn't entirely deserved. The Fiero on the other hand only lasted for a few model years before shuffling off, but it eventually got its own performance boost with the V6 version and rather attractive GT models. Check them both out in the video and tell us in Comments which you want in your garage.
There are hundreds of American automakers that sprung up during the dawn of the automotive era, only to fold into obscurity or get gobbled up by what would eventually become the Big Four (yes, we're counting AMC here). Oakland is one such company, which was the forbearer for General Motors' Pontiac division. Sold until 1931, you simply don't see Oakland-badged cars anymore. Unless, that is, you know Brian Bent.
Bent drives a 1927 Oakland that still rides on wooden wheels. Its original wooden wheels, from the sound of it. That makes this anachronist and his Oakland the perfect subject for a Petrolicious video. Like many of the cars highlighted by Petrolicious, this old Oakland has had some work done to it, featuring a Pontiac flathead engine that's been pushed forward and a clutch pack built by Bent.
Take a look below for a closer look at this rare and fascinating Oakland.
Bob Lutz was one of the forces behind bringing the Holden Monaro to the United States, as the ill-fated Pontiac GTO in 2004. And while that car received critical acclaim, it was a sales disappointment. Now, Road & Track is reporting that our suspicions were correct - Pontiac was working on a two-door, G8-based coupe before it was shuttered.
In that R&T article, which is no longer available online, Lutz explained that the new GTO would solve many of the issues found in the original. Car Advice speculates that the new model would have look like a rebadged version of the Holden Coupe 60 Concept from 2008, a conclusion we also came to.
That car would have been a big departure from the 2004 to 2006 GTO. It has an extremely long hood and short rear deck, with an almost fastback roofline and a wide greenhouse with a tall beltline. The wheel arches were very pronounced, and the chin and rocker panel splitters gave it a race-ready look. Would it have been enough to make the GTO work in the US? We think it might of, but it looks like we'll never know.