Book Review: Pontiac Firebird: 50 Years

by | May 30, 2017

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Everybody here in the Farace household loves Firebirds. Mary is in love with the first generation model and all their variants, especially convertibles. Having fallen in love with the black and gold Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit, I‘m infatuated with all of the Screaming Chicken variations—and it’s gotta have T-tops. And yes, I know they leak.

David Newhardt has answered Mary and my prayers—and I’m guessing all of you passionate Pontiac fans as well—with this coffee table book that is one great big valentine to Pontiac’s quintessential sporty car. (No offense Solstice fans.) Like the Firebird itself, especially Gen 2 and later models, the book is big, bold and beautiful with all its 208 pages filled gorgeous illustrations, facts figures and trivia—yes, the Pontiac Girl is here too—about this beloved automobile.

The book kicks off with some Pontiac archeology into the evolution of the Firebird along with John DeLorean being sidetracked by the GTO and (never happened) Banshee before green lighting the Firebird as more than just a kissing cousin of the Camaro, starting with the tires and overall stance. The black and white photography of this section of the book is stunning and beautifully reproduced as befits a not inexpensive book.

The book’s organization follows the car’s development with special models, like the Royal Bobcat, and subsequent front design changes that I think, didn’t do the car any favors. Once we get to the second generation with the Elastomeric proboscis all that changes and the car, while larger developed a sleeker more European look. And then we get to the Trans AM and all bets are off and the book soars though this section.

What’s great about reading Pontiac Firebird: 50 Years is that Newhardt takes his time gently explaining—and illustrating—how each subsequent model has changed, including the unusual such as the Firebird Kammback station wagon. Yes a wagon, with some great photos and information about this one-of-a-kind prototype.

May and I both loved this book. It has a combination of wonderful illuminating text, terrific photographs and an excellent overall design making Pontiac Firebird: 50 Years a book that every Pontiac and Firebird lover will want to own.

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Motorbooks
  • ISBN-10: 0760350426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760350423
  •  Dimensions: 10.2 x 12.5-inches
  • Price: $27.62