The 1960s are deemed the golden age of the American muscle car, but the 1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint featured on this episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” displays that Detroit automakers weren’t only centered on V-8s and quarter-mile circumstances.
As an different of the V-eight engines provided in other performance versions of the Firebird, the Sprint had an inline-6 beneath its hood. This was an upgraded edition of the engine provided in base versions of the Firebird, sporting a single overhead cam head, four-barrel carburetor, and performance exhaust. In the Sprint, it is coupled to a 4-tempo manual transmission the driver functions with help from a hood-mounted tachometer.
As Leno tells it, then-Pontiac boss John DeLorean was a fan of the Jaguar E-Sort (which launched in 1961 with a dual overhead cam inline-6) and wished to construct a competitor. Despite the fact that Pontiac did sooner or later construct a notion edition identified as the Banshee, Standard Motors would not approve a manufacturing model, fearing it would compete with the Corvette.
1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint convertible on Jay Leno’s Garage
As an different, DeLorean launched the Firebird Sprint, intending to get on the E-Sort with his private inline-6 (albeit in a far more considerable, heavier car) and an emphasis on managing. Because the Firebird Sprint was meant to compete with European sports activities actions vehicles, it even acquired “4.one particular-liter” badging, alternatively of the cubic-inch displacement measurement that was regular for U.S. automakers at the time.
The Firebird Sprint could have pleased DeLorean’s legendary ego, but it was not a industrial accomplishment. It produced substantially much less electrical energy (about 220 hp) than a V-eight Firebird of the time, but worth significantly far more, Leno pointed out. Consequently, the Sprint is now very uncommon. Hold in ideas that there was by no signifies an equivalent edition of the Firebird’s Chevrolet Camaro twin, which shared the GM F-physique platform.
Leno acquired his Firebird Sprint convertible in 2019, and area it back on the street correct soon after a light restoration and some current day upgrades for drivability. See the comprehensive video for significantly far more info of this unusual Pontiac, and to heard that straight-6 sing.