Firebird on a flame – 40 years of the Pontiac Firebird – Car Engine

The dashboard design was inspired by the aircraft, and the extralistain included a fixed headrest PMD and a sporty Recaro seat. The smaller and lighter body, along with the more advanced chassis, meant sportier handling. Photo: General Motors, Universal, Getty Images

The 3rd generation of the Pontiac Firebird is an excellent example of how market trends in the automotive industry have defined market trends for 40 years, and how car manufacturers will turn their gains to the advantage of being sold. . At General Motors, he was seen designing new sports models to bring much weaker, smaller and lighter models to market in line with the changed market situation, regulations and expectations due to the oil crisis, and even early designs included a front-wheel-drive design. Of the newly introduced models, only the 1980 Pontiac Phoenix and Chevrolet’s sister, the Citation, eventually changed, leaving the Firebird and Camaro still rear-wheel drive.

Natalie Carroll, as “Firebird Girl,” starred in Knight Rider in addition to commercials

In addition, the pair, which debuted in 1981, came as a surprise in every way, as engineers took the opportunity to level not only in consumption but also in handling and appearance. Computer-controlled engines, a weight reduction of 200 kg, a modified MacPherson strut front-end wishbone chassis with a rear-end spiral suspension, a shorter wheelbase of more than 18 cm and a more tilted windshield than ever before develop a sports coupe. The latter was of paramount importance to Pontiac, as every effort was made to reduce the air resistance of the Firebird. In the case of wind tunnel experiments, tilting lamps, curved bonnets, multifunctional front air intakes, recessed wind deflectors, streamlined exterior mirrors and a light-alloy wheel mounted on the Trans33 .32 while the Chevrolet Camaro produced 0.37. Enthusiastic professionals later went even further, with a 1985 Firebird of 0.29, the most streamlined car ever to leave one of GM’s Detroit plants! With this development, they certainly did more to reduce fuel consumption than the 1979 regulation, which allowed the installation of instruments scaled up to 85 miles per hour (140 km / h) for new models. While the 90-horsepower, 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder Firebird, capable of consuming an average of up to 6.9 liters, also dictated a faster pace, the brand also had to do its best to encourage its customers to drive economically, which found deaf ears in sports cars. he left his mark on the supply.

The two-piece, removable walker was popular with shoppers. The Convertible version was made at the plant of the American Sunroof Company

There was little interest in the Pontiac-developed 4-cylinder, though the base model was available at almost the same price as a similarly sized but less sleek Bonneville limousine. For those looking for a coupe-worthy block, the 165-horsepower 2.8-liter carburetor V6 and the 145-horsepower 5.0-liter, also carburetor V8 Chevrolet engines have 165-horsepower and also 5.0-liter injectors Crossfire V8 could pay a surcharge for.

In the last model year, 1992, the Firebird was built with only a V6 or V8 engine, and nearly 840,000 units left the factory in 10 years.

In vain they tried to spoil the game of sporty drivers with low peak performance and low revs, the Firebird with its frameless windows, rear glass dome, dashboard reminiscent of its planes and a long line of extras impressed customers who had 116,36 in their first year, with guru Glen A. Larson, who made the 1982 Firebird Trans Am an immortal icon as the star car of the Knight Rider.

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1 car, 1 computer, 1 person

Super Pursuit Mode is the work of George Barris

By the early 1980s, the Japanese automotive industry had gained so much of a foothold in the U.S. that Glen A. Larson, a successful writer, director, composer, and producer, had singled out the Datsun 280ZX as a star in his new project, but when in 1981 Pontiac has unveiled the 3rd generation of the Firebird, and immediately bought one of the first copies to entrust it to the talking car of the Knight Rider series. As is customary in Hollywood, he also gave Datsun a small commission in exchange for the failed lead role, so the audience could see it in the key scene of the pilot episode filmed in the summer of 1982. The private investigator, who has become a cop, is taking on the fight against criminals who are above the law with a new face and identity. His missions are funded by the Foundation for Justice and Justice, his loyal companion is Knight Industries Two Thousand, or KITT, the black Pontiac, armed with artificial intelligence and almost inviolable.

Dashboard of the same replica as the original. Edward Mulhare, David Hasselhoff and Patricia McPherson on filming Season 4

The creators took the clever draw of endowing the perfect computer with a heartbreaking human character, and the humorous side of the action-packed crime series was given by the dialogues of Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) and KITT (William Daniels), making it as cloudless as it is today. It’s been 40 years. It was first seen in German broadcasts in Hungary, and was finally shown on Hungarian Television Channel 2 in 1992 with a memorable dubbing, and has since returned regularly to one of the commercial channels. His success at home also affected Firebird sales, with many rushing to the trades and wanting a car like the one Michael Scheffe had designed for Universal. The marketing team was not at the height of the situation, instead of releasing a limited edition with special bumpers and a futuristic dashboard, they asked the production not to mention the Pontiac name in the series because it would disappoint those interested.

Super Pursuit Mode is the work of George Barris

Of course, the action scenes required several cars, which were acquired by the crew, and the manufacturer was not even available to the filmmakers. The teasers were often recorded with a plastic-bodied double-decker built from VW Buggy, a rubber cover was pulled on one of the cars during the chases at risk of injury, but a functioning dashboard could only be seen in the gleaming star car and studio where the close-ups were taken. For stuntman Jack Gill, self-driving was one of the biggest challenges, because instead of remotely controlling, sitting in a prepared seat, grabbing a tiny steering wheel, he had to race with minimal visibility or stop at the actors with millimeter accuracy. After a car train derailed, Pontiac also made it through the cost, giving pieces of damaged cars to the Knight Rider crew for $ 1, yet mock-ups were used for difficult or overly expensive stunts. A lot of energy was put into making 90 episodes between 1982 and 1986, working with practical effects all along, not even a projected background, all combined with a charmingly naive style to make the end result unforgettable.


Source: Autó-Motor by www.automotor.hu.

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