The very first Pontiac Firebird coupe and convertible models are headed for the auction block in Las Vegas.
Automotive enthusiasts should cast their eyes on Las Vegas next month when a pair of 1967 Pontiac Firebirds is auctioned by Barrett-Jackson. The first two production Firebirds, a coupe and a convertible, will be auctioned together during Barrett-Jackson’s ninth Annual Las Vegas Auction at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which takes place on Oct. 13-15.
Barrett-Jackson’s Muscle Car Docket
Originally serving as show and advertising vehicles, the 1967 Firebird pair was sold, then discovered years later in poor condition. Since then, they have been restored to their original luster and will be auctioned as a pair. Together, the two Firebirds represent a significant piece of General Motors, Pontiac, and automotive history, as they were among a handful of new pony cars that helped reshape the industry.
The Pontiac Firebird duo will be joined by a 1970 Plymouth Super Bird and a 1969 Ford Boss 429 Fastback, which are among a docket of muscle cars set for bidding at the 9th Annual Las Vegas Auction.
The two Firebirds offer a tantalizing representation of what Pontiac designers and engineers were doing in the late 1960s. Both models are powered by a 326-cubic-inch (5.3-liter) V8 engine. The silver coupe has a black interior and a four-speed manual transmission. The red convertible has a matching red interior and is outfitted with a three-speed automatic transmission.
From F-Body to Firebird
Both models rolled off the Pontiac Lordstown (Ohio) assembly line in early 1967 and immediately were placed on the auto show and advertising circuit. That original Firebird shares its platform with the Chevrolet Camaro, but offers numerous distinguishing features, including a lower stance, a split-nose grille and chrome bumper, horizontal headlights and taillights, wide oval tires and Rally-style side vents.
Pontiac’s entry into the hot pony car segment followed the Chevrolet Camaro by four months and the Ford Mustang by nearly three years. Chrysler already had its Plymouth Barracuda and American Motors was preparing its Javelin. Clearly, a winning model was needed if Pontiac was to gain a stake in the emerging segment.
John Z. DeLorean spearheaded the Firebird project, having launched the Pontiac GTO muscle car three years earlier as chief engineer for the brand. In early 1966, working as the freshly minted General Manager of the Pontiac Motor Division, DeLorean was told to prepare a Pontiac model, but it couldn’t simply be a rebadged Camaro.
Instead, his team had less than a year to design, engineer and build its own version of GM’s F-body pony car on a platform it also shared with the upcoming and next-generation Chevy II/Nova. The task was especially urgent as GM learned that the Mercury brand would get its own version of the wildly popular Ford Mustang that fall. Just as Chevrolet battled Ford, Pontiac had Mercury in its crosshairs.
Pontiac Firebird and the Magnificent Five
The all-new Pontiac Firebird was introduced on February 23, 1967, as a midyear model. The 1967 Firebird had its own engines and was marketed as the “magnificent five,” denoting the fist full of trims available: Firebird, Firebird Sprint, Firebird 326, Firebird HO and Firebird 400.
Engine choices ranged from a 165-horsepower inline-six to a 325-horsepower V8. Upgrades brought in a four-barrel carburetor, dual exhaust, suspension enhancements and a dashboard-mounted gauge cluster.
Despite its late arrival, Pontiac managed to sell more than 82,000 units in 1967. Pontiac went on to build the Firebird for the next 35 years, covering four generations. The model was canceled in 2002 and the brand dissolved eight years later, about the same time Ford canceled Mercury.
Going Once, Going Twice … Sold!
So, how much will the Firebird pair fetch at Barrett-Jackson? Hagerty shows the average value of the 1967 Firebird coupe at just $14,700 and the convertible at $16,800. Given that these are the first two Firebirds and are in mint condition, adding at least two digits to the price may prove a more accurate place to begin your guess.