1974 Pontiac Firebird – Becoming a Weak Bird

The Pontiac Firebird was in production from 23rd February 1967 right through to 2002. It started off as a genuine muscle car, but as the 70’s gas crisis took hold and safety legislation came to the fore, it was more of a … muscle styled car; all show and no go. Or at least, very little go.

1974 Pontiac Firebird brochure

1974 Pontiac Firebird Design

For 1974, the Firebird gained a ‘shovel-nose’ and a number of other slight changes, thanks to the new legislation regarding 5 MPH crash impacts; the Endura bumper had to go.

1974 Pontiac Firebird brochure

The overall look of the Firebird was impressive, exactly as you’d want a muscle car to look; fat, wide and fast – it looked like it was doing 100 MPH while parked.

1974 Pontiac Firebird design

1974 Pontiac Firebird Interior

As you’d expect, buckets and vinyl came as standard with the Firebird. The cabin was actually pretty well laid out, and did feel sporty – it wasn’t pretending to be a muscle car like some of the others.

1974 Pontiac Firebird interior

1974 Pontiac Firebird Specs

Overall length: 196.8” Wheelbase: 108.2” Width: 73.4” Height: 49.3”

Weight ballooned up to 3,850 lb thanks to the added crash protection and structures.
The Firebird came in 16 different exterior colors, including such gems as Gulmist Blue, Denver Gold and Crestwood Brown. 6 different interior colors were available, including White!

1974 Pontiac Firebird Performance

Sadly, this is where it goes a bit wrong … two base engines were available; inline 6, 250 ci (4.1 liter) with 100 BHP and the V8 350 ci (5.7 liter) with just 155 BHP.

1974 Pontiac Firebird engine

You could spec up to V8’s going up to 455 ci (7.4 liter) in size, but even the top rated V8 only had 290 BHP; power ranged from 155, 190, 225, 250 and 290 BHP – not exactly a road based rocket ship.
The SD455 did a ¼ mile in 13.5 seconds @ 104.3 MPH.

It was thanks to the reduced horsepower that the ’74 Pontiac Firebird was the last of the heavy duty 4-speed manual and Hydramatic auto transmissions.

1974 Pontiac Firebird Collectability and Price

1974 was the last of a number options, including the SD engine range, so if you’re specifically looking for an SD455, then this is it.

Of course, many more Firebirds have since been converted to an SD style motor, but you need to research very carefully before parting with your money.

Expect to pay in the region of $35,000 for a really good Firebird with all the options you’d want, but you can pick up a smoker for less than $15,000.

1974 Pontiac Firebird Photos