What about technical improvements for the 1993 Pontiac Firebird? They ranged from a fortified safety cage structure and installation of Solar Ray glass to enhanced theft resistance. A delayed electrical relay disabled the door and rear hatch power-unlock functions 30 seconds after being locked from outside. Air conditioners contained CFC-free refrigerant.
Easily-removable exterior panels would allow simplified servicing. Wipers were designed to stick to the windshield at 100 mph, and shut off on command (with no extra swipe)-a minor point that nevertheless reflected Pontiac's desire to eliminate annoyances. Doors were designed to require 40-percent less effort when closing, and the radio and power windows operated for a while after shutting off the ignition. The roomier glovebox supposedly was "designed to hold Detroit yellow pages." Optional T-tops now included a trunk storage rack.
But down to the nitty-gritty: Did the modern Firebird's actual "go" match its stunning new countenance? Well, acceleration ranked as more than adequate with V-6 power, but utterly stellar with a V-8 under foot. Motor Trend managed to hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds with a Formula edition. "Formula has 99 percent of the Corvette's performance at half the price," they explained, "plus it's got a back seat."
Road & Track registered 0-60 times of 6.3 seconds with its manual-shift Trans Am. Testers for Car and Driver beat those figures with their six-speed Formula, reaching the 60-mph mark in 5.4 seconds and sprinting through the quarter-mile in 14.2 (at 99 mph). Firebird is the "piece we've all lusted after," they insisted, "knowing it was too salacious ever to happen." But happen it did.
Unfortunately, wet-weather traction continued to be a Firebird flaw. Sure, a V-6 Firebird could be controlled well enough, but the high-performance models could be a frightening handful on slick pavement -- just as they'd been for more than two decades. Traction control was anticipated, but wouldn't arrive until later in the 1994 model year -- and then as an option only on selected models.
If you want to learn more about muscle cars and Firebirds, check out these pages:
- Firebird Reviews by Consumer Guide
- Muscle Cars