What to Know When Buying a Fourth-Generation Pontiac Firebird
Produced from 1993 to 2002, the four-generation Pontiac Firebird is among the most exciting muscle cars to date. Many Asheville drivers loved its iconic styling and adrenaline-stirring performance. With this car becoming rarer with each passing year, its value is expected to skyrocket in the near future. Now is definitely a good time to buy one. Let’s take a look at the Pontiac Firebird’s must-have features and the biggest issues to watch out for.
LS1 V8 Engine
For the 1998 model year, Pontiac updated the Firebird with a new LS1 V8 engine. In terms of performance, it was a step above the car’s previous LT1 V8 engine. An optional WS6 package increased output to a thrilling 320 horsepower and 345 lb-ft of torque. Road tests showed the Firebird was capable of recording a quick 0-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds.
Not only was the LS1 V8 engine capable of producing more power, but it was also more reliable. The old engine suffered from a problematic Optispark ignition system. When kept in its stock form and regularly serviced, the Firebird’s LS1 V8 engine has been proven to last for 300,000 miles or more.
If you’re in the market for a fourth-generation Firebird, be sure to get one that comes equipped with Pontiac’s WS6 performance package. It added a functional “Ram Air” hood scoop, which enhanced output by directing cool air into the engine. A free-flowing exhaust system further helped maximize the car’s performance capabilities.
When outfitted with the WS6 package, the Firebird also became a better-handling muscle car. Firmer shocks and larger sway bars ensured improved body control on twisty roads.
Borg-Warner Six-Speed Manual
While the Pontiac Firebird was offered with a four-speed automatic transmission, it suffered from a few shortcomings. For starters, performance took a hit when selecting the automatic gearbox. Don’t expect acceleration to be as brisk. This transmission was also not as suitable for aggressive driving, which made it prone to slipping over time.
Your best bet is to get a Borg-Warner six-speed manual transmission. Drivers will love the sensation of shifting from one gear to the next. A strong aluminum casing also enhances the transmission’s long-term reliability.
Issues to Watch Out for When Buying a Firebird
For the most part, the fourth-generation Pontiac Firebird is a reliable muscle car you can drive daily. However, there are a few potential issues that buyers need to watch out for. Always check for rust before handing over your hard-earned money. This is especially true for cars that were driven in a snow-prone region. It’s not uncommon to find rust behind the quarter panels and under the floor.
One of the Firebird’s coolest features is its pop-pop headlights. However, the motors that enable the headlights to move up and down can fail. The same can be said for the Firebird’s window mechanisms. Another thing to check is the taillights. Water can seem into the taillights, thus giving them a dark appearance.
Of course, the biggest thing to watch out for is abuse. Avoid buying a Firebird that has been modified to the max. While some Firebird owners make maintenance a top priority, others tend to neglect routine servicing. This is why it’s highly recommended to get a professional mechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection.
Whether you drive the latest model from a luxury line or a vintage domestic or import, you receive nothing but the best from Cox Auto Service located in Asheville, NC. Certainly, always service you can trust from our ASE-certified technicians. Want to keep your car, truck or SUV performing its best? Then bring it into our Druid Drive location for auto maintenance or auto repair.