when form had as much to do with sales as it did with function, automakers could
afford quick restyling, and the Firebird was no exception. Even as the first
Firebird was hitting the streets, work began on a facelift for 1969. The goal
was to create more of a family look with a smaller but more pronounced grille
flanked by body-color surrounds for the headlights. The rear fender was shared with Chevrolet
but the front
fenders were now Pontiac's to shape, and the stylists added sets of horizontal
gills above and below the beltline just ahead of the rear wheel housing.
important, though, was the birth of a Firebird that would quickly become legend:
The Trans Am. A product of Pontiacís Skunkworks under the aegis of engineer
Herb Adams, the Trans Amís character was defined with its own twin-nostril
hood that channeled oxygen to a 400 cu-in. V-8 rated at 335 horsepower. The optional Ram Air engine, in its fourth iteration, was rated just
slightly higher, but everyone knew that a small "adjustment" to the
throttle linkage could make it go further still. Introduced late in February
1969, just 697 Ram Air IV models were produced for the model year, of which
eight were convertibles, placing both among the most sought-after Trans Amís
The Trans Am
was first introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in March of 1969. Because of this
the model is actually a 1969Ĺ. All new 69 TAs received the same paint scheme
seen here. White with a pair of blue stripes the ran the length of the car.
Interestingly there were two kinds of stripes applied to these cars and the
difference was seen on the rear of the car. Some came equipped with stripes that
ran only beneath the spoiler on the trunk lid but some also came with stripes
installed over the top of the spoiler as well.