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History Of The Pontiac Firebird

1982 - 1992 - Legends In The Mist - Part Two

   For the third gens several updates had taken place beneath the skin as well. Perhaps the most significant was the replacement of the wishbone front suspension with a MacPherson-strut design. Invoking Harry MacPherson’s name was a bit of a stretch; however, General Motors, like Ford's pony car, mounted the coil spring inboard of the strut cylinder to reduce the need for upper-body reinforcement. At the rear a live axle remained, but it was now coil sprung, and located by two trailing links and connected to the transmission through a massive torque arm that controlled axle windup.  In addition, a panhard rod behind the axle helped absorb lateral loads.


   Powertrains had come a long way since the 1967-69 versions, and the 1982 Firebird's offering reflected technology's answer to the new constraints of the decade. For the first time, the base engine had four cylinders.  The venerable ohv "Iron Duke" was hardly firebird material, rated at 90 bhp, but it was good enough for the EPA. Next was Chevrolet's 2.8-liter ohv V-6, rated a mere 102 bhp. The mainstream V-8 displaced 5.0 liters, and breathed through a 4-barrel Quadrajet which helped produced 145 bhp. A fuel-injected version of the engine, whose "Crossfire" throttle-body injection system was borrowed from the 1982 Corvette, shot out an additional 20 bhp, boosting the Trans Am’s main powerplant to a mere  165 bhp. Posting a 0-60 time of 9.2 seconds and an impressive 0.856g on the skidpad, the Firebird won a straw preference poll, with the conclusion that both cars were a dramatic improvement over their predecessors. 


 CONTINUE READING - 1982 - 1992 Legends In The Mist - Part Three  


Photo's Courtesy: The Premier Firebird Trans-Am Gallery.

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