The list of major anniversaries in our industry for 2013 is impressive. Here are just a few that I know of: Holley—110 years; Edelbrock—75 years; B&M Racing—60 years; Hurst—55 years; Summit Racing Equipment—45 years; and Eastwood—35 years.
Pontiac can celebrate some milestones in 2013 as well. Going back 50 years, though the first GTO was a ’64 model, it hit the streets in the latter part of 1963. Of course, we will dig much deeper into the 50th anniversary of the GTO in an upcoming issue, right now however, we just happen to have a very special ’64 Goat on the cover … with a R/A-V stuffed into it. The 326 engine debuted for ’63 to replace the optional 215ci aluminum Buick V-8 in the Y-body Tempest/LeMans. In 260-horse form, it was much more powerful than the 185-horse 215. In 280-horse H.O. trim, the new 326 was a screamer for its era.
Forty years ago marked the first year of Colonnade body styling on the A-bodies, which I have always had a soft spot for. It was very dramatic for its time, so it fostered a love/hate relationship with some. Nevertheless, it was a forward-looking design. The ’73 model year also saw the debut of the European-inspired luxury performance Grand Am. Its concept, styling, and execution made the boldest statement of all of GM’s A-body variants that year. If that wasn’t enough, the Grand Prix was beautifully restyled and placed on a shorter wheelbase. As a result, it would enjoy fantastic sales numbers over the next five years. In ’73, Pontiac fans were also treated to the legendary SD-455 engine. Since we discuss it regularly in HPP, I won’t delve into the details, but suffice to say that given the automotive climate of the time with regard to performance versus insurance rates, emissions standards, and fuel mileage, the fact that the SD-455 even made it out of Pontiac Engineering and into Trans Ams and Formulas in small numbers was a miracle.
Thirty years ago in July 1983, the first production ’84 Fiero was built. Nearly everything about this Pontiac—from its two-seat status, to its plastic body panels and mid-engine drivetrain layout—was a departure from the norm for the division. Though it was down on ponies in its inaugural year, it was still a very exciting package and revealed its potential in high sales figures. Performance was delivered in ’85 with the introduction of the V-6 GT—we have a feature on one in this issue. Also to mark the occasion, we’re notifying you of a huge Fiero show this year (see news item at right) to help celebrate the anniversary of its debut.
Twenty years ago the ’93 Fourth-Gen Birds and T/As ushered in a new era of Firebird performance, first with the 275hp LT1 engine and introduction of a six-speed trans to the line, and later with the even-more-potent LS1 variants. Power, handling, and braking all improved substantially with ’93 models. To help celebrate, we have a ’98 T/A in this issue and T/A Nats coverage, where Fourth-Gens took many awards.
Though it’s possible to choose any year in multiple decades and find good anniversaries and bad, it does seem that—as with 2013 and the companies mentioned at the top of the editorial—the number “3” year has delivered pretty well regarding Pontiac advancements over the last 50 years or so. We’ll have more stories to mark some of these Pontiac model anniversaries in future issues.
Fiero Turns 30
This year on June 26-30, Fieros from all across the U.S. will flock to Indianapolis, Indiana, to celebrate the July 18, 1983, anniversary of the first production Fiero being built at the Baldwin Avenue Fiero Assembly Plant No. 17 in Pontiac, Michigan. Activities include a test-and-tune at Lucas Oil Raceway, an autocross at the Indianapolis Speedrome, a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and a Fiero reunion car show.
Forty Fieros will be displayed in the host hotel Wyndham West Indianapolis’ Hall of Champions Exhibition Hall. “It will showcase unique Fieros, including low-mileage factory original unrestored cars, factory prototypes, highly modified cars, and feature cars that have brought out the personality of the Fiero community,” says Event Chairman Fred Bartemeyer.
The Fiero fest will conclude with Fiero History Night, featuring former Pontiac Motorsports Engineering Manager John Callies as a guest speaker and his presentation on the development of the Fiero Racing Program, including the Super Duty four-cylinder engines; and a summary of his presentation about the development of the ’84 Fiero Indy 500 Pace Car.
For more information, visit online at www.fiero30th.com.
In the July issue in the story “Pour It On,” the incorrect phone number for Perma-Flex Mold Company was in the Source box. The correct phone number is (800) 736-6653. Also in the July issue, in “Ultrasonic Endeavor,” the conversion for Celsius to Fahrenheit was listed as multiplying the Celsius number by 1.8, but there is more to it. You also have to add 32 to it. Our apologies for any inconvenience these two errors may have caused.