In Part I, we began outlining the differences between the '70-73 Firebirds in terms of sheetmetal and body/component construction. Part II will finish the "cosmetic" evaluation.
When it comes to restoration time, an assembly manual is likely the best source of information as to how the Birds (or any other Pontiac model) were put together. These manuals contain everything from the basic drawings of the component assemblies to torque specs, part numbers, production changes, and even lubricant types to be used and where. Unfortunately, they're getting hard to come by, and reprints are no longer available through most aftermarket suppliers. A good guide that's still offered for the unit body of the Firebird is the Fisher Body manual. However, these are more generalized in terms of information provided (though they do offer useful installation and adjustment information on door, trunk, window, and other component assemblies) and only cover the Bird from the cowl rearward, which is what Fisher Body shipped to Pontiac. Sub-frames, fenders, hoods, etc. were installed on the assembly lines at GM's Norwood and Van Nuys plants. Speaking of those two plants, there may be minor (likely very minor) differences between Birds of the same year built at these plants. For instance, the '72 assembly manual shows that one of the bumper L-bracket bolts on Van Nuys cars is to be installed from the opposite direction as those on the Norwood cars. If anyone is aware of any major differences not shown in these articles, again, please let us know and we'll include the information in the upcoming articles.