Owner Review

1995 Pontiac Firebird Formula review

Rating: 4.5
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Writing a review about your old car is like trying to explain to someone why the generation you grew up in was ‘the best’. Unless you’ve lived it, you won’t believe it.

I think this applies to the cars we had when we grew up, too. For me, it was in the 1990s: a time when Hanson and the Spice Girls ruled our airwaves, neon windbreakers made you the coolest guy in school, Jurassic Park was smashing the box office and the cars were, well, mostly awesome!

Trust me, we had some killer rides back then. Sure, some of them are starting to show their age now, but some actually aged pretty well. Take our 1995 Firebird for example. Not a bad looking car for 23!

Introduced in the late '60s and based off the more popular Chevrolet Camaro, the Pontiac Firebird is, and was, an American muscle car that combined solid performance with modern design.

This particular example has spent the good part of its life in Australia, having been converted to right-hand drive when imported. The 5.7-litre V8 is now no match to the power outputs of today’s cars, and the four-speed gearbox is similar to what Noah used on his ark, but there’s just something unique about these cars that make you smile every time you sit behind the wheel – and why we’ve kept this ride in our family for more than 15 years.

Along the way she’s had a few cosmetic and performance upgrades, including wheels, paint and exhaust to name a few.

Having been made partly famous by a young David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider, earlier models are a common sight at any American car show. But something drew us to the sleek styling of the later versions. Not as common, not as popular (Down Under at least) and perhaps easily be mistaken for a Nissan or Mazda of that period, the Firebird is an aging classic that has definitely left its mark in automotive history.

Sadly, the Pontiac Firebird is now extinct (as is the brand), having made its last model in 2002. Over the years our example has been a daily driver but now spends most of its days under a car cover, only taken out on those sunny Sunday afternoons.

If you’re ever thinking about owning a mid '90s American sports car, go for it! They are raw, uncompromising and unforgiving machines with straight-line speed and unparalleled road presence; just don’t expect them to be the most reliable or well-built cars to grace our roads. Buying one gets you automatic entry into Victoria’s largest automobile club, the RACV. But that’s what you get when you own and drive a car of this generation.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.