When Chevrolet introduced the Camaro for the 1967 model year, Pontiac got its own version at the same time (in contrast to Mercury, which had to wait a few years to start selling Mustang-sibling Cougars). This was the Firebird, which stayed in production until both it and the Camaro were discontinued after the 2002 model year. Today’s Junkyard Gem is a base Firebird coupe from the final fourth generation, found in a Colorado car graveyard recently.

These days, first- and second-generation (1967-1969 and 1970-1981) Firebirds are all but impossible to find in the big self-service wrecking yards, while the 1982-1992 third-generation cars still show up from time to time. Those looking for discarded 1994-2002 Firebirds have a somewhat easier time, though sales numbers were never great compared to those of the earlier cars.

The fourth-generation Camaros and Firebirds were very quick with V8 engines, but the base powerplants in the cheaper versions were always V6s. For 1996 through 2002, that engine was the good old 3.8-liter Buick pushrod V6, with ancestry extending all the way back to the 215-cubic-inch aluminum V8 that had its debut in 1961. That’s what’s in this car.

This one was rated at a pretty strong 200 horsepower and 225 pound-feet, which was more powerful than the beefiest optional V8s available in the 1982-1984 Firebirds. If you bought a 1999 Formula or Trans Am, you got a genuine 5.7-liter LS V8, rated at 305 (320 with Ram Air) horsepower and 335 pound-feet.

A five-speed manual was standard equipment in the 1999 Firebird with V6 (buyers of the V8-equipped cars could choose between a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic), and that’s what’s in this car.

This car has the optional T-top roof.

The MSRP for this car was $18,250, or about $34,828 in 2024 dollars.

The V6 version didn’t get much advertising time on TV.

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