Pontiac Firebird

1991 Pontiac Firebird

“Performance is everything. That’s the Firebird theme.” 1991 Firebird sales brochure

  • The front end of all Firebirds was redesigned for the first time since 1985.
  • The first Firebird convertible since 1969 was introduced in 1991.
  • The ground effects of the Trans Am were restyled in the redesign.

Muscle Car Specifications

Performance Model
1991 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Engine Used
Zero to Sixty
4.6 sec
Quarter Mile
12.7 sec @ 116.9 mph

The new Firebird nose, introduced in 1991 and used through the last of the third-generation models the following year, met significantly divided reviews upon release. While some thought the new design gave the car an appealingly more aggressive look, others thought it was just plain ugly. Regardless, the update did allow Pontiac to offer a fresh option to a design that had essentially held constant since 1985, while at the same time working on a complete redesign for the fourth-generation cars that would be issued in 1993.

With that said, the release of a convertible model Firebird also was big news. Available on base and Trans Am models, it was nice to see a drastically different Firebird. Sales were fairly slow in the beginning (around 1500), but would grow the following year.

Other than the aforementioned altered Trans Am ground effects, Pontiac seemed content to leave the rest of the Firebird alone. The interior had been slightly revised the year before with an altered dash and console, and this would remain the case until the full restyle happened later.

Engine options also were the same. Base models included a 3.1 litre V6 rated at 135 horsepower, while Formula models came standard with a 205 horsepower 5.0 litre V8. Standard in the Trans Am GTA and optional to the Formula models, a 5.7 litre V8 also was available that produced 210 horsepower.

After the dismal sales year of the shortened 1990 production, total production more than doubled in 1991 to 51,184. Unfortunately this is not a trend that would continue through the final year of the third-generation Firebird in 1992.


Though only 12,612 base Firebirds were produced in 1990, production of the model was up to 38,112 for 1991. Like all Firebirds, the base model received new body sealant in 1991 that added more support to the body of the car.

Firebird Formula

While production increased on the Formula models for 1991, the upswing wasn’t as drastic as the base model, and 5,490 were produced. Still, it was the second best selling Firebird model for the year.

Trans Am

Production of the Trans Am was up more than 3,000 cars from the year before to 3,452. In addition, 555 convertible models of the Trans Am were produced.

Trans Am GTA

For the first time since 1987, the GTA model failed to outsell its less well-equipped Trans Am sibling. 2,915 GTA models were produced throughout the model year.

Pony Car Competition

Entering a new decade, it was good to see Firebird sales numbers rising in 1991. However, a steep decline the following year would seem to indicate that public was in fact growing weary of the third-generation Firebirds, which had been on the road since 1982. Mustang production was also down for 1991 (though there were still 98,737 produced), and both models would see a resurgence when new models were issued in the mid-1990s.

And though both cars, along with the Camaro, would again be directly competing pony cars by 1994 for the first time since the mid-1970s, all were having to compete more and more with the many sporty imports rushing around American roads. In the late 1960s, there were never more than seven pony cars competing with each other at one time. By the early 1990s, it seemed competition was coming from every angle.

Engine Specifications

Type Size Carb Horse Power Tourqe
LH0 191ci MFI 140 hp @ 4000 rpm 180 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
LB9 TPI 305ci Tuned Port Injection 230 hp @ 4400 rpm 300 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
LO3 305ci Fuel Injection 170 hp @ 4000 rpm 255 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm
B2L TPI 350ci Tuned Port Injection 240 hp @ 4400 rpm 300 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm

Performance Statistics


0 to 60 mph Quarter Mile Engine Source
4.6 sec 12.7 sec @ 116.9 mph 350ci/640hp Motor Trend 1/91
7.0 sec 15.4 sec
Overall rating
Parts Availability

1991 vert

amazing car fun to drive and i would buy another one in a heartbeat


sleek lines comfortable interior
needs more horsepower

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