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Jay Leno's 2002 Pontiac Firebird WS6 Reminds Us That The Early 2000s Were Pretty Awesome

Jay Leno’s 2002 Pontiac Firebird WS6 Reminds Us That The Early 2000s Were Pretty Awesome

It’s one of the most pristine-looking Firebird WS6s we’ve ever seen

The Pontiac Firebird is one of the unsung heroes among American sports cars. In fact, Motorweek said in a review from 1998 that the Trans Am was the synonym of “Corvette performance for a minivan price.” The reason for that? For 1998, Pontiac fitted its sports car with a 305-horsepower LS1 engine.

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Time Travel With Jay Leno's Garage and Learn About the 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

Time Travel With Jay Leno’s Garage and Learn About the 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

Jay Leno jumps into the 1979 Pontiac Trans Am for a trip down the underpowered muscle car memory lane

When it comes to pony cars from the muscle car era, no vehicle from GM is more iconic than the Chevrolet Camaro. Introduced in 1966 as a rival for the popular Ford Mustang, the Camaro was joined in 1967 by the Firebird, Pontiac’s take on GM’s pony. Even though it had a solid following, it wasn’t as popular as the Camaro.

But that changed in 1977 when a Trans Am version of the Firebird was featured in the "Smokey and the Bandit" film. Sales nearly doubled and surpassed 100,000 units a year in 1979, enabling the Firebird to outsell the Camaro for the very first time. Although it wasn’t as powerful as its predecessor from the 1960s, the late 1970s Trans Am is a pretty cool car. Cool enough to make a stop by Jay Leno’s garage.

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The Pontiac Fiero Needs to Make a Comeback, And This is What It Should Look Like!

The Pontiac Fiero Needs to Make a Comeback, And This is What It Should Look Like!

Iconic 1980s sports car gets rendered to the nines

Our hopes of one day seeing a new Pontiac Fiero aren’t all that good, but don’t tell that to the man behind the @wb.artist20 account on Instagram. The account is full of automotive renderings, specifically modern interpretations of classic vehicles that are no longer around. There’s a lot of impressive work in that account, but one, in particular, caught our eye — and made us long for the Fiero’s return.

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Car for Sale: 1974 Pontiac Firebird Resto Mod With a Corvette LS3

Car for Sale: 1974 Pontiac Firebird Resto Mod With a Corvette LS3

Classic Pontiac design with a modern twist

The second-generation Pontiac Firebird was built from 1970 until 1981, and the cars produced in the first couple of years are by far the most popular. That’s because they’re from the golden muscle car era and fitted with the high power engines that went extinct when the oil crisis hit in 1973. However, the Firebird enjoyed new popularity toward the end of the 1970s thanks to a Trans Am model being used in the Smokey and the Bandit movie. If you’re looking for something unique from the era, here’s a nice restomod version of a 1974 Firebird.

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Everything You Should Know About The The Trans Am From Smokey And The Bandit

Everything You Should Know About The The Trans Am From Smokey And The Bandit

Arguably the most iconic Pontiac Firebird in history

Launched on the big screen in 1977, Smokey and the Bandit revolves around two bootleggers as they attempt to illegally transport 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana to Atlanta. The film was a sleeper hit, and following a poor initial performance, it went on to gross $126.7 million in North America, versus a budget of only $4.3 million. It was the second-highest-grossing movie of 1977 after Star Wars. On top of Burt Reynold’s top-notch acting, Smokey and the Bandit is also famous for the Pontiac Trans Am that the actor drove throughout the film. Here’s everything you should know about one of the most iconic movie cars ever.

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Top 10 Fastest Used Cars Under $20K

Top 10 Fastest Used Cars Under $20K

These performance cars are cheap, fast, and have all had previous owners

With the prices of cars increasing, a $20,000 used sports car has become harder to obtain these days. Not too long ago, you could afford a decent runner for $20,000 and still have enough change to buy a few cosmetic kits. But that’s no longer the case today, or at least, not for the most part. Look hard enough, though, and you can still score some good deals on used sports cars for $20,000 or less. These cars aren’t world-beaters by any stretch of the imagination, but they should still have enough juice to get the adrenaline flowing. They’re out there in the world. All you need to do is look for them.

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1970 Pontiac GTO Judge

1970 Pontiac GTO Judge

The GTO from the last great year of muscle cars

The Pontiac GTO is widely regarded as one of the first muscle cars but, by 1970, even one of the stalwarts of the segment wasn’t able to sell as it once did. Still, The GTO of 1970 remains a cornerstone example of muscle cars at their absolute peak.

The Pontiac GTO was born as a sportier version of the Tempest, aimed at a younger clientele. The car debuted in 1964 and by-passed in the process GM’s policy that was limiting A-body intermediate models to a maximum engine capacity of 5.4-liters. As such, the original Tempest GTO came with the 6.4-liter V-8 that was also used by the larger Bonneville and Catalina models.

By 1970, the GTO had lost most of its chromed trim, instead sporting an Endura polyurethane nose and aggressively flared fenders. Of the 40,149, GTOs built in 1970, only 3,797 were ordered with the Judge trim level that had been introduced the year before. Sales kept plummeting from then on thanks to ever-increasing insurance costs, stringent pollution-related rules, and regulations and a general shift in the market’s interest from performance cars to economy cars just as the oil crisis hit.

Keep reading to learn more about the 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge

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You Could Buy Burt Reynolds' 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am "Bandit" Recreation

You Could Buy Burt Reynolds’ 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am "Bandit" Recreation

It has a few extras too!

Many of us have fallen in love with cars through movies. For me, it was Steve McQueen’s Ford Mustang from "Bullitt," but the movie industry made several vehicles famous. The 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is one of them, and even though it comes from a difficult era for muscle cars, its presence in Burt Reynolds’ "Smokey and the Bandit" helped it become a legend. If you love this car, now’s your chance to buy it!

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Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am Gets The Spotlight: Video

Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am Gets The Spotlight: Video

New Petrolicious episode puts focus on one of the most iconic American cars ever made

There aren’t a lot of cars in this world that I will freely admit to having obsessed over at one point in my life. The Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am is one of those cars. I’ve loved this car ever since I first saw Smokey and the Bandit on my uncle’s old Betamax player. That love hasn’t died one bit, which is why I appreciate wholeheartedly what Gregg Hamilton has with his own Firebird Trans-Am.

As somebody who makes a living working for Ken Block, Hamilton is used to being surrounded by fellow grease monkeys who know their way around a rally car even if you tried blindfolding them. Hamilton’s one of them, so instead of letting his job consume his life, he found a different kind of car that eventually became his form of release from the rigors of his job. He bought a 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from its previous owner and has made it a personal mission to bring it back to its glorious peak condition.

He admits that there’s still some work left to be done on the Firebird, but what he has right now, including the big V-8 engine and the manual transmission, is impressive enough in its own, right? Oh, and that gold Firebird livery on the hood of the car, well that brings back so many memories of my own.

Check out this episode of Petrolicious because it’s a really good one. Take the word of someone who has loved the Firebird Trans-Am since he was five years old.

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Valentine's Day Special – Spread The Car Love

Valentine’s Day Special – Spread The Car Love

Five videos that’ll reignite your passion

There’s really one good reason you’re reading these words right now – you love cars. Non-car people don’t get it. They laugh and roll their eyes, calling it a waste of time to fix up that old beater, a waste of money to get out to the track for another weekend. That’s ok – let ‘em. Of course it doesn’t make sense to them. They don’t know the joy of finally getting an engine to spark back to life. They don’t know the thrill of setting a new personal best lap time. Too bad for them.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we’ve assembled five videos that are sure to remind you why you love cars. We’ve got a little bit of everything here, from Euro speed to Japanese tech, ground-up rebuilds to expansive muscle car car collections.

So sit back, hit play, and when you’re done, treat yourself to a drive.

Continue reading to check out the videos.

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"Mystery Knight Rider" Trailer Hits The Web: Video

"Mystery Knight Rider" Trailer Hits The Web: Video

David Hasselhoff is set to reprise his role as Michael Knight in what appears to be a remake of his classic ‘80s TV show, Knight Rider. I said "appears to be" since details about this project are still scarce. There is a trailer, which shows the Hoff in his trademark leather jacket and aviators, waiting for a black car in the middle of a desert. The car, of course, is KITT, and those who were fans of the TV series will definitely appreciate the solid nod to the show’s opening sequence.

The mysterious project is called Knight Rider Heroes, and if there’s anything to be taken from the trailer, it has the makings of a “mentor-student” story with Knight handing over the crime-fighting responsibilities, and presumably ownership of KITT, to an equally mysterious young man. That’s as far as the trailer went, as it skipped out on some other important details. For one, there’s no word on whether it’s going to be a TV series, a movie, or even a reality show. It also doesn’t say if the project is being backed by a prominent Hollywood studio, or any studio for that matter. The only company that’s attached to the project is Knight Media Industries, which may or may not be a real company.

Christopher Rutkowski, the creator of the Aficionauto series that featured the same visual treatment as the trailer, did tell Autoblog that a new Knight Rider project is in the works. Hasselhoff will be there, as will be the original KITT (Pontiac Trans-AM) and not the newer version (Ford Shelby GT500) that appeared in the ill-fated 2008 remake. There’s also an official website - knightriderheroesmovie.com - but a quick look at the site doesn’t reveal anything.

By the way it looks now, there are still too many unanswered questions to take this project seriously. I hope that something comes out of it because I’m a huge fan of the original Knight Rider series. But, until more details are unveiled, I’m taking this one with a grain of salt.

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Remember The Past - Pontiac Trans Am Reviewed: Video

Remember The Past - Pontiac Trans Am Reviewed: Video

Early Pontiac Trans Ams are very easy to love. They had classic muscle car looks and huge amounts of power. But by the late 70s, emissions-neutered engines were just sad, and the styling was overcompensating by getting more outrageous. Liking these later Trans Ams is something of a guilty pleasure, ’cause they’re just so cheesy; but they still have their fans, and the reviewer in this video and myself are two of them. And the Trans Am in the video is one of the easiest of its generation to love, as its a rare Turbo model.

GM would figure out how to make turbocharging genuinely badass a few years after the car in this video was made, and while the 1982-1987 Buick Grand National was amazing, this ’81 Turbo Trans Am isn’t quite there. But that’s okay, because the audacity it takes to cover the entire hood of a car with a giant screaming chicken (the common slang term for the Trans Am eagle logo, it’s used several times in the video without explanation) sort of excuses a lot.

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Burt Reynolds' 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Sells for $480k

Burt Reynolds’ 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Sells for $480k

Burt Reynold’s movie Smokey and the Bandit has been a cult classic among petrol heads and truck drivers since the day it appeared on the silver screen back in 1977. The Bandit’s black Pontiac Trans Am quickly became an icon, only growing in popularity over the years. That’s never been more evident than now thanks to the sizable price paid for Reynolds’ personal Pontiac.

An auction over the weekend at Julien’s Auction House in Las Vegas saw Reynolds’ unrestored 1977 Pontiac Trans Am sell for $489,000 — far greater than the original $80,000 expected selling price. The car’s original condition includes a slightly faded paint job, a dirty (yet fully functional) 6.6-liter V-8, and a well-lived-in interior.

Though the car was never used in filming, it was a “promotional” vehicle used during that time and later given to Reynolds after filming was completed. It comes complete with a gold placard in the door jam saying, “1977 Pontiac Trans Am Owned by Burt Reynolds.”

The car wasn’t the only item of Reynolds’ sold. In fact, the entire auction consisted of his more public personal effects. His jacket from “Stroker Ace” was expected to sell for $600 ended up going for $9,375; the canoe he piloted in “Deliverance” went for $17,500; and the helmet he wore in “The Longest Yard” sold for an amazing $20,000.

Click past the jump to read more about Burt Reynolds’ 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.

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1970 Pontiac Firebird by All Speed Customs

1970 Pontiac Firebird by All Speed Customs

Launched in 1967, when GM decided to give Pontiac a piece of the pony car market action by sharing the Camaro’s F-body platform, the Firebird became an integral part of the muscle car wars within a couple of years. 1970 saw the introduction of the second-gen model, which included the most brutal Firebird ever built. In its range-topping trim, the coupe came with a 7.5-liter V-8 under its hood and more than 360 horsepower routed to the pavement. With Pontiac out of the automotive scene for more than four years as of October 2014, the Firebird is one nameplate we wish was still around. Fortunately, the legacy of the early cars grew stronger the past four decades, and first- and second-gen Firebirds have become sought-after collectibles.

While some examples are being restored and taken care of by enthusiasts, other Firebirds are joining the restomod ranks by receiving modern underpinnings and amenities. Which brings us to this 1970 coupe that was auctioned off for $87,000 by Mecum Auctions. It’s black, mean and powered by a twin-turbo, 7.8-liter V-8 that’s ready to rip the tarmac off a drag strip under full throttle. Check out the details after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the Pontiac Firebird Resto Mod.

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