Used 1997 Pontiac Firebird Convertible

1997 Pontiac Firebird
List price range
1997 Pontiac Firebird

Pros

  • Good looks, powerful base V-6 engine, better value than Mustang

Cons

  • Hefty size, seating positions, insurance costs, macho image

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vehicle overview

Except for a small period of history during the early '80s, Firebird has been synonymous with performance since 1967. The blue-striped Trans Am from 1969 comes to mind, along with the 1974 SD-455, the 1977 black and gold 6.6-liter T/A abused by Burt Reynolds in "Smokey and the Bandit," the orange 1978 Firebird Esprit driven to fame by James Garner in "The Rockford Files," the 1989 Turbo V6 Indianapolis 500 pace car, and this, the current iteration of Pontiac's F-car.

The Firebird, in base form, is a beautiful car. The blend of angular greenhouse lines and softly bulging sheetmetal creates the automotive equivalent of Kim Basinger in a silk nightgown. Unfortunately, the bespoilered Trans Am, with its aero skirting, decklid Batwing, and peek-a-boo driving lights ruins the effect. Not to worry; the Formula provides all of the T/A's hardware goodies in a more restrained, lighter, less costly package.

The Firebird's cockpit is a nice blend of style and function, and is much better executed than that found in its corporate twin, the Chevrolet Camaro. Dual airbags and anti-lock brakes are standard, and Firebird Formula and Trans Am can be equipped with an optional traction control system. Additionally, convertible versions of each model were introduced in 1994, so if top-down motoring is preferable, for a boost in price it is yours.

Performance from the Corvette-derived 5.7-liter V8 is astounding, providing enough power to get the Firebird to 60 mph faster than your ten-year-old can get to 40 yards. The LT1 V8 is good for 285 horsepower. Need more than that? A Ram Air WS6 Performance and Handling Package for the Formula and T/A is available, featuring twin hood scoops that force cool air into the LT1, resulting in 20 extra ponies. WS6 suspension tuning and P275/40ZR17 tires keep the Ram Air Firebird planted to the ground. Ram Air is available for the first time this year on convertible editions of the Formula and Trans Am. Base models are powered by a 3800 Series II V6 that makes 200 horsepower, 45 more than rival Ford Mustang. A Performance Package for base Firebirds includes four-wheel disc brakes, a limited slip differential, dual exhausts, bigger tires and a tighter steering ratio.

Pontiac has substantially improved the Firebird for 1997. In addition to the expanded availability of Ram Air, the Firebird can be equipped with a new 500-watt Monsoon sound system. Power seats can be covered in leather this year, and four-way seat adjustment is standard on all Firebird models. Air conditioning also makes the 1997 standard equipment list, along with a new center console with dual auxiliary power outlets. Base Firebirds get engine vibration dampeners and bodyside moldings, while Ram Air coupes receive 17-inch high polished wheels. Green Metallic joins the exterior color roster, and interiors can be dyed Dark Pewter if you please. Finally, GM makes good on its threat to add daytime running lights to the Firebird despite the car's hidden headlamp system. High intensity parking lamps glow all day long. Just great.

With world-class powertrains and hot sheetmetal at a low price, the 1997 Firebird fries Ford's Mustang. Stay away from the well-optioned Trans Am, because the Formula provides all the performance and image you need, and keeps your budget well in the black.

1997 Highlights

Pontiac upgrades the Firebird in several ways for 1997. Performance freaks will appreciate the addition of Ram Air induction to the options list of the Formula and Trans Am convertibles. Audiophiles will be blown away by the newly optional 500-watt Monsoon sound system. Luxury intenders can get power seats swathed in leather this year. Safety-conscious buyers will find daytime running lights. Additional cosmetic and comfort items keep the fourth-generation Firebird fresh for its fifth year.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Pontiac Firebird.

1997 Formula Firebird LT1
jim683,07/01/2003
The LT1 performs flawlessly, The car is fast and good looking, my wife says she looks GOOD in this car and she does. Gas miles on highway averages 24-27 and around 19 in city. Drop the top and go on nice days
Write a consumer review of your vehicle for a chance to WIN $100!

Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
6-speed manual
Gas
285 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
6-speed manual
Gas
285 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
17 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
200 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1997 Pontiac Firebird Convertible features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 Pontiac Firebird
Used 1997 Pontiac Firebird Convertible Overview

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Find a used Pontiac Firebird for sale - 1 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $14,715.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac Firebird for sale - 12 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $8,438.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac for sale - 12 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $12,365.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Pontiac Firebird?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Pontiac lease specials
Check out Pontiac Firebird lease specials