1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint | Jay Leno’s Garage

John DeLorean developed this six-cylinder overhead cam Firebird as an answer to the Jaguar XKE and is a rare example in this configuration.

1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint | Jay Leno’s Garage

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Comment (170)

  1. That car sounds terrible. I had a friend that had 1968 Firebird Spring in the 1970's. He couldn't wait to get rid of it and buy a 1967 Firebird Formula 400. The 400 was a much better car.

  2. I find Jay's comments towards 6-cylinder engines sort of "ambiguous". Sometimes, he looks down on it ("it's just a six-cylinder car") and on other occasions (like here) he holds it in high regard. Coincidentally (or not?), the positive remarks were related to american cars and the negative about european ones…

  3. As always, Jay. You do not disappoint. A beautiful restoration/mods on a worthy, little known automobile. I owned no less than 4 of his other 'creations'. Two 1975 Cosworth 'Twin Cam' Chevrolet Vega's and two '76's. Decent performance from a 2 liter back in the day though BMW 2002 Tii's and Mazda RX3 rotaries ate my lunch on a regular basis at autocross events. John Zachary DeLorean – very much a Renaissance man. Competent engineer with a Shakespearean resume.

  4. I'm an I6 fan. I have a '94 Lexus SC300 with a 5-speed manual. In stock form the six cylinder SC300 with a manual had the same 0-60 time as the V8 SC400 which had an automatic transmission, manual was not offered. Of course I didn't leave the SC300 stock. I had an aftermarket turbocharger installed, along with other mods. At a modest 13psi boost it generates 346 RWHP. The SC300 is essentially similar to the same year Toyota Supra, differing only in body styling and interior. The value of the Supra's has skyrocketed but the SC300's are generally ignored by the collector market.

  5. I love this car! I didn't know there were 2 versions of this engine. Growing up a friend's mother had this engine (I don't know which version) in a LeMans rag top with a 4 speed. I got to drive the car a couple of times and rode as a passenger a ton of times. As Jay said in regard to the Firebird, the engine was perfect for the car and not overwhelming. It handled surprisingly well and for the day it stopped well. I had a lot of memories associated with this car and this video brought them all back! Thanks Jay!

  6. This exhaust pipe system sounds ridiculous. This stainless steel sounds so far away from the original sound. Not my taste (….and do you even find it a little bit slow for 4.2 litre?)

  7. I had a 1969 green one with the OHC 6 that I purchased used in 1971. It was an automatic and drove nicely – it was the family car which meant the wife drove it mostly.

  8. I turned 17 in 1968….the legal age for driving in NYC if you took drivers ed. My #1 dream car was a Firebird 400. I was well aware of the Pontiac OHC 6, particularly in the Tempest body and liked the notion of a balanced chassis/engine combination. Alas. I ended up with an Austin Healey 3000….but I still love the Firebird. Jay's convertible in blue is a stunner.

  9. Great trip down memory lane having owned a ‘67 Camaro convertible as my first car in the late 90’s. Just here to confirm the “cocktail shakers" or vibration dampeners in the trunk were installed on every convertible.

  10. Great restoration. It is so nice to see a different take on classic cars with a performance six and handling instead of the standard v8 straight line muscle car. My brother and I both have 6 cylinder mustangs and they definitely give a different feel and sound than the v8 cars. When a car is set up right with good weight distribution and balanced and not overpowered it allows you as a driver to have more confidence. It is fun to have too much power for a chassis but we all have seen what happens with novice drivers and v8 mustangs spin out. Thanks for all your videos Jay! I love my 4.0 overhead cam six cylinder mustang. I can see you really appreciate the six cylinder firebird sprint. It really means something when a guy can appreciate all types of cars and not just the popular ones. Sometimes the rare cars were unappreciated but still fun in their own way.

  11. I've been looking forward to you finishing this restoration since you first got it and, boy, was it worth the wait. Wow, it just sits so perfect. I always loved the way the rear side marker light is shaped like the Pontiac logo. I vividly remember the OHC six and always thought it was a really cool engine. It still is. This just jumped up to my top five cars in the Jay Leno collection along with the '66 7 Litre, the hemi Dodge Coronet and a couple other American cars. Thanks Jay, you really made my day.

  12. If it were not for Mr. Leno, I would never have known about 75% of the cars he showcases. He should be know as a great auto historian and not merely a collector and enthusiast.

  13. Great to see your joy with this car!
    I remember when they came out – caught my interest too!
    Wonder why they didn’t put the old Tempest independent rear end in them?!

  14. I owned a car just like this in high school only verdoro green and without the hood tachometer. It had the quadrajet carb and I could squawk the tires in third gear if I reved it up high enough….soooo many good times cruising around with friends and still my favorite body style of any car out there except maybe that Jaguar XKE…I laughed when he mentioned those weights in the back because I never knew what those things were about also……Thanks for sharing!!…Brought back fond memories!!

  15. There are dampers in the corners of f body convertibles. They are supposedly filled with heavy oil and a heavy spring. And supposedly, if you remove them the car will oscillate at certain speeds and shake quite erratically.

  16. This episode really has my attention. Pontiac design touches on the body shows more style than the similar Camaro. Always loved the 67, 68 tail lights and convertible from the rear. A friend of mine had a Firebird Sprint in high school. I thought it was cool but of course the 400 with the 400 hood scoops was cooler back then. I’ve changed my outlook on sporty cars since high school and like this Sprint, I would prefer a small block aluminum engined 68 – 72 Corvette for the superb handling instead of the straight line performance. Thank the Miata for this change of mind.

  17. I inherited a 73 mustang, a ZERO option car 6cyl 3spd but it's completely rust free, I was gonna put a 400hp crate engine and a 4spd, now gas is $4:00 a gallon so I'm keeping the 6 it does have a cam and headers and a 4bbl so it's not a complete dog with fresh springs and shocks at least I can drive it "spirited" love your poncho Jay, you're the MAN, love these videos!!!

  18. I read about these in the late 70's . I believe they also put them in the Lemans body also. That inflater spare saved me early one morning when I got a flat driving my 77 Trans Am at 3.00 am . Nobody was on the road after 11 pm back then. I replaced the little spare with a full size and lost a good deal of what little trunk room there was. On vacation my wife and I got one medium sized suite case in the trunk and the rest went in the back seat. Pontiacs handled better than their GM counterparts. One of the magazines did a test between the Trans Am, Z28, the new smaller Mustang of 79 or 80 , and the Corvette. They found that while the Corvette was the best handling car it was harder to drive at the upper limits . The T/A was actually easier to drive and had excellent handling and won the contest. It had the smaller 4.9 litre and not the 6.6 W72 400. To me the Firebird looked better and I loved the seats and dash layout better than the Camaro . Remember Chevrolet killed the Z28 for 75 and 76 . It's a shame we lost Pontiac.

  19. 17:04 Top left corner, what is that a tow bar?? Gotta love Jay, Ed Pink & custom hardened Tool Steel rocker arms, Jay certainly goes for the BEST quality in everything, having worked in Quality Control for 40+ years I dig his taste in quality !

  20. I had the ‘67 3.8 version. I split the exhaust to the tail pipes. With the 4V quadrajet opening up when flooring the throttle, it sounded like a 3.8 Jag. And it was fast.

  21. The canisters in the back are mass dampers. There is a weight suspended by two springs one on top and one on the bottom the oil is like a shock absorber. It stops oscillations up and down under braking and acceleration as well as from bumps in the road. This makes the car more stable and predictable. I would guess it was a work around to compensate for weight differences from the hard top and convertible in the back of the car.

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