The 1960s are deemed the golden age of the American muscle automobile, but the 1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint featured on this episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” demonstrates that Detroit automakers weren’t only targeted on V-8s and quarter-mile occasions.

Alternatively of the V-eight engines supplied in other efficiency versions of the Firebird, the Sprint had an inline-six below its hood. This was an upgraded edition of the engine supplied in base versions of the Firebird, sporting a single overhead cam head, 4-barrel carburetor, and efficiency exhaust. In the Sprint, it truly is coupled to a four-velocity guide transmission the driver operates with help from a hood-mounted tachometer.

As Leno tells it, then-Pontiac boss John DeLorean was a fan of the Jaguar E-Variety (which launched in 1961 with a dual overhead cam inline-six) and wished to create a competitor. Even though Pontiac did in the long run create a idea edition referred to as the Banshee, Basic Motors would not approve a manufacturing model, fearing it would compete with the Corvette.

1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint convertible on Jay Leno's Garage

1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint convertible on Jay Leno’s Garage

Alternatively, DeLorean launched the Firebird Sprint, intending to get on the E-Variety with his very own inline-six (albeit in a bigger, heavier automobile) and an emphasis on managing. Since the Firebird Sprint was meant to compete with European sports activities automobiles, it even received “four.one-liter” badging, alternatively of the cubic-inch displacement measurement that was normal for U.S. automakers at the time.

The Firebird Sprint may possibly have pleased DeLorean’s legendary ego, but it was not a industrial good results. It created significantly less electrical power (about 220 hp) than a V-eight Firebird of the time, but price a lot more, Leno pointed out. Consequently, the Sprint is now quite unusual. Maintain in thoughts that there was never ever an equivalent edition of the Firebird’s Chevrolet Camaro twin, which shared the GM F-physique platform.

Leno acquired his Firebird Sprint convertible in 2019, and place it back on the street following a light restoration and some present day upgrades for drivability. View the complete video for a lot more information of this uncommon Pontiac, and to heard that straight-six sing.