2002 Pontiac Firebird: The Screaming Chicken Went Out in a Blaze of V8 Glory
Before General Motors (GM) put Pontiac out to pasture in 2010, the marque built some serious muscle car matches for the storied Chevrolet Camaro. Of course, the closest companion for Chevy’s pony car was the Firebird, a sibling with comparable styling and power. Unfortunately, the 2002 Pontiac Firebird was the last of its kind, years before the marque closed its doors altogether. So, what’s special about the 2002 Pontiac Firebird and the WS6 Trans Am?
What was the last year they made a Pontiac Firebird?
2002 was the final model year for the Pontiac Firebird, marking the end of the model after nearly 36 years of production. It’s an unfortunate departure for the classic American nameplate, considering the Chevrolet Camaro is still a fixture in the modern muscle car market.
Of course, the modern Camaro will continue just through 2024 and perhaps 2025 for a sixth-generation Z/28 edition. Still, the Firebird has been nowhere to be seen in the same circles as the Camaro since 2002. However, the 2002 Pontiac Firebird is not easily dismissed among used V8 muscle cars.
How much horsepower does a 2002 Firebird LS1 have?
At the heart of the 2002 Pontiac Firebird is the perenially popular and dependable 5.7L LS1 V8. A favorite among hot rodders and builders, the all-aluminum LS1 was an upgrade over the previous LT1 V8. In 2002, the Firebird Trans Am summoned 325 horsepower from its LS1 engine.
Moreover, the 20 extra ponies helped the final Firebird outsprint earlier LT1-powered WS6 models. In a 2003 road test, MotorTrend coaxed the oddball LS1 Trans Am to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds, as fast as a newer S197 Ford Mustang Bullitt.
Moreover, the Firebird offered a choice between a BorgWarner six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. That’s right; a 2002 Pontiac Firebird has the potential to be a tire-vaporizing good time with a row-your-own gearbox.
Is a 5.7 LS1 a good motor?
The 5.7L LS1 V8 produces good power in a squat, lightweight aluminum package. Better yet, with a more dependable fuel injection system than the LT1, it’s a favorite among car builders to create usable, powerful street rods.
In the 2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, the LS1-powered WS6 made as much as 325 horsepower in a 3,500-lb car. It was a recipe for high-speed fun. Further, the extra power was courtesy of a hand-me-down camshaft and intake from the C5 Corvette Z06, per Hagerty.
How much is a 2002 Pontiac Firebird worth today?
The 2002 Pontiac Firebird is an appreciating vehicle in the segment. Specifically, Classic.com puts the 2002 model at an average of $28,887 for U.S. sales over the last five years. Furthermore, the Firebird is gaining popularity; it’s worth thousands more than its average price in 2018.
Is the 2002 Pontiac Firebird a good car?
The 2002 Pontiac Firebird and its WS6 Trans Am package make for a budget-friendly street bully with a Corvette heart. It’s a fitting competitor for similarly aged Camaros and Mustangs. Of course, the front fascia intakes are controversial, sometimes looking more vampire bat than batmobile.
What’s more, a friend of mine in the water survival cadre on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton grappled with his decision to acquire a WS6 in 2015. Finally, after weighing his options, he went with the V8-powered Pontiac and never looked back. The aftermarket exhaust growing like roots from the LS1 announced his arrival anywhere he went. Better yet, the sinister Pontiac pulled hard and didn’t bust his budget.
What do you think of the last Firebird? Would you add the controversially styled muscle car to your collection? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!