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Hagerty Employee

Exploring the prototype 1998 Pontiac Firebird Firehawk with eyes wide open

We've previously discussed the magic of Pontiac's Firebird Firehawk, in which the automaker utilized a third party engineering firm to add a dash of spice to an already impressive package.

These were not really much different than the WS6 cars.

The one to get was the very first Firehawk. They were built on a third gen and they had some major difference or should I say they could be optioned up with some major changes. Bigger wheels and tires were to start. A new intake T Ram and cold air intake. Exhaust and headers. The real treat was the Brembo brakes. These are not the OE Brembo but the F 40 Ferrari Brembo brakes that at the time were state of the art.
These cars were special and could even have a roll cage installed. Only a couple were made to full spec if I recall. We did have the show car at work for a while and it was really something special.

As for the later models I would love to find a Comp TA version. They were a Firehawk but with BFG tires and sold in Canada.
New Driver

The SLP cars also had the ram air hood that nicely incorporated the scoops in the facia verses the WS6 hoods. I always wondered what happened to the exposed headlights. When I saw the original images the cars had a graceful fluid look to them. I thought that those headlights were used only on the early cars and that's why I never see them anywhere. The mystery is solved. As a side note I remember a test among the three most powerful American convertibles in 2002. The Firebird WS6, Camaro SS, and the Mustang Cobra. The GM cars had identical power trains, but the Firebird had a higher top speed than the Camaro due to its better profile.

I like the integrated headlights and the less prominent ram air snout. But that was never to be.
Advanced Driver

Its cool, but I'm glad the Firebird went out the right way-with pop up head lights. As an aside, I never felt these 4th gen Firehawks were worth the premium over the WS6 cars. And in some cases they looked a little gaudy (see shiny wheels). The 3rd get Firehawk, on the other hand, is a rare and special beast.
New Driver

I'm glad they passed on that. Open eyes make that car look like a bloated Sunfire.