North American Curbivores will be familiar with this feeling. You go to a classic car show and every Chevelle is an SS and every Mustang a V8. You know there are Chevelle sedans and Mustang V6s out there but they’re the beater in the depressed neighborhood or the discarded relic engulfed in the long grass. Now, imagine you don’t live in the US or Canada but somewhere like the UK or Australia, where such cars weren’t sold. The pool of non-SS and non-V8 models isn’t deep enough to drown in.
That’s why this ’82 Firebird V6 fills me with such joy.
The odds of me seeing a brown Firebird with wire wheel covers in Australia are infinitesimally small. There are already so few third-generation F-Bodies here, with no Firebird ever officially sold here and the Camaro only arriving on our shores with the latest generation (even though we engineered the last, Zeta-platform model).
The only thing that would make this Facebook Marketplace listing more morbidly fascinating is if it had an Iron Duke under its hood.
Fortunately, this base Firebird has the 2.8 V6 – the fuel-injected four-cylinder was actually a credit option. While still no speed demon, Consumer Guide found the V6 models to be more nimble and comfortable than the V8, though it still had its work cut out for it hauling around 3000 pounds of pony car.
For the third-generation’s debut year, there was only one tune of the carbureted 2.8 available. It produced 112hp at 5100 rpm and 148 ft-lbs at 2400rpm and was available with either a four-speed manual or the featured car’s three-speed automatic.
Next year was where the V6 option saw some attention, with a high-output version in the mid-range S/E that added 23hp and the option of a five-speed manual and a four-speed overdrive automatic.
I’ve heard about these cars’ flaws, chiefly the rattly, plastic-fantastic interiors and stiff ride. Nevertheless, these are extremely handsome cars, even the root beer brown paint and wire wheel covers failing to detract from this Firebird’s aesthetic appeal (perhaps perversely, they enhance its appeal to me).
The Fox-body Mustang may have enjoyed greater critical acclaim, at least later in its run, but if you showed an ’82 Firebird and an ’82 Mustang to someone unfamiliar with both, it’d be the Poncho that’d get their attention.
Speaking of interiors, by the way, have you ever seen an ’82 Firebird with a cabin this nice? Those seats look almost showroom fresh.
There are still plenty of third-generation F-Bodies on Craigslist and Marketplace but this one is remarkably clean. And, again, I should point out this is a brown pony car with wire wheel covers. We’ll never see a new one of those, and none of us is likely to see an old one at a car show. That’s a pity as, much like not every Chevelle was an SS, not every Firebird was a Trans Am.
If this is a turkey, it’s a pretty tasty one to me.