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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Welly 1:43 2001 Pontiac Firebird convertible

2002 was the last year of the Pontiac Firebird and Chevrolet Camaro so Welly had the opportunity to do both, yet the Firebird as you'll see is mostly a tag-along.  Still this 1:43 model is a very nice Firebird.

The fourth-generation Firebird uses styling inspired by the 1988 Banshee show car to give a Firebird that is sleek and sporty.  In 1998 the styling went further with more aggressiveness and more scoops.  The front has quad pop-up headlights and more scoops with larger hood scoops wiih Ram Air package.  The rear has a honeycomb pattern across the taillights.  The interior has an upgraded dashboard that is sporty but also plasticky at the same time.  The powertrains offered are a 3.8L pushrod V6 that produces 200 horsepower through a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual or the 5.7L LS1 V8 from the 1997 Corvette that produces an estimated 350 horsepower through a 4-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.  High insurance rates, low demand for coupes, and rather difficult engine access in this generation F-bodies prompted their demise in 2002.  While the Camaro has returned in 2010 the Firebird did not thanks to Pontiac being phased out in 2009, unless you count the aftermarket conversions of 5th generation Camaro's.

What's interesting about this dark blue Firebird convertible from Welly is how it looks similar to the Firebird convertible in the 1999 Pontiac Firebird brochure/calendar for the month of May 1999.  Very close and a cool picture to boot.  Now this Firebird shown here is acually based on a rental-grade base model with V6, 4-speed automatic, and even crank front windows!  The front has the headlight covers with Pontiac stamped in one of them, dual intake scoops (the Ram Air package has four), Firebird logo on front plate cover, round foglights, and side gills with signal lights.  The sides have gills in the fenders, Firebird on the doors, and 5-spoke wheels that split the difference between base and Formula models (not sure what wheels these are based on from the 1999 brochure reference.)  The upright windshield has a metal outer frame and the mirrors are sleek against the bodywork.  The rear has a towering rear spoiler on the trunklid, taillight bar with round reverse lamps, honeycomb taillights, and Firebird badge in the center, and even V6 models get dual exhaust (V8 models get four tips).

The base underneath shows off the exhaust system, engine, and the large transmission pan for the four-speed automatic transmission.  Without an opening hood you can imagine this car has a V8 instead of the V6; later on i'll show you why the 1:24 scale model has no choice but the V6 unless you go the customization route.  The dashboard on the real car is black against the gray interior so I did that here with a black sharpie.  The round AC vents, center stack controls, and 4-spoke steering wheel are nicely done.  The detailed door panels have the crank windows rather far forward next to the door speakers, while the center console has the detailed shifter.  As for the rear seat you are out of luck as the rear luggage covers the area where the pullback motor is housed; at least you get a nice tonneau cover design.  Even if it's a lower-end model this Pontiac Firebird still looks good in styling and as a dark blue droptop model.

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