1970 Firebird Formula
The 1970 Firebird Formula 400 was the third of four models in Pontiac’s 70s Firebird lineup. The first generation of Firebirds, from ’67 to ’69, were closely related to their cousins the Camaros, but also took styling cues from the GTO. Although Pontiac designers had hoped to make a two-seater sports car modeled after the Banshee, a mid-60s concept car, the higher ups at General Motors feared that it would compete too heavily with the Corvette. The Firebirds represented a compromise, but one that disappointed few.
For the second generation, in addition to the 1970 Firebird Formula, Pontiac offered a base model, the second-tier Esprit, and the top of the line Trans Am. Because the retooled models were delayed in coming out, they are sometimes referred to as 1970 ½ Firebirds.
The 1970 Firebird Formula of the first generation was criticized lightly for having no real identity and for being a cast off from Chevrolet. For the new generation, Pontiac stepped up the design and created cars that were unique and distinct from the Camaro. The body was sleek and drawn out with minimal chrome accessories, relying on its aesthetically-pleasing profile for its good looks. With a split grille and bumper in a plastic nose in addition to the other changes, the 1970 Firebird Formula was fresh and appealing.
While the Trans Am was the real high-performance vehicle of this line, the 1970 Firebird Formula acted like a stepping stone and offered enough performance for most consumers. It came with a 400-cid V8 engine with 330 horsepower, just a small step down from the 345-hp Trans Am engine. As compared to the base and Esprit models, the Formula had a stiffer suspension, wider tires, stabilizer bars, and a deluxe steering wheel. For additional styling, a fiberglass hood with molded twin scoops gave this model a sportier look than the other cars and the Formula 400 nameplate completed the design.