(Photos by Criag Fitzgerald and the author) – You may remember that we spent a full day inside the vast and amazing Lingenfelter Collection of Ken Lingenfelter last winter. Well as it turned out we have not run all of our photos from that day because the spring came, racing started, and that was that. That is great news for you because it means we still have plenty of awesome cars and history to highlight over the winter here at Eastern BS world HQ and we’re starting with our four favorite Pontiacs in the place. They are a BangShifty group for sure with a 1968 Pontiac Firebird 350 H.O., a 1965 Pontiac 2+2, a 1977 Pontiac Can Am, and a 1979 Firebird Formula. Outside of the hairy 421 powered 2+2, none of these cars have the biggest or most powerful engines you can dream up, and none of them would be cars that send collectors running in circles over, but they are all nice and more importantly interesting cars. Ken Lingenfelter told us that he fills the collection with stuff he finds interesting, no necessarily stuff that is worth lots of money. He knows all these cars and likes all these cars. Here’s why we like the four in this group.
1.) 1968 Firebird 350 H.O. – This car is immaculate and what turned us on to it was the green paint, the chrome nose, and the fact that it is not a 1968 Camaro. The 350 HO package was the entry level high performance package if you will. With a four barrel carb, dual exhaust, a slightly more radical cam, and heads with larger valves in them. This one was simply equipped with a four speed, bucket seats, and not a bunch of bells and whistles. The attraction here for us was that it represented a car that a kid with a job could have bought and then started modifying for more power. This was the gateway drug to the Pontiac world back in ’68.
2.) 1965 Pontiac 2+2 – This car attracted us for obvious reasons. It is huge at over 212 inches long, it is powerful with a tri-power 421ci engine, it is equipped with a four speed, and it is a convertible with enough fabric in the top to make a sail for a ship with. The 2+2 live a short life and it was basically intended to be the GTO of the big car line. Starting as an option package on the Catalina it was made its own model in 1965 but was axed after the 1967 model year. This car has all the stuff that makes our little hearts flutter like the eight lug wheels, four speed, bucket seats, and style for miles. The engine in this car was rated at 376hp and verging on 500 lb/ft of torque. It would boil the tires all day.
3.) 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula – What?! A later second generation Firebird?! Look at how clean and nice this car is. We’re going on record as saying that these babies have aged well and there would be no shame in cruising this car today. We’re reasonably sure that this is a very rare (like one of 350 made) 400, 4-speed, WS6 equipped Formula. The Formula Firebird was always a mid-step performance model that could be had with the hard parts of a Trans-Am but not the flashy looks. A 1979 Trans-Am, certainly had a more beefy appearance but this Formula was sneaky enough to run with it and while it is not fast by today’s standards it could book with the best of them in 1979.
4.) 1977 Pontiac Can-Am – One of 1,377 Pontiac Can-Ams produced during a truncated half year of production, the big white car represents Pontiacs last gasp of creativity before being completely swallowed up in the blanding of GM divisions in the 1980s. Jim Wangers was the man behind the project and was in charge of modifying the specially ordered LeMans Sport Coupes at his Detroit business called Motortown. Expecting to sell 2,500 Can Ams, Pontiac got 5,000 orders. The company saw the Can Am as essentially internal competition and felt that they were on the losing end of the stick so when the mold to make the rear spoilers broke there was no attempt made to fix it and the customers who ordered the cars after number 1,377 simply got their money back. This Can-Am is equipped with a 400ci engine and you can tell by the T/A 6.6 logo on the hood scoop. If this car had the 403ci Olds that some did you would see a 6.6 Litre decal. Fun fact to know and share right there, baby! Again, not a blazingly fast car but certainly a cool Pontiac that we’d love to cruise.
Now that you know the four, hit the link below to see all the photos of these beutiful tin Indians!