Happy 3/01 – Let’s Celebrate With A Video About A Turbo 301 Firebird


Happy 3/01 – Let’s Celebrate With A Video About A Turbo 301 Firebird

God bless ’em they were trying. They of course were the engineers at various car companies in the late 1970s and early 1980s and what they were trying to do was make horsepower in any way possible. Cars had been choked to death by emissions and insurance regulations, they had been uglied up by the mandate of the huge dumb bumpers, and everything was a lot more crummy than it had been a short while ago. The always pluggy Pontiac brand was putting up more of a fight than most. Their radical Super Duty cars stood in the ring until 1974 and their 400ci engine was available until 1979. After that the cars got an Olds 403 or the truly anemic Pontiac 301ci engine.

Somehow, somewhere, an engineer got the idea that a turbo on the 301 would wake it up and possibly keep them on the friendly side of the emissions patrol. That guy was right and for two model years (1980 and 1981) you could option a turbocharged 301ci engine in your Firebird. Making 200hp, it was not all that good, reliable, or powerful but it was something.

In this episode of Big Muscle, Mike Musto takes an amazingly clean example of am early 1980s turbo 301 Firebird and cruises it. Along the way he tells us about the high and low points, the stuff he loves and hates, and how close the engineers were to getting it right.

Hey, if nothing else it was among the world’s first mass produced turbocharged V8 engines. It didn’t work well but now we are just splitting hairs. Or not.

Press play below to see Mike Musto cruise a turbo 301 Firebird –


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2 thoughts on “Happy 3/01 – Let’s Celebrate With A Video About A Turbo 301 Firebird

  1. Tom P

    There was no greater thrill for a V8 Pinto owner like me than to be driving along the highway when some silk shirted, gold chained mook in his new Turdo TA pulls alongside, says something to the bimbo in the passenger seat and laughs.
    Then he hits the gas as evidenced by all three lights on the back of the hood coming on. I pull alongside and see him grot his teeth and strain his foot harder down to no avail. Then I hit the throttle and smoke the tires for a ways, then slow right down… he never catches up.

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