Greg Wapling

PANIC | FAQ | Help
Chev 34 | Projects | Business Directory | Photo Gallery | Readers Rides | Under Construction | Virtual Body Shop
General | Documentaries | Events | How-to
Artists By Name | Artists by Genre | Music Links
American Chopper | American Hot Rod | Horsepower TV | Hot Rod TV | Monster Garage | Overhaulin | Rides | Wheels TV | Wrecks to Riches
Queensland | New South Wales | Victoria | Tasmania | South Australia | Northern Territory | Western Australia | New Zealand
Let's Go Cruisin | Dry Lakes Racers Australia | Hot Rod Internet | OzRodders | HAMB | Rodders Roundtable | Land Racing
subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link | subglobal8 link

Prototypes and Concept Cars



Type K Concepts

Bookmark Page       Print Page                    

Random Car Review: Pontiac Firebird “Type K” Concepts

Bangshift Dec 11, 2014 Bryan McTaggart

GM wasted no time getting to work on the second-generation F-car, with preliminary sketches and mockups taking place even as the first generation cars were going on sale. Both Camaro and Firebird were getting thorough work overs, and unlike the first-gen car, the Firebird was going to be more than a nose-and-tail treatment on a Camaro, but would incorporate many differences between the two models. But what those differences were, exactly, was a sticking point. Convertibles were never approached for the second generation, due to nervousness about upcoming legislation that the manufacturers expected would kill convertible cars off altogether. Performance was still good (at this point in time) but some inside GM felt that if they were going to maximize the profit from the new car, they needed a second body style.

One of the first design studies was this second-gen Camaro mockup. From the B-pillar forward it’s pretty much the 1970 Camaro, but from the back the car takes on a Vega Wagon-like profile. Reportedly this design had a roof-mounted lift gate, like a 1980’s Dodge Ramcharger where it all opened up at once. Known as the Camaro Kammback, this was the only factory look at a Camaro wagon.

In 1977 Pontiac decided to revisit the idea with a pair of Firebirds that had been converted to wagons. Instead of a lift gate  out back, instead access was provided by the side glass, which was hinged in the center of the roof. Known as the Pontiac Firebird Type K,  the two cars (one gold/beige, the other the more well-known silver/red) hit the show circuit. The response was so positive that Bill Mitchell, head of GM Design, was considering a limited production run with the cars being built by Pininfarina, the coach builder who had built the concept cars.

The program almost made it. Mitchell figured that so long as the unit cost of each car was under $16,000 that he could get every last car sold, but when the second energy crisis hit and inflation bumped the Type K’s projected cost per unit to $26,000, the project was abandoned and not revived until 1985.

The project got another look on the 3rd generation F-body Pontiac in 1986. Instead of having a fixed roof, however, this design maximized the use of lightweight materials and the the design that already existed: A light “cap” was hinged at the hatchback’s mounting points on the roof and would latch at the stock point behind the taillights, opening up some more covered cargo area in the hatch area. It’s unknown just how many cars were built besides the black and silver one.

Would a Firebird station wagon have sold well? The closest GM vehicles that compare are the Pontiac Safari wagon and Chevrolet Nomad of the 1950s. They didn’t sell well but were well received and were becoming collector cars by the mid-1980s. If Pontiac had found a way to keep the costs down a limited run couldn’t have hurt anything.


About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Contact Us | © 1995 - 2009 Greg Wapling All Rights Reserved