When GM launched its new F-body pony car in 1967, only two divisions got to take a crack at it: Chevy, with the Camaro and Pontiac, with the Firebird.

Boasting unique styling cues and an assortment of Pontiac’s own engines, the Firebird easily set itself apart from its corporate twin.

You could get your first-gen Firebird equipped with anything from Pontiac’s innovative overhead-cam “Sprint” six to the tire-nuking 400 V8.

In 1969 specifically, Pontiac made about half as many Firebirds as Chevy did Camaros, making the Poncho a somewhat rare sight in the wild.

More importantly, one of the OnAllCylinders staff members is convinced that the first-gen Firebird is the most important car ever made, and told us we were morally obligated to snap some pics when this one rumbled into the Summit Racing retail store parking lot.

This particular Firebird is a “Verdoro Green” example, equipped with a the aforementioned Pontiac 400 engine that’s good for north of 330 horsepower.

We got a chance to talk to its owner who confirmed the year and engine. He told us that his ‘Bird is mostly original, save for a single repaint, some small upgrades, and a FiTech EFI conversion.

He’s owned the Firebird for a few years and assured us that it gets driven regularly.

It’s easy to differentiate a 1969 Firebird from it’s ’67-68 brethren thanks to its one-year-only “beak” nose, with the smaller chrome grille and color-keyed headlight surrounds.

1969 was a big year for Firebird fans too, because it was the first year of the soon-to-be-legendary “Trans Am” nameplate. (A mere 697 Trans Ams came off the assembly line in 1969, now making them white hot on the collector’s market.)

While the Camaro vs. Firebird debate rages on amongst the F-body faithful, there is one thing everyone does agree on:

We’re glad GM gave Pontiac a ticket to the pony car game.

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.