Home Automobile 1997 Pontiac Hurst Firebird by Lingenfelter Is as Good as Gold

1997 Pontiac Hurst Firebird by Lingenfelter Is as Good as Gold

1997 Pontiac Hurst Firebird by Lingenfelter Is as Good as Gold


From the November 1997 difficulty of Automotive and Driver.

George Hurst’s first personalized shifter was for a 1956 Chevy. It had shorter throws from gear to gear and a extra exact really feel than inventory shifters. Very quickly, efficiency drivers all over the place had been lining up for them. Detroit automakers had been critical about perfor­mance again then, and by the Sixties, a Hurst shifter may very well be ordered on many automobiles—even Buicks!

In 1968, Hurst went past simply turning out shifters. He constructed an Oldsmobile Reduce­lass 442 with an enormous Toronado 455-cubic-­inch V-8 below the hood. Along with all that horsepresssure, this Hurst automobile pressured pace and luxury—one thing custom­ally absent in most muscle automobiles of the day. Furthermore, on the time, GM had a ban on engines bigger than 400 cubic inches from all however the largest fashions. Oldsmobile might have seen the Hurst automobile as one approach to get round GM’s coverage and hold one critical racehorse within the secure by producing reg­ular Cutlass 442s after which having Hurst carry out the engine swap after the automobiles left the manufacturing unit.

Since 1968, 9 Oldsmobiles and three American Motors automobiles have carried Hurst badging. The newest Hurst automobile, a modified 1997 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6, developed in a roundabout manner. Hurst, now owned by Mr. Gasket, the efficiency­-parts firm, borrowed a automobile from Pon­tiac to develop a shifter for the Firebird’s automated transmission.

Pontiac PR man Mark Hitchins handed over a black WS6 and recommended that perhaps it was time for an additional Hurst automobile. Hurst agreed. Since each Pontiac and Hurst needed the automobile to be greater than only a paint­-and-trim package deal, they known as well-known aftermarket tuner John Lingenfelter. The consequence isn’t just a Hurst Firebird—it is a Hurst Firebird by Lingenfelter.

Lingenfelter’s objective was to extend horsepower with out jacking up the value too severely. The LT1 engine in a inventory 1997 WS6 Firebird with a ram-air consumption system makes 305 hp; Lingenfelter needed to kick that as much as 350.

Simply as Primatene Mist opens up clogged respiratory passages, Lingenfelter uncorked the LT1. First, he ported a set of cylinder heads and an consumption manifold from the now defunct Corvette Grand Sport’s LT4 engine and put in them. Subsequent got here stronger valve springs and pushrods with titanium retainers (these helped enable the redline to extend by 800 revs). Longer curler rocker arms and a Lin­genfelter Efficiency Engineering (LPE) custom-ground camshaft offered increased elevate and extra length.

On the exhaust facet, Lingenfelter put in new headers and added a Borla stainless-steel exhaust system. To deal with the elevated energy, he specified an alu­minum driveshaft 3.5 inches in diameter and, for extra traction, swapped the unique Goodyear rubber for Michelin Pilot SX tires, in the identical measurement.

After all, the Hurst six-speed shifter, with its well-established brief throws and exact really feel, was additionally added.

A Hurst {custom} job additionally features a dose of physique cha-cha. A ground-effects package deal enhances the decrease physique panels, though WS6 Firebirds are already so busy-bodied that it is powerful to note the brand new zoot. There may be, nonetheless, no lacking the automobile’s trick paint job, with gold aluminum wheels and gold paint cov­ering the decklid and the hood.

The automobile is loaded with choices. There is a T-top, energy leather-based seats (they bear badges that say “Hurst Firebird by Lin­genfelter”), a CD and cassette participant, cruise management, and energy for the mirrors, home windows, and locks.

We like the additional choices, however let’s face it: This automobile is about further pace. On the observe, the 15-percent enhance in horse­energy pays off. The 0-to-60 routine takes 4.7 seconds, which is 0.6 second faster than the brand new LS1-powered ’98 Trans Am. The quarter-mile flashes by in simply 13.1 seconds at 111 mph. That makes this Hurst automobile the quickest set of wheels within the GM secure—outrunning even the brand new Corvette. (The quickest new Vette we have examined hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and ran the quarter­-mile in 13.3 seconds at 109 mph.) The Hurst Firebird continues to be forward of the Vette at 150 mph, and it stays there to a whopping terminal velocity of 182 mph, 23 mph quicker than the brand new Trans Am and seven mph quicker than the Vette. Given the Vette’s 345 horsepower ranking—that is 5 lower than this Hurst automobile—we expect Lingenfelter’s estimate of 350 horses is, as even he says, “conservatively low.”

Oh, did we point out that the Hurst automobile generates 0.89 g on the skidpad, which is an enchancment of 0.04 over the inventory ver­sion? Did we point out there is no such thing as a free lunch? In 1968, a Hurst package deal added $400 to the mannequin. In the present day, it provides $15,495. Tack that onto an already expensive $28,789 WS6 Firebird, and you’ve got—cha-­ching!—a cost schedule involving $44,947.

Nicely, consider this automobile as probably the most unique journey this facet of a Ferrari F50. That is as a result of solely 9 of those Hurst Firebirds by Lingenfelter (designated as 1997 fashions) will make it into clients’ fingers. Why so few? The unique plan known as for 50 automobiles, however by the point con­tractual particulars had been finalized, solely 9 WS6 automobiles, of 3807 constructed, had but to be offered. Pontiac and Lingenfelter have not inked a deal but for a Hurst model of the brand new LS1-powered Firebird, however chances are high good they’ll. Both manner, should you had been one of many fortunate souls to get your fingers on a 1997 mannequin, hold on to it. Who is aware of? Twenty years from now, it simply may be value some critical money.

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1997 Pontiac Hurst Firebird by Lingenfelter
Automobile Kind: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door coupe


Base/As Examined: $21,249/$44,947
Choices: Hurst package deal (LPE 350-hp engine package deal, floor results, Hurst shifter, aluminum driveshaft, gold graphics, automobile cowl, gold aluminum wheels, Michelin Pilot SX 275/40ZR-17 tires, oil cooler, embroidered ground mats and headrests, numbered sprint plaque, and key chain), $15,495; WS6 possibility package deal (ram-air induction system, air scoops, twin polished exhaust retailers, efficiency suspension), $3345; 1SB possibility package deal (energy locks, home windows, and mirrors; cruise management; rear-window defroster), $1121; T-tops, $995; leather-based seats, $829; distant CD changer, $595; steering-wheel radio controls, $200; keyless entry, $150; Delco stereo, $130; theft alarm, $90; energy antenna, $85; luxurious tax on choices, $663

pushrod V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port gasoline injection

Displacement: 350 in3, 5733 cm3

Energy: 350 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 375 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm 

6-speed guide


Suspension, F/R: management arms/dwell axle

Brakes, F/R: 10.7-in vented disc/11.4-in vented disc

Tires: Michelin Pilot SX


Wheelbase: 101.1 in

Size: 197.0 in

Width: 74.5 in
Peak: 52.0 in

Passenger Quantity, F/R: 53/31 ft3
Trunk Quantity: 13 ft3
Curb Weight: 3554 lb


60 mph: 4.7 sec

100 mph: 10.9 sec

1/4-Mile: 13.1 sec @ 111 mph
130 mph: 18.8 sec

150 mph: 30.6 sec

Rolling Begin, 5–60 mph: 5.6 sec

Prime Gear, 30–50 mph: 14.0 sec

Prime Gear, 50–70 mph: 13.5 sec

Prime Velocity (drag ltd): 182 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 176 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.89 g  




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