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2000 Pontiac Firehawk
Ready to Rock
by Rick Smith

First Look
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Corporations have mission statements and products have tag lines - most are simply words. But Pontiac truly provides what they talk about in their ads! The Trans Am Firehawk that I drove makes that statement come to life - it truly gives me "Driving Excitement"!

It's also nice to know that the seventies aren't dead - a time where race ready vehicles such as the Nikkey Nova or the Plymouth Super Bird were available at your local dealer. While retro models are getting popular (new VW Beetle, PT Cruiser), the Trans Am Firehawk has the performance I would expect from a car featured in the seventies hit, Smokey and the Bandit.

But this vehicle is more than a remake of a classic. The Firehawk combines a modern six speed gearbox (unlike the old Trans Am's 4 speed) connected to the LS1 350 C.I. V8 engine.

You can cruise the turnpike at the "legal" limit at about 1,500 rpm (fast idle) in 6th gear. With a quick 6-3 downshift and a quick whack on the gas pedal, you can hit 90 - NOW! - no problems. And don't forget, you're in 3rd gear with THREE more gears to go! The straight-line top end of this car has got to be in excess of 140 mph. You won't have any problems merging into traffic with this car. Power is nicely spread throughout the entire RPM range, not just at the top, like many of the high revving, whiney 4 cylinder engines of today.

Priced at around $33,500, this car seems to be a good value in a performance vehicle. (And long ago, when new Trans Ams were only $6,000, they were also good values as well - the tradition continues.)

It's nice to see that there are still affordable, high performance autos available from U.S. car makers. - Good job Pontiac!

In case you haven't seen FireHawks on the road, they are a rare bird. Less that 10,000 of them are made each year (they are an option on a Pontiac Firebird) - but if you see one in your mirror, get out of its way - it can fly! (It can consistently rack up 5 second 0-60 times, with almost any driver.)

Awesome tail that you'll barely see as this bird flies past

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Dated: May 25, 2000

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