My Car Quest

February 1, 2023

The Pontiac Firebird Type K

by Mike Gulett –

I have a fondness for the station wagon (or shooting brake or estate car as the British call them) every since I was a kid and spent a lot of time in my parents ’64 Mercury Colony Park station wagon.

Many really cool concept cars were designed and made by Detroit automakers and most never made it to production. This includes the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Type K (K for Kammback). It was developed by Gerry Brochstein under the direction of GM executive David R. Holls. They did not use the conventional rear tailgate but instead used gullwing-style rear windows on either side that allowed easy access to the cargo area.

At the back, there was a vertical rear window that apparently did not open. I wonder how the dog was supposed to get in and out? If the dog used the side gullwing windows they would have scratched the paint. I am sure this could have been corrected in the production design but there was not one unfortunately.

Pontiac Firebird Type K

GM design leader Bill Mitchell approved the building of two concepts, based on the Firebird. The Firebird Type K was made with steel body panels by Pininfarina in Italy. One was finished in gold with a beige interior (later destroyed by GM) and the second was silver with a red interior, which is still around and was sold at an RM Sotheby’s auction in 2007 for $154,000.

In March of 1979 the silver Firebird Type K was seen in a two-part episode of “The Rockford Files” TV show, “Never Send a Boy to Do a Man’s Job.” The car was driven in the episode by the character Odette Lependieu, played by Trisha Noble.

Pontiac Firebird Type K

Usually this type of publicity helps drive demand for a car like when Ferrari was featured in the TV series “Magnum P.I.” and of course the publicity earned by Aston Martin for the James Bond movie appearances. Unfortunately this exposure did not save the Firebird Type K.

Pontiac Firebird Type K

Eventually the idea was killed by the economics of the manufacturing costs and the subsequent sales price needed to make a profit.

Oh well…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Pontiac Firebird Type K at RM Sotheby's-2007

Pontiac Firebird Type K – RM Sotheby’s Auction-2007

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Unless otherwise indicated Pontiac Firebird Type K images courtesy of GM Media Archives.
Summary
The Pontiac Firebird Type K
Article Name
The Pontiac Firebird Type K
Description
Many really cool concept cars were designed and made by Detroit automakers and most never made it to production. Unfortunately this includes the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Type K.
Author

Comments

  1. Wes Stewart says

    In my many years I’ve owned a 1957 Chevy 2-dr wagon, a 1966 Chevy wagon and a family-sized 9-passenger ’69 Chevy wagon. I like station wagons. I’ve also owned a 1966 Pontiac Tempest Sprint and now own a 2009 Pontiac G8 GT (see https://mycarquest.com/2020/05/opinion-wheels-gone-bad.html#comments).

    That all said, I don’t like it, even as a concept.

  2. Interesting design, but why? it must get very hot inside with all of that glass. Having a rear power window would be absolutely necessary and convenient to quickly exhaust all of that heat.

  3. Wayne Watkins says

    In Australia we also call them station wagons . In 1968 I was in Pasadena after hitch hiking all the way from New York City and I needed accommodation and transport , so bought a one owner 1957 pillarless Buick station wagon for $170 and lived in it until I could afford a rental room . It was a great wagon but drank fuel like an out of control alcoholic drinks booze .I eventually made the biggest mistake of my life and swapped it for a 1960 Corvair . The late Trisha Noble who drove the Firebird Type K wagon in the Rockford Files was also an Aussie .

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