Felber Excellence

It's rare to see a completely stock Pontiac Firebird of this vintage.

I'd even go so far as to say that if you can't get over what import enthusiasts did to their Civics through the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, you'd shake your head at what generations of shade tree mechanics have done to Detroit muscle. From cowl induction hood scoops and opportunistic engine swaps to raked suspension and aftermarket whatsits, their only sin was that they were powerful and easy to work on. Enthusiasts took care of the rest.

This kind of thing happens everywhere else, of course, but muscle cars that found their way into Europe often fared well with regards to originality because they were both more expensive to purchase and more difficult to import—placing them neatly out of the hands of people like us and into the hands of those who "go for service."

Way back in April during the first week of #bcotd, I featured the cut down Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Beach Car by Felber and alluded to the Swiss firm's modified Pontiac. This is that car.

Called the Excellence, this Firebird-based sports car was introduced after the Beach Car and tried to replace the 'Flaming Chicken' with a more refined design. Out was the beak-shaped nose; in its place, a traditional vertical grille that's kind of neo-classic but not quite. It's…something. Flanked by square fog lights favoured by keen grand touring drivers, it looked ready to take the start of the Cannonball Baker Sea-T-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. If you look closely, the final count of lights on the front is 10. I can only wonder what onlookers thought as the sheet was pulled off at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show.

Out back, Fiat 850 Spider tail lights somehow gave it a more European look, while the raised trunk lid was designed to echo its bold nose. I don't think you can call the modifications successful, but at least you'd be able to spot a Felber Excellence from Wolf 359. Options included a more luxurious interior, (what look to be) wire wheels, and side pipes. Mechanicals were standard Pontiac: 6.5-litre V8 engine, 220 horsepower, and a top speed of 180 km/h (118 mph).

If you're looking for one, the open-top Roadster looks best, with various sources stating that Felber made 12 in total, with at least one of those a hatchback. Information on the car is scarce, and sadly, that's all I could find for now.

Just be happy they didn't make hundreds.

Sources