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Pontiac - the "Iron Duke" 4 cylinder meets the Firebird base coupe "Down Under"


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These were rare, with the 2.5 L (151 c.i.) "Iron Duke" 4 cylinder.  I believe it's half a 301 V8, or something like that.  The notion of a cast iron block and cast iron head 4 cylinder engine was talked up by Pontiac in pitching this engine is some of its cars.

I couldn't believe this '82 F-Bird car was in Australia.  When they did the walk around, it was in fact right drive.  So, I guess the F-body made it "Down Under."

It must have been a low mileage unit.  The sound of the engine was decent at both idle and when being driven around and being pushed through its automatic gears.  But I heard that the "Iron Dukes" did not fare well over the long haul. (They went away and were replaced by Ecotec 4 cylinders.)

At 1:00, you can see the words fuel injection on the door handle, meaning it had the TBI 4 cylinder.  


Even though the headlamps often didn't pop up after several years, and they had lots of similar quirks to deal with, this F-body, in terms of its silhouette, was a good looking car.

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Really odd someone would go to the trouble to import and convert to RHD a 4cyl Firebird...maybe a V8 Trans Am, Formula or GTA of that generation, but a 4cyl?    Those things were  90-hp turds...

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I had an ‘86 Mustang LX 2.3 in college, at least it had a manual (though only a 4spd).   At least it was light enough to get out of its own way.  My 5.0 GT was more fun to drive. 

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6 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

Really odd someone would go to the trouble to import and convert to RHD a 4cyl Firebird...maybe a V8 Trans Am, Formula or GTA of that generation, but a 4cyl?    Those things were  90-hp turds...

So this means they were not available to the Australian market?  If it was available to another LHD market, it could have been sourced there.  Admittedly, this F-bird had some nice things about it - the silhouette, the dash, the cowl ... and the way the round gauges were inset into individual square "plates" on the dash was sort of cool.  But, yes, converting it to RHD would be absurd.  It would be more sensible to invest the moolah in moving to the U.S. - with an equity bump from a nice part of Sydney or other costly big Aussie city, it would be doable.

2 hours ago, balthazar said:

My wife had a 90-hp Mustang in this time period. It was fine as a commuter vehicle. It wasn't fast, but it wasn't mercedes diesel slow, either.

Given its weight, I assume it would perform much like a 105 hp or 110 hp base engine powered colonnade Cutlass or Regal.  One could comfortably commute in them.  They could even merge onto freeways in normal conditions.  They were harder to work with on long grades (i.e. the Grapevine), high speed passes, and slalom-like maneuvers requiring quick acceleration in crowded traffic or on ramps.

25 minutes ago, balthazar said:

I've heard the opposite, that tho they weren't exciting, they had very good longevity/reliability.

I read that some MYs of it had trouble with engine bearings or other main engine component.  I read about it in relation to the earlier squarish Luminas where the 2.5 was the base powerplant. In a weird way, I sort of liked those early Lumina coupes (and NOT the ones that the Monte Carlo was hatched from for a few years).

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37 minutes ago, trinacriabob said:

So this means they were not available to the Australian market?  If it was available to another LHD market, it could have been sourced there.  Admittedly, this F-bird had some nice things about it - the silhouette, the dash, the cowl ... and the way the round gauges were inset into individual square "plates" on the dash was sort of cool.  But, yes, converting it to RHD would be absurd.  It would be more sensible to invest the moolah in moving to the U.S. - with an equity bump from a nice part of Sydney or other costly big Aussie city, it would be doable.

 

I'm pretty sure the only GM models sold by GM in Australia in the 80s were Holdens. Anything else would have been a one-off.  And the Firebird was never available in RHD from the factory, so this was something custom.  A 4 cyl w/ an automatic in something that big and heavy would have been miserable, even in the early 80s, I suspect---like 20 second 0-60 times...  maybe it was an Aussie Knight Rider fan on a budget.

Edited by Robert Hall
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7 minutes ago, balthazar said:

Looks like about 13 secs to 60 for the 2.3L Mustang. Commuter-grade motion.

My little gray LX served me well for 6 years in NE Ohio until I moved to Ann Arbor, MI in '94 where it got totaled 2 weeks after I moved there for grad school. This is the only digital pic I seem to have of it, parked w/ my '87 GT on the farm around June 1990.

redandgraystangs-vi-3.jpg

Interesting article about the Iron Duke Camaro...

https://jalopnik.com/chevrolets-first-four-cylinder-camaro-was-really-bad-1825128229

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