1967 Firebird Prius

Published April 28, 2016

Yes, you’ve read it right. There’s someone out there willing to convert its ’67 Pontiac Firebird Convertible into a hybrid thanks to Prius V’s floorpan and gas-electric system. This endeavor is challenging on so many levels, but when you have 35+ years of experience as an engineer, it’s also plausible. “Bill the Engineer” from Columbus, Ohio as he calls himself didn’t want to disclose his full name. He has, however, decided to document his muscle into hybrid car transformation process and you can follow it on ecomodder or priuschat. The project is still ongoing, and should keep you entertained for quite some time since it’s a rather slow process for someone with full working time.

firebird 1

Bill has owned this ’67 Pontiac since 1979 and he’s very fond of the car. However, the time and mice have done their part and Bill decided that restoring the car to its original shape is beyond his capabilities. Eaten away upholstery and cables, busted engine, corroded floorpan – all that was just too much and hadn’t there been for his wife’s random question, this ’67 Firebird might have ended up on the scrap yard. Bill’s wife asked him if he couldn’t convert it into a Prius – like the ones they both use for their daily commute? The rest is history in the making.

After doing some initial work on the Firebird, it was time to find a hybrid counterpart that would fit. Bill first thought about GM Hybrid System that powered Tahoe and Yukon not so long ago. It was a perfect fit, having the same front engine – rear drive layout as the Firebird. However, it’s no wonder there are no more hybrid full-size SUVs coming out of GM’s assembly lines. Their performance was simply below par. This is why Bill thought of something closer to home – a Prius. He finally figured out that Prius V and Firebird have almost the same wheelbase length, and decided to go with that hybrid system. After prolonged search, he was able to acquire a rolled over Prius V with only 4,500 miles on its odometer. The main problem now is mating FR layout of a Firebird with FF layout of a Prius.

prius 2

This is a process Bill is still busy with. Although roughly the same length, Prius’ and Firebird’s platforms are miles apart. How wouldn’t they be? After all, these cars have some 40 years between them. Firebird can basically be Prius’ grandpa. In other words, apart from plenty of cutting up and welding, Bill has to relocate the battery from its original spot. Best one he could think of is under the rear seat as trunk would require extended cable work. Since spring has decided to grace us with its presence, Bill’s project car too is out of hibernation. You can expect new progress pretty much every weekend from now on. Here’s where the car stands at this point. You can clearly see that both platforms are already mated, but Firebird Prius still has a long way to go.

firebird 3

What are your thoughts of this unique project? Is it a blasphemy replacing Pontiac’s original V8 with Toyota’s hybrid electric system or is it, on the other hand, a sensible thing to do considering the ever-increasing significance of both emission and efficiency ratings?



Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

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