1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 Ram Air II: Unveiling a Rare Muscle Car Gem

The year 1968 marked the second chapter in the legacy of the Pontiac Firebird, a car that aimed to compete in the increasingly popular pony car segment, ignited by the tremendous success of the Ford Mustang. American automakers quickly recognized the potential of this new market, and Pontiac introduced the Firebird to cater to the discerning customers who sought a touch of luxury in their high-performance cars. Among the various iterations of the Firebird, one stands out as a true gem—the 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 Ram Air II.

The 1968 Pontiac Firebird

The 1968 Pontiac Firebird represented a pivotal moment in the evolution of this iconic vehicle. As a direct competitor to other luxury pony cars like the Mercury Cougar, Pontiac aimed to offer a more upscale experience while retaining the raw power and performance expected from an American muscle car. The Firebird was designed to combine elegance and performance, appealing to those who sought both style and speed.

The 400 Ram Air II

In the realm of rare Firebirds, the 1968 Firebird 400 Ram Air II holds a special place. This particular model, introduced as a mid-year release, is a testament to Pontiac’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of automotive engineering. Although initially uncertain about the true rarity of this car, enthusiasts have since realized just how special it is.

The Ram Air II option was a marvel of its time, serving as a precursor to the legendary Ram Air IV engine. There are shared components, such as the OH-41 camshaft and low restriction manifolds, that hint at the engineering excellence of both versions. With an initial production run of only around 120 or 130 units, the 1968 Firebird 400 Ram Air II became a coveted piece of automotive history.

The Heart of Power

The 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 Ram Air II boasts a formidable engine that sets it apart from its counterparts. Under the hood lies a robust 400 cubic-inch V8 powerplant, equipped with the renowned Ram Air II induction system. This high-performance engine was meticulously designed to maximize airflow and fuel delivery, resulting in an impressive output of horsepower and torque. It features high-flow cylinder heads, a performance camshaft, and a specially calibrated Rochester Quadrajet carburetor, all working in harmony to unleash the true potential of this muscle car.

The 400 Ram Air II engine of the 1968 Firebird was engineered for exhilarating performance. With its unique ram air induction system, the engine draws in cool, dense air directly from the functional hood scoops, ensuring optimal combustion and power delivery. The carefully selected components, such as the forged pistons, high-capacity oiling system, and free-flowing exhaust, contribute to the engine’s exceptional durability and performance. Whether tearing up the drag strip or cruising the open road, the 400 Ram Air II engine delivers an unforgettable driving experience.

The 400 Ram Air II engine in the 1968 Pontiac Firebird solidified its place among the legends of American muscle cars. Its impressive performance and rarity have made it a sought-after powerplant for enthusiasts and collectors alike. The engine’s reputation for power and reliability has stood the test of time, earning it a prominent place in automotive history. The 400 Ram Air II engine remains an embodiment of Pontiac’s commitment to engineering excellence and its dedication to creating unforgettable driving experiences.

Mysterious and Unadvertised

One intriguing aspect of the 1968 Firebird 400 Ram Air II is its relative obscurity. Pontiac did not heavily advertise or market this performance package, resulting in a lack of widespread knowledge among enthusiasts.

Only a select few individuals in the know had the opportunity to order one, while others remained oblivious to its existence. Even today, many automotive enthusiasts are unaware of the Ram Air II’s significance, making it a hidden gem cherished by devoted Pontiac fans.

Performance and Design

The allure of the 1968 Firebird 400 Ram Air II lies in its understated appearance. Unlike other Firebird variants adorned with flashy stripes and wings, this particular model exudes a more restrained elegance. With its unassuming green exterior, stamped wheel covers, and even a bench seat, it doesn’t give away its true potential. However, once behind the wheel, the driving experience is truly transformative.

The 400 Ram Air II delivers a level of performance that belies its unassuming looks. The meticulously engineered package, comprising the powerful engine and other performance-enhancing components, creates a thrilling driving experience. It’s a car that feels just right on the road, offering a perfect balance of power, agility, and excitement.

The Undercarriage

The undercarriage of the 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 Ram Air II is built on a solid foundation, providing a stable and reliable platform for this high-performance muscle car. The chassis is constructed using high-quality materials and reinforced to handle the increased power and torque generated by the Ram Air II engine. With its sturdy frame and robust suspension system, the Firebird Ram Air II delivers precise handling and exceptional stability, ensuring a thrilling driving experience on both smooth highways and challenging curves.

The undercarriage of the Firebird 400 Ram Air II is designed with performance in mind. The suspension system has been fine-tuned to strike a balance between comfort and agility, allowing for precise control and responsive handling. Upgraded components such as heavy-duty sway bars, performance shocks, and high-performance brakes work together to maximize traction and optimize stopping power. This results in a confident and exhilarating ride, whether you’re pushing the limits on the track or enjoying a spirited drive on winding roads.

Every detail of the undercarriage reflects the meticulous engineering that went into creating the 1968 Firebird 400 Ram Air II. From the carefully positioned exhaust system to the aerodynamic design of the underbody, each component is optimized for performance and efficiency. Heat shields and insulators are strategically placed to minimize heat transfer and protect critical components. The attention to detail extends to the use of quality materials, ensuring durability and longevity even under demanding driving conditions. The undercarriage of the Firebird Ram Air II showcases the commitment to excellence that defines this iconic American muscle car.


The 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 Ram Air II stands as a testament to the ingenuity and innovation of Pontiac during the golden era of American muscle cars. Its rarity, combined with the unique engineering and understated design, makes it a coveted gem for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Owning a Ram Air II is like owning a piece of automotive history that most people are not even aware of. It represents a bygone era of automotive excellence and the thrill of driving.

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