Pontiac Firebird Spotters Guide in Small-Scale - Part 2
by Doug Breithaupt

1982 - Corgi

1982 Seattle Mariners - Corgi sports car

1982 - Ertl

1982 - Hot Wheels

Pro Stock - Hot Wheels

1982 - Maisto

1982 - Majorette

1982 Custom - Majorette

1982 - Matchbox
The history of the Pontiac Firebird in small-scale continues with the third generation of cars produced in the 1980's and early 1990's. First offered in 1982, Pontiac found this body style very successful. While the basic platform was again shared with Chevrolet's Camaro, the Firebird managed to create it's own unique image and style. The most famous Firebird of this generation was 'KITT' of the TV show 'Knight Rider'.

Many of the diecast toy car makers added the Firebird for the 1980's to their line-up. The following is a review of these models.

1982 Knight Rider - Universal

Corgi offered the 1982 Firebird in their Corgi Juniors line. This casting was also used for a line of models featuring the teams of Major League Baseball.

Ertl introduced a 1982 model in their 1:64 scale series. It is a very nice casting and features a 'T' top roof style, a popular option at the time.

Hot Wheels provided two versions of the 3rd generation Firebird. The first was a stock model with open 'T' tops. The second was a wild pro-stock drag-racer, shown here from the California Customs series.

Maisto produced a close copy of the Matchbox Firebird. This is one of the earliest Maisto castings and while it is a copy, it is well done. Maisto copies many of the Matchbox models of the 1980's including the Porsche 911 Turbo and 959 models. Most of these copies are as good as the originals!

Majorette also offered two different variations on the Firebird. The first is the stock Trans Am model, complete with opening hood. The over-sized wheels used on some models did not improve the look. The second model was the same casting but with a huge V8 stuffed in the engine bay.

Matchbox did a very nice stock '82 Firebird as one of the last of the Lesney castings. A second Trans Am series racer was also issued in various racing colors. The STP version is my favorite. Recently, Matchbox used the stock casting for their 'Knight Rider' version in the Star Cars series.

Road Champs also did a racing version of the '82 Firebird. It features opening doors. The Road Champ models of the 1980's are well-made with diecast bodies and bases. many have opening features.

Universal Studios produced the Knight Rider TV show and a diecast version of 'KITT' was offered as a promotional item (shown above). It is not clear who actually produced the casting for Universal.

Welly produced an '82 Firebird with the obligatory 'flying chicken' on the hood. It also has opening doors.

Yat Ming offered their '82 Firebird in a budget version with smoked windows. Curiously, they also re-used the same tampos first seen on their 2nd generation Firebird model.

Zylmex wins the prize for the most versions of the 3rd generation Firebird. First, they did a stock version of the Firebird Trans Am. The then offered a completely new casting of the convertible model in their Pacesetters line. A third model in pro-stock form with opening doors and hood scoop was also produced. The last casting is a funny car called the 'Rad Bird' and features lift-up body work.

Next month we will look at the fourth, and it appears last generation of Pontiac Firebird models.

1982 Knight Rider - Matchbox

Trans Am Series - Matchbox

Trans Am Series - Road Champs

1982 - Welly

1982 - Yat Ming

1982 - Zylmex

1987 Convertible - Zylmex

Pro Stock - Zylmex

Funny Car - Zylmex