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  A very brief historical timeline of the 1982 Pontiac Firebird.

July 1975
General Motors advanced One studio begins turning out sketches on what will be the new F-car. Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and mid engine layouts are considered. The initial release date for the new F-car is the 1980 model year, not 1982.

Autumn 1976
GM's central engineering staff began defining F-car.

November 1976
Chevrolet took the lead of  F-car development. Engineering was initially represented by Duane F. Miller but soon replaced by Robert H. Knickerbocker.

January 24, 1977
A special event meeting was held showing three possible concepts, a front wheel drive version based on the X-car, a version based on the existing and rear wheel drive set up and they mid engine design. In attendance were divisional and corporate management. Initial consensus was that the F-car should be front engine rear wheel drive.

May 9, 1977
GM holds the first corporate future product conference. This conference consisted of 100 people and is designed to sort out in plan for the federal government's 1980-85 CAFE requirements. One of their proposals was to make the F-car front wheel drive. The primary reason for this was that a front wheel drive vehicle could be smaller and get better fuel economy. In other words downsizing

Summer and fall 1977
The F-car development team had to reevaluate their design goals to meet the new front wheel drive recommendation. Both rear wheel drive and front wheel drive design concepts were being evaluated. During this time General Motors decided to push the introduction of the new F-car to the 1982 model year.

August 1977
First corporate ride and drive to explore the possibility of front wheel drive for the new F-car. Various front drive prototypes and test mules are driven to the back roads of Kentucky.

Late 1977
Pontiac Two production studios began working on design concepts for the new Firebird. Consumers began buying more fuel-efficient vehicles on their own. This pushed GM's CAFE rating above its initial calculations. In effect, because they were selling more fuel-efficient vehicles then they had anticipated GM was able to build a rear wheel drive F-car and still meet their federal CAFE requirements. You might say the gas crisis of the 70s saved the F-car.

December 20, 1977
GM's top management decided the new F-car should be rear wheel drive thus ending the debate between FWD and RWD.

February 22, 1978
GM's product policy group gave concept approval to the new rear wheel drive F-car.

December 22, 1978
The first component car or “mule” begins construction.

February 1979
Rochester products division begins work on what will become Crossfire Fuel Injection and by August 1979 had a working prototype.

December 1979
GM corporate approved the new Crossfire Fuel Injection system.

May 1981
Pontiac considered using the turbo 4.9L engine in the new 1982 Trans Am. It was dropped for several reasons, including, the fact that Pontiac was no longer building engines and Pontiac engineering felt a higher compression naturally aspirated engine would provide quicker throttle response. Also, GM corporate was pushing for the same engine lineup in all F-cars to help meet its CAFE requirements.

September 22, 1981
Four-wheel disc brakes placed on hold and the special performance package WS7 is introduced.

November 1981
Pontiac begins production of the 1982 Firebird.

December 1, 1981
The manual transmission is officially dropped as an option for the LU5 Crossfire V-8.

January 27, 1982
Four wheel disc brakes are taken off hold.

January 28, 1982
Pontiac introduces the Recaro Trans Am option.

February 1, 1982
Four wheel disc brakes began to be used on production vehicles.

April 7, 1982
Four wheel disc brakes placed on hold again and the special performance package WS7 is reinstated.

May 21, 1982
Four wheel disc brakes set to permanent hold and were no longer available for the remainder of the model year.

July 7, 1982
Borg-Warner four-speed manual transmission for V-8 Firebirds replaced with the GM corporate four-speed manual transmission used on four and six cylinder Firebirds.

September 30, 1982
End of the 1982 Pontiac Firebird model year.