Does Anyone Remember The 1977-1978 Pontiac Firebird Type K Station Wagon?

It is not too difficult to notice the line of this unusual wagon. Named in Pontiac as the Type K, this attractively styled station wagon, based on the F-body platform Firebird / Trans Am of 1970-81, almost turned it into production.

What killed the idea was not the reaction of the public. No, this unusual sports wagon was well received by the press and the public when it was exhibited at various car shows. Instead, inter-divisional design differences that kept this hot hauler from being making it to the market.

When first introduced in 1967, Chevrolet’s Camaro and Pontiac’s Firebird were based on the same semi-unified body structure and shared the same exterior panel, albeit with minor cosmetic differences. When the second-generation F-bodies were introduced in 1970, the two divisions took separate paths in terms of the outer layer of the sheet metal, resulting in the front ends and doors were not interchangeable between models. Around this point, Chevrolet was seriously considering creating a pony car-based wagon.

The one requisite factor of producing a wagon version of both the Camaro and Firebird was that, for cost-control purposes, the doors would have to be the same on both makes. Pontiac’s stylists preferred lower, softer-edged body lines that gave a more hunkered-down, flowing look to the Firebird than that of the Camaro, and the division’s reluctance to adopt the Camaro’s lines effectively killed the sports-wagon concept.

However, prototypes of both a Camaro and a Firebird-based version were constructed in-house, while the Pininfarina studios were contracted to build a pair of Type Ks for show purposes. These were 1978 cars but were later updated to look like 1979/80 models.

Other than the unique station wagon styling and Kammback rear (hence the Type K designation), features of the prototypes and replicas included split fold-down rear seats and hinged rear side windows that opened upwards in gull-wing fashion.

The concept was well-received, but the possibilities of building a car in Italy or in a special U.S. plant were too expensive. If Pontiac had offered the station wagon to the public, it could have doubled the price of the comparative coupe.

To make matters worse, a new Firebird was already in the works by the 1979 model year, which meant that the cost of developing a new Kammback body would need to be factored in as well. The idea of a two-door wagon on the F-body platform was killed off a second time. A sad ending to what could have been a very ground-breaking final product.

The project died, but the idea came to life. Deco International Corp. from North Hollywood, which is not GM-compliant, built a handful of replicas by doing conversions on existing Firebirds. The conversions cost about $ 15,000 plus the price of the donor’s car and consisted of fiberglass over a steel framework.

Though the reasons why are unclear, the gold wagon Type-K was reportedly destroyed by GM. The other, a silver wagon built by Pininfarina, is a car you can see in the video below.
Video Source: Shutterfuel

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