Old News: A Mismatch Made in HeavenTwo halves that didn’t make a whole

Now here’s one that, at least from this perspective, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s a test vehicle comprised of a then-existing car and its next-gen model. The picture is from early 1990 and the model being tested wouldn’t bow until the 1993 model year.

Think you know what it is?

1993 Pontiac Firebird mule from 02-90 MT

Well, did you get it right?

A strange mule to be sure. I remember seeing this one when it was published. Man did it spin wild possibilities in my head. And I still have no clue why that secondary side mirror is fastened to the front fender. Redundancies aside, there are some other curiosities in the shot, including a missing chunk of the lower front air dam.

Notice the fog lights, that would never be offered on this fascia. I’m thinking those were there in the headlights’ stead; I don’t see any cutouts for popup units. There are pins in the hood and black tape performing functions I can’t figure out. Although, the two long horizontal strips on either side conjure images of the front of Firebirds from a few years prior, maybe there is a connection. The front rim appears like it could be the same as, or similar to, those that showed up on the lower-end models in 1993.

Motor Trend’s captivating “Detroit Report” rarely failed to deliver thought provoking glimpses of the future. Although, their interpretations can be almost as entertaining to look back on. (Of course I say that from the comfort of their future.)

Apparently some of the engineers’ efforts at disguising the future Firebird front-end paid off. Motor Trend’s February 1990 issue mistook the hood vents (the odd-shaped faux ones midway up the hood) as a possible indicator this was a Trans Am variant.

What I’d like to get a close-up look at are the connection points, around the firewall. Where old met new. Up the fenders may not have pose too much of a challenge since those dimensions didn’t change too much. Its where the hood met the windshield that I’d like to examine. The new car’s windshield was raked substantially steeper. I can’t tell if this is the old or new windshield but I’d actually lean toward neither. It looks like a custom job to me. I wonder if the roof needed modifications. Can you imagine what the dashboard looked like?