"I don't know what the world may need, but a V-8 engine is a good start for me."

Those immortal words were penned by 90s rock band Cracker, and it's hard not to think of them when plying a sun-soaked mountain road in Southern California while behind the wheel of a 2014 Pontiac Firebird Convertible.

The 2014 Pontiac Firebird Convertible doesn't change much from the coupe, beyond the dropped top and the adjustments that are necessary when the roof goes from fixed to convertible. And for fans of the Firebird coupe, that's a good thing.

The engine and transmission line-up is unchanged from that of the Firebird coupe, meaning that the 6.2-liter V-8 still has 426 horsepower with the manual transmission and 400 with the automatic, and the V-6 has 312 horsepower, regardless of transmission.

Besides the Firebird convertible top, there are other changes. For example, the radio antenna is integrated into the rear spoiler (a "shark fin" antenna adorns the trunk for OnStar and satellite radio). The subwoofer moves from the trunk to the rear-seat, and a key cylinder is hidden in the interior to allow access to the battery, should it die.

Pontiac was focused on making sure that the 2014 Pontiac Firebird Convertible didn't suffer from chassis flex or other body issues, and to that end the convertible is equipped with a tower-to-tower brace, a transmission support reinforcement brace, a tunnel reinforcement brace, and front and rear underbody braces.

Firebird engineers also sought to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness. A hyrdo-foam tube in the A-pillar, an interior reinforcement bracket in the windshield header, a reinforced front hinge pillar, and reinforcement inside the rocker panel are all employed in that fight.

The top isn't forgotten either. Pontiac uses the same supplier--and headliner latch--that it does for the Corvette, and the powered Z-folding soft top cycles up or down in about 20 seconds. There's an acoustic foam headliner, and the top-up design is meant to ape coupe styling. An tonneau cover is available, and I noticed that it had to be manually removed in order to close the top. The trunk must be closed and the cargo shade must also be fastened to operate the top. And the top can't be operated at speed.