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The Right Formula: 1971 Pontiac Firebird

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

Second generation Firebirds have really been growing on me lately. While first generation cars offer up some great looks, you can’t deny that these later cars are eye catching and they can serve up some pretty impressive performance. The example on display here might not be the more desirable Trans Am, but it is a Formula 400 car, which came with the 300 horsepower 400 cui V8, heavy duty suspension and all the creature comforts you need in a go fast Pontiac. You can find this Bird here on eBay in¬†Milton, Washington with a current bid of $5,100 and just 8 hours to go.

This Formula is going to need a ton of work. The floors are crusty, the interior is a bit rough and the engine block is missing, but the top end is still present and the body looks pretty solid. Firebird values have definitely been climbing, making this one seem like a pretty tempting deal if you don’t mind tracking down a block and doing some of the hard work yourself.

Here’s a better look at the interior. The seller claims that everything is present, minus the carpets it would seem. It is nice to see the floors and what kind of condition they are in. While I don’t see any big holes, I’m sure you will find some pinholes in them. Replacements aren’t all the expensive, but if they aren’t too bad you might be able to simply treat and repair the existing floors.

It won’t be a simple project to get back on the road, but when it’s done it will be a sweet machine! Since you are going to have to find a new block, it might be fun to build this Formula up a bit. With high compression pistons, reworked heads and headers, this could be a fast machine that will look great on the street or at the drag strip! So would you take on this project?

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Comments

  1. edh

    Wow look at what once passed for a sport car interior. Now you find nicer in any automotive manufacturer even at the lowest price point.

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  2. JW

    If it’s not too rotted underneath and you can get it for 6K or less it might be a good deal, replace the floor pans then dig up a 400 or even a 455 then clean up the interior and go fast.

    1+
  3. Steve R

    There is significant damage to the front bumper around the passenger side headlight. The seller seems to have chosen pictures that minimized that area and areas that are prone to rust. I’m not sure I trust him or his story.

    Steve R

    2+
    • Miguel

      Plus there is no title.

      5 grand and you get a title.

      Sounds like a great deal, especially since the owner is dead, I am sure that will make things easier, not harder.

      1+
    • Miguel

      Plus there is no title.

      5 grand and you get to find the title.

      Sounds like a great deal, especially since the owner is dead, I am sure that will make things easier, not harder.

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  4. Tom Member

    As these are normally swiss cheese rust buckets this one looks like a solid starter. I wish I had 5K to buy it an park it until I can get to it.

    It will need everything right down to the trim rings….they are all there but 3 different styles. Front 2 are the same, rear are different from front and from each other.

    Nit picky but this stuff adds up.

    that nose as mentioned above will be tricky to get that right again. Everything is just enough to be out of alignment to notice that nothing lines up = not good. Good for 5K though in my book!

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  5. Joe

    No lock cylinder either. I’d go about 2700.00 at most.

    2+
  6. Oingo

    Looks like a great resto candidate to me and the bidders it would seem. I seems to me there is a fair bit of work for a non ram air to bring that kind of money but hey what do I know. I know the trans ams bring good money when restored rare or not. Missing title title issue hassle depends on where you live.

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  7. lawrence

    Like….and just as hard to find as a like year T/A……..

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  8. Troy S.

    Although I truly doubt it would be possible to find one, a 455 super duty would make this formula a real screamer on pump gas.

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  9. Mike

    I wouldn’t give you five cents for this car, I had a 73 and restored it and it cost me a fortune , my dad bought it new when I was 13 and gave it to me on my 21st b-day, but at least I had the original engine and transmission , this one to me isn’t worth anything.

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  10. Jim Biasella

    Just call butler performance pontiac for a 500hp crate motor.problem solved.

    1+
  11. dgrass

    How much work would be involved in taking this down to bare metal again? Besides the rattle can red, I am guessing the brown underneath was left untouched.

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  12. Wayne

    Any state not have a “non-title” issue?

    1+
    • Rickey

      Alabama, bill of sale is all you need….

      1+
  13. Mike

    I think all States want titles now,

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  14. Rolf Poncho 455

    Nice car hope it’s not to rusty Troy S u don’t need n super duty
    to make all that horse power a 455 250hp motor needs a little
    porting a performance cam shaft 750 d/pumper and 320hp plus
    is on tap $250 later

    2+
  15. irocrob

    It looks more like the wrong formula to me. 6 grand to start with no engine and rotten floors.Unless you want to work for free and get the parts almost free I think you would be far better just to buy a good one.

    1+
    • Tom Member

      Not sure where you are seeing rotten floors? By in large I agree with your comments.

      The thing I hate is how dumb these sellers/flippers think people are….I love his comment that cars like this done sell for $25-30K which is true (maybe more) and IT WONT TAKE MUCH TO GET IT THERE…. what!!!!????/ Dude, to get this car to a #2 will take $40K maybe $50K. Like I say many times…a car like this, minus the drivetrain (which is huge…don’t get me wrong) most everything is there ,,,,BUT it still needs everything….. to make it a #1 or even #2 car. $15-20K in paint in body, $10K in interior work, $5K misc parts, grommets, gaskets, knobs, trim rings on and on oh any don’t forget we still need an engine! while you are at it, get the most bang for the buck …put a Manual Trans in it.

      Now if you are doing all the work yourself great BUT you will sill have $25K in parts and materials (forget your labor) and the cost of buying the car.

      with all that said, still a great car in my opinion. $6K being as solid as it is, is less money spent up front for solid that MORE than $6K putting new doors, fenders, quarters, trunk lid, rotten rockers and a bunch more rust work on so many of the cars that people neglect.

      I think 6K was a good number. it will be a labor of love BUT this car should be saved no doubt.

      Ok I’m done.

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  16. leiniedude

    Winning bid:US $6,060.60
    [ 44 bids ]

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