1 of 276: 1972 Pontiac Firebird Formula HO 455

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I am not sure how this dealership got its hands on this car but they know what they have. In 1972, GM labor went on strike and limited the number of Camaros and Firebirds that were produced. This was also the last year for the HO455 engine in the Firebird and GTO. This 1972 Pontiac Firebird Formula HO455 is a rare bird with only 276 produced. According to the seller, this car was pulled off the line and given to Jim McDonald as his personal vehicle for the first 9 months of 1972. Jim McDonald was the General Manager of Pontiac Motor Division at that time and loved black cars. So, he had the Revere Silver Formula repainted in black. The car is located in London, Kentucky at Sunrise Automotive, LLC and listed here on eBay. With 4 days remaining in the auction, the car has reached a bid of $38,800 with the reserve not met. I would expect the final sales price to be about 4 times this number.

The car is heavily optioned with a Posi-Track rear end, power windows, air conditioning, rally gauges, ram air induction, front and rear console, and an automatic transmission. The total MSRP in 1972 was $4,389. The car is said to be numbers matching and has been repainted. The rear frame rails have been repaired and there was some work done on the rear quarter panels.

The heart of this grand touring vehicle is the famous HO455 engine. In 1972, the engine was rated at 300 net horsepower which compares favorably with the prior-year gross rating of 335 horsepower. This car has lots of torque and is fun to drive. Having owned a 1973 Formula 455 and a 1971 Trans Am, these cars handle great and are comfortable for us oversized Americans!

The interior looks to be in excellent shape. While the paint has some cracks and there has been some repair work to the body and frame, these cars rarely come up for auction, and one sold at Mecum last year for $150,000. In addition, this car has the provenance of being an executive car and would be welcome at any POCI event.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. alphasudMember

    I love this car! I’m surprised bidding is at 38K as well. I guess mileage might be the reason this might not achieve a six digit win but as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the few that have been driven and one I wouldn’t have issue driving and enjoying. It’s history is special as well.

    Like 14
  2. Steve R

    It was always interesting how many more convenience options were available on the 70-72 Firebirds that weren’t possible on the same year Camaros. I once had a 70 Formula that had among its options PW, PDL, power trunk release, none of which were offered on the same year Camaro.

    Steve R

    Like 6
    • Ike Onick

      That makes sense as Pontiac was higher than Chevrolet on the GM pecking order

      Like 7
  3. Raymond Smith

    That is a rare bird indeed. It will be interesting to see the impact that the color change and repairs have on the ultimate sale price. I have to imagine they will have some impact.

    Like 1
  4. Jost

    Great car, 455SD was , in my opinion the pinnacle of Firebirds..Many things though will keep this one down. Other posters have stated mileage and condition not being perfect, the repaint and , for muscle cars ( yes I know this is categorized as a pony car) automatic trans. is definitely a minus.

    Like 3
  5. JOHNMember

    Cool car with a great history. I’m surprised that there was not an 8 track player included in the option list.

    Like 1
  6. Gary Rhodes

    Color is great but not original, less money as a correct repaint will be 5-10k. Frame rails patched up or replaced? Quarter panels patched up or replaced? Trunk/floor pans?Sounds like a patched up rust bucket to me, but maybe I’m wrong.

    Like 3
  7. JoeNYWF64

    I didn’t know when you got ram air on a formula, the scoops had screens on them.
    I would think the ram air IV 400 was the pinnacle pontiac motor, since the sd-455 had low compression.
    Again, IMO, too many options defeats the purpose of the motor – leave the heavy a/c, p/w & even factory radio for lesser motors.
    Surprised it was fitted again with the restrictive sideways factory muffler.
    These cars sat lot lower back in the day with the rear lower than the front.
    Note how low the bird is in “Thunderbolt & Lightfoot”.

    Like 0
  8. Nick P

    The Ram Air IV, 71-72 455HO, and 73-74 455SD were all round port Pontiacs. This made a huge difference in their power output. HP ratings, lower compression are things people try to bring up all the time. All that was BS for the insurance companies. Check the actual performance numbers. I believe a Super Duty would do the 1/4 on par with an LS6 Chevelle from the “pinnacle year”, 1970

    Like 4
    • JoeNYWF64

      You mean even the advertised compression ratio of the sd-455 was actually higher than 8.4 to 1? I don’t think so.
      & unlike the LS6, the sd-455 also did not have solid lifters, or alum intake, or alum heads, or holley carb!
      Astounding it could keep up with the LS6.

      Like 0
  9. Sal

    I have a 4 speed version of this car that will be for sale on eBay soon. Was going to go to mecum Harrisburg but they canceled. My car is quezal gold and in comparable condition to this vehicle.

    Like 1
  10. Kevin

    Rare,powerful car,I like the style on these,crisp,clean, simple, but the 455 #s on the air cleaner lid,look like crap,but it was the 70s after all.

    Like 0
  11. Kevin

    Wow the bidding is up past 67k now!…,with all that torque, and those crusty, structurally compromised rear frame rails, this car will get torn apart if ridden hard,they need to be replaced on a high dollar, rare machine like this, its insane what people will pay for compromised cars,better them, than me!

    Like 0
  12. SirRaoulDuke

    The ad says “IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A PERFECTLY RESTORED CAR, THIS IS NOT YOUR CAR!!!!!” My butt. This looks like a rusty, barely patched up car. Judge it yourself by the photos. And that’s fine, just don’t call it what it ain’t.

    Like 0
  13. jeff51Member

    What you are looking at is not the window sticker, but the dealer invoice. Look to the left and you will see the MSRP is $5463. The dealer cost is $4389.

    Like 1
  14. Steve R

    Sold with a high bid of $80,000.

    Steve R

    Like 0

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