12k Original Miles: 1975 Pontiac Firebird Formula

When you talk about mid-1970s muscle cars, it almost feels necessary to put quotes around “muscle”. Thankfully, the original buyer of this Formula made those quotation marks a little less necessary by opting to equip this 1975 Pontiac Firebird Formula with the 400 cubic inch V8. Sent in by an anonymous Barn Finds reader, this Firebird can be found here on eBay in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. With a Buy-it-Now price of $12,000, 17 bids have pushed the price to $8,701, but the reserve has not been met.

The pony car herd was pretty thin by 1975, so minimal competition helped catapult the Firebird and its Camaro sibling to high production numbers that year. Of the 84,063 Firebirds built in 1975, the Formula was the least popular with only 13,670 built.

This is claimed to be an original 12,652-mile car. Perhaps a victim of the northeast winters, there is more rust than I’d expect on such a low mileage car. The seller includes some detailed photos of the rust in the listing and makes note of it in the description. The Alpine Green paint appears to shine well, but the seller tells us it needs a repaint to make it like new. Raised white letter BF Goodrich Radial T/As are wrapped around non-original wheels.

Aside from the tears in the driver seat and the discolored carpet, the interior looks to be in pretty good shape. The dark saddle upholstery offers a nice contrast to the exterior and is a pretty tame and timeless combination compared to some other 1970s muscle cars. Again, to make it “like new” the seller suggests replacing the headliner, carpet, and front seat upholstery.

That 400 cubic inch L78 V8 is what sets this Firebird apart from many others. I couldn’t find exact production numbers for such equipped cars but based on a quick search it appears to gave been a much less common choice than the 350. That L78 was good for 185 HP and 310 lb.-ft of torque which translated to a 9.8 second 0-60 and 16.8 second quarter-mile. Underwhelming by many standards, it was still a capable package for the times.

I’m sure you’ve gathered by now I’m a big proponent of driving them like you found them. If there’s a way to mitigate the spread of rust, this would be a prime candidate for such a treatment. I, however, would probably just repair it properly, paint to (hopefully) match, leave the rest as is, and log some warm weather miles in this Firebird Formula.

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  1. Jay

    Inner wheel houses

    Cowl areas

    The tin worm never sleeps

    Good color combo and hood scoops…

    Like 7
  2. CCFisher

    Rust, faded carpet, torn upholstery, speakers cut into doors, modern aftermarket wheels, surface rust in the engine compartment…. and 12,652 miles? I wonder if anybody actually falls for a scam like that?

    Like 47
    • N

      It has to be 112,652. The upholstery would not be torn on both the driver’s AND passenger seats with only 12,000 miles on it.

      Like 15
  3. Pontiac Bird

    The wear on seats and rust fits the 112 thousand mile car through salt and chipping of paint. Please save the almost new 12k babied but rusted and wore out seats routine. I am sure the seats possibly wore out from say a plasma TV in the garage and seats were sat in to watch car shows daily. 😏 sure that works and the rust appeared after watching ice road truckers 😉

    It could be a nice car but with the miles one soon will rebuilding of engine some boring out and forged pistons will add some nice power.

    Like 1
  4. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I don’t know about the rest of the car, but those rims look badass.

    Like 14
  5. George Mattar

    I live 40 miles from Quakertown. 112,000 miles.

    Like 4
    • PatrickM

      Thank you!

      Like 1
  6. md


    Like 2
  7. Chief

    112K mileage is more likely. I was wondering if we could get some more pictures from further back. 300 feet is to close to access the condition of the car.

    Like 5
  8. ACZ

    Too much rot for the stated mileage. That, and no A/C. No sale.

    Like 3
  9. Bill

    2 much rust for the price

    Like 3
  10. Ken

    185 horsepower? My wife’s 2006 HHR’s four-cylinder engine put out 175, and it was the most gutless motor vehicle I’ve ever driven, and far lighter than this Formula. A 185 horsepower V8 is anemic for any era, particularly the mid-seventies.

    Like 2
    • Ken Jennings

      Yeah, but with 400 cubes, this has the pull the newer one does not, you can feel it in the seat of your pants. My kids new turbo Civic does 0-60 in under 7 seconds, but its not like you can feel it. I like this car, but I would rather have the 350 and a four speed.

  11. Troy s

    Looks pretty good in that green paint and saddle interior,,,mostly the dark green gives it some edginess. I won’t make jokes about the big performance numbers, heck, it was 1975, with smog controls really taking a bite. And the all new rotten eggs odor from cat converters, particularly on uphill grades.
    Nice wheels, always liked those twin hood scoops way out front on the formulas.

    Like 2
  12. Mark houseman

    Without papers and physical documentation the owner has some pretty large stones to advertise this as 12k original miles!!!!

    Like 1
  13. Stevieg

    In 1984 my Mom bought a new car. She sold her old beater, a 1973 Riviera, to a neighbor. Her Riviera had over 200,000 miles on it at that time, and was in about the same condition as this rustbird. I am inclined to think the miles are not original, but either an abused & neglected 112,000 miles, or a loved and maintained 212,000 miles.
    Either way, it doesn’t matter. To do this potentially beautiful firechicken any justice, it needs a full restoration. It would be sharp in that color combo. Yup, I said that! A hater of the color green.
    I hope somebody does it right.

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