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17 Years In Storage: 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula

When the 1979 Pontiac Firebird came around, I remember some of my car-crazy classmates in high school saying they didn’t like the new sleeker front end quite as much as the previous year’s model.  Oddly, I can remember lots of details like that from my younger days, but I guess most of my school conversations with friends revolved around cars!  The good news is the front-end modification actually served a purpose, as the lowered grille allowed more cool air to flow into the engine bay and bottom part of the radiator.  The rear end got a revision as well, and the Firebird’s success continued, with a record number of sales for that year and the first time the car had ever seen sales of over 200,000 total units.  If you’re in the market for a late seventies F-Body driver and dig the Formula treatment, this 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula just might be worth a look.  It’s located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and can be seen here on Craigslist with an asking price of $16,999.

We’d like to thank Barn Finds reader Rocco B. for sending this one our way!  The seller just recently purchased the Formula and says that the original owner had the car until 1984, and the second owner was in possession for the next 38 years.  Until the current owner acquired it earlier this year, the car sat in a garage not driven since 2005, but apparently, the car has been garaged its entire life and has never been driven during the winter months.  The paint is original, although there are a lot of small dents plus some rust here and there, though the seller assures us that this is overall a good solid car.

Under the hood is the original numbers-matching 301 cubic-inch V8, with the second owner said to have given the engine a rebuild at 90,000 miles.  The car currently has 115,000 miles, so there’s not a whole lot of miles since the overhaul, but as long as the car was sitting dormant quite a bit of time has elapsed since then.  The engine is paired with an automatic transmission, and the seller claims that the Formula runs and drives excellent.

Not much is specifically mentioned about the interior, but from what we can see things inside seem to be looking pretty decent.  Everything is said to work, including the lights, turn signals, and that aftermarket JVC cassette stereo, a popular brand back in the day.  The car is equipped with T-Tops, always a nice option, which I’m guessing are factory as the GM storage bags are still inside the trunk.  The seller says that even with the long period of storage there are no weird smells or musty odors.

No photos are provided from underneath, but we do get to see the trunk area which looks OK, although perhaps a bit rough around the edges.  The removed factory sound system looks like it’s included along with a pair of fuzzy dice, and that just may be the original space-saving spare tire mounted inside there.  What are your thoughts on this 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula?  Is $17k reasonable for what you’re getting here?


  1. Bick Banter

    The white walls and the 301 are highly unfortunate.

    Like 18
    • CCFisher

      as are the wheels.

      Like 15
  2. CCFisher

    As the owner of a late-model Mustang with the glass roof panel, believe me when I say that with T-tops and no A/C, this car will broil you on a sunny, summer day.

    Like 10
    • Mikefromthehammer

      “Stick a fork in me Maw. I’m done”. 🤣🤣🤣

      Like 4
    • joenywf64

      Don’t people with t-top cars take the tops off on summer days, like the Bandit did? Also, somebody must make sunshields for t-tops – i know some glass sunROOFS have a big sliding sunshield you can close up – from the factory – doesn’t your mustang have that? – tho, i agree, a steel roof is the best sun blocker!
      If you live in the deep humid south east, this bird fr sale is a good candidate for Vintage air. You just need to find at least a torquey pontiac 350 or 400 motor 1st.
      The worse thing on these 2nd gen birds is when the a/c is broken on birds so equipped – such cars have no upper & lower direct-from-the-outside fresh air vents – this non a/c firebird above does. & when the a/c breaks, the footwells have extra ducting that radiates heat, especially for the passenger. No such heat there on a non a/c bird.

      Like 0
  3. Big C

    The 301 was a grandma motor, at best. Not Pontiacs finest hour.

    Like 6
  4. Ricky Member

    All original paint? Does that include the over spray and the rattle can engine treatment?

    Like 3
  5. Tom Mutter

    My dad had one when I was 16. Same color, but with a black interior and no t-tops, and Olds 403. Really nice looking car at the time. A few years later I bought a ’79 T/A used. Black w/black interior and t-tops. Car was rough so I resprayed it and left the chicken and striping off. Added the wider snowflake wheels (changed from gold to black) and received alot of compliments on it. Sometimes less is more.

    Like 0
  6. Ed N

    I don’t think the redesign of the front end helped any cooling. I remember driving an 81 bird from Niagara Falls to Toronto. It was in the middle of the night and being dumb teenagers, I was going flat out. The speedo was buried the whole time, but I had to back off intermittently because the engine would start overheating

    Like 1
  7. Richard Todte

    I like it

    Like 2
  8. PRA4SNW


    Like 0
  9. John Oliveri

    No A/C No sale,301 not very inviting, keep it

    Like 1

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