17k Mile Survivor: 1979 Pontiac Firebird Esprit

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Tony Primo found this 17k mile 1979 Pontiac Firebird Esprit for sale in West Babylon, New York. The car is said to be an unmolested original just like it left the factory and the asking price is $21,000. Pontiac offered the Firebird in four different models for most of its second generation production. Out of 211,453 Firebirds built in 1979, there were 38,642 base Firebirds, 30,853 Esprits, 24,850 Formulas and 117,108 Trans Am models built. This Code 50 solar gold Esprit has some interesting options in addition to its claimed low mileage. I wonder what the story is on this car.

This Esprit looks very clean and well kept. There is some fading in a few places but the odometer shows 17,282 miles. The standard engine in the Esprit was the 231 cubic inch Buick V6 making 105 horsepower. The ad for this car says it has an 8 cylinder engine so it probably left the factory with one of two Pontiac 301 cubic inch V8 engines. The L27 301 cubic inch V8 engine was fed by a 2 barrel carburetor and produced 140 horsepower. The L37 301 cubic inch V8 engine was fed by a 4 barrel carburetor and produced 150 horsepower. In California, the LG3 Chevrolet 305 cubic inch V8 engine was available. This car is equipped with an automatic transmission.

The interior looks very well kept and has the factory radio and the dash is not cracked. The car is optioned with T-Tops and the deluxe vinyl interior. The car does not have power windows or air conditioning but does have remote mirror. It looks like the center console lid has been replaced but the carpet and factory floor mats look almost new. This car would be hot in the South during the summer with all the glass, T-Tops and vinyl interior.

The Esprit rides on aftermarket outline white letter tires and factory Pontiac snowflake aluminum wheels. These wheels were introduced in 1977 and were 15×7 inch wheels compared to the Trans Am which had 15×8 wheels when optioned with the WS6 suspension handling package. This looks like a low mileage car but the ad does not have much more information without a call to the seller. The Firebird can be seen here on Craigslist.

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  1. Matt

    This color combo works well with that new for 79 front end. Not all colors were flattering with the new look, in my opinion. This would be even cleaner looking without t-tops. Love that they still hsed a 100mph speedo in the Firebirds at this point. Jim Rockford still stuck with his 78, though. I dnt blame him. Cool find just the same.

    Like 10
  2. CCFisher

    Might I suggest that this car was ordered and purchased by someone from a northern climate who intended to use the car for nothing but fair-weather touring with the t-tops out. That would explain both the low mileage and the lack of A/C.

    Like 7
  3. Paul Duca

    It has air conditioning…the chrome vents under the steering wheel and glove box.

    Like 8
    • Little_Cars Little_Cars

      On second-generation Firebirds and Camaros those vents at the base of the dashboard were known as “crotch coolers.” Cue Marilyn Monroe in her blown up skirt!

      Like 4
  4. Jeff Grey

    You are correct, it does have air- there are also 2 round vents higher up on the instrument panel, to the right of the
    guage cluster. And whoever mentioned that the T-tops would make it hot is also correct. I rode in a Formula with both a/c and t-tops on a hot day and the air didn’t mitigate the sun’s heat. By the end of the day, I had a killer headache. This is a beautiful car, though.

    Like 5
  5. Frank TA

    I had a 1976 Firebird Esprit, I always thought all Esprits were fully loaded. Mine had power windows and air conditioning. In 1976, it had the Pontiac V8 350 cubic inch engine.

    Like 6
  6. Connecticut mark

    Speedometer has been played with.

    Like 2
    • Frank TA

      I noticed that, too.

      Like 1
  7. Claudio

    That is a lot of coin for a boring ride

    Like 0
  8. Blake, does my opinion really matter ???

    Odd they spent extra for the t-top but didn’t opt for the rear spoiler. I had forgotten how nice the backside these Firebirds looked without the duck tail. Nice car and awesome colors for the era

    Like 1

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