Formula For Fun: 1975 Pontiac Firebird


By the mid-seventies things were looking pretty grim for the muscle car. Most of the market’s heavy hitters had dropped out, but there were still a few interesting options to choose from. Pontiac had their big-block Trans Am and their small-block Formula wasn’t too bad either. Power was obviously down by this point, but you could still get that nice V8 rumble. Add a 4-speed in there and you could even have some sense of speed. This Firebird may not be a fire-breathing monster, but it’s a low-mileage (47k) survivor that deserves a mention. Find it here on eBay where bidding ends tomorrow!


The 350 V8 may be a bit of a let down, but just about all the engines were a let down in 1975. The catalytic converter made its debut that year and sucked what little life remained out of most engines. At least this small block was a bit lighter than the big-block boat anchors used at the time. Power outputs were almost half what they used to be, so don’t expect this thing to win any drag races.


The sight of that shifter sticking out of the console provides a sense of relief though. An automatic may be alright in most muscle cars, but a manual transmission can make even the most anemic machine fun to drive. Revs can be held longer and you can stay in the meager power band as long as possible. The 455 equipped Trans Am may be more exciting, but I have a feeling this thing could provide similar smiles for a lot less outlay.


The 455 wasn’t anything to get too excited about in ’75 anyway. Pontiac had killed it off actually, but decided to offer it as an option midyear. It wasn’t the same engine that had been used previously though. GM was more interested in their new rear window design that improved rearward visibility. So, if you have a hankering for some mi-seventies muscle, this may not satisfy it. But, then again, the combination of V8 power, shift-it-yourself gears, and wild exterior styling do make this Firebird look like a formula for fun!


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  1. chris lawrence

    If it stays around the 22k price, it will be a good deal. Wonder what that reserve price is?

  2. Bobsmyuncle

    Another great option for a resto mod! These have aged well in my opinion. I like them far more than when they were contemporary.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Down voted by someone passionate about the smog choked OE power plant?

  3. Howard A Member

    Everybody flocked to the Trans-Am, but I actually liked the Formula better. Not those silly graphics, like the Trans-Am.( oh,oh here come the tums) I’m a bit surprised at the price, I mean, years ago, these were $1,000 cars, not like this, of course, but there were a ton of Firebird’s. I guess if you want to relive the mid-70’s, this is what it will cost you. Very cool car!

  4. Vegas Vic

    very, very cool car, wonderful shape, that blue is sweet, a stick shift, mod wheels,
    adore seeing the baby firebird, red, up front on the snoot, 22k seems a bit high, but this is pretty ride, am curious to history, stored a long while? Buy it, drive it, heads will turn, that BLUE IS SWEET !

  5. Glen

    These are really nice looking cars!

  6. JW

    I would love to have this as a daily driver and I wouldn’t change a thing just drive it. Way Cool IMO !!!

  7. jeff6599

    It has been explained here again and again that Pontiac made only one size block. All the displacements were taken off that block. No big block, no small block.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks for pointing that out Jeff!

  8. Luke Fitzgerald

    Common but understandable mistake J – you can explain all you like – until the next post – good choice boys

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Pretty sure Jeff is correct.

      • Bobsmyuncle

        Wiki entry

        “From 1955 to 1981 the Pontiac Division of General Motors manufactured its own, unique V8 engines. Displacement began at 287 in³ and grew as large as 455 in³ (7.5 L) by 1970.
        An engine of intermediate size (neither a true small-block nor big-block), the Pontiac V8 was a unique design, distinct from Buick, Chevrolet, or Oldsmobile engines.”

        So, Pontiac never called their engines small block or big block, regardless of cubic inches. 301’s were different in that they are a shorter deck version of a Pontiac, but still aren’t called small blocks. Pontiac 287, 326 or 347 aren’t called small blocks either.

        Chevy made the differentiation because when the big block Chevy was developed, it was a totally new engine, a bigger and different engine from a small block Chevy, something that Pontiac never did.

        Like 1
  9. mat

    Would be way better with the formula steering wheel, though.

  10. Jay Calk

    I would rather have this than the 44 K 1979 Trans Am went for. You could drop a crate motor in there and have a hoss and drive the hell out of it. Be nice to see how high it goes. Cool car.

  11. Van

    Anybody know what Pontiac blocks were drilled for 4 bold mains so that they could be added now? Anybody know what cranks can be interchanged to change stroke?

    • Marty Parker

      Could be wrong, but don’t believe any Pontiac block drilled for 4 bolt and not actually using them. 455 crank can be used in 421-428.

      • Greg

        SD 455 4 bolt mains!! Buddy just bought one in a 68′ GTO.

      • Marty Parker

        I think the original question was “were there any Pontiac blocks drilled for 4 bolt mains so they could be added now”

  12. Roy

    I have the same car 76 400 black interior with T Tops love it !

  13. sparkster

    Mat I was thinking the same thing about the steering wheel. It looks so out place with having a stick and the ” performance” look of a Formula. Before I read your comment I was thinking which wheel would work or look the best

  14. Mike Leonhard

    Bought one in 85 for $900 bright yellow with crager mags. Loved that car even if the 350 was slow. It was still a lot quicker than my 66 F250. Also the last year of the twin snorkel hood. I think mine had the T/A steering wheel

  15. z28th1s

    I like this car!! Nice color combo and 4 speed trans!

  16. Kent Pearson

    Hey! Thar’s a ’75 formula 400 ho’d it en up with a 350? The colour is slightly off too. should be Arctic Blue. I ha rhis car with white vinyl int. dropped the beads, Had the carb done, added headers and full dual exhausts and she could fly. Wish I still had her.

    • mat

      Is this thing even authentic? Did the 75 formula NOT come standard with a formula steering wheel??? Also don’t see any formula decals anywhere. Hmmm.

  17. jeff6599

    The Formula wheel was optional across the line except on trans ams. However the Formula had a very distinctive hood that was not an option.

  18. Howard A Member

    It’s got “Radial Tuned Suspension”,,,WOW!

  19. Rock On Member

    Buddy back in HS had a 1977 Formula 400 with the proper Formula steering wheel. The first improvement I would make to this car. Then I would open up the hood scoops and make them functional.

  20. jeff6599

    Pontiac had an accessory kit to make them functional the correct way. Several vendors out there still stock them. attaches to the air cleaner so it won’t look like someone cobbled it up. good luck.

  21. Elliott the idiot

    This is the version Jim Rockford should have had

  22. Weirzbowski

    This car survived over 40 years stock and you dim bulb Motorheads want to change it into something else and chop it up. It’s worth a hell of a lot more left as is. Why don’t you go and try to put a v8 in a worthless pile of junk like a Honda or Toyota or something.

    Like 1
    • Bobsmyuncle

      “Dim bulb Motorheads”?

      Wow you are a treat. Can’t wait to see what other valuable contributions you have for us in the future.

      Like 1

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