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31K Mile: 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula


Pontiac had its best year in the history of the Firebird in 1979 with sales of 211,453 cars. With the redesigned front fascia and blacked out tail lights, enthusiasts flocked to Pontiac dealerships to buy Firebirds, Esprits, Formulas, and Trans Ams. This is a 1979 Firebird Pontiac Formula which is one step below the Trans Am in terms of trim level but it could be purchased with all the performance options as the Trans Am. The car is listed here on eBay with only 1 day remaining in the auction. The Formula is located in Lincoln, Rhode Island on the East Coast. The car has been bid to $10,100 but the reserve has not been met.

The Formula is reported to have traveled only 31,000 miles during its 41-year life. The car is equipped with the smallest V8 engine offered by Pontiac in 1979, the 301 cubic inch V8 engine. Rated at only 155 horsepower, the 4.9-liter engine was designed for fuel economy when introduced in the Grand Prix in 1977.

The interior of this Firebird Formula looks very nice with a light blue deluxe interior. While the car does not have power windows or power locks, it does have an automatic transmission, air conditioning and AM/FM cassette player. I personally own a 1979 Firebird Formula and love the lines of the car. Unfortunately, this car is not equipped with the top-performing W72 400 engine and famed WS6 suspension.

The seller states that this car was a graduation present back in its day and has been stored for a long period of time. The white paint and graphics look to be in great shape. The car is equipped with 15 x 7 Rally II wheels which were standard on the Firebird Formula in 1979. I am not sure if they still make Goodyear Wingfoot HP tires but I imagine these are 10+ years old. This is a nice looking car and would be a great cruiser.


  1. Avatar photo Jack M.

    My daughter finished 6 years of university last year and those tires are still older than she is.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

      I was wondering the same thing. I’m pretty sure the white letter versions have been out of production for a long time, but I don’t know how long. I have a set which is 21 years old.

      Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Superdessucke

    211,453 sales. To put that into perspective, Honda sold 125,142 Accords this past model year!

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo CJinSD

      Was that the 2020 model year? They sold 267,567 Accords in the US in 2019. It is still a valid point that Pontiac could sell 211,453 copies of a dated sports coupe in 1979, while they can’t sell anything except trucks and CUVs in meaningful numbers now. GM’s market power changed after the 1980 Citation, and now once-important brands like Oldsmobile and Pontiac have been forgotten.

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Mike

    For it’s time period then 4.9 liter V8 was the most powerful engine compared to the Camaro 305 that made 130 hp or the Mustang 302 that made 135 hp. I have read that in addition to good fuel economy the Pontiac engine is very torquey.

    Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Ted Miller

    The only new car I bought was 1979 Formula, I could only get the 301! Kept until 2012 lost my storage space! Fun car!

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo bob

    the automatic slush box kills it for me :(

    Like 0

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