400/4 Speed Survivor: 1971 Pontiac Firebird

The second generation of the Firebird was equally as appealing as the 1960’s cars, although these early 1970’s cars seem not as common to find in survivor condition. This ’71 model packs a 400 cubic inch v8 and a factory 4 speed! A little rough around the edges, but solid and original, this is a nice enough example of a muscle car survivor.  With less than a day remaining in the auction, this Pontiac is currently bid up to $12,600 with the reserve not met. Check it out here on ebay out of Orem, Utah.

All of the drive-train is original, and numbers matching. Even the original carburetor is still with this car after 46 years in the wild. The 4 speed transmission has a Hurst shifter, and this ‘Bird is ready to rip. With some obvious signs of surface rust in the engine bay and on the inner fenders, the engine bay shows okay, but needs some detailing attention.

Very original, but in need of some help, the interior isn’t too shabby. The driver seat is split like a hot dog bun, and the center console lid has some cracking in the vinyl. Oddly the back seats and the carpet appear a bit dusty in appearance, but the rear seats almost look as if they have deteriorated from sun exposure, but it is difficult to make out. Despite these appearance details, the dash and door panels look excellent aside from the driver side arm rest area suffering from cracking. A solid cleaning and some upholstery work would do wonders for this Pontiac.

Although original, the exterior of this Firebird isn’t perfect. With chipping paint, a few areas of surface rust, and a matte finish to some of the paint, this classic has spent a lot of time indoors according to the seller. The only thing critical is that the lower portion of the quarters have rot, but it is described as being a minimal concern.  In my opinion the rot is a bit more alarming than the sellers take, as both lower arches need attention, and the front portion of the quarter near the rocker has rot as well, where it raises concerns about the rockers. The trunk lid is black, but I am unsure if this is a rattle can job, or if it is a replacement panel. Thankfully there is no evidence of rust around or near the vinyl top. Solid with a great potential to be enjoyed as is or restored, would you take on this survivor condition muscle machine?

Fast Finds


  1. Sam

    Very cool! The stance is much more aggressive than the split bumper Camaro. Get rid of the vinyl top.

    Reminds of John Wayne’s Firebird in McQ eventhough its the wrong year.

  2. Luke Fitzgerald

    These things ain’t bargains no more – needs more than a polish – but great bones


    how do you polish a turd. Great drivetrain but that color is s**T brown

    • Vin in NJ

      I prefer beer bottle brown

    • Barry L Klotz

      What color is your 71 Firebird? Better you can’t say. Try another comment. Barry Klotz

  4. Dave Member

    Like it. Those 400s have good whomp.

  5. Fritzo55

    I’m guessing the factory spoiler went the way of the factory deck lid…hum!!

    • Steve R

      This car looks like it never had a rear spoiler. Firebirds used a three piece spoiler, the end caps had studs and were attached with nuts from the bottom side of the quarter panels. There is no evidence of that.

      The deck lid was likely replaced due to rust.

      Steve R

      Like 2
  6. Greg Stegall

    This appears to be a Pontiac Firebird Formula 400.

    Like 1
  7. Blyndgesser

    I’d rather have this Formula 400 than a Trans Am.

    Like 3
  8. Rock On

    Rear spoiler was an option on these cars. I have seen as many Formulas without spoilers as I have seen with spoilers.

  9. 408interceptor

    I grew up in western New York and drove beater cars that needed help passing a safety inspection back in the day before things got so strict. I know first hand just how badly the 70’s Firebird and Camaro could rust. The problem wasn’t with the front subframe which is actually quite strong, it was with the rear unibody structure and leaf springs. The leaf spring would rust and swell where they all bolt together inside the rubber isolator, eventually leading to cracked springs. The forward leaf spring perch would also fail from rust and the perch and spring eye would enter the car from under the rear seat, and the unibody frame rails would also disintegrate and this was happening on ten year old cars. I was lucky to have friends that knew how to fix stuff and I learned a lot. So after all these years I had to have another Firebird and I knew exactly where to look for rust.

    • Rabbit

      Also from WNY, & remember these with the mirrors & door handles falling off from the rot. Shame too, because the 2nd gen F-bodies are a personal favorite.

  10. Sam M

    Nice car,,checks all the right boxes ( except a/c of course). The rust that scares me is the holes peaking out from under the body tag. That is a rusty cowl,, probably pretty extensive.

    • Jim

      Yes, they definitely rusted in the cowl area.

      Like 1
  11. Barzini

    When looking up what was the model year for the first Rockford Files Firebird, I learned it has its own Facebook page.


    I continue to be amazed by the internet.

  12. LAB3

    Good looking from the front but the 2nd gen Firebirds and Camaros both look like the designers gave up at the rear window. The spoiler cleans that up nicely, if this where my project I’d want to add one.

  13. Gavin Smith

    A friend of mine bought a Formula 400 brand new and even let me drive it. Damn quick car. I was following a transport truck going about 25 mph on the outskirts of the city. My friend told me to floor it and pass him. I was doing an indicated 90 mph by the time I passed the cab. That’s quick enough for me. What I liked was that it wasn’t in your face like a Trans Am.

    Like 1
  14. stillrunners lawrence Member

    Had a 400 Formula back in the day….still made good money on that one…..

  15. Mark

    Dirty mean and nasty with honeycombs. Great looking car, nice grass too.

  16. Rolf Poncho 455

    To me a Pontiac lover it’s a good start if u want to build
    a (pony car) the 400 is a strong motor needs some work
    on the body yes a lot rear spoiler a must I’d pull of that
    vinyl top and repaint the car ad some brakes and burn
    the rubber!!

    Like 1
  17. jay

    Having had two of these, I like the turd color. That way, if you know how to get the most out of the engine, its nice to tell a guy with a flashy car he was beat by a turd! Remember fellas, CHROME DON’T GET YOU HOME. Just sayin

    Like 1

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