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7,015 Miles! 1978 Pontiac Firebird Esprit


What a classy looking survivor! This Firebird comes with an interesting history where the original owner hardly drove the car, and eventually passed it down to her grandson. It’s now located in Tacoma, Washington and is being sold here on eBay at no reserve. As I write this, bidding is a little over $3,500.


There are over 170 high resolution photographs included in the listing, which is great to see. I’m surprised the original tires aren’t on the car, but you can see that the whitewalls aren’t the same size on the two tires on this side of the car. That being said, the paintwork glistens and the car looks like it rolled off the showroom floor only recently.


There is one dent in the left rear fender, supposedly caused by careless handling in a garage. I’m guessing a good paintless dent removal place could take that out, though. Needless to say, the body is rust free.


The interior is in stellar condition; while tan velour may not be your favorite material, it looks just like the brochure pictures! Ultimately, it’s not a high-end performance machine like the Trans Am or Formula, but the Esprit was it’s own model–the luxury Firebird!


Short of the torn intake hose, this picture wouldn’t be out of place in a 1979 used car advertisement, would it? We’re looking at a 305 cubic inch V8, which of course is attached to an automatic transmission. The seller says it’s even got the original spark plugs in it! They also add that everything works perfectly. Thankfully, the seller also has the original window sticker and some other documentation that they include pictures of in the auction listing.

I find myself wondering exactly what this car will go for. While the engine and model aren’t generally considered the most desirable Firebird combination, the low mileage and superb condition should bring a pretty price–shouldn’t they?



  1. Michael V.

    I think he drove a Formula Firebird, but I’m getting a Jim Rockford vibe. All you’d have to do is change the wheels.

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    • Ted Stricker

      What I read, first yr of Rockford was an Esprit. Then they changed to a formula and made it look like Esprit. Better handling

      Like 0
  2. Rando

    Nicest original 78 firebird you’re gonna find outside of a museum. Not a T/A, but still a VERY NICE car. It could be a DD if the price stays reasonable. I’d drive it proudly.

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  3. Vegas Vic

    Nice ride, very nice, will sell well
    Classy body, good engine, yes, use as dinner DD!
    Jim Rockfords ride was not badged, or decades, V8 base model

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  4. 68 custom

    looks very clean and a more powerful SBC would drop right in there, plus it is loaded! Heck I would love to have it in my garage!

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    • Jerry

      I don’t think I would call it loaded. AM radio and no A/C.

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    • Brian J Manners

      Why a SBC ??? Why not s Pontiac 350,400 or 455 ??? They really are better engines then the SBC …

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      • Kincer Dave

        A small block 305 Chevy was an option for this model, see my post on down with the brochure pic.

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      • Siegfried

        It’s the original Chevy 305 and runs fine. A Chevy 350 will drop right in to this set up although I have no plans other than to tune this one up to keep it running smooth. Swapping a Pontiac motor in is certainly possible, but more complicated.

        Like 0

    Jim Rockford lives ! Miss a James Garner a ton, screw the badging.

    Like 0
  6. PaulBz31996

    No A/C….

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  7. dirtyharry

    You better show me some documents. I don’t believe all these low odometer claims. First of all, that works out to 184 miles a year. That’s hard to believe. Second, there is paint work in the engine compartment, worn carpeting, a lot of wear around the ignition switch, some wear on the brake pedal, a worn trunk mat, non-original tires, etc. I love the car and would buy it, never thinking it had that mileage.

    Like 0
    • racer99

      Although I have a couple of questions as well (trunk mat, weird shadows on the paint on the roof and deck lid, etc.) the wear around the ignition switch is about what I’d expect (especially with a female driver with longer nails) and the rest of the car is pretty spotless. It’s great to finally see an ebay ad where the seller put enough pictures in where we could have these kind of questions and see this kind of detail. And (BTW) how cool is it to remember when you could actually see the ground around the engine. Nice car with great presentation.

      Like 0
  8. Car Guy

    Wow, a non A/C Esprit. I guess A/C wasn;t a big deal on a luxury Firebird in Canada. Correct me if I’m wrong but as i recall, the US 78’s would have come with a Pontiac 301 or 350 V8 instead of a Chevy.

    Like 0
    • 68 custom

      that looks like a SBC under that hood.
      add a vintage air system.

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    • Kincer Dave

      305 was available in this model

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    • Blueprint

      A/C was very rare at the time up here, a non-essential power-sapping / gas hoggin’ option. Rear defrosters were much more important options!

      Like 1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        True. I had a stripped ’73 Barracuda with the rear window defogger as one of the only options. It was a blower that sat in one of the 6 x 9 speaker holes. I pulled it and tossed it when adding a stereo to the car.

        Foolish, those things are probably unobtanium now.

        Like 0
  9. Howard A Member

    I agree with dirtyharry. While I don’t think it is an extremely high mileage car, it has been freshened up a bit. Granny could have driven it sparingly, and 111,000 kms is about 69,000 miles, which I would believe. Still a nice car, and someone should slap the grandson for selling it. And btw, Jim Rockford drove an Esprit, starting with a ’76 and then a ’78 like this. Nice car. I think it’s a great deal.

    Like 0
  10. Chebby

    Wow, that interior is so fresh-looking you can almost hear the key buzzer bleating “Bwweeeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhh….” What committee decided THAT would be a good sound for millions of cars to make?

    Sure looks like a Chevy 305, right down to the oil fill cap at the back of the engine with a bunch of crap mounted over it to make adding oil a messy PITA. Ahhh, GM at it’s late 70’s finest.

    Like 0
  11. Glen

    Looks like BC is as dry as we are in Ontario.

    Like 0
  12. Roselandpete

    I guess this is Pontiac’s version of the Berlinetta. Very nice. Love the color but too bad about no A/C.

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  13. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I think Rockford backlot crew must have socked back some inventory of unmarked Esprits while filming the show. The other night I watched an episode where the chase scene was in an unmarked gold Firebird, then the interior shot and close ups showed a gold Esprit-badged car with a stick!!! James Garner probably preferred that over the girly automatic.

    Like 0
  14. Marvelous

    They do not claim matching numbers….the motor has been repainted at some point. Overspray on the dist cap and some fittings. The paint color is off. there is excess sealant in areas there should not be. Nice look though.

    Like 0
  15. Nicholas Giguere

    Is that Rockford lurking behind the barn?

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  16. Larry K

    The rear looks great without a spoiler.

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  17. Siegfried

    We just took delivery last week and are very happy with the car. Some NOS unused Rally II’s and whitewall Firestone 215 70r15’s to match the original are going to be installed. AC is on the agenda by next summer. Currently researching how to proceed with that. We have another 78 that is an exact Rockford Files twin and my son drives a gold 98 that would also be a twin if the show was 20 years later. This one is close but a darker shade of brown but I don’t have the heart to mess with the original paint. It’s close enough for us to have fun with. To address the mileage claim. After looking over the car, I find it believable. Anyway, that’s what the new title says. 😇 It’s a nice car and a good example of an everyday Firebird

    Like 1
  18. Bob C.

    The only downfall to this car is the engine. Those early 305 s were prone to camshaft rounding over time.

    Like 0

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