Backyard Find: 1967 Pontiac Firebird 326 V-8

1967 was the first year for both the Pontiac Firebird and Chevy Camaro, GM’s response to the pony car effort started by Ford and Plymouth (the Barracuda beat the Mustang to market by 17 days). Pontiac sold more than 82,000 of them in their first year, and this long-forgotten coupe was such a car. This ‘Bird, along with a 1971 Dodge Challenger, have been sitting out in an “old man’s backyard” for something like 30 years. That would be just east of San Francisco, California and the asking price for the Firebird here on craigslist is $3,500. Another great tip from our Pat L!

This seems like a rather ordinary-looking 1967 Firebird with aftermarket wheels that accumulated 70,000 miles before being left out in a field in the late 1980s. We’re thinking this car might have been finished in Gulf Turquoise Metallic back in the day, but by now it could be most any color, including primer grey. The hood and trunk lid both seem to have some rust where they close, and surface rust is mixed with some patina everywhere else. Also, the driver’s side has taken a small hit in the rear corner, so some straightening and a new bumper will be needed. The seats are said to be new, but I only see one bucket seat and who knows about the other.

When rolling down the Pontiac assembly line in 1967, UAW workers dropped a 326 V-8 in the engine compartment and likely a 2-speed automatic to help it move. The car doesn’t run now and probably hasn’t for ages, so don’t expect any miracles by dropping in a new battery. When it did run, the 250 hp engine had plenty of giddyap to push this car down the road.

BTW, John DeLorean is the man who gets credit for both the Firebird and Camaro, long before he built cars that could go back to the future. And despite their similarities, very little was interchangeable between the Pontiac and the Chevy. It will take a lot just to bring this car up to Fair condition, which Hagerty pegs at $7,000 or so. But in Concours shape, it could fetch $40,000. From what we can tell here, is this a project worth undertaking at all or has Mother Nature been in charge of this Firebird way too long?

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Comments

  1. Redwagon

    In 67 and 68 (69?) the teeth on the timing chain gear were made of plastic. 1 or 2 would break, the chain would slip, and the timing was off for good. 70k miles was a typical mileage for that to happen. Of course even if that was the issue that sidelined this Bird that engine is likely long seized.

    Like 5
  2. mjf

    Should buff out no problem..

    Like 5
  3. Dewey Gill

    In late 1966 a friend of mine was working at a dealership and was assigned along with another employee to pick up two of these from another dealership. Both cars had identical drivetrains, 326 2 barrel auto and matching gears. The one my buddy drove beat the pants off the second car, a couple of car lengths and a half by the time they hit 80. Makes me wonder if engine parts were interchangeable on the assembly line when they ran out of certain items like camshafts etc. He ended up making a deal with his parents and bought the car

    Like 3
  4. Little_Cars

    Having looked at, driven, modestly restored and sold Firebirds since around 1971 this one is typical of something you’d see in the back lot of a tote the note car dealer back when the car was wore out and barely drivable. I’d heard of the timing gear breaking a tooth….not with the 326 but with the OHC6 when driven hard. Guess I heard wrong. This would be cool to fix up as it was originally. A factory AC car with the 326 callout on the hood. I’d repaint it the original color and bring it back to it’s original low stance with Rally II PMD wheels.

    Like 4
  5. David Member

    Plastic coated teeth on v-8 as well

  6. Paul Trickett

    My brother had the better version the 326 HO. His was a 4 spd car and the HO had higher compression hotter cam and 4 bbl from the factory. Rare option most wanted the 400 if they had a heavy right foot. His was gold with a black stripe down the beltline that said 326 HO .

    Like 3
    • Little_Cars

      Just like the model kit MPC put out for “1967 1/2” — whatever that means. Photo shows the versions, and they even included the beltline decal to do the HO version instead of the 400 version. Wonderful kit in my collection.

      Like 2
  7. Thomas White

    Just clicked the ‘Craig’s list’ link.it came up as” this add has been removed by the author” , must have sold Fast ,and cheap. ID Have bid on it otherwise, even w/ all the work it entailed, that would be needed.but thanks to Covid shutdowns In all of CA ,I’d surely have the time to get started..but good luck to the buyer/ (or seller if it hasnt sold?). Its still got some life left imo..

    Like 1
  8. Thomas Nemec Member

    Sorry, I am big Gen 1 Firebird guy and this car, not even sure it qualifies as a parts car. Easy $80-100K resto budget, maybe more ….for a car in #1 condition that MIGHT bring $40K IF you are lucky.

    Worth way more as a 400 Clone with a 4 speed. But you WILL still loose $50K no matter what.

    This is one of those classic “Everything is there” cars to comment on BUT the truth is that IT STILL NEEDS EVERYTHING. If you know about restorations you know a car like this WILL take $80-100K maybe more to get back to #1.5 or #1….not even concours condition…that would be $150K.

    Sorry, I am the last one who wants to admit the truth that our beloved classic car market is decreasing value at an increasing rate AND it is NOT going to get better. Future and future generations will not sustain the economy for Classic cars in the years to come. The guys who love them are getting old, passing away, great car collections flooding the market, lowering the overall values across the board and making cars like this NOT worth restoring. Hate to say it

    Like 3
  9. Thomas M. dedo

    Nylon timing gear, substitutions were made on the line…running change order. 1967 1/2 was model introduced after January of previous year. I have owned 5 birds and yes it will cost in excess of 50K to restore and never be worth more that 30K now. Collectors are dying off and market will change, rsto mods Hot now, probably best answer for this tired bird.

  10. Little_Cars

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Thomas! I am the last one who wants a first-year Firebird to perish at the hands of the crusher or handed off to some scavenger to pick apart. Given the sheer number of cars produced and the arrival of “survivor” cars on the market that give a much better basis for even a daily driver. In my world of little British convertibles, I shed no tears when coming across the hulk of a once proud sports car knowing that what’s left is giving its life for the restoration of a better car. I feel like I’m being a good steward of the hobby by ridding the land of yard art that slowly declines property values too. Here are just a few examples of shells that I carefully cataloged all the good and parted out. The shells became toasters or washing machines. Forty years worth of salvaged VIN tags are on display in my shop.

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