BF Auction: 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400

  • Seller: William E sbensen
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Mileage: 76,090 Shown
  • Chassis #: 2U87Z6N522768
  • Title Status: Clean

While perusing my local classifieds, the bright orange paint and wild stripes on this Firebird caught my eye. I couldn’t resist going to take a look. Unfortunately, another car showed up the same day that I couldn’t pass up so I asked the seller if he would let us auction it off on Barn Finds. He already followed the site, so he agreed and we sent a professional photographer over the next day.

Bill, the seller, purchased the car from the original owner who obviously loved the car. That makes sense when you realize that they custom-ordered it and paid a pretty penny when it arrived. Bill showed us the build sheet and window sticker and we can testify that this is a seriously well-optioned Firebird! Not only is it a Formula but it has the optional 400-4 V8, air conditioning, Forumula appearance package, rear console, rally gauges, etc. Makes you wonder why they didn’t just order a Trans Am!

The original engine and transmission are still in place. Bill replaced the water pump, idler pulley, thermostat, hoses and belts, and performed a complete tuneup. When he purchased the car three years ago, he actually flew in and drove it all the way back from Pennsylvania to Idaho! If that isn’t a good recommendation for its mechanical condition, I don’t know what is. It takes a few cranks to start and runs well as shown in the videos below.

The interior is in great shape with no obvious tears or cracks. We love the white upholstery with red carpet and seat belts. There’s a plaque on the center console that proves that the car was specially made for the first owner. I believe it was just part of the custom trim group but it’s still pretty neat. The base price for a Formula was around $4,500 but this one topped out at over $6,200! To put that into perspective, a Trans Am had an MSRP of $4,987.

The paint has had some touchup work done but much care has been taken to preserve the original striping. There is a little rust in the rear quarters too but the car presents very well and is truly impressive in person. Bill had the rims powder-coated and new tires installed about 500 miles ago. He also had the undercarriage dry iced so it’s clean enough to eat off. As a final touch, he installed a dual exhaust system complete with new catalytic converters.

If you are in the market for a Firebird, I don’t think you will find one much cooler than this. The bright paint and stripes really make this one stand out. The bigger engine gives the car more oomph too. The paint isn’t perfect but that just means that you can drive it without worrying about parking lot dents or scratches. Personally, I would just keep up on the maintenance and enjoy cruising around as much as possible!

 

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Comments

  1. Matt

    That is a LOT of color on one car. So 1976. Love that year and i love the 76 Formulas, but again…man thats a LOT of color in one place. “Busy”, as my mom would say. A white interior woulda made this all much more tolerable. I suspect the owner tired of it as well. Just my opinion

    Like 1
    • Danno

      Sure there’s a lot of color, but at least there’s a lot of it.
      My sentiments pretty much reflected yours, upon opening the webpage. I think my computer’s power consumption went up 30% just rendering the exterior shots. It’s a nice year, good design, looks like it’s in great shape, a real driver, if orange is your thing.

      Like 3
    • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

      @Matt – Actually, the original owner kept it until just three years ago. This car really is impressive in person and, honestly, I don’t think people buy Firebirds to look subtle. The interior is white by the way.

      Like 14
  2. Anthony M.

    I would be hesitant without more supporting photos and videos… ;-)

    Like 9
  3. Brandon

    I always preferred the Formula styling over the TA, so I can totally see why someone would opt for this versus a TA.

    Like 11
    • Leslie MartinMember

      100% Agree. This car is living proof that even in the 70’s, not everyone wanted a screaming chicken on their hood. Absolutely stunning colors and nicest options combo ever on a Formula. What’s not to like!?

      Like 6
      • Guardstang

        The hood decal was always an option on T/A’s, so many were ordered or dealer installed it must seem like they were standard equipment

        Like 1
  4. Driveinstile DriveinstileMember

    Im sure the original owner never had a problem finding it in a crowded parking lot.

    Like 8
  5. wjtinfwb

    Wow. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Formula configured with so many options. There can’t be many with the factory half Vinyl roof and chrome trim in combination with the Formula Appearance Pkg. with the Billboard lettering along the rocker. Just about every interior option as well; windows, locks, tilt, A/C, custom trim, color keyed seat belts, etc. The rear console was rarely seen at this point as well. Looks like an aftermarket 8-track in dash, factory would have been a radio in dash with the 8-track player in the console where the aftermarket CD player now resides. The 400 4 barrel was top dog in a Formula, T/A’s got a 455 option for at least part of the year but it really wasn’t much stronger than the 400. A 4-speed would have made this a real unicorn. As is a very cool Firebird that someone clearly ordered to their liking and budget.

    Like 12
  6. Driveinstile DriveinstileMember

    Im very impressed with the condition of the white vinyl top and white interior, even the doors look brand new. This was their baby from day one and it shows. Its very unique. But I like it.

    Like 10
  7. SteVen

    Cool car but I really wish folks would just STOP putting those damn engine call-out stickers on the air cleaner lids. Only the ’71-’72 455 HO Pontiacs had them.

    Like 6
  8. Poppy

    Congrats to BF for stepping up their game with the photography. This is a “BaT worthy” presentation of this very cool vehicle.

    Like 7
    • Dan

      Amazing colors, and that half vinyl top really makes it stand out, looks striking with that top and white interior.

      Like 2
  9. 455Goat

    Incredible colors, that interior is just stunning, while so many of these came with bland black seats and dash. Some thought definitely went into the order sheet to make a unique stand out car, even more amazing is that is survived.

    Like 4
  10. bill

    HI i am Bill the owner , I have owned many and still own several classics and this one is in my top 5 for smiles per mile !!! I,m not kidding this car attracts like bugs to a light . It took alot for me to even consider selling this out of my collection .But i picked up a 69 mach 1 r code 428 super cobra jet [parked since 82 ] so i had to gat rid of one to make the room [to please the wife ]LOL,seriously though i would drive back across the US on any day of the week !!! The original owner was a great caretaker and so was i ,I have never let the car get wet and he said that he would never have out in the weather .SO bid with confidence ,she is as described and this girl is a runner !!!

    Like 16
    • SpeedFiend70

      Can you tell me if anything was added? Some have mentioned the wheel spats? Honestly the car is stunning and I’m cringing to think what you may be asking for such a truly unique looking car. GOOD LUCK SIR! 😁

      Like 1
      • Bill Esbensen

        I have added nothing As far as the wheel moldings according to the original owner he ordered from the dealership

        Like 1
  11. C Force

    Very clean and in great condition.But there is just way too much color going on and needs to be toned down,almost hard to look at after a few minutes…

    Like 3
  12. Nelson C

    What a stunning Firebird. The Formula always had the looks that attracted me. The white top and interior really cap it off. Can’t say that I’ve ever seen the orange with red interior accents. This is a people magnet.

    Those that are put off by the color have plenty of other cars to choose from. There is no such thing as “how it should have been ordered”. It’s how they wanted it ordered.

    Like 4
  13. gonzo

    What is dry icing to clean the underside? Who does that kind of thing?

    Like 1
  14. Tommy T-Tops

    I’ve never seen one with the half vinyl top- that looks awesome! My first car was a 77 Formula..I would cherish this one, I love everything about it GLWTA

    Like 4
  15. Greg B Greg B

    Bill, the owner and seller, gave me a ride in this Firebird Formula not long ago. It drives great and is very comfortable while I was in the passenger seat. Bill is a true car guy that takes great care of his cars and someone is going to get a great one here!

    BF: Excellent presentation with over 200 honest photos and videos!

    I’ve used the same company in Boise, Idaho named Sanoblast that does the dry ice below a vehicle to remove all the years of gunk off. It’s not cheap but it’s amazing just how clean it gets. Bill’s looks amazing below too.

    GLWTS

    Like 8
    • Stan

      Greg, the brass at Pontiac saddled these sweet cars w the hwy special 2.41 gearset ⚙️. How did it drive ?

      Like 1
      • C Force

        My 76′ Trans Am came with the 2.41 gears,I hated them and was amongst the first things changed,went to 3.23 ratio.

        Like 2
      • Greg B Greg B

        I did not drive it and was a passenger with Bill going to a local car show in it. It was responsive to the gas pedal, tracked straight, and braked as it should without and hesitation or pulling. It was very comfortable and got a thumbs up on the road on the way to the car show. Once we pulled in quite a few people walked right over to the car checking it out. The seats are super comfortable and as a passenger I enjoyed the ride.

        Like 4
  16. JimmyJ

    Interior looks awesome although after owning a 7up mustang i dont think i could do white interior again.
    Orange is cool too but that white top would have to go if it was mine🤢

    Like 2
  17. Eddie

    I love it! it’s the ’70s man! One question Is the AC currently in working condition?

    Like 1
    • bill

      system works needs to be charged ,blows not so cold anymore

      Like 2
      • Frank Drackman

        so just get some Freon from Autozone?

        Like 1
      • Poppy

        more likely needs R-12 from eBay or Craigslist.

        Like 1
    • bill tebbutt

      “Orange” you glad I didn’t say Trans Am?

      bt

      Like 4
  18. Frank Drackman

    “2.41 Axle”??
    man, what a waste of machinery.

    Like 0
    • douglas delk

      I dont belive the fender flaps belong on a formula, trans am yes, the hood is not correct for a 76 formula i dont belive, could be wrong, had a 74 might be wrong but know my 74 didnt have fender flaps and hood was differant

      Like 0
      • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

        The hood scoops are correct and the splash guards were on the order form. I’m not sure if they were factory or dealer installed though.

        Like 1
  19. CCFisher

    Love the colors, but I was born with hair in a similar shade, so I may be partial. The option list is impressive, but I don’t see the upper body over-the-top strip or the wheel spats. I think it would look better without those items.

    Like 2
  20. Woody

    Three words ! Gawdy as Hell!

    Like 3
  21. Frank Drackman

    Joe Dirt, your car is ready

    Like 0
  22. 19sixty5Member

    All you need to drive it are some plaid pants, white shoes, and a matching white belt! While this certainly is a well cared for vehicle, the styling and a “performance” engine/handling package just don’t work well together. It still would be fun to own and show, it certainly would draw attention and start a ton of conversations!

    Like 1
  23. BA

    That’s carousel red by the way & the same color used on the judge! How soon we all forget about the lineage going on here.

    Like 4
  24. PwogMember

    Don’t really care for the Trans Am flares at wheels, are those legit? Also, how about the colored wheels?

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW

      N67 on the build sheet denotes Body Color Rally Wheels.
      https://firebirdtransamparts.com/techinfo/bingo/illustrations/w50.htm

      I can’t find any of the numerous options this car has that includes the wheel flares. Maybe it is the only thing that you could not order, so the original owner had the dealer install them.

      In any case, it is doubtful that you will find a more equipped Formula. Obviously does not appeal to everyone.

      Like 2
  25. Cammerjeff

    I also do not care for the T/A flares on this car. I don’t think they were available on any other Firebird models from the factory. But always happy to be proven wrong.
    76 was the 1st year you could get color matching rally II wheels, but I am unsure how many colors were available
    Very nice looking car!

    Like 4
  26. Michael Berkemeier

    This car would be PERFECT without the T/A wheel flares. I’m sure they would leave a mark, but they’d be the first thing to go if I had this car. I love it!

    Like 1
  27. JC

    Maybe the first owner was color blind… I just can’t get past the mish mash of colors… Carousel Red (Orange), black, red, white, a vinyl top on a Formula???…ugh… sorry I think it’s awful.

    Like 3
    • 19sixty5Member

      It is a bit outrageous… it would look so much better without the vinyl top, a tan or black interior, delete the stripes, remove the TA spoiler and wheel flares, paint the Rally ll wheel argent. But like I said in an earlier post, it certainly draws attention!

      Like 1
    • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

      Actually, it’s totally awesome in person. What’s your guy’s deal? If it were beige, you’d all be complaining that it’s boring.

      Like 7
      • 19sixty5Member

        I actually had a beige one with a saddle interior! If I had it I certainly wouldn’t change it. It would be an absolute magnet at local shows, it would be either a love it or hate it kind of car.

        Like 2
      • JC

        Ok, and those black mud flaps front and rear are real eye candy…lol. Just proves cars are very subjective when it comes to personal taste as far as what passes as “awesome”. Regardless, it’ll sell and that person will be happy knowing they have the only one in town…state… heck maybe even the country.

        Like 0
      • SpeedFiend70

        Would the owner care to weigh in on how bad the rust is? I’ve looked over a few of the close up photos and if there is rust it seems to be pretty minimal. Thoughts? 😁

        Like 0
  28. PRA4SNW

    It’s amazing how many commenters here wish this truly unique car looked exactly like every other Formula.

    Kudos to the BF guys for recognizing a nice car that you will likely never see again, taking lots of great photographs, and featuring here.

    And yes, I’m certain the peanut gallery will have lots of choice comments to make about this post.

    Like 10
  29. V

    needs special attention and a starter shim…good color combo. RAIII = 10.5 :1 for this thirsty girl…1976 Bicentennial red white and blue year .to bad she’s not a 4 speed…

    Like 0
    • V

      OEM DRIVETRAIN 2 thumbs up…the other formula has RAIII heads my mistake…

      Like 1
  30. JED1957

    Why don`t you state original mileage car with only 2 owners? You only state mileage as shown. That could be 200k miles higher. You need to clarify that!

    Like 0
    • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

      We always put the miles shown. Documentation points to it being actual mileage.

      Like 2
  31. SpeedFiend70

    Does anyone know if this was the original color? If it is then that’s a pretty unique color combo. 🤔

    Like 1
    • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

      Yes, it’s the original color.

      Like 2
      • SpeedFiend70

        That’s wild but not all that surprising given the wild styling that was prevalent in the 70s. THANKS! 😁

        Like 1
  32. bill esbensen

    Thanks for all the great comments and questions , and of course the remarks .I would also like to thank Barn finds . I bought this car because of the originality the documentation and after spending several hours with the original owner fell in love with it and the fact that it stood the test of time and still looks great !!!! I bought this and drove home 2300 miles !!!! RIGHT ??? who does that ?? I DID !!! This girl was and still is pampered and is ready for duty at a moments notice. Its really hard to find super honest cars out there and this is one of those hard to find honest cars !! She is beautiful inside and out ! Never abused and always cared for , I think all will find my reserve reasonable for this truly one of a kind classic

    Like 4
  33. bill esbensen

    sounds good and best of luck !

    Like 1
  34. Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

    Almost there guys!

    Like 2
  35. bill

    Here we go !!!!!! last chance to own this 2 owner highly optioned ,highly documented. including build sheet , window stickers, dealer order forms !!!do not miss out on this very rare chance to own this.

    Like 2
  36. PRA4SNW

    Well bought! Congrats to seller, owner, and BF!

    Like 0
  37. Kevin Tralle

    It is nice. Exterior would be nice just orange. No vinyl top. Black interior. Some paint over rust and chips. Motor sticker on air cleaner shouldn’t be there. Only a 100mph speedometer?

    Like 0

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