Live Auctions

Radical Red Muscle: 1974 Pontiac Firebird Formula 350

What’s wrong with this picture? A 1974 Pontiac Firebird Formula for sale in shiny resale red with big tires and tailpipe extensions, looking for all the world like a car a high-school shop student would hop up in about 1982, but sold with the claim that a little old lady who no longer drives gave it up just a year ago. The current owner suggests a low-ish 98,000 miles, and it currently sits in Asheville, NC, where it is claimed to be an occasional driver. It’s for sale here on eBay for a current bid of $8800, which is short of reserve.

To return to my opening question: Who are we expected to believe did the resto on this car, and what taste was it meant to appeal to? What was it like before they began? What’s the quality of the work? Dunno, dunno, and dunno. Further on what we don’t know: there are no pictures of the interior, none of the engine, none in the trunk, none underneath. And there’s not even a full-body picture of the car, just lots of close-up shots that, it seems, are supposed to back up the claim that there are no rust waves or runs anywhere. Wow, that seems kind of like minimum expectations, rather than a claim of how good the car is!

Don’t get this wrong—an authentic Formula 350 is a beautiful thing (though not the fire-breather it could be, as the Formula was also available in 400-CID displacement or with a 455-CID engine). Not cluttered up with the boy-racer “flying chicken” hood decal of the Firebird, this car has the most perfect set of scoops gracing the hood ever seen. Power comes from the 350-CID V8, albeit stuck behind an automatic transmission. Still, desirable, if you can get past the cheapie go-fast look currently sported by the car, and the nagging question: Has someone flared these rear fenders?

Should you  decide to bid, you can enjoy being a scene all to yourself with this flaming red, chrome-wheeled monster. So if you’re “cool like dat,” you can cruise around hit the local burger joint cruise night, and sit there admiring those hood scoops. Plus, if you live in a smog state like Cali, you’ll do yourself the additional favor of having a 70s street machine that does not have to be emissions tested, since it’s a model from prior to 1976. Just be sure  to have a wee peek under the hood and under the car before you hit the bid key, because until you do, the true history and condition of this car are obscured by its go-fast goodies and red paint.


  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Typical flipper! A high reserve on a questionable car and the worst pictures possible. Apparently they are too lazy to even pull it out of the driveway for a decent picture. I’m not surprised that all 4 of the bidders are shills, smh!

    Like 15
  2. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Selling it like it’s stolen.

    Like 7
  3. RoughDiamond Member

    @Bluetec320-for those of us who are unknowledgeable about eBay bidding would you mind sharing how you surmise the 4 bids are shill bids? Thank you.

    Like 9
  4. Tony Primo

    Hard to tell on my phone screen, extra points if the hood scoops have been made functional.

    Like 2
    • Randy Donahue

      Never understood why they would have functional hood scoops with such an aggressive looking hood. Disappointment for sure.

      • Randy Donahue

        Sorry meant to “wouldn’t” have functional hood scoops. Such a nice look with no real performance.

        Like 8
  5. Will Fox

    Rockford never drove a Formula 350. His gold `Bird was a standard model.

    Like 9
    • GtiDave

      Jim didn’t want to stand out. It was Rocky that had the fancy ride.

      Like 5
    • Craig mcarthur

      It was actually a 1974 esprit model with a 400 small block

    • Perch

      Incorrect. He did in fact drove a Formula that was debadged to make it appear to be a base model or an Esprit.

      Like 4
    • Robert Bush

      Actually, Rockford drove an Esprit badged Formula. Pontiac was pushing the Esprit and on Jim’s ‘$200 a day plus expenses”, the Formula was out of his budget. They did want the Formula’s suspension for the stunt driving.
      About the hood scoops, about 10% of the 14,519 Formulas had functioning hood scoops, option code WU3. This was the last 2nd gen Firebird with Ram Air.
      I have a 74 Formula 400 that I just finished a 6 year restoration on. It is a WU3 car and rust can be anywhere and everywhere. Last year for the small rear window, last year for the non-cat exhaust and first year for the sost front and rear bumpers. Many parts are one year only and hard to find.

      Like 5
    • RD Mash

      @Will Fox…Which member said Rockford drove a Formula 350? Where’d that come from?🙄

    • Tim Sheehan


  6. Bob

    It’s gained some interior and engine shots since this posting.
    Still looks as dodgy as a 9 dollar bill

    Like 5
    • Ben

      Cheesy aftermarket sunroof, seems to be missing a/c compressor. Shouldn’t it have a “Formula ” steering wheel?

      Like 1
  7. Craig mcarthur

    The car from the Rockford files was a 74 firebird esprit with a 400 sbc and the color was blazing gold did resembled a standard firebird without any hoodscoops ,decals or spoilers …I have no idea why this car reminds you of Jim Rockford lol

    Like 1
  8. Big C

    Is that a split bumper Camaro sitting behind this Poncho?

    Like 2
    • 19sixty5 Member

      It is a Camaro with the RS split bumpers, but not a RS Camaro, which is the real split bumper car. Big difference. The warping of the Formula hood is a common problem. The Formula steering wheel was optional on the Formula, kind of strange, but was standard on the Trans Am.

      Like 1
  9. Rw

    Talk about cheesy Cooper Cobra white letters out!

    Like 2
    • joenywf64

      Cheesy? Those are expensive standard issue back in the day name brand RWL tires. Similar in design to more common BFG radial t/a’s.
      What’s cheesy are today’s homemade white or other color letters & numbers that i have seen glued to ridiculously low profile tires!
      & these blackwalls from the factory
      that look like they were scribbled on by a grade schooler …×1280/products/223131/313505/RSC20__80769.1551442310.jpg

    • Steve

      Cheesy? When did hiding the raised white letters become the thing to do? Those letters are pricey. I’ve always preferred the letters out look, and it seems to me that was the way to mount tires during MY cruising days in the 80s and 90s. Yea, I’m old and understand things change, but what big name started this “letters hidden” look and when? Be easy on me, it’s just a question.

      Like 2
      • 19sixty5 Member

        Old? Heck, I graduated high school in 1970. When raised white letters came out around 1969 or so, they were the rage. They were also rather tasteful in design. Other manufacturers, including “cheesy” tire companies seemed to think the bigger, the bolder lettering was the best. It seems that every tire was a raised white letter design and the majority of them look like crap. Personally I think the BFG Radial TA’s are the best looking out there, and are the best fit for classic muscle cars. Coopers are actually decent tires, but I think the lettering is just a little too bold. I’ve mounted tires letters in and out, depends on the vehicle. At the end of the day, do whatever works for you!

        Like 2
  10. JC

    Seller has a 71% positive feedback rating. That’s a big RED flag. All his listings are worded almost exactly the same.

    Like 6

    I can’t believe no one has recognized the hood. It is from a ’70 Firebird Formula 400 and I believe it was used a little in ’71. And by the way it was fiberglass from the factory. I had a new ’70 400 until I got a company car and was about to get married so I sold it. A great car, great runner, great handling.

    Like 2
  12. F. Paul

    Freshly washed in time for the expert photoshoot including the hose and spray nozzle. How about that bowed hood fitment gap? Love the overspray on the license plate bracket and spring. The “old lady” must have loved Harleys.

    Like 1
  13. Andy G.

    Somebody’s going to get a cool car! But.. what is a car with so many unknowns worth? Makes it hard to feel good about it. Bid is up to 10k with two days left. I love this site, mostly for learning about the featured models but also picking apart the ads.
    Andy G.

    Like 1
  14. joenywf64

    I would imagine seeing the optional gage package but no tachometer is kinda rare.$_57.JPG
    1st thing i would do would be to throw out that ridiculous huge clock & stick in a factory tach.

  15. douglas hunt

    ah, if only it was cheap enough for a project.
    would make a great 455/4speed weekend car if only ….lol

    Like 1
  16. Paul

    3 out of 5 reviews are very negative. I wouldn’t touch this one.

  17. Rw

    Just my opinion only RWL out ,BFG, some Goodyear, maybe a Firestone,and definitely a Remingi xt 120

    Like 1
  18. Rw

    Just my opinion only RWL out ,BFG, some Goodyear, maybe a Firestone,and definitely a Remington xt 120

  19. Rw

    We used to rattle can the off band RWL black before mounting in.

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