Custom Paint: 1969 Pontiac Firebird

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General Motors joined the “pony car” war in 1967 that Ford had started two years earlier. The Chevy Camaro was positioned to compete against the Mustang while the Pontiac Firebird was more upscale like the Mercury Cougar, that was also new for 1967. By the end of the 1969 model year and the car’s first generation, Pontiac had built more than 277,000 Firebirds, making it another success story. This ’69 coupe could be restored or driven as-is because the motor and transmission have already been rebuilt. Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, this Pontiac is available here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $17,000.

The Firebird would get its first facelift in 1969 after being mostly the same car for the first two years. Changes made now made the Firebird slightly longer, wider and heavier with a new one-piece Lexan front bumper-grille. Like other GM cars, they were treated to a theft prevention steering column ignition and steering gearshift interlock, variable ratio power steering, and optional disk brakes. Once extra, headrests became standard equipment for ‘69. There were several engine choices, but the most common was the Pontiac 350 cubic inch V8 which is likely the powerplant in the seller’s car.

Nearly 88,000 Firebirds were built for 1969, which had a production run of more than 15 months as the new 1970 models were delayed in getting ready. Most of them (some 75,000) were “base” 2-door coupes like this one. The seller’s car looks to be wearing a custom two-tone paint job, black over bronze/green. It looks good from 20 feet, but some imperfections can be found the closer you look, particularly on the hood and snout. There is also some chipping in places like around the windows. But none of it looks like it’s in any immediate danger of becoming surface rust.

Inside the Firebird, it sports an aftermarket set of front bucket seats, but they’re well-worn and will require reupholstering. We’re told the seller still has the original front seats, so you could switch back to those for a stock look. The dash pad has one crack in it and the headliner has separated back where it meets with the back seat. The woodgrain finish on the console may be faded and there is some tearing at the bottom of at least one door panel. But overall, the interior is quite passable if you wanted to drive it while you worked on it.

The mileage on the car is estimated at 100,000, which would explain the need to have rebuilt the engine and transmission, more than likely a 350 with a Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. There are some additional new components such as the serpentine belt, fan (electric), wiring kit, and power front disc brakes. The engine is wearing some chrome bits, such as the valve covers and air breather housing. The suspension on the car has been lowered front and back, but it has a subtle look to it that may be just right on this car.

This Firebird is said to be both drivable and reliable and would be an interesting Saturday morning entry at Cars & Coffee meet ups, especially with the aftermarket Cragar-style wheels. Most of the interest in these Firebirds migrates toward the Trans Am which joined the line-up in 1969, so one of these “regular” ‘Birds could be a nice treat.

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  1. Troy s

    Looks real good for a Friday night cruiser, I think there is more to the engine than just a few dress up items. The serpentine belt and electric fan is pretty cool, intake manifold looks “well” designed, Im guessing an Edlebrock painted to match the engine.
    Great set of wheels with just the right stance, not overdone but hot looking.
    Nice old Firebird.

    Like 13
  2. Timmyt

    I’m looking for a 69 bird but this isn’t the one, so until I locate one I’ll just keep buying can am’s

    Like 0
  3. Jeff Smith

    I have a ’69 FB convertible that I bought in the mid-’70’s. Less than 70K and stock. It’s been stored inside since around 1980 and I haven’t driven it for 15 years. I would sell it but my son doesn’t want me to!

    Like 0
  4. JoeNYWF64

    Hard to believe Pontiac who is gone changed almost everything including the dashboard on this car for just 1 year – 1969(same with Chevy & its Camaro). While today, it’s like pulling teeth to get much of a change in any car espec on Challenger – even after 13 years!

    Like 7
  5. bobhess bobhessMember

    A neat car you can drive and enjoy.

    Like 3
  6. Kevin

    I like Pontiac, especially 66-67 gto’s ,this is a nice cruiser, I would get some correct seats,eventually, and enjoy the car.

    Like 3
  7. Rob LAW Norman

    wondering what the first year was for the 350?

    Like 0
    • david reedman

      1968 was first year for the 350 ci engine

      Like 0
  8. Kevin

    Pontiac made their 350 from 68-77,and they were very good durable engines that can be made to produce big power.

    Like 3
  9. Brad G

    Cheaper than a Toyota Camry, and more fun to drive.

    Like 0

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