Entry Level Muscle: 1972 Pontiac Firebird Formula 350

You might look at this car and consider it either a driver or a survivor but for $18,000, many people may see an entry level muscle car.  In 1972, GM workers went on strike from the Spring all the way to the Fall which limited production of the Camaro and Firebird that year. It is reported that over 1,000 Camaros and Firebirds that were sitting on the assembly line were scrapped because they did not meet 1973 crash and emissions changes. Since the new model year was rolling around, the cars were discarded. This is a 1972 Pontiac Firebird Formula 350 that is located in Glendale, California. The car is listed here on eBay and appears to be in nice, original condition with no major rot or rust. With a Buy It Now Price of $18,000 and the option to make an offer, this appears to be a good car for someone to have a unique muscle car at an affordable price. The car has 27 days remaining in the listing.

The brown interior contrasts well with the copper exterior. While the dash has cracks and sun damage, the rest of the interior looks respectable. The car is not equipped with too many options but it does have air conditioning. The bucket seats look amazing and it is hard to believe that they could be the original upholstery. The odometer reflects 14,568 miles and based on the condition of the car, that is probably 114,5687 miles as the car appears to be well cared for both inside and out. The carpet looks nice and their door panels show some age. The Formula has the original base steering wheel as the Pontiac “Formula” wheel was an option on the Formula model and standard on the Trans Am. The car does not have the gauge package either which would have included a tachometer, volt gauge, temperature gauge and oil pressure gauge.

The Firebird Formula came in three models based on the engine selected: the Formula 350, Formula 400 and Formula 455. The L30 350 cubic inch V8 engine was the low performer of the group but was respectable at 175 horsepower and can definitely be modified to produce more power. A buyer could also select a 400 cubic inch engine which was designated as the L78 motor. It was factory rated at 250 horsepower and gave the car more get up and go. If the buyer paid for the optional 455 cubic inch engine, they received the HO 455 engine that was the standard engine in the Trans Am. Rated at 300 horsepower, very few Formulas received this motor and are highly collectable today with prices exceeding $100,000. The 350 cubic inch Pontiac engine is backed by an automatic transmission and probably has 3:08 rear gears.

It is interesting to see that the back bumper on this car has the optional bumperettes. Many enthusiasts like the clean, “no spoiler” look on these Formulas. This was the last year where a buyer could opt for the Ram Air option and get open hood scoops. Overall, this is a clean, California car that is priced right. It may not be the flashiest color but that may be the reason it has survived.

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  1. jwzg

    $18K??? I want some of what the seller is smoking. The interior looks like someone took a spray can to the console and glove box with no masking. Precious few options along with no working AC. This is a base car and neither remotely powerful nor rare. The seller better have a LOT more photos documenting paint and undercarriage for even close to that kind of cash.

    Like 6
  2. Mitchell Gildea Member

    I mean it’s got the K&N sticker on the air cleaner so that’s already an additional 25 horsepower right there

    Like 7
  3. Steve R

    It’s a nice entry level car. A dealer is selling it, they mark everything up. What they paid was likely in tune with its actual market price.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  4. Turbo

    it is a volkswagen based kit car, walk away

    Like 1
  5. Matt in L.A.

    Got the original late 72 Blue and yellow California plates too. I live near this car but my 72 Lemans already has a 350. Even when you change it to a 4 barrel……. Let’s just say, I’ll wait for a 400 or 455! I agree that it’s a good entry, if the price were lower.

    Like 3
  6. KC John

    For $18000 I see alate model used mustang or camaro or ( insert your choice of fun here). I’m getting old I guess but 18k upfront, 30k to make it worth driving? Not for me. It’s a $5k car. You gotta really really have to have a brown firebird to flirt with this one for more money than that. Imho

    Like 4
  7. EPO3

    I’m sorry in 1972 a 3300 pound car with 175 horsepower was far from respectable actually it was a dog. And to ask 18 grand for the condition its we’ll let you be the judge

    Like 3
  8. Tort Member

    Firebirds and more Firebirds!

    Like 1
  9. RandyS

    @epo3. Torque is what propelled cars before the 90’s hp wars. A stock L30 had 275 ft lbs at 2000 rpm with the dual exhaust option. In a firebird it did around a 16 second quarter. The beauty of these 60-70’s 350 engines is that with a simple head and cam swap you are near 400 hp and a 13.5-14 second quarter with the right gearing. so while stock numbers may not be “respectable” with a few hundred dollars and a day of wrenching, you are.

    Like 3
  10. John Oliveri

    A Formula 350 is nothing desirable, doesn’t even have options to say it’s a cruiser, Formula 400 was the way to go, Rockford drove one for years, Formula 455? At that point get a Trans am, they are rare, but Formula 350, 5000 car in that shape

    Like 2
  11. Jost

    The only way in my opinion that a formula 350 would be rare and desirable would be a 4 speed car. 18k is high even if it was a 4speed.

    Like 3

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