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Low Mile 4-Speed: 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula

There are 28 days remaining to make an offer on this 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula. The car is located in Lenox, Georgia but the Firebird has license plates from Pennsylvania. The seller is asking $21,500 here on eBay which seems a little steep but prices are climbing. As most of you know, the last year for a 400 cubic inch V8 engine in a Firebird was 1979. Pontiac built a special 400 cubic inch motor designated the W72 in 1977 and stockpiled these engines for installation in Can Ams, Trans Ams and Formulas from 1977-1979. In 1979, only 367 Formulas were built with the W72 400 cubic inch engine. They all came with 4 speed transmissions and the WS6 suspension package.

However, this is not a true W72 Formula. It is a 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula as designated by the VIN. As disclosed by the seller, the car was original equipped with a 301 cubic inch V8 engine which was factory rated at 155 horsepower with a 4 barrel. The W72 400 cubic inch V8 was rated at 220 horsepower from the factory. While the W72’s 220 hp doesn’t sound spectacular compared today’s muscle cars, many people think the W72 engine was underrated by Pontiac. The NHRA dyno’d a stock W72 engine at 260 to 280 net hp.

The interior of the Formula comes with standard seats in tan vinyl. It appears to be in good condition but the carpet looks a little faded. The car retains its factory air conditioning, tilt steering and power windows. The dash looks good and appears to be holding up well.  It is common to see 1970-1981 Pontiac Firebird dashes crack as they age and are exposed to the sun. The car is also equipped with T-Tops.

This Formula has the standard Pontiac Rally wheels instead of the 15×8 aluminum wheels that came with the WS6 suspension option. The Mayan red paint looks good but there is some rust bubbling up in a few spots. The seller states that the car has just 16,000 original miles. The new engine looks to be modified and would make this car a lot of fun to drive and enjoy.


  1. Stephen Miklos

    16,825 on the bird. The nose looks pushed in. Rust bubbles around rear window. I can’t say for sure if the paint is original or respray. I noticed a crack on dash. I think it’s 116,825 on it. Don’t get me wrong it would be a blast to drive with the t-tops off and the 400 4-soeed. To me the price top out at 21,000 I would not spend anymore. Good luck to the new owner. 🎅🦌

    Like 4
  2. Jcs

    The engine sounds very healthy. Originally a 301 car.

    The drivers door does not look nearly as bad in the video but it is still noticeably off.

    If it was a numbers matching factory W72 it would be well worth the ask. Seems to be a strong, healthy driver however .

    Like 5
    • Jcs

      Neglected to mention, the car is in South GA, has Pennsylvania tags and the phone number is in South Florida. Should be an interesting story.

      Like 7
  3. confused

    is the trans am and the firebird the exact same car just different names??

    • Jerry

      The Trans Am is the top of the line Firebird
      1. Firebird
      2. Formula
      3. Trans Am

      Like 2
      • RH

        How about the Esprit? Pretty sure there were 30,853 in ’79.

        Like 2
    • Dana

      Trans Am, Formula, and Esprit are all trim packages on the F-body Firebird. The Trans Am has always been the premium version with a performance oriented V8. The Formula usually contained TA powertrain without all the premium trim and glitz.

  4. Skorzeny

    With the right paint, these are growing on me a little. I see what Mr. Miklos said, but I think it’s possible that this might be a low mile car, but I see a lot of overspray and some areas that don’t match. I think some of it has been repainted. The fact that the original motor is gone may actually help the value on this car. I sure as heck wouldn’t want that 301. I think this would be a fun ride, I think I’d max out at about 17-18K. Regardless, someone should enjoy it after they take care of any rust.

    Like 3
  5. Johnny

    Buy hagerty value–Concours–$21,100—-excellent $14,400 and good $8,100. Their is a good bit difference in shape and price on this car.

    Like 4
  6. Dave

    Go further with resto-mod on this one. I think the British green paint color is in order.

  7. Ed Faille

    I wouldn’t buy a baseball that has Pennsylvania in its history. Rust is guaranteed!

    Like 5
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    If 1979 was the highest number of Trans Am sales, I wonder if its the same with the Formula?

  9. Jerry

    Yes…in 79, 24,850 Formulas were made, most ever but 78 was close with 24,346!
    I have a Firebird “Redbook” all facts about Firebirds by Peter Sessler.
    They stopped making the Formula in 81 and brought it back in 87 with 13,160 sold.

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Thanks, Jerry.
      I was thinking that might be the case, which would mean that there is a good chance that there are some nice ones around if you spend time looking.

  10. Jerry

    You’re Welcome my car loving friend!
    Try and find a 73 Super Duty SD455, ONLY 43 made!!

    Like 2
    • RH

      Not to rain on your information parade, but car in the article is a 1979 Firebird Formula, not a ’73 SD 455. Nice to know, but kind of irrelevant for this discussion.

      Like 1
      • Jerry

        I was talking to him about FORMULAS in general, try to keep up.
        He was asking about production numbers and thats what WE, not you, were talking about.

        Like 1
      • Jerry

        Also…..I was talking about a FORMULA SD 455, Not a T/A…..

        Like 1
      • RH

        WE, as in this is a board for everyone, not just YOU. Pretty much anybody can respond, like it or not. As for your “Also…..I was talking about a FORMULA SD 455, Not a T/A” comment, also irreverent as the feature car IS a Formula, not a T/A. Try to keep up.

        Like 1
      • Jerry

        U make no sense…..I was talking about a rare FORMULA SD 455, u thought I was talking about a SD TA!!

        Like 1
      • RH

        Let’s try this again. I KNOW you were talking about the FORMULA SD 455. Nowhere did I mention an SD TA. Try and keep up. My comment was that the ’73 Formula SD455 has zero to do with the feature car, a ’79 Formula, therefore it is irrelevant. Pretty simple.

        Like 1
      • Jerry

        S o u say u knew I was talking about the Formula SD 455 BUT u couldn’t follow that I was talking to that other guy about FORMULA production (his question) and u said our conversation wasnt relevant??? Yeah, that makes sense!! NOT.
        It was relevant to US, maybe not to u.

        Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      & just 1 of these made & it has column shift yet!
      & just 1 of these with the smaller rejected hood bird & unique interior parts

  11. SteveTheD

    My .02. Car featured is a 1979 Formula. Reading back through comments, nobody asked about production numbers for the Formula ’73 SD 455. Not that it isn’t good information, would just have some meaning if article was about a ’73 Formula SD 455.

    Like 1
  12. Jerry

    Understood, BUT, if everyone made a big deal because someone said something that wasnt EXACTLY pertaining to the car posted we’d ALL be bickering constantly!
    At least ALL my comments were about Pontiac Formulas.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Jerry was nice enough to answer a question that I asked, and I’m grateful. And then he gets piled on by the topic Nazis for making a comment about a rare version of the car – LIGHTEN UP ALREADY!!!!!!

      Like 1
      • SteveTheD

        1973 Formula SD 455 info is real nice, but I don’t care which is my choice. Also, would appreciate not being called a Nazi. Again, my choice, but NOT cool.

        Like 1
  13. Jerry

    Thanks Pra4snw…..ill get your $20 in the mail tomorrow! LOL!

    Like 1

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