Low Mile Survivor: 1981 Pontiac Firebird

This 1981 Pontiac Firebird is painted in a beautiful dark metallic blue and has been driven only 38,000 miles. It is located in Miami, Florida and represents that last year for the 2nd generation Firebird. This car is listed for sale here on eBay for a Buy It Now Price of $23,000. The listing has 6 days remaining until expiration and the Firebird is claimed to be a one owner car. This car could be driven as is or modified to be a more spirited driver.

At first, I thought this car had a V6 engine because there is no information in the listing but, on further examination of the spark plug wires, it appears to be a 4.3 liter V8 engine that displaced 265 cubic inches. Pontiac rated this engine at only 120 horsepower. Comparatively, the 301 cubic inch Pontiac V8 engine that was the most popular engine in 1981 was rated at 155 horsepower with a 4 barrel carburetor and 135 horsepower with a 2 barrel carburetor. The engine compartment is clean and appears to be all original.

The blue cloth interior is the standard interior available on Firebirds in 1981. The car has power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, automatic transmission and the factory AM/FM radio. The seats, door panels, carpet and headliner look like new. Pontiac changed the interior fabrics for 1981 compared to prior years. The Firebird has the remote side mirror on the driver side and the seller states that the front nose has been upgraded. I don’t know what that means because this car has a 1979-1981 urethane nose. Many times the paint cracks on these cars so maybe it was repainted and the rest of the car is factory paint. The car appears to be rust free and has not been altered in any way.

This 1981 Pontiac Firebird is in exquisite condition even though it is underpowered with this optional V8 motor that was designed for fuel economy. The car is riding on its factory Rally II wheels and BF Goodrich Radial TA tires. This is a nice car but I think the seller’s expectation is a little high. However, someone might step up and pay for the superb condition.


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  1. Camvette Member

    I think the upgraded bumper is the fiberglass one instead of the plastic. Did that on my 80 vette and turned out really nice. Could also mean it was hit in the front end. Love the design of these cars, just hate the engines. Gutless wonders!

    Like 13
  2. Tony Primo

    I agree with you Bruce, that the seller is a little high. Drugs are a big problem in my city too.

    Like 17
  3. MathieuB

    It did get Cruise Control too!
    Unmolested is what comes to my mind but the under carriage is not as what the top shows.
    Nice car

    Like 1
  4. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    That interior is incredible. My 1976 had a headliner that began to sag within a few years of manufacturer. Perforated vinyl over a thin layer of foam and cardboard. I am guessing they improved the adhesives by the time this Firebird was made, or maybe it is a board or panel that is only one layer of soundproof material.

    Like 2
  5. CCFisher

    Perhaps not 100% stock: I see dual exhausts with Trans-Am splitters. I doubt this exhaust was offered with the 4.3.

    Like 5
  6. kevin brown

    the only 4.3 liter GM engine I’m familiar with is a V6 based on the Chevy 350 small-block. Is this really an 8 cylinder?

    Like 2
    • S

      Yes. Pontiac made a 265 cu in V8 in 1980 and 1981 only. It was installed in Pontiacs and Buicks only. It is essentially a smaller version of the 301 V8.

      Like 3
    • CCFisher

      In addition to the Pontiac 265, there was also an Oldsmobile 4.3 (260 cid, 1970s), a Buick 4.3 (264 cid, 1950s) and three Chevrolet 4.3s: the original, 1955 small-block (265 cid), the 262 V8 (1970s), and the Gen II 265 (1990s)

      Like 1
      • Kirk K

        In Canada alot of early 80s gm cars had small V8 stamped as a 267 .would this be yet another 4.3 8cyl . The 267 were in all divisions far as I know, the lemans ,Malibu,grand prix cutlass and buicks tho it was not a down sized 301pontiac what we’d call a big or wide block but it was the smallest chevy small block like the 305 and 350 just with smaller pistons . They were actually good little engines with not enough power to hurt themselves and run forever mostly trouble free from what I know just very low on power but enough too keep up with traffic just couldn’t attemp any passing unless it was downhill with alot of clear road ahead to get it done. It was fine for the average daily driver tho and probably was a little cheaper on fuel

  7. Motorcityman Member

    As much as I love the old birds, No way I could do over 20 Grand for ONLY 120HP…….way too many better choices out there.
    For me, it’s no more than a $8,000 car.
    BUT, that being said everyone who likes old rides isn’t into power, maybe I just want it all? 😁

    Like 6
    • Ten50boy

      I agree….. way too much money for the drivetrain. It’s been refinished and isn’t even a ttop car. Slow and low options….. I’d say $10k-$15k max. Maybe a little more if it had power options and ttops, but despite being pretty and having seemingly low mileage (without any mention of documentation)…. It isn’t worth more with that combo

      Like 3
  8. S

    What I like about this are the cloth seats! So much nicer than vinyl, which the vast majority of these cars had.

    Like 3
  9. Karl

    I think the car is beautiful both inside and out! The problem I have I would need to get it at a price that would allow me to put in the engine, trans and rear end that want. That in the end would make the car to expensive. But I really like the car.

    Like 2
    • joenywf64

      Does this car not have the same decent corporate 10 bolt rear used if the car had a 400 or 403?

  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I’ve told this story before: When I went to order my 1981 Camaro, the Sales Manager talked me out of this color because he said that I would be in for a repaint in just a couple of years – it was defective out of the factory. He also talked me out of this exact engine, saying it was no more powerful than the V6 and used more gas.

    So, I ended up with a black V6, and had zero complaints.

  11. Ed

    This is the second time this thing has been flipped: https://www.ebay.com/itm/133850275068

  12. Dean Member

    I had reached out to the seller and asked about the engine and the response was it was a 350. Obviously if that is the case it is not original

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